Last month was World Alzheimer’s Month and there was lots of discussion about how the disease impacts patients, their loved ones, and communities around the globe. In order to turn the tide on Alzheimer’s and ensure that we’re prepared to address the health crisis it poses, I keep coming back to the role that leadership plays in moving us forward.
Think of the ideal leader. What makes them successful? Here at Lilly, we think an ideal leader possesses the vision to see possibilities and the drive to bring them to fruition. The Alzheimer’s community is full of amazing leaders like this, from caregivers to scientists, from patients to advocates and civil servants. Last month, we honored Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and the Alzheimer’s Association Massachusetts & New Hampshire Chapter (MANH) for their leadership in raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease continues to be a growing burden for the American public. As one of the most expensive diseases for our healthcare system, Alzheimer’s robs American citizens of their memory and dignity. If left unchecked, an estimated 15 million Americans will be diagnosed with the disease by 2050. Visionary leadership and collaborative partnerships are critical to changing the course of this disease and preparing our communities.
In Boston, Mayor Marty Walsh and the Alzheimer’s Association-MANH are doing just that. Mayor Walsh launched the Boston Alzheimer’s Initiative back in 2014, becoming the first major capital city to join the Alzheimer’s Workplace Alliance: an employee program that provides education about the warning signs of the disease, the importance of early detection, and patient/caregiver resources. All city employees –the police and fire departments, emergency medical services, the housing authority, and the elderly commission – now receive Alzheimer’s trainings. And these trainings are conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association-MANH.
Mayor Walsh also began monthly “memory cafés”, a way for the local Alzheimer’s community to come together and reflect on shared experiences through art activities, guided discussion, and presentations from disease experts. TheAlzheimer’s Association-MANH Chapter also provides an array of additional free services to Alzheimer’s patients and their families and serves as a key partner in fundraising for Alzheimer’s treatment research.
Thanks to the work of Mayor Walsh and those of the Alzheimer’s Association-MANH, Alzheimer’s patients in Boston have hope. We were proud to recognize Mayor Walsh and the Alzheimer’s Association of Massachusetts/New Hampshire Chapter for their efforts in the Alzheimer’s disease space. Their hard work and dedication serve as vibrant examples of what’s possible when we unite to end Alzheimer’s.