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CDC HBI Project

Collaborative with UIC
CDC Healthy Brain Initiative

In 2020, the CDC funded a number of projects, now comprising the Healthy Brain Initiative, including a Component B grant to the University of Illinois Chicago to provide work products related to intellectual disability.  The National Healthy Brain Initiative’s Component B recipients support populations with a high burden of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD), to develop and implement public health strategies, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act was passed into law on December 31, 2018 (P.L. 115-406) [PDF – 312 KB] and amended the Public Health Service Act (Section 398A; 42 U.S.C. 280c-3-4). The activities outlined in the BOLD Act are designed to create a uniform national public health infrastructure with a focus on issues such as increasing early detection and diagnosis, risk reduction, prevention of avoidable hospitalizations, and supporting dementia caregiving.

The aim of Healthy Brain Initiative for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Illinois Chicago mission is to:

  1. Raise awareness of brain health among people with intellectual disability and positive approaches that support people with intellectual disability experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias

  2. Build inter-professional partnerships for an inclusive competent workforce

  3. Improve engagement of people with intellectual disability and caregivers to access quality healthcare related to brain health and improve health outcomes


The UIC HBI project involves a collaboration with the NTG. The NTG provides specialty technical assistance and product development, as well as participation in the CDC's BOLD Collaborative activities and meetings. Among the products is an educational module on nutrition and wellness, an bibliography of Long-COVID and ID articles, presentations/ posters on behalf of the project, an advisory on over-prescribing of medications, and assistance in producing intellectual disability public health educational materials.


NTG project coordination is provided by Kathryn Service, RN, MS, FNP-BC, CDDN.

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In development...

My Thinker is Working: Partnerships for Health Matters for People with Intellectual Disability

A new NTG-HealthMatters HBI GPS series including and positioning people with intellectual disability and their supports in healthy brain initiatives around the globe

Risk Reduction and Healthy Brain

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Risk Reduction Information

Two-thirds of Americans have at least one major potential risk factor for dementia. Dementia is not a normal or inevitable part of typical brain aging. As we get older, it is common to experience some cognitive decline with typical brain aging, such as subtle changes in memory, thinking, and  reasoning.  However, there are factors that may comprise brain functioning and post a risk for dementia. Research evidence shows that addressing certain modifiable risk factors and promoting healthy behaviors can reduce the risk of cognitive decline, possibly reduce the risk of dementia, and protect cognitive health. Attending to lifestyle and behaviors can reduce or increase chances of developing a disease. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing related chronic conditions is good for overall physical health, facilitates and improves brain health, and may help decrease the risk of dementia or slow its progression.

The graphic on the right illustrates some of the commonly recognized risk factors in general.  Many of these apply equally to adults with intellectual disabilities.  All would call for periodic health and lifestyle activity screenings and the application of remediations if significant risks are present. 

Risk reduction is everyone's responsibility, including mates/ spouses, friends, advocates, as well as families and agencies.

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