Alzheimer's brain
PET scan of the brain of a person with Alzheimer’s disease showing a loss of function in the temporal lobe. Photo by National Institute on Aging via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego County’s public health agency is one of six across the state that will receive $750,000 over three years to help address issues of dementia, the California Department of Public Health announced Tuesday.

The $4.5 million in total funding is part of the Healthy Brain Initiative, which focuses on brain health and support for caregivers.

“California has more aging people than any other state in the nation, including more people living with Alzheimer’s, other age-related brain dementias, and the people who care for them,” said former first lady and chair of the initiative, Maria Shriver. “The Healthy Brain Initiative will help reveal critical and factual insights on how communities throughout the state can prioritize brain health and caregiving.”

The funding will support activities in four categories: monitoring data and evaluating programs; education and empowerment of the public; mobilizing public and private partnerships; and ensuring a competent workforce.

“There are about 670,000 people in California who are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, with very mild to advanced symptoms,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, California Department of Public Health director and state public health officer. “Their needs and those of the families and caregivers who help support them varies across a spectrum. The time is now to work with communities and partners to find durable solutions. These awards reflect an important investment towards that goal.”

The other health agencies to receive the awards include the public health departments of Los Angeles, Placer, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Shasta counties.

— City News Service