The Power to Change the Future

This year, there will be over 2.2 million Black people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.


Join for them. Join for DFW.


cases of Alzheimer's in 2019

Texas is 2nd in the nation for
the number of caregivers,

1.4 Million

Texas unpaid hours total almost

$2.05 Billion

Black aging population in the
DFW area is sizable compared to the
national average.

The aging Black population, 45-74, across Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties, index higher than the nation.

African Americans have the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, but we don’t know why. We are on a mission to find answers.

The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) announced a $7 million investment to research the biological differences that put African Americans at greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease and to develop new treatments that prevent the deadly disease.

Among people 65 and older, African Americans have the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease, followed by Hispanics and non-Latino whites, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. But most Alzheimer’s research focuses on non-Latino whites.

African Americans will now join HSC’s historic Health and Aging Brain Study to explore the biological differences that cause Alzheimer’s to disproportionately afflect Black communities. This effort is funded by a generous grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Although Alzheimer's Disease represents 60-80% of dementia diagnoses, there are several other forms of dementia, including Vascular, Lewy Body, and forms that occur in association with conditions such as Parkinson's and Huntington's Disease. Your participation in this ground-breaking research may help us find answers.

Dr. Leigh Johnson, Associate Director of the Institute for Translational Research, and Pat Bailey, Caregiving Consultant discuss Alzheimer's and offer solutions for families dealing with the disease.

Backyard Stories

My granddaddy was a domino playing king. I realized the impact of Alzheimer’s when he mismatched the dominos. I am hopeful that the Black Alzheimer’s Brain Study provides a solution. It’s a mean disease. A solution wasn’t available for granddaddy. Hopefully, there will be a solution available for me and my future generations soon.

~ Christie G.

Mom forgot my name but remembered my sister’s. It cut me to the core. My sister and I were having lunch with her and Mom kept saying her name over and over but couldn’t say Pat. I cried but in my spirit; I heard, ‘she needs to remember her name’. My Mom then turned to me and called me by a name that celebrated my caregiver role, Mama. We need a solution. I pray everyone joins this research study.

~Pat B.

Alzheimer’s has been a generational disease in my family. I remember when my grandmother forgot my granddaughter’s name. She also didn’t believe she was at home safe in her house. So unfair. Grandmother was the person in our family that took care of three generations of children. I can’t wait to share this study opportunity with the whole family.

~Diane D.

The POWER of Us.
Let’s help change our future.

Did you make a commitment to Mama? This is an opportunity that may help shift the outcome for your children.

How You Can Help

Instructions for participating in the research study
Help us find answers. Join our Black Alzheimer's Brain Study today.


NO drugs.

State-of-the-art imaging and robotics.

Caring team of experts.

Earn compensation for your time.

As a participant, you will undergo free comprehensive interviews, functional exams, blood draw, a brain MRI and a PET scan. The Black Alzheimer’s Brain Study, in connection with the Health and Aging Brain Study, is the first of its kind. Throughout the entire process, HSC’s team of experts will provide hands-on support and care.


Meet our Doctors
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible brain disease that slowly destroys memory skills, thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out daily activities. Our team of research experts have dedicated their careers to finding solutions.

The UNTHSC ITR is dedicated to understanding and eliminating health disparities in Alzheimer’s disease among African Americans and Mexican Americans. The Health & Aging Brain Study – Health Disparities (HABS-HD) is the most comprehensive study of Alzheimer’s among diverse communities ever conducted. Our team studies the biology of disease within the context of social, environmental and behavioral factors because a “who you are”, “where you are from” and “your environment” are important to how you age.

Dr. Leigh Johnson, PhD
Dr. Leigh Johnson is the Associate Director of the Institute for Translational Research and an associate professor in the Departments of Pharmacology and Neuroscience and Family Medicine. Dr. Johnson is MPI of the HABS-HD ATN study which is funded by the National Institute on Aging to examine the prevalence, progression and clinical impact of cerebral and blood-based biomarkers of amyloid (A), tau (T) and neurodegeneration (N) among ethnically diverse populations. She is also the Director of the ITR Clinical Trials Core and UNTHSC site PI for the AHEAD 3-45 study. She has extensive experience with recruitment of diverse populations into research and is the Site PI of the TRC-Pad study, which is designed to establish a trial ready cohort of individuals interested in participating in AD clinical trials. Dr. Johnson’s work also examines the link between depression and cognition. She has developed and cross-validated a depressive endophenotype (DepE) of cognitive aging across multiple national and international cohorts. This work has been translated into a proof-of-concept clinical trial (The DEMO trial), which utilizes a precision medicine approach to identify those individuals more likely to benefit from antidepressant treatment for prevention of memory loss and potentially AD.

Dr. Sid O'Bryant, PhD
Dr. Sid O’Bryant is the Executive Director of the Institute for Translational Research which is dedicated to precision medicine in Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases, including Down syndrome, Lewy Body disease, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and others. The fully translational lab has a Biomarker Core (Dr. Hall, Director), Clinical Core (Dr. Johnson, Director), Administrative Core (Dr. O’Bryant, Director) and Data Core (Dr. Johnson, Director). The lab also has a Neuroimaging Core (USC, Dr. Toga, Director). Dr. O’Bryant's multiple NIH grants focus on novel strategies for disease detection, screening into trials (therapeutic and prevention), and patient stratification for optimal treatment response. As part of this work, the lab has a strong focus on the impact of ethnicity/diversity on cognitive loss during the aging process and runs the one-of-a-kind Health & Aging Brain Study: Health Disparities (HABS-HD), which is the most comprehensive study of Alzheimer’s among diverse communities ever conducted.

With your help, we can make a powerful impact to provide care, support and research for our communities. Join the fight against Alzheimer’s by signing up for our Black Alzheimer’s Brain Study today.

About HSC

  • The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth is one of the nation’s premier graduate academic medical centers, with six schools that specialize in patient-centered education, research and health care.
  • Our mission is to create solutions for a healthier community
  • We keep patients and our community at the center of our efforts in education, research and care.
  • We push the boundaries of discovery.
  • We help make sick people well and keep vigorous people healthy.
  • The Health and Aging Brain Study aligns with HSC’s commitment to confront racism as a public health emergency and to reduce racial/ethnic health disparities.
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