In 1998, the Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Institute (WAI) was established as an academic institute in the UW School of Medicine and Public Health under the directorship of Dr. Mark Sager. Since then, WAI has achieved national and international recognition for its innovative research and public health programs.
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Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed. More than 5 million Americans are currently living with AD and more than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. WAI is working hard to find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease while providing tailored outreach, state-of-the-art education and compassionate support to those living with the disease as well as their caregivers.
- Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention
In 2000, WAI developed the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention, one of the country’s first and largest Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention research programs. To date, the Institute has enrolled 1,523 persons who travel from 60 Wisconsin counties and 29 states to participate in the study. The information to be gained from this study is essential for early interventions that have the potential to slow the progression, delay the onset or even prevent AD. Estimates are that a delay in the onset of AD by just 2 years will result in 2 million fewer cases over the next 25 years.
- Dementia Diagnostic Clinics
To improve the probability of a person obtaining a timely and accurate diagnosis, WAI has developed a unique network of 44 affiliated Dementia Diagnostic Clinics throughout Wisconsin, including two in Milwaukee. Within this network, WAI provides education, mentorship and support to more than 200 health professionals, along with quality care to more than 3,000 new patients each year.
- WAI Milwaukee Program
To decrease disparities in access to health services, provide education to increase awareness of AD, and offer supportive services to those living with AD, WAI created its Milwaukee Program to focus primarily on the African-American, Hispanic and American Indian communities. This program alone has provided assistance to more than 300 families since 2009 and through its outreach and education, reaches more than 3,500 people annually.
- Professional Education and Outreach Program
The Institute’s Professional Education and Outreach Program provides state-of-the-art information to researchers and health professionals to improve the diagnosis and treatment of AD. Each year, the Institute’s annual conference draws nationally and internationally renowned dementia experts and attracts nearly 300 health professionals. Last year, WAI sponsored or participated in 135 educational events statewide and nationally, reaching more than 3,100 health professionals.