FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | October 24, 2002
Alzheimer's Foundation of America Holds First Annual Conference; Members Discuss Plans to Collaborate and Advocate for Care
NEW YORK, NY - The Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) held its first annual conference in Kissimmee, FL in mid-October, energizing member organizations with a spirited sense of unity and even more of a resolve to provide optimum support services to individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and their families.
The three-day conference drew members from coast-to-coast.
AFA, which is based in Manhattan, was founded last February to band together grassroots organizations to advocate for care in addition to cure on the national front, and to collaborate on innovative programs that meet the needs of the estimated five million Americans with Alzheimer's disease and their families.
Eric J. Hall, AFA's chief executive officer, said he was overwhelmed by what he called the ³passion² of the attendees.
"Their selfless commitment to the cause is incredible. This synergy will enable AFA to powerfully carry out its mission‹and improve the quality of life for all those touched by this devastating disease," he said.
At the meeting, Hall reviewed the foundation's fast-paced growth during the past six months and discussed the exciting opportunities ahead. "AFA gives us the ability to have our voices heard at all levels‹local, state and national," Hall said.
As AFA plans strategies, Hall said it would always consider "the pulse of member organizations" and respect their autonomy.
During the conference, members had the opportunity to learn more about their peers, gaining insight into local programs and food for thought for possible duplication on their home turfs.
And, in an unusual process, AFA's chairman of the board, Bert Brodsky, and other board trustees appeared before the membership to directly listen to members' needs and answer questions about AFA's structure and direction. Brodsky told the attendees that the exchange of ideas among AFA members underpins the national organization's greatest strength.
"This room is a wonderful depository of information. Everyone can go into that depository and get what they need," he said.
Also at the meeting, AFA initiated a grant process in which members can apply to AFA for funds for local programs, and formally established member advisory boards in the areas of advocacy, development, medical, public relations, and social services.
"The advisory boards will actively assist AFA by providing input and suggestions for the topics at hand and by directly promoting AFA for the good of all member organizations," Hall said.
AFA plans to holds its second annual conference in California next fall.
Contact: Carol Steinberg