The Virginia Alzheimer’s Disease Center (VADC) is a research and care center with the highest commitment to enhance diversity, promote equity, foster inclusion, and ensure accessibility in its research and clinical trials. At the VADC, we strive to provide an environment that is open to welcoming all groups of people regardless of their background, race, ethnicity, social class, gender, and geographical location, among other unique qualities. Fostering these values are central to the Center’s aim of providing exceptional services to individuals and families living in the Virginia catchment area.

Currently, in the United States, non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic older adults are disproportionately more likely than White older adults to have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias (ADRD).  Older Black Americans are about two times more likely to suffer from ADRD than older Whites while older Hispanics are about one and one-half times as likely to have ADRD than older Whites.i Rural populations from all backgrounds are also more likely to be impacted by ADRD due to many factors, one of which is the lack of access to care. Therefore, we know that it is critically important that VADC research and practices are inclusive, welcoming, and representative of these traditionally underrepresented populations.

The Center’s commitment to diversity is not just a statement but an action force that drives our policies, actions, and programs. We take pride in our unwavering dedication to improving services coverage to rural and Black underserved people affected with dementia.

We work to prepare our students, trainees, faculty, and staff to transform neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease research and care by incorporating history to promote understanding, and through clinical experiences grounded in respectful community engagement. We aim to improve our culture using strategies and skill-building for faculty, staff, trainees, and students to create an inclusive and respectful environment for all.

The VADC employs multiple approaches to achieve and maintain an equitable and inclusive place to study, research, and work diverse environment. All training activities include education in cultural sensitivity and inclusivity. These approaches also include mosaic mentoring, which promotes community mutual learning and growth. Additionally, we work to build equitable and sustainable community partnerships beneficial to all populations, irrespective of their background. We seek to engage the diverse populations of Virginia and incorporate their voices into the design of our programs and clinical trials. These collective actions and approaches highlight the Center’s commitment to promoting diversity in our services of improving dementia care for individuals and their caregivers. Our goal is to facilitate sustainable change within the study of ADRD to address the barriers to achieving equity across all our programs and research initiatives, including research related to improving ADRD healthcare delivery.

i (2023), 2023 Alzheimer's disease facts and figures. Alzheimer's Dement., 19: 1598-1695.