Cleveland Clinic and Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), announced a ground-breaking partnership today aimed at further addressing and reducing women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease: The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic (WAM at Cleveland Clinic).
As the preeminent organization for women and Alzheimer’s, WAM will now formally join Cleveland Clinic, combining the non-profit’s extensive educational, advocacy and fundraising experience around women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and prevention with the health system’s vast medical expertise and robust research network. WAM has been a leading advocate and funder of gender-based Alzheimer’s research since first reporting in 2010 that the disease has a disproportionate impact on women.
This partnership builds on an existing successful collaboration between WAM and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, which opened the nation’s first Alzheimer’s disease prevention center for women in June 2020. WAM at Cleveland Clinic will continue working on the long-term sustainability and growth of the prevention center, while expanding its mission to include all neurological diseases that affect women. In addition to her role as Founder of WAM, Shriver will now serve Cleveland Clinic as a Strategic Partner for Women’s Health and Alzheimer’s.
“We are proud to collaborate with Maria Shriver and WAM to expand our efforts from a focus on Alzheimer’s prevention to understanding the link between gender and all neurodegenerative conditions,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., Cleveland Clinic CEO and President. “One in two women will be diagnosed with a neurological disorder in her lifetime, and we hope this new alliance will foster an environment of collaboration and innovation to seed future discoveries and advance women’s brain health.”
For more than 20 years, Shriver has been one of the world’s leading Alzheimer’s advocates, raising awareness around women’s brain health and funding for women-based Alzheimer’s research. In 2017, the Alzheimer’s Association awarded Shriver its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for using her voice to bring much needed attention to women, brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention. In her new role at Cleveland Clinic, she will continue building on her extensive career as an award-winning network broadcast news journalist, whose reporting has helped redefine the narrative of this disease as a women’s health issue.
“Today, more than 55 million people around the globe are living with Alzheimer’s, and for more than 10 years, WAM has been at the forefront of informing policy makers and the public that two out of three of them are women, as are two out of three caregivers,” said Shriver. “Having helped establish the fact that women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s, we are now intent on focusing on the question of why women are disproportionately impacted by this — and so many other — neurological diseases.
“We could not have found more powerful, effective partners in this endeavor than Cleveland Clinic with its proven commitment to ground-breaking science and its thousands of highly gifted researchers and medical personnel around the world,” Shriver said. “We are so proud to become part of this first-in-class organization and believe that together, we stand a fighting chance in our efforts to change the future for women’s brains.”
“We are excited to have Maria Shriver join us as we work to further explore and understand the connections between how women’s unique biology and health experiences over the course of a lifetime impact their risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other diseases,” said Beri Ridgeway, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Chief of Staff. “WAM and Maria have been at the forefront of making sex differences in brain health a matter of discussion, paving the way for ground-breaking research, education and innovation.”
“Neurological diseases are a great threat to humanity and the threat is worsening with global aging. It is time that we study in greater depth the underpinnings of neurological disorders and how they affect women and men as we age,” said Andre Machado, M.D., Ph.D, chair of the Neurological Institute and the Charles and Christine Carroll Family Endowed Chair in Functional Neurosurgery. “As an organization, we have embarked on answering these questions through research aimed at identifying the earliest stages of disease. We could not have picked a more opportune time to partner with WAM and build upon our work. We look forward to making strides toward our shared goal of prevention.”
“After both experiencing the life-changing impact of Alzheimer’s disease with our fathers, Maria approached me with an idea to help change the course of this devastating disease for other families: an Alzheimer’s prevention center designed specifically for women. Now, to have our work embraced by the Cleveland Clinic health system and amplified through the WAM at Cleveland Clinic partnership gives me hope that our vision will continue to expand,” said Larry Ruvo, philanthropist, chairman and co-founder of Keep Memory Alive, the fundraising arm of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “This alliance represents a new era for women’s brain health that will impact generations to come.”
Philanthropy is an integral part of WAM at Cleveland Clinic, with gifts supporting gender-based Alzheimer’s and neurological research. To donate, visit: https://cle.clinic/WAM