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Background


In 2020, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) received BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act funds to build public health infrastructure to address dementia in Colorado. As a public health agency, CDPHE integrated a public health lens into Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) work by including health equity, risk reduction, early detection and early diagnosis into the ADRD State Plan.

CDPHE convened a multisectoral Advisory Committee including representatives from non-profit, government, private, community-based organizations, and individuals representing disproportionately impacted populations. CDPHE led a 15-month strategic planning process to develop the 2022-2027 Colorado ADRD State Plan, in collaboration with the state’s ADRD Advisory Committee and local communities.


The work of the state to address the challenges posed by ADRD is guided by the 2022-2027 Colorado ADRD State Plan. The plan lays out a path for addressing the special needs of Coloradans living with Alzheimer’s Disease, related dementias, and their care partners, through a public health approach that is evidence-based, promotes risk reduction and early diagnosis, and focuses on highly impacted populations (i.e., American Indian/Alaskan Natives, Black/African Americans, Latinx/o/a/e/Hispanic/Chicano/a). The plan includes actions that the state of Colorado and its partners must take. These actions are divided into four domains: Empower and Engage the Public, Develop policies and Build Partnerships, Assure a Competent Workforce, and Monitor and Evaluate Data.

Priority Populations

Colorado has identified five populations who bear a disproportionate burden of ADRD: Rural communities, care partners, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Black/African Americans, and Latino/a/x/Hispanic/Chicano/as. Successful implementation of the Colorado ADRD State Plan will require partnerships with individuals and organizations that represent priority populations to address their specific needs.

Rural communities:
Colorado rural communities experience a disproportionately high burden of ADRD compared to urban communities. A contributing factor to this is that the majority of rural and mountain communities in Colorado have fewer primary care providers per capita when compared to urban communities, which restricts access to vital healthcare services. Among adults aged 65 and older, those living in rural communities had lower rates of annual doctor visits compared to adults living in urban communities.

Care partners:
Caregiving is emotionally and physically taxing, as caregivers report higher rates of chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, depression, and coronary heart disease than their peers. As the average age of an informal caregiver is about 50 years old, many are responsible for providing care for their own children or are still members of the workforce. The burden of informal caregiving can mean that caregivers have reduced hours of employment, forgone wages, and lost benefits, employers must manage the cost of absenteeism, productivity loss due to preoccupied employees, turnover, and more.

American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, and Latino/a/x/Hispanic/Chicano/a:
Chronic diseases such as diabetes, prediabetes, and heart disease have consistently been shown to be risk factors for cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia. Coloradans identifying as Black or African American, Hispanic, or American Indian, or Alaska Native have the highest prevalence of both diabetes and heart disease. Racial and ethnic differences in current rates of dementia suggest that there will be a sevenfold increase in Alzheimer’s disease cases among Latino adults, a fivefold increase among American Indian/Alaska Native adults and a fourfold increase among African American adults by 2060. And, though Black/African Americans are twice as likely to have ADRD, and Latino/a/x/Hispanics are 1.5 times as likely to have ADRD, both groups are less likely to be diagnosed.

State Plan Implementation

The ADRD Advisory Committee has now folded into the ADRD Action Coalition (ADRDAC) to work collaboratively on the implementation of the Colorado ADRD State Plan over the next five years (2022-2027). The ADRDAC meets monthly as four separate workgroups, and twice a year as a Coalition. The ADRDAC is open to new partnerships, and is particularly seeking representatives from priority populations.

Meeting information

Empower and Engage the Public (E) Workgroup: Zoom, 2nd Wednesday of each month, 12 pm to 2 pm
Develop Policies and Build Partnerships (P) Workgroup: Zoom, 1st Thursday of each month, 2 pm to 4 pm
Assure a Competent Workforce (W) Workgroup: Zoom, 3rd Thursday of each month, 10 am to 12 pm
Monitor and Evaluate Data (M) Workgroup: Zoom, 1st Monday of each month 2-4 pm
Semi-annual ADRD Action Coalition meetings: Zoom, 2nd Thursday in January and July, 2 pm to 4 pm

Ways to get involved

  • Connect with us to learn more about our work, find ways to partner, or request a presentation on the Colorado ADRD State Plan and implementation efforts.
  • Sign up to receive our newsletter and request more information about participating in the Colorado ADRD Action Coalition.
  • If your organization provides services and supports for people living with ADRD or their care partners, contact us to get included in a centralized repository.
  • Contact us if you’re looking for ADRD-related resources or data sources in Colorado to inform your work.

     

Contacts

Joanna Espinoza Robbins, MPH
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Program Manager
Joanna.EspinozaRobbins@state.co.us


Monica Maly, MPH
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Program Coordinator 
Monica.Maly@state.co.us