Health and Health Care

207 - Health and Health Care: Cognitive Health and Dementia Services

Tuesday, July 17
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM
Location: Executive Room-Lobby Level

Christy Nishita, PhD-Building a Dementia Capable No Wrong Door System in Hawaii
Ritabelle Fernandes, MD, MPH-Memory Clinic Group Visits in Federally Qualified Health Centers
Margarethe Goetz, PhD, PA-C-Rationale and Design of the Emory Healthy Aging and Emory Health Brain Study
Christopher Taylor, PhD-Subjective Cognitive Decline Among Adults 45 Years and Older--49 States, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, 2015-2016

This session focuses on cognitive health and dementia services. The first presentation will focus on subjective cognitive decline (SCD) in adults 45 years and older. SCD is the self-reported experience of worsening or more frequently occurring confusion or memory loss. SCD, including memory loss, is one of the earliest noticeable symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. While not everyone who reports subjective cognitive decline will go on to develop a dementia, many do.

The second presentation will focus on Hawaii's strategy to build a dementia capable system. This strategy consists of a three-pronged approach including: building a coordinated network of “No Wrong Door” state agencies, growing its memory care resources in the community, and developing dementia free communities.

The third presentation will discuss a project to replicate an established group visit memory clinic model in federally qualified health centers (FQHC), develop training curriculum, and assess the impact on healthcare utilization.

The final presentation will look at the Emory Health Aging Study (EHAS) and Emory Healthy Brain Study (EHBS). These aim to characterize healthy aging in a community-based cohort and to identify biomarkers for the earliest manifestations of Alzheimer's disease. As populations age, understanding the relationships between health and aging is essential to maximizing health and independence. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common cause of dementia, with no curative therapies, therefore predication, prevention and treatment of AD is essential.

Learning Objectives:

Christy Nishita, PhD

Associate Specialist
Center on Aging, University of Hawaii

Christy Nishita, Ph.D. is an Associate Specialist at the University of Hawaii Center on Aging and Center on Disability Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Gerontology from the University of Southern California. Her focus is on improving community-based long-term care, with publications on aging in place, nursing home transitions, intergenerational programming, and health promotion. She is the consultant for the Mayor’s Age-Friendly Honolulu Initiative, fostering community intergenerational partnerships and conducting the evaluation. Dr. Nishita is also Principal Investigator for Hawaii's Alzheimer's Disease Initiative, a 3-year grant from the Federal Administration for Community Living. She is also evaluator for the Hawaii Going Home Plus project, a federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services grant. She is the recipient of the 2016 Na Lima Kokua Award in the Research/Teaching category, given by the Hawaii Pacific Gerontological Society. She is also Co-Coordinator for the Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, From the Field section as well as member of the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education’s Intergenerational Learning and Research Committee.


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Ritabelle Fernandes, MD, MPH

Associate Professor
Department of Geriatric Medicine, JABSOM, University of Hawaii

Ritabelle Fernandes MD, MPH, is an Associate Professor at the Geriatric Medicine Department of the John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii. She is board certified in Geriatric medicine, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, and Internal Medicine. She is a practicing geriatrician Kalihi-Palama Health Center and also a medical director at Bristol Hospice. She has developed many programs to serve low-income seniors such as a memory clinic, home-based palliative care services, chronic diseases group visits, caregiver support groups, and the establishment of clinics based at public housing and elder center. Dr. Fernandes has served on the Doctors work group for the State Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia. She is co-principal investigator of the Hawaii Alzheimer’s Dementia Initiative, a grant from the Federal Administration for Community Living.


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Margarethe Goetz, PhD, PA-C

Postdoctoral Fellow
Emory University

Dr. Margarethe Goetz earned her PhD in Epidemiology, with a focus on nutritional and cardiovascular epidemiology, from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in 2016. Prior to her doctoral training she worked as a Physician Assistant in Neurocritical Care at Rhode Island Hospital and UMass Memorial Medical Center. She joined the Emory Healthy Aging Study in 2016.


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Christopher Taylor, PhD


Dr. Christopher Taylor works as an epidemiologist in the CDC Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program. He has been with CDC for more than 7 years and has extensively studied many aspects of older adult health, including Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver research, and traumatic brain injury. Prior to joining CDC, he was a researcher on several large studies of older adult health including the LIFE Study, the LONG LIFE Study, and Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study.


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Mehran S. S. Massoudi, PhD, MPH

HHS Regional Health Administrator, Region VI
US Public Health Service

Mehran S. Massoudi, PhD, MPH, CAPT, US Public Health Service was appointed Regional Health Administrator for HHS/OASH/Region VI, in October 2016. He is the senior federal health official representing the OASH and the Office of the Surgeon General in Region VI (AR, LA, NM, OK, TX).
Dr. Massoudi previously served as the Branch Chief for the Applied Research and Translation Branch and the Director of the Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program at CDC. In addition to the PRC Program, the Branch also included the Healthy Aging and the Workplace Health Programs. He has previously served as a CDC Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer (1994), the science advisor to the Smallpox Team at CDC, the SARS Surveillance Team Lead, and the Associate Director for Science. From 2005 to 2007, he oversaw the development of the Afghan Public Health Institute.
Beyond his regularly assigned duties at CDC, CAPT Massoudi has also completed five international deployments for CDC and the World Health Organization as part of the Polio Eradication Initiative. He has also traveled to Haiti as part of the Department’s health and medical response, and most recently, deployed as Lead for the Epi Team in Grand Cape Mount, Liberia for the Ebola Response.


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207 - Health and Health Care: Cognitive Health and Dementia Services


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