August 5th, 2021
Contact: Annie Ferguson, Public Health Communications Assistant, firstname.lastname@example.org
IA2 and n4a are pleased to announce that IA2 is now officially the national sublicensee for the Dementia Friends USA program. Dementia Friends USA is part of a global movement focused on changing the way people act, think, and talk about dementia. Through education and training, individuals are exposed to what it is like to live with dementia and are encouraged to turn their understanding into action.
IA2 partnered with master trainers from the University of Nevada, Reno this week to pilot the first information session and Champion training at the National Indian Council on Aging’s 2021 elders conference. The pilot sessions featured new Dementia Friends content, revised and adapted for use with American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
“The Dementia Friends program brings a new opportunity for tribes and urban-Indian serving organizations to help educate people on dementia and Alzheimer’s, featuring simple steps people can take to help reduce stigma and promote ways to reduce risk. “We are honored that n4a has provided us this opportunity,” says IA2 Executive Director, Dave Baldridge. “We believe the ability to serve as the national sublicensee for Indian country will reduce barriers to participation and allow us to work with tribal communities in ways that are responsive to their unique needs.”
As a national sublicensee, IA2 will host training sessions to allow individuals to certify as Dementia Friends Champions in their own community. A Champion is someone who attends a 1-hour information session, followed by a 3-hour training. This training equips individuals with the skills and knowledge to raise awareness about dementia in their community. Additionally, it encourages trainees to share what they know about Alzheimer’s and dementia with others. What makes a Champion so special is their ability to host information sessions about dementia and provide information and resources on how to help.
IA2 worked with various partners to adapt and update the original Dementia Friends training materials to be more reflective of tribal communities. Master trainer Dr. Jennifer Carson from the University of Nevada, Reno, and director of Dementia Friendly Nevada member states, “The materials adapted for the program offered by IA2 were developed through an intensive, inclusive process that included feedback from tribally enrolled members and tribal allies from across the country.” Carson and her team have offered Dementia Friends information sessions and Champion training across Nevada, including work with other tribes. “We look forward to serving as the training arm for this initiative alongside IA2,” says Carson. “Incorporating these new training and resource materials, which now better reflect American Indian and Alaska Native cultures, values, and communities, is an incredible improvement to a program we already know makes a difference in communities.”
IA2 is excited to bring this international movement to create Dementia Friends to Indian country and Alaska Native communities. “We are so pleased to have partnered with the International Association for Indigenous Aging to help foster greater awareness about dementia among American Indian and Alaska Native communities,” according to Sandy Markwood, CEO, n4a and Co-Chair, Dementia Friendly America. “With its acquisition of the Dementia Friends sublicense for American Indian and Alaska Native communities, IA2 will be the first Dementia Friends sublicensee with a program that is tailored to meet the needs of elders in tribal communities. In doing so, IA2 will develop and bring a culturally relevant Dementia Friends program to tribal elders who experience higher rates of dementia than the general population,” said Markwood.
A schedule of upcoming online Dementia information and Champion trainings hosted by IA2 and the UNR team will become available this fall.
For more information about the organizations we are partnering with on this project please check out their websites: