AHA helps drive local media towards National Memory Screening Day

NEW YORK: The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is pushing local media outreach for its National Memory Screening Day, set for November 16.

NEW YORK: The Alzheimer's Foundation of America is pushing local media outreach for its National Memory Screening Day, set for November 16.

The national screening day, in which the AFA partners with Novartis Pharmaceuticals and Forrest Laboratories, gives individuals non-invasive screening tests, consisting of questions and tasks, which indicate whether participants should receive a complete evaluation. The screening requires no machines, which the foundation stresses through its press releases and media alerts.

Planning for the event occurs year-round through the constant updating of its screening website at www.nationalmemoryscreening.org. However, the agency sees traffic skyrocket during November, according to Carol Steinberg, EVP of the foundation

"Our feeling is the more educated people become, they don't have to wait for the event," Steinberg said.

The foundation sends out e-mail blasts to both previous and potential partners asking if they would be interested in participating in the day.

Then the AFA follows up with press releases, PSAs, and posters that only require the participant to fill in some market-specific blanks. It also includes examples of the mental status examination and consent forms.

Much of the media outreach surrounding the day has centered on the local level, where constituents make use of the AFA's press releases template and other materials. The AHA was also recently interviewed by WABC, and CEO Eric Hall rang the opening bell at the NASDAQ on November 3.

"We also have a very impressive medical advisory board that are made available to the media," Steinberg said.

Steinberg says the auxiliary purpose of the screening day is to continue public education about successful aging.

"There is a better understand than 10 years ago, but there's [still] a stigma that prevents the disease [from being treated]," Steinberg said.

The event was recently bolstered by the federal government's decision to expand Medicare brain scans coverage for those with suspected Alzheimer's and related diseases (see PRWeek, November 8).

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