Brain health; African American; baby boomer; Alzheimer’s disease; community engagement; community health; cognitive impairment; health disparities; urban health; community-based organizations


African Americans bear a disproportionate burden of age-related cognitive impairment in the United States compared to Whites or Hispanics. African Americans experience greater prevalence, higher risk, and lower rates of treatment and diagnosis for dementia. In response to these health disparities the Alzheimer’s Association developed and implemented the Healthy Brain Initiative (HBI) demonstration project, the first community-level intervention to help reduce health disparities related to cognitive impairment among African Americans. The HBI promotes awareness of brain health, understanding of the heart-brain connection, and seeks to increase African American baby boomers engagement in health-protective behaviors to promote brain and overall health. The intervention was developed and implemented following engagement of local chapters and expert advisors, extensive formative evaluation to test intervention concepts, messages and materials, research on theoretical approaches and intervention strategies, and development of the HBI program theory or logic model. The core elements of the intervention included development of strategic partnerships, conduct of knowledge and awareness building educational workshops, community events and use of local media to promote the intervention and recruit participants.