This year the Junior Committee decided to support a new program — Physician
Outreach. I was the lucky one chosen to be the pioneer manager of the project and I
feel that I have to share my excitement about our work to date.
The impetus for this new program was established by a careful review of referral sources. The
Chapter identified that most area physicians, busy with daily duties of attending to numerous
patients and their specific needs, simply were not sufficiently acquainted with the help that
the Alzheimer’s Association offers persons with dementia (PWD). While the medical aspects
of treating PWD remain solely the charge of the physicians, our mission is to educate these
providers on the various facets of the free, non-medical support that our hardworking staff makes
possible every day.
To this end, we have developed the Prescription for Care pad, a pad of useful educational
slips that enumerate information about our core services such as 24-hour Helpline, Medic Alert
+ Alzheimer’s Association SafeReturn®, support groups, and education programs. In addition,
we have printed materials in three languages that further elaborate our Chapter’s services and,
essentially, makes facilitating this connection easier for physicians, medical office staff, PWD, and
their families alike. It’s a win–win situation, as long as people know about it.
As Physician Outreach Manager, my role is to make sure that “people know about it”: With
a bag full of informational material and a well-thumbed Metro pass, I pound the pavement
of New York to connect with the physicians I have identified while methodically developing
my database. Neurologists, geriatricians, geriatric neurologists, psychiatrists and primary care
physicians: I seek them here, I seek them there, I seek those doctors everywhere! And so far I
have done a pretty good job of reaching many. In a way, I’m “selling” the free services of a nonprofit,
and I love it. Most physicians have received me with a blend
of surprise and delight, thus showing that our initial concerns over
the awareness of our work had been well founded.
Just over five months into the program, we’ve distributed nearly
300 prescription pads, many accompanied by literature, and have
spoken to physicians in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens. We also
attended the American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting
in Toronto. Day by day, we are educating physicians and office
staff about the ways in which we are available to assist patients
and respective caregivers to navigate the non-medical challenges
inherent with dementia. The responses have been highly rewarding
— more evidence that doing a little every day adds up to a lot.
Call to Action!
If you would like to be contacted or would like to refer a medical
professional please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or
visit our homepage, visit the physician outreach website, and
fill out a Physician Submission. A pdf of our Prescription for Care
pad (illustrated to the right) is also available to download.
— Nikki Mariano
Physician Outreach Manager