While the disease is believed to be up to twice as prevalent among blacks as among whites, University of Kentucky scientists were not reaching the African-American population, The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky., reported Sunday. After years of relationship building with black community leaders, the university is part of an African-American Dementia Outreach Partnership that has increased medical care and education for black dementia patients, the newspaper reported.
"How often do you have a chance to change a community?" said Deborah Danner, a research leader at the university's Sanders-Brown Center on Aging.
Danner reached out to six large African-American churches in Lexington, which joined the partnership.
"The partnership has been quite helpful in making people aware of what our seniors face. Awareness has been raised to another level, and there's a willingness to participate in research. And the partnership sheds some light on what is an important medical issue. People realize help is available, that you don't have to handle this by yourself," the Rev. Richard Gaines, pastor of Consolidated Baptist Church in Lexington, told the newspaper.
Approximately 80 percent of the more than 100 patients in a Lexington clinic are African-American.
Blacks suffer higher-than-average rates of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, the newspaper said.