Inclusive Practices in Alzheimer’s : The Geographic Exclusion

Student Classification


Faculty Mentor

Dr. Hilda Goins, Dr. Tonya Smith-Jackson


Industrial and Systems Engineering

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


The south is the highest ranking geographic region with death rates recorded related to Alzheimer’s Disease. Often and sometimes, the phrase Alzheimer’s disease is used as the umbrella term that describes the process of mental deterioration of persons who are usually 55-85 years or older. Those affected exhibit a wide range of negative behaviors such as agitation, disengagement, and unpredictable outburst. The decline in the use of everyday skills can make it difficult for the caregiver to attend to and properly care for the person suffering from the disease. In return, this puts an immediate strain on the caregiver, which can result in improper care of the person with dementia. The Behavioral and Environmental Sensing and Intervention for Caregiver Empowerment (BESI) research team, comprised of researchers and medical personnel from the University of Virginia, Carillion Medical Center/Carillion Clinic, and North Carolina A&T State University, records and assesses agitation episodes. Using caregiver centered technology, the purpose of this research is to eliminate or reduce the effect of agitation by determining which environmental factors are more prevalent during the episodes and communicating this information to the caregiver. Moreover, African Americans make up 58% of persons with Alzheimer’s disease2. Therefore, it is important that when research is conducted, African Americans and all regions of the south must be considered. However, most of the families encountered throughout the BESI Project have been upper middle-class Caucasians located in Roanoke, Virginia.3 It can be inferred that there are numerous reasons why minorities have not been a part of Alzheimer’s- related research. At the conclusion of this research, I will identify the key reasons why the Southern region of the United States reports a sharp incline of Alzheimer’s related disease compared to other regions. Furthermore, I hope to identify why African Americans have not been exposed to research studies such as the BESI Project, while identifying new methods to connect with African American Communities.

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