Yaffe appointed to Governor's Task Force on Alzheimer's Preparedness and Prevention

Staff reports

Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that UC San Francisco faculty member Kristine Yaffe, MD, has been appointed as a member of the newly formed Governor’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force. Former first lady Maria Shriver will serve as chair of the task force.

Yaffe is a professor of psychiatry, neurology, and epidemiology at UCSF, and also serves as the Roy and Marie Scola Endowed Chair and the Department of Psychiatry's vice chair for the Weill Institute for Neurosciences. In addition to her positions at UCSF, Yaffe is the chief of neuropsychiatry and director of the Memory Disorders Clinic at the San Francisco VA Medical Center.

Her research focuses on the epidemiology of cognitive aging and dementia. As the principal investigator of multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health, Department of Defense, and several foundations, she is a leading expert in the modifiable risk factors of dementia. Yaffe served as co-chair of the National Academy of Medicine’s Committee on Cognitive Aging, which assessed the public health dimensions of cognitive aging and released a report, “Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action,” in 2015. She is a member of the Beeson Scientific Advisory Board and the Global Council on Brain Health. Yaffe has received several awards in recognition of her work, including the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry’s Distinguished Scientist Award and the American Academy of Neurology’s Potamkin Prize for Alzheimer’s Research.

“Far too many Californians have seen the crushing grip of Alzheimer’s on our loved ones,” said Governor Newsom. “It is one of the leading causes of death among Californians with particularly severe impacts on our mothers, wives and daughters. It’s time we take meaningful action for those living with Alzheimer’s and for the people who love and care for them.”

The task force consists of a diverse group of caregivers, health service providers, researchers, innovators, affected families and media professionals. The group will begin meeting in November 2019 as part of national Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. The task force will be responsible for releasing a report in the fall of 2020, coinciding with the state's overall master plan on aging.

The governor’s budget includes an ongoing $3 million general fund appropriation for the Alzheimer's Disease Program to support research grants, with a focus on the need to understand the greater prevalence of Alzheimer's among women and communities of color. The budget also includes a one-time $5 million general fund allocation, available over three years, for grants to develop Alzheimer’s disease local infrastructure.

“I’m very grateful to Governor Newsom for appointing me to chair the Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force,” said former first lady Maria Shriver. “This task force will lay out a path for our state to deal with Alzheimer’s and other aging-related diseases. Our mission is to develop a plan that will disrupt the way we deal with Alzheimer’s and change how citizens, politicians, cities, corporations, and community organizations work together to tackle this disease."

The number of Californians age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s in 2018 was 670,000 — more than in any other state — and is expected to grow to 840,000 by 2025. There are 1.6 million caregivers for Californians with Alzheimer's and other dementias. African Americans are about two times more likely than white Americans to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Hispanics are about one and one-half times more likely than white Americans to have Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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About UCSF Psychiatry

The UCSF Department of Psychiatry, UCSF Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute are among the nation's foremost resources in the fields of child, adolescent, adult, and geriatric mental health. Together they constitute one of the largest departments in the UCSF School of Medicine and the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, with a mission focused on research (basic, translational, clinical), teaching, patient care, and public service.

UCSF Psychiatry conducts its clinical, educational and research efforts at a variety of locations in Northern California, including UCSF campuses at Parnassus Heights, Mission Bay and Laurel Heights, UCSF Medical Center, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland, Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, the San Francisco VA Health Care System, and UCSF Fresno.

About the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences

The UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, established by the extraordinary generosity of Joan and Sanford I. "Sandy" Weill, brings together world-class researchers with top-ranked physicians to solve some of the most complex challenges in the human brain.

The UCSF Weill Institute leverages UCSF’s unrivaled bench-to-bedside excellence in the neurosciences. It unites three UCSF departments—Neurology, Psychiatry, and Neurological Surgery—that are highly esteemed for both patient care and research, as well as the Neuroscience Graduate Program, a cross-disciplinary alliance of nearly 100 UCSF faculty members from 15 basic-science departments, as well as the UCSF Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, a multidisciplinary research center focused on finding effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative disorders.

About UCSF

UC San Francisco (UCSF) is a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care. It includes top-ranked graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy; a graduate division with nationally renowned programs in basic, biomedical, translational and population sciences; and a preeminent biomedical research enterprise.

It also includes UCSF Health, which comprises three top-ranked hospitals – UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals in San Francisco and Oakland – as well as Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics, UCSF Benioff Children’s Physicians, and the UCSF Faculty Practice. UCSF Health has affiliations with hospitals and health organizations throughout the Bay Area. UCSF faculty also provide all physician care at the public Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, and the San Francisco VA Medical Center.