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March 29, 2021

Diversity and Disparities in Dementia Diagnosis and Care: A Challenge for All of Us

Author Affiliations
  • 1Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders, University of California, Irvine
  • 2Department of Neurology, University of California, Irvine
  • 3Department of Neurobiology & Behavior, University of California, Irvine
  • 4Department of Epidemiology, University of California, Irvine
  • 5Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of California, Davis
JAMA Neurol. 2021;78(6):650-652. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2021.0285

Health disparities are one of the most important public health challenges in the United States. Disparities and inequities in rates and treatment of disease stem from a complex web of environmental, sociocultural, behavioral, and biological factors that accumulate over a lifetime to produce population-level differences.1 As evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, health disparities result in markedly different rates of disease, complications of disease, and access to care and treatment. In the US, Alzheimer disease and related dementias are conditions with profound health disparities, disproportionally affecting many racial/ethnic groups. An identified goal of the 2012 federally mandated National Plan to Address Alzheimer Disease was to redress disparities in Alzheimer disease and dementia. Delineating barriers and trajectories of care, particularly among those with health insurance, is an important step for furthering our understanding of disparities in dementia.

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