Health Committee Approves Senator Hueso’s Alzheimer’s Bill

Legislation expands research to determine human burden and economic toll of Alzheimer’s disease on disproportionately-impacted populations in California
April 18, 2018

San Diego, CA – April 18, 2018 – The California State Senate Health Committee voted today in favor of SB 1292, a bill authored by Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego) that seeks to ensure that Alzheimer’s disease research is inclusive of all populations disproportionately impacted. The legislation passed the Health Committee with bipartisan support and now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

SB 1292 would require the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity to research and determine the human burden and economic cost of Alzheimer’s disease in California on African Americans, Latinos and women, and make the results available to the State Legislature by January 1, 2020. The legislation also requires the Department of Public Health to implement a public outreach program at its 10 Alzheimer’s Disease Centers for the purpose of increasing research participation for underrepresented groups.

Evidence from available studies shows that African Americans, Latinos and women are disproportionately affected at higher rates. Compared to white Americans, African Americans are two times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely, and women are about two-thirds of the population affected. Furthermore, minorities of color have been historically underrepresented in research.

“California must expand its research efforts to better understand why these groups are diagnosed at higher rates”, said Senator Hueso. “Our state is uniquely positioned to combat this inequity with increased data collection within its diverse communities”.

In 2015, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias became the third leading cause of death in California, tied with stroke. The number of Californians with Alzheimer’s disease is growing at an alarmingly fast rate. The State will experience a 34-percent increase in diagnoses from 2017-2025 alone. This will result in more deaths, unpaid family caregivers, and higher government spending under Medicare and Medicaid.

“Anyone who has been affected by Alzheimer’s disease understands that it is a cruel, relentless disease”, said Senator Hueso. “With the projected growth, there is no time to waste and it is imperative that we expand research, particularly among those that will be disproportionately affected”.

Senate Bill 1292 is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and co-sponsored by the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.