Board Gets Annual Report on Alzheimer’s in San Diego

The County Board of Supervisors today got a report on the impact that Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias are having on San Diegans and the progress that has been made to stop or slow the disease.

The update was provided during the release of the Alzheimer’s Project 2019 Annual Report, which is presented to the Board every spring.  The Alzheimer’s Project has been leading innovative work at the local level to address the toll this disease takes on people, their loved ones and the community.

“We’ve come a long way since we launched the Alzheimer’s Project five years ago,” said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, who spearheaded the initiative. “For all the progress we’ve started to make, we need to make a lot more. We are facing an epidemic, a public health crisis, and it’s taking a devastating toll on families across our entire county.”

Some of the highlights in this year’s report include:

  • To date, the Collaboration4Cure has identified and funded a total of 12 drug discovery projects led by local researchers. Of the 12 projects, five are currently in progress. Collaboration4Cure unites local government, research institutions and philanthropists around a single goal: finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In 2018, over 1,100 local physicians learned more about Alzheimer’s through in-person presentations and workshops at local conferences, including the annual San Diego Academy of Family Physicians conference. Primary care physicians see the vast majority of patients with Alzheimer’s.
  • A specialty website was created that acts as a repository of information for physicians who can also access on-demand webinars on various topics related to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In 2018, this website was viewed over 3,800 times and two new on-demand webinars were added. Nearly 200 physicians completed webinars last year.
  • More than 500 providers received copies of the second edition of the Physician Guidelines in 2018, and over 230 new providers have downloaded and used the app for assessments.
  • The Alzheimer’s Response Team (ART) was launched in East County. ART is a public/private partnership between the County of San Diego, Grossmont Healthcare District, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, and Alzheimer’s San Diego. The aim of the pilot is to prevent older adults who are living with dementia from ending up in the emergency room or criminal justice system when diversion might be the best course of action.

Since its launch in June 2018, over 70 calls have been received and triaged to ART. In addition, 350 first responders were trained on when to call on ART for assistance in emergency situations.

Alzheimer’s in San Diego County

Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias remain the third-leading cause of death among Californians and residents of San Diego County.

Approximately two out of every 20 adults age 55 and older is estimated to be living with dementia. One of them is discharged from an emergency department or hospital each year.

In 2015, over 84,000 adults age 55 and older were estimated to be living with some form of the disease. The number is expected to increase to 115,000 by 2030 and 214,000 in 2060, unless a cure or disease-modifying treatment is identified.


José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact