Establishing a dementia registry could improve allocation of brain health resources in Virginia

Virginia is on the brink of codifying a dementia registry project into state law, which will prioritize brain health and ensure equitable allocation of resources. The Virginia Memory Project, a collaboration between Virginia Commonwealth University and the Virginia Department of Health, has been collecting data on dementia cases and other neurodegenerative diseases in the state to inform public policy. HB 1455 is currently awaiting Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s signature to establish the project in state law.

The project is one of four statewide dementia registries in the country supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the CDC’s Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. Recent bills have been introduced to reauthorize the original 2018 act, which collects data on disease cases and caregivers in the state, with the goal of providing policymakers and public health leaders with information about the prevalence of the disease, resource allocation, and policy solutions for individuals living with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.

LeadingAge Virginia has expressed support for the legislation, emphasizing that collecting data related to brain health, memory, and caregiving for all adult Virginians is crucial. Melissa Andrews, President and CEO of LeadingAge Virginia stated that “the information gathered through this project will help prioritize resources for individuals with memory loss and caregivers throughout the state.” Currently, over 700,000 cases of dementia have been identified across Virginia through this initiative. Individuals aged 18 and older can participate by completing a confidential online survey.

By Riley Johnson

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