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Conference Session 2: Global, National, & Local Perspectives on Brain Health: Implications for Diverse Populations
Friday, October 14, 2022, 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM PST
Category: Conferences

Global, National, & Local Perspectives on Brain Health: Implications for Diverse Populations

Session Facilitators & Discussants: Josh Kornbluth (Senior Atlantic Fellow, Global Brain Health Institute) and Walter Dawson, DPhil (Senior Atlantic Fellow, Global Brain Health Institute; and OHSU Layton Aging & Alzheimer's Disease Center)  

Current Research on Lifestyle Strategies to Keep Brains Healthy


  • Sarah Lenz Lock, JD (Executive Director, Global Council on Brain Health, AARP) 


World over, a growing aging population is a great victory, meaning increased longevity and ongoing contributions of older adults to society. Yet adults are understandably concerned about cognitive function as they grow older, because increasing age is the single greatest risk factor for the diseases that cause dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease. But here is the great news: cognitive decline is not inevitable. Although some groups tend to be more vulnerable to cognitive issues due to social determinants of health and the environment in which they live their lives, we can take steps to address these challenges. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand how the principles behind cognitive resilience can serve to promote cognitive health for individuals as they age.
  • Gain insight into how health disparities and structural barriers result in significant inequities in older adults’ brain health.
  • Learn how communities and policy makers can support social justice and individuals' ability to change modifiable risk factors to help build brain health equity.

Approaching the Latinx Community: Encouraging Seniors to Maximize Brain Health and Why That’s Important


  • Itzel Castellanos (Client Manager, Providence Health & Services) 


Dementia continues to be under diagnosed despite being highly prevalent in minority groups such as the Latinx community. Yet, despite increasing numbers of Latinx community members developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, there is still a general lack of understanding and stigma associated with this disease. This session will explore various barriers to engaging this high-risk population, provide some strategies to focus on brain health, and introduce participants to resources that can help.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will understand some of the barriers to engaging the Latinx community regarding brain health.
  • Participants will learn some strategies to engage the Latinx community in protecting brain health.
  • This presentation will introduce participants to some resources to suggest to the Latinx population, such as the “Help is Here” a guide for family caregivers.

The Behavioral Health Initiative for Older Adults and People with Physical Disabilities


  • Nirmala Dhar, LCSW, ACSW (Older Adult Behavioral Health Project Director, Oregon Health Authority)  


This presentation will provide an overview of the Oregon Health Authority's Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative, and how this initiative supports brain health for older Oregonians. Equity measures aimed at reducing social inequalities that threaten brain health will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Learn about diverse and underserved populations in Oregon
  • Learn about how Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority’s Equity Plan is aspiring to mitigate health and socioeconomic inequities that contribute to brain health
  • Learn about OHA’s Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative and special projects that are helping identify and mitigate risk factors for brain health

Continuing Education Credits

This conference session has been approved for 2 CE credits (NASW Oregon Chapter) and 2 AFH training credits. There is a $10 fee per session for NASW credits. Regular Certificates of Attendance can also be issued. To receive a certificate, attendees must attend the session(s) for their entire length and complete a post-session evaluation survey.

This is the second of four sessions of OGA's 2022 virtual conference. You can register for individual sessions or, at a discount, for the entire conference series. For an overview of all sessions, please visit the conference page.

Register here!

Sarah Lenz Lock, JD  is Senior Vice President for Policy and Brain Health in AARP’s Policy, Research and International Affairs (PRI). Ms. Lock leads AARP’s policy initiatives on brain health and care for people living with dementia, including serving as the Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health, an independent collaborative of scientists, doctors, and policy experts convened by AARP to provide trusted information on brain health. Previously, Ms. Lock was Senior Attorney/Manager at AARP Foundation Litigation, conducting health care impact litigation on behalf of older persons. Ms. Lock has been a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, a Legislative Assistant in the U.S. House of Representatives to Congressman Michael D. Barnes working with the Federal Government Service Task Force, and also worked at the law firm of Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn.

Itzel Castellanos is the Program Manager for Providence-OR Senior Health and manages multiple geriatric focused programs including the Help is Here Project (a series of books for those who care for people with dementia, including a book for family caregivers that now is available in a plain language, culturally adapted Spanish translation). Itzel also manages the Geriatric Mini-Fellowship Program (a 4-week curriculum for primary care providers to improve care of older adults), the Geriatric Pharmacy Residency Program (a year two program that focuses on geriatric-specific syndromes such as polypharmacy, fall risk, dementia and delirium). Lastly, Itzel also participates on two committees of the Oregon State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia, also known as SPADO, focusing on family caregiver outreach and education.

Nirmala Dhar, LCSW, ACSW is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work. She is mission driven with 36 years of experience in behavioral health in the public sector and has worked in every aspect of service delivery across the continuum of care (e.g., in-patient at state hospital, crisis services, ED crisis, outpatient, partial hospitalization, mental health consultant in a hospital setting, EAP). Since 2015, she has been the Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative (OABHI) Project Director for Oregon Health Authority‘s Health Systems Division, where she has oversight of the OABHI, PASRR Level II program, and Enhanced Care Services. She is also the OHA Champion for the Geriatric BH ECHO Clinic for Nursing Facilities. Prior to this position, she worked for Clackamas County Behavioral Health for 18 years, including 10 years as the only geriatric mental health specialist. She is a trainer and presenter on behavioral health and aging topics and is a CIT trainer. She is passionate about disability justice and brings an equity lens to her work. Her areas of professional interest include improving behavioral health access in long term care settings, positive aging and age pride, social justice, quality improvement, health metrics, workforce development and the intersection of mental health and the law.

Supporting Sponsors for this session: 


Session Sponsors for this session: 

The entire conference series is sponsored by: