held October 28, 2009

Racial and ethnic disparities in the recognition and management of dementia and related disorders must be addressed in order to create a better system for diagnosis and treatment for a culturally diverse population. This free-for-all webinar provided specific information in the prevalence of dementia diagnosis among minorities, cultural competency issues as they relate to caregivers access to supports and services and intervention techniques and strategies that address these cultural barriers.


  • Described how the cultural background of both the caregivers and elders with dementia disorders impact recognition and treatment of the disease.
  • Identified barriers that exist among African American, Hispanic and Asian family members that impact the decision to seek treatment for symptoms of dementia.
  • Described the function of cognitive testing using neuropsychological assessments and the role that ethnicity plays in valid outcome measures.


The material was presented by the following panelists and moderated by Tracey Gendron:

Tracey Gendron and Shannon Marling will describe the prevalence and scope of health disparities in dementia diagnosis affecting the African American, Latino and Asian populations.

Tracey Gendroncompleted the Masters in Gerontology program in 1995 with a concentration in Public Administration from VCU. She also has a Bachelor’s in Psychology from University of Central Florida. She is currently a doctoral student in the Developmental Psychology program at VCU. She teaches the Biology and Physiology of Aging and Research Methods courses in the Gerontology Department. Her research interests include health disparities in the aging population and higher education through service learning and community engagement.

Her background includes work in geriatric research as a research project coordinator with experience in instrument design, data collection, interviewing, data analysis and report writing. In addition, she worked as a Senior Center Director serving over 1,300 senior citizens in the New York area.

If you have any questions about a career in gerontology or research please contact her at

Shannon Marling –Shannon Marling has been a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for the past 15 years. She has worked with various populations from individuals with Autism to adults with physical disabilities and is currently the Recreation Manager for Covenant Woods Retirement Community.

She is currently a Graduate Student with Virginia Commonwealth University, pursing a Master’s in Gerontology.


Dr. Michael Pyles will describe how the cultural backgrounds of both the caregivers and elders with dementia disorders impact recognition and treatment of the disease.

Dr. Pyles‘interests include the organization of the health care delivery system, health care financing, aging, minority health, and the evaluation of health care programs and services for the aged and under served populations. He holds a PhD in Health Care Organization and Services from the Virginia Commonwealth University (1990) and an MA in Medical Medical Sociology from the University of Florida (1979). Dr. Pyles is a health services researcher and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Doctoral Program in Health Related Sciences in the School of Allied Health at Virginia Commonwealth University . He served as the Assistant Director for Health Services Research and Evaluation at the Virginia Center on Aging ( Virginia Commonwealth University ) from 1987-1994. Dr. Pyles holds memberships in national and regional professional societies in the areas of pharmacy, aging, and health services research. He also serves on a statewide advisory committee to the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Health and the Board of Directors for a local Community Senior Center & Adult Day Care Program.


Dr. Maxcine Maxfield will identify outreach strategies and intervention techniques that incorporate cultural competencies and address cultural barriers that are intended to improve access to services, and efficacy of diagnosis and treatment.

Maxcine Maxfield, PhD – Dr. Maxcine C. Maxfield is the Chief Nurse Executive at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital in Burkeville, VA. She is also an Associate Clinical Professor at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing, Medical College of Virginia, a training specialist and Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Board Certified at the Piedmont Geriatric Hospital.

She taught graduate nursing courses at the University of Phoenix online. She is nationally recognized as a powerful and engaging keynote speaker, workshop leader and author in the field of Alzheimer’s, Disease, compassionate care giving and a variety of issues in gerontology, aging and prevention of elder abuse. She is often referred to as the “Motivational Speaker for Care Givers.” She was an appointed member of the Virginia Governor’s Coalition of Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias and a member of the legislative committee of the Virginia Alliance for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, is a member of the Alzheimer’s Speaker’s Bureau and board member of the Tri Cities Alzheimer’s Advisory Council.

She holds a Ph.D. in Gerontology and Adult Education from the Union Institute. Her master’s degree is in Psychiatric / Mental Health Nursing, and her B.S. Degree is in Nursing. She is certified by the American Nurses Association as an Advanced Practice Nurse, Board Certified in adult psychiatric and mental health nursing.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Coogle C. “Caregiver Education and Service Utilization in African-American Families Dealing with Dementia.” African-American Research Perspectives. Spring/Summer 2004;1 40-151. Coogle C. “The Families Who Care Project: Meeting The Educational Needs Of African American And Rural Family Care Givers Dealing With Dementia.” Educational Gerontology. Vol 28; 1 59-71.



Culturally Competent Dementia Care

Download the slides here.

Mike Pyles

Download the slides here.


Download the slides here.