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FAU Receives $1.3 Million Grant for Alzheimer's Outreach in Broward

College of Nursing, Building

(Photo by Alex Dolce)

Florida Atlantic University’s María de los Ángeles Ortega, DNP, APRN, in the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, has been awarded a three-year, $1.3 million grant from the Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative for a groundbreaking project designed to advance health equity and improve quality of life for individuals living with or at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) and their family caregivers.

ACL was created around the fundamental principle that all people, regardless of age or disability, should be able to live independently and participate fully in their communities.

FAU’s project, “Connecting Communities to Caring-Based Dementia-Specific Services and Supports,” is designed to link historically underserved and marginalized communities in Broward County with specialized dementia services and supports. In addition, this initiative also aims to improve dementia capability for service provision to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are living with dementia as well as their families.

According to ACL, many older adults and people with disabilities need help with the daily tasks of life or require physical assistance such as help with dressing and eating. For others, it is help with making decisions and planning. Still, others require a blend of supports. Each person is unique, and the help they may need is unique as well. 

“This grant represents a substantial opportunity for our interprofessional team to make a profound difference in the community. Not only will it allow us to extend specialized, caring-based services to those most in need, but it also presents an invaluable learning opportunity for students on our Davie campus in Broward County,” said Ortega, principal investigator, professor, associate dean of clinical practice, and director of the FAU Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center within FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “Students will gain firsthand experience about the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center’s mission, and most importantly, the essence of transforming lives and practice through embracing caring, knowledge and compassion.”

The Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center is a unique and integral component of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and is grounded in the college’s philosophy of caring. Their mission is to meet the complex needs of persons with memory disorders, such as ADRD, and their families through a comprehensive array of services, compassionate and innovative programs of care, research and education. The center’s intention is to treat each person as an individual, with dignity and respect, enabling each client to function at his or her personal best while maximizing their quality of life.

A key component of the project is engaging new interprofessional community partnerships. As such, the FAU project team will collaborate with Holy Cross Health – Fort Lauderdale; the Daniel D. Cantor Senior Center in Northwest Broward; the Memory Disorder Center at Broward Health North; Aging, Inc.; the Broward Coalition on Aging; and FAU’s Lisa Kirk Wiese, Ph.D., an associate professor in the College of Nursing, who has expertise on increasing the understanding, early detection and prevention of AD in rural populations. 

As part of the project, the team will jointly create and provide dementia-specific resources and supportive services to Spanish speaking patients and families; co-create tailored dementia-specific education and training for health care providers; and identify resources, services and community connections within Broward County to assist individuals and family caregivers.

“This grant from the Administration for Community Living’s Alzheimer’s Disease Program Initiative will help to enhance our Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center on the Davie campus, which serves as a beacon of hope for individuals and families affected by neurological disorders,” said Safiya George, Ph.D., the Holli Rockwell Trubinsky Eminent Dean, FAU Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “Dr. Ortega, her outstanding team and community partners will replicate, tailor and implement  innovative programs and services currently offered at our Boca Raton center for clients and families who will receive these services in Broward County.”