In the United States, we're in the middle of our presidential election cycle. There are big plans on many issues, such as health care, being touted by candidates. However, away from the election fray, there also are smaller, quieter steps being taken by leaders at the national policy level concerning the fight against Alzheimer's disease.
Worried about the potential impact of Alzheimer's disease, U.S. congressional leaders named an independent, non-partisan Alzheimer's Study Group (ASG) in July 2007. Former Speaker Newt Gingrich, founder of The Center for Health Transformation, and former Senator Bob Kerrey, president of The New School, are co-chairing this group, which is tasked with assessing the adequacy of the United States' current efforts to combat Alzheimer's. The taskforce is charged with recommending a National Alzheimer's Strategic Plan that will address identified opportunities and accelerate progress toward eliminating Alzheimer's. The ASG has indicated it will periodically release findings and statements throughout the year on a non-partisan, non-political basis.
Study group members, which were announced in November, include:
- Christine Cassel, M.D. - Geriatrician and President, American Board of Internal Medicine
- Meryl Comer - President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative
- Newt Gingrich - Founder, Center for Health Transformation (ASG Co-chair)
- Steven Hyman, M.D. - Provost, Harvard University
- Bob Kerrey - President, The New School (ASG Co-chair)
- Henry McCance - Chairman, Greylock Partners
- Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D. - Director, Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution
- Sandra Day O'Connor - Justice, The US Supreme Court (retired)
- James A. Runde - Special Advisor, Morgan Stanley
- David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D. - Director, Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, Morehouse School of Medicine
- Harold Varmus, M.D. - Former Director of the National Institutes of Health and co-recipient of the 1989 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
A press release about the committee's formation noted, "The breadth of the ASG's experience is particularly notable in federal health policy. Among its members are former heads of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the U.S. Public Health Service."
All support for the taskforce is from private, charitable contributions. The ASG has received initial financial contributions from the Alzheimer's Association, the Dwyer family, the Vradenburg Foundation, and Wyeth. The ASG has also received an in-kind contribution of substantial project management and assessment support from Booz Allen Hamilton for the duration of the project. The effort is being administered and managed through the Center for Health Transformation.
For more information about the task force's work, visit the Alzheimer's Study Group website at http://www.alzstudygroup.org/.
Published On: March 04, 2008