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Walking Alone, the Black Experience

In a new public service announcement, “Walking Alone...the BLAC Experience,” community members of the UCSF Memory and Aging Center (MAC) and Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) speak about the daily challenges faced by Black professionals in the US.

“It’s time that people really begin to understand and value the Black experience,” says Fonda Smith, founding member of Black Leadership Advisory Council (BLAC) and Operations Manager at UCSF MAC.

In response to the killing of George Floyd, along with various other social injustices impacting marginalized communities of color, BLAC was established in 2020 to create a space for the Black community at UCSF MAC and GBHI to process social justice issues, help fight racism and better support the Black community.

“This was created as a safe space,” said Marie Edouard Theodore, a BLAC member and Fellowship Experience Manager at GBHI. “We all came together to lean on each other.”

According to a new Alzheimer's Association special report, older Black Americans are about twice as likely to have Alzheimer's or other dementias as older whites, and half of Black Americans reported discrimination when seeking health care. Black Americans are also twice as likely as whites to say they would not see a doctor if experiencing thinking or memory problems.

BLAC hopes that increased awareness of the Black experience will be a step towards achieving better health equity. The group includes members of the GBHI community, including Theodore and Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health Kunle Adewale and Obiora Okoye, along with Smith, Ola Egu, Ashley Jackson, Donna Mohammed, Phillip Smith, Charles Windon, and Laura Wise of the UCSF MAC.

“Walking Alone...the BLAC Experience” is available to view above.

Learn more about efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion at GBHI.