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Kristen Kennedy, PhD; Karen Koop, President, AWARE; Chandramallika Basak, PhD

The AWARE membership meeting and luncheon featured speakers Kristen Kennedy, PhD and Chandramallika Basak, PhD, both at the University of Texas at Dallas Center for Vital Longevity and AWARE Grant Recipients providing research updates.
After a welcome by AWARE president, Karen Koop and board updates, the speakers began their very interesting presentations.
Dr. Kennedy’s grant will be put towards a pilot study in her Neuroimaging of Aging and Cognition Lab to use ultra-high field (7T) imaging and spectroscopy to investigate age and biomarker-related differences in neurometabolites, which are metabolites found in the brain as a result of neural activity. Dr. Kennedy's lab is testing the theory that Alzheimer's disease is caused in part by a severe decline in the brain's energy system. Her research is examining neurometabolites using advanced MRI scanners.
Dr. Basak’s Lifespan Neuroscience and Cognition Lab will be using the grant to purchase a mobile fNIRS (functional Near Infra-Red Spectroscopy) system which will allow her lab to collect neuroimaging data from a more diverse pool of participants. This mobile Functional Near Infared Spectroscopy with physiological measures will be used to assess brain physiology in adults, allowing for a broader range of study participants. 
Supporters joining in the luncheon included Lynn Bergman, Lisa Bressman, Matthew Foster, Kay Fulton, Dr. Cindy Marshall, Ann McKinley, Joan Mason, Marguerite McCarthy, Carol Peters, Kamilia Smith, Mary Ellen Winborn and more.
For over thirty years, AWARE has given hope and help to those in Dallas and the greater North Texas area affected by Alzheimer's disease.  AWARE undertakes thoughtful research and conduct site visits to identify non-profit organizations that actively help all those affected by Alzheimer's in the north Texas community and award grants to assist them in their work. To date, AWARE has awarded nearly $14.5 million to worthy programs and research.  Learn more at the website

AWARE Dallas 2023-2024 Grant Recipients

Baylor Scott & White Dallas Foundation:  Salary support for the Baylor AT&T Memory Center to provide a trained care-navigation specialist on site at the Center.  At the point of care, patients and families are provided with disease education, caregiver training and support groups, elder law and financial planning, and a 24/7 helpline.

Bishop Arts Theatre Center:  Support for a program offering senior/elder adults customized theatre workshops and performances to enhance their social, emotional, and physical memory abilities.

Center For BrainHealth at The University Of Texas At Dallas:  Support for the creation of a BrainHealth Help Line to offer guidance to caregivers and those with Alzheimer's who are seeking information and tools to help them move out of a place of distress.

For Love And Art:  Support to increase staff needed to coordinate volunteers, and assist with growth for a program bringing an interactive art experience to people with cognitive impairment and limited mobility living in long-term care facilities.

Jewish Family Service:   Support for the Older Adults Program staff to provide in-home mental health counseling, care management, and daily living support to older adults with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, allowing them to remain living in their own home.

Juliette Fowler Communities:   Support the organization's campus-wide dementia care initiatives including I'm Still Here, Dementia Friendly Dallas, music therapy, and Caregiver support programs.

Plano Symphony Orchestra:   Support for Healing Notes, a free music therapy-influenced concert designed as an interactive musical experience for seniors. The program focuses on low-income individuals living in memory care facilities and dealing with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. 

Stomping Ground Theater And Training Center:   Support for Improv for Caregivers, a fun and interactive program for family and professional caregivers that uses improvisational comedy techniques to teach effective communication skills that are specific to the needs of persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Texas Winds Musical Outreach:   Support for the Concerts for Seniors program providing interactive concerts in 86 nursing homes and adult day care facilities bringing joy, relief from isolation, and peace to individuals affected by memory loss, and providing new communication skills to their caregivers.

The Senior Source:   Support for the Senior Companion Program matching trained volunteers with low-income individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families needing in-home assistance with meals, errands, and light housekeeping, providing caregivers with respite and/or time to work outside the home. 

The University Of Texas At Dallas Center For Vital Longevity:   Support for testing the theory that Alzheimer’s disease is caused in part by a severe decline in the brain's energy system by examining neurometabolites using MRI scanning on one of seven such advanced MRI scanners in the country. Study located in the lab of Dr. K. Kennedy.

The University Of Texas At Dallas Center For Vital Longevity:   Support for acquisition of a mobile Functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy ( fNIRS) system with physiological measures to assess brain-physiology in broad range of adults, and to train scientists in its use and allowing a broader range of access to study participants. . Study located in the lab of Dr. Chandramallika Basak.

Westminster Presbyterian Church:   Support to expand the number of days offered by the Caregivers Day Out program and allow more individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementias to participate and provide greater respite for their caregivers.

Wilshire Baptist Church:   Support for the Friday Friends Program providing stimulating activities for participants living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias and respite for their caregivers. 

Myrna D. Schlegel Aware Scholarship Fund:   Scholarship support for nursing students at Baylor University, Texas Woman’s University, and Texas Christian University toward studies in gerontology, especially in the field of dementia.

AWARE is a component fund of The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)3 publicly supported charity.

AWARE Mission: AWARE is dedicated to fighting Alzheimer's disease by providing funding and support to programs, projects, and research provided by nonprofit organizations that actively help individuals affected by Alzheimer's in Dallas and the greater North Texas area.

AWARE is a component fund of The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)3 publicly supported charity.  In partnership with the Foundation, AWARE conducts an annual grant review process by which grant applicants are carefully and thoughtfully vetted to ensure that grant dollars are awarded to organizations that provide outstanding services to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers, and to those research institutions that are at the forefront of medical research in the treatment, prevention, and cure of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Together with compassion and dedication we can make a difference. Join AWARE now and join the fight.   Instagram: @awaredallas

Facebook: @awaredallas

Photos by Rob Wythe/Wythe Portrait Studio

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