By Sasha Smith
The Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers African American Symposium returns to the Rochester Community, for its 11th year.
“Caring for Our Community: Dementia’s Impact and Hope for the Future,” is this year’s theme, geared towards health equity, education and hope for Black/African Americans who have been affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
“African Americans are 50% more likely to have Alzheimer’s than whites,” said Lois Williams-Norman, Board Member and Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee of the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region Alzheimer’s Association.
This year, the “….African American Symposium” is free to the community and will be held at Aenon Baptist Church on Wednesday, April 27, from 10am to 3pm, bagged lunches will be provided. The symposium aims to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias among the Black community and inform the community about the resources available.
The event was named in honor of Dr. Lemuel Rogers in 2015, one of Rochester’s first African American doctors to own a medical building and his own medical practice.
According to Lifespan, Dr. Rogers received his medical degree from Howard University Medical School in 1963, five years after getting married to his wife, who the symposium is also named for, Gloria. During that time, the Rogers’ had three children. Dr. Rogers attributed his success in medical school to his wife.
In 1968, Dr. Rogers partnered with Dr. James Roberson to open their own medical building and joint practice, after the Rogers family relocated from Philadelphia to Rochester. Dr. Rogers and Dr. Roberson were two of the first African American doctors in Rochester to start their own practice, according to Lifespan.
Gloria Rogers, like her husband, was also an advocate of the Rochester Community; she was an educator and counselor in the Rochester City School District for 30 years.
Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers were members of Mt. Olivet Baptist Church and the church’s Alzheimer’s Ministry, after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia, in respective order.
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Alzheimer’s Association as it presents its11th Annual Dr. Lemuel and Gloria Rogers African American Health Symposium,” Rev. Dr. Jonathan J.H. McReynolds, Senior. Pastor at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church said. “Thank you for all the great work your organization does to inform and assist families in need of support to deal with the rigors of this dreadful disease that impacts so many within the community that surrounds our church here at Aenon.”
The keynote address will be done by Janice Harbin DDS, President and CEO of Anthony Jordan Health Corp, whose multifaceted organizational work: city to suburban and interfaith, has provided her with a unique perspective and sensitivity. Harbin’s focus will be on dementia and hope for the future.
More than 400,000 individuals live with Alzheimer’s or another dementia in New York state and more than 1 million New Yorkers provide unpaid care to someone with the disease. While older Blacks/African Americans are two times more likely than older whites to have Alzheimer’s, they are less likely than whites to receive a diagnosis of the condition.
“While there are unknowns about Alzheimer’s and other dementias, don’t let that keep you from learning more about what’s known. The more knowledgeable, the better equipped to provide care and to effectively utilize the available resources,” said Williams-Norman.
The event will feature a special presentation from the Alzheimer’s Association’s Dr. Percy Griffin, Director of Scientific Engagement, who will update the community on relevant research.
The symposium will include words of encouragement from the family of Lemuel and Gloria Rogers; Corinda Crossdale, Deputy County Executive For Health and Human Services and Ralph and Molly Richards, founders of the Mt. Olivet Baptist Church Alzheimer’s Ministry. There will be a question and answer session including Dr. Harbin, Deanna Dewberry, WHEC 10 News Anchor and Investigative Reporter; Christopher Richardson, D.O., President of the Black Physicians Network and more.
The Alzheimer’s Association is a worldwide voluntary health organization dedicated to Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Their mission is to lead the way to end Alzheimer’s and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection and maximizing quality care and support, according to the company’s website.
The association’s vision is a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia®.
To learn more about the symposium or for additional Alzheimer’s and all other dementias information, visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900.