RI Awarded $300,000 BOLD Grant to Support & Improve Alzheimer’s Care

Sep 22, 2020

PROVIDENCE – U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, along with U.S. Congressmen Jim Langevin and David Cicilline, today announced $300,000 in federal funding for the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) through a Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act grant.  The delegation helped pass the bipartisan BOLD Act, which became law in 2018.

This new BOLD Act funding is being awarded to RIDOH from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  RIDOH is one of 16 health departments nationwide selected for the federal BOLD grant and will use the funds to help to implement effective Alzheimer's interventions, including boosting early detection and diagnosis, reducing risk, and preventing avoidable hospitalizations.

According to the non-profit Alzheimer’s Association, there are approximately 24,000 people in Rhode Island aged 65 and older with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, with 53,000 family members and caregivers dedicating their time to caring of them. 

RIDOH is working with public and private partners to build on the implementation of the “Rhode Island Alzheimer’s and Related Disorders State Plan” which seeks to ensure that those with the greatest need, including Black and Hispanic older adults and their support systems, have the help they require.

RIDOH and other grant recipients will focus on changes in systems, environments, and policies to promote risk reduction, early diagnosis, prevention, and management of comorbidities and avoidable hospitalizations using data for priority setting and action and support for caregiving for persons with dementia, including addressing social determinants of health.  Funded activities will align with the Healthy Brain Initiative State and Local Public Health Partnerships to Address Dementia, which helps initiatives to address Alzheimer’s can be incorporated easily and efficiently into existing public health initiatives, and the Road Map for Indian Country, the first-ever public health guide focused on dementia in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

“We need to find a cure for Alzheimer’s.  While working to achieve that goal, we also need to focus on promising therapies and improving health care and quality of life for people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and their caregivers,” said Senator Reed.  “This federal funding will help RIDOH improve how care is delivered and target help to those who need it most.”

“I’m pleased to see this grant go to the Department of Health, where it will fund promising new ways to support and treat people living with Alzheimer’s,” said Senator Whitehouse. “This program will deliver care where it is needed most and continue Rhode Island’s leadership in the fight against this devastating disease.”

Last year, the delegation helped secure a $53.4 million multi-year federal grant for Brown University to partner with Boston-based Hebrew SeniorLife on a collaborative research incubator to support trials aimed at improving care for people living with dementia.

“I’m thrilled that this BOLD Act funding awarded to RIDOH will help further the progress we’ve made to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients and their loved ones,” said Congressman Langevin. “I remain committed to investing in research that improves our ability to prevent, diagnose, treat, and ultimately cure this devastating disease.”

“For too many families, an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can mean even the simplest of tasks becomes a monumental challenge, but this federal BOLD grant to RIDOH will help make a diagnosis more manageable by modernizing care and helping those families who need it most,” Congressman Cicilline said. “By ending the stigma of Alzheimer’s and dementia and investing in more research, this disease will be a thing of the past.”

The Alzheimer’s Association has warned that nearly 6 million Americans today are living with Alzheimer’s Disease, and the disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, with one in three Americans over the age of 85 living with the Alzheimer’s.  It is estimated there will be as many as 16 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s by 2050.