The Alzheimer’s Association Rochester & Finger Lakes Region held its seventh annual Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers African-American Health Symposium on March 8 at Mount Olivet Baptist Church.
More than 120 participants from the Greater Rochester area attended. Sandra Simon, affirmative action-diversity/inclusion-ADA officer, city of Rochester, presented a proclamation by Mayor Lovely Warren. The proclamation recognized the Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers African-American Health Symposium’s contribution to the community and honored its early supporters the Dr. Rogers family and Judge Roy King.
While older African-Americans are two times more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, they are less likely than whites to have a diagnosis of the condition, according to 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association. Krista Damann, keynote speaker of the symposium and African-American neuropsychologist at Rochester Regional Health’s Memory Center, discussed the risks and prevention measures of Alzheimer’s among the African-American community.
Damann’s African-American grandmother is living with Alzheimer’s disease.
“The effects of Alzheimer’s disease are devastating. I know that personally, from experiencing my grandmother’s decline. It is important for us to be educated about the disease because accurate diagnosis leads to appropriate management. And while there is no cure, there are many resources available to help care for our loved ones,” said Damann.
Health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes are suspected risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias among all groups. But, high blood pressure and diabetes are more prevalent in the African-American community. Vascular dementia accounts for a larger proportion of dementia in African-Americans than in whites, according to 2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association. Representatives from the American Diabetes Association and American Heart/American Stroke Association talked at the symposium about better management of multiple chronic conditions.
The symposium is named after Lemuel Rogers, a member of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church and one of the first African-American doctors to build and own a medical building in Rochester.
Over the course of his 30 years of practice, he delivered more than 5,000 babies in Rochester’s Highland and Saint Mary’s hospitals.
In addition to commemorating Rogers, the organizers of this year’s symposium honored the life of late Judge Roy King, the first African-American to work at the city of Rochester’s Law Department. King was also a member of the Alzheimer’s Association African-American Council and participated in providing community education on Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
Mount Olivet Baptist Church has been a partner of the Alzheimer’s Association since the founding of its Alzheimer’s Ministry in 2004. In addition to hosting the African-American Health Symposium annually, members and volunteers of the Alzheimer’s Ministry provide community education about the disease and outreach to other faith communities in the Greater Rochester.