by Melissa Ardery, Published April 22, 2013
YPSILANTI - Shelly Weaverdyck, the director of the Alzheimer's Education and Research program at Eastern Michigan University, and Elizabeth Schuster, Professor in the School of Social Work, have been awarded $63,103 from the Michigan Department of Community Health. The grant will help fund the continuation of the Alzheimer's Education and Research Program.
"I am very grateful for this award." says Weaverdyck. "The grant will help the program develop three seminars and a conference that will benefit professionals in Michigan."
The seminars on brain dysfunction will delineate the functions of specific parts of the brain and the resulting cognitive, behavioral, and functional changes when these parts are impaired. The goal is to improve healthcare professionals' understanding of those changes and ability to assist persons with dementia and other brain disorders.
"The seminars have a significant impact on our state's healthcare professionals who are working with older adults," says Weaverdyck. "They provide concrete intervention strategies, increase understanding of brain function, and they increase skills, knowledge, and compassion."
The grant will also help to host the 15th annual Michigan Dementia Education Network (MDEN) conference in June 2013 in Gaylord.
"The conference will focus on anti-psychotic medication use in dementia, which is a very hot and timely issue," says Weaverdyck. "It will highlight the pros and cons of anti-psychotic medication in dementia, and will offer strategies for creating non-pharmacological interventions."
One major speaker at this year's conference for selected health professionals is Lyn Conlon, M.D. Conlon is a psychiatrist and medical director at Well-Spring Psychiatry, P.C., in Traverse City. She will discuss the uses of anti-psychotics, as well as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications, and what the latest research is suggesting.
Weaverdyck has specialized in geriatric cognition and dementia since 1973. She founded and became the director of Alzheimer research at Eastern in 1991.