This Think Tank is designed to link our current scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s disease with social and public policy issues facing patients, families, and society at large. Recently, Alzheimer’s disease has been an increasing focus of attention. The federal government issued a draft framework for the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and President Obama has proposed increased funding for Alzheimer’s disease research and caregiving. There have been significant scientific breakthroughs in our understanding of disease progression. Furthermore, the results of new clinical drug trials will soon be released. State government also has become more involved with Alzheimer’s disease. Utah’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders was recently submitted to the Legislature for its consideration. The plan recommends increased awareness of Alzheimer’s disease through student and community education. The plans at both levels of government recognize a widespread need and urgency to address the disease and its complexities.
The Think Tank has several pedagogical objectives. By involving faculty from the sciences, public policy, the humanities, and the arts, it will enable students to appreciate the linkages among intellectual fields. Students will develop a basic scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s disease and will explore the medical, ethical, philosophical, and public policy issues that accompany it. They will be able to apply their own interests and expertise to address this emerging problem. They will recognize how the humanities inform the medical and scientific and also how the medical and scientific approach to disease is inadequate and must draw upon the social sciences and public policy to be fully successful and be informed by the humanities to best understand the ramification of disease. They will understand how society chooses to frame disease can affect policy, knowledge and stigma.
The Alzheimer’s Think Tank will concentrate on knowledge, communication, inclusion, and dignity by studying the intersections of science, philosophy, emotion, ethics, and public policy. It will ask students to consider these questions: What does it mean to be old in America? To be dependent? To have Alzheimer’s Disease? What do you think your community needs to know about the disease? How will you communicate what you have discovered?
Click here to see the article about Alzheimer’s and Aging in the Salt Lake Tribune.
The Donna Garff Marriott Residential Scholars Community. Room: 1205
Vicky Newman, Ph.D. Dept. of Communications
Dr. Norman Foster, M.D., Director of the University of Utah’s Center for Alzheimer’s Care, Imaging, and Research, Professor of Neurology, and Senior Investigator of the University of Utah’s Brain Institute
Phillip Bimstein, Honors faculty, composer and musician and story collector