“Alzheimer’s is a disease that doesn’t discriminate at all …. there are different families and different people from all over who either suffer or know someone who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease,” Coliér McNair, pastor of Multicultural Ministry & Worship Arts at Blackhawk Church, tells Madison365. “This is one of the ways that we wanted to bring attention to the African American lens on how Alzheimer’s affects our community.”
The Blackhawk African American Ministry at Blackhawk Church, “a multicultural, multigenerational community of people desiring to be transformed by God,” will be hosting “Let’s Talk About Alzheimer’s Disease” on Thursday, Nov. 16, 6-8 p.m. Dr. Shenikqua Bogues, assistant professor in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology within the Department of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin and the Madison VA hospital, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Bouges provides care to patients presenting with memory loss concerns in their memory diagnostic clinics.
The title of Dr. Bouges keynote will be “Why is Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias important to communities of color?”
Although it is hosted by the Blackhawk African American Ministry and focuses on communities of color, McNair stresses that it is still an event for everybody.
“Obviously, we are focusing on the African-American community for this one, but everybody is welcome to join these discussions,” McNair says. “Dr. Bouges is an expert in this area and it’s one of those things that we’re trying to do for our church and our community.”
As a clinician scientist, Dr. Bogues’ research interests include investigating the impact of metabolic syndrome risk factors on cognition and refining community-engaging efforts to improve relationships between researchers and communities under-recognized in studies, according to her bio. Her ultimate goal is to adapt community-engaging efforts that improve partnerships in health research to increase the recruitment and retention of populations under-included in dementia studies.
“Having access to information and being able to have conversations is so important,” McNair says. “We’re trying to create awareness through education, connection and community at some of these types of events that are so informative.”
The event is hosted by the Blackhawk African American Ministry (BAAM), one of the cultural-specific ministries at Blackhawk Church. As part of the multicultural vision, the church has culture-specific communities within the church family. BAAM is designed by and for people of Black/African-American descent.
“We have several different ministries including a Chinese ministry, a Spanish-speaking ministry. There’s an Asian ministry and a generational ministry — there’s a difference between first and second generations … they are quite different so there’s a specific ministry there,” McNair says. “We have a ministry for native Africans; we have about 12-plus countries represented at the church.
“We have a number of these ministries and the idea behind Blackhawk African American Ministry — or any of these ministries — is creating spaces within the larger majority church culture, where you can come together, and get to know one another.,” McNair adds. “The goal is to build a thriving, flourishing community. We’re embracing the differences within our congregation.”
Food and drink will be provided at Thursday night’s “Let’s Talk About Alzheimer’s Disease” event in the Fireside Room of Blackhawk Church, located at 9620 Brader Way in Middleton.
“This is one of the smaller events that we’re doing now, but we have big plans to hold some big events for BAAM to maintain our presence and to keep some positive things going on,” McNair says. “We’re definitely looking to do bigger things in the future.”