Alzheimer’s Event on March 3 Examines Health Disparities and Alzheimer’s Disease

COVID-19 has laid bare some undesirable truths: underserved communities are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. In the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia, statistics point to a similarly troubling trend.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, for instance, African Americans are about twice as likely as whites to have Alzheimer’s or another dementia and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely to have Alzheimer’s. Additionally, African Americans are more prone to risk factors for vascular disease — like diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol — which may also be risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and stroke-related dementia.

Which is why the Alzheimer’s Association is striving for health equity in the delivery of service and research.

On March 3, the Association is hosting the Dr. James S. Jackson Seminar on Health Equity and Alzheimer’s Disease virtually from 5-6:30 p.m. to discuss the latest research involving underserved communities.

The event — named to honor Dr. James Jackson’s rigorous research at the University of Michigan — brings together some of the nation’s top experts in the field of health equity and Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Carl V. Hill, chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, and Peter Lichtenberg, Ph.D., director of the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology and president of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), will host the event.

Speakers and topics for the event include:
• Targeting Chronic Stress and Blood Pressure Self-Care to Prevent Cognitive Decline in African Americans Across the Lifespan – Kathy D. Wright, Ph.D., APRN-CNS, The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Chronic Brain Injury Program, Alzheimer’s Research Center of Excellence
• Health Inequality Contributes to Cognitive Impairment and Dementia: The Case of West Virginia – Bernard G. Schreurs, Ph.D., West Virginia University School of Medicine, WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute
• Alzheimer’s Disease and COVID-19: The Vicious Cycle of Inequality – Irving E. Vega, Ph.D., Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Michigan Center for Contextual Factors in Alzheimer’s Disease
• Culturally Responsive Caregiver Support: Developing Interventions for Everyone – Sheria G. Robinson-Lane, Ph.D., MSN, MHA, RN, University of Michigan School of Nursing, Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center

With new research just out from Case Western Reserve University showing African Americans with dementia have close to three times the risk of being infected with COVID-19 as white individuals with dementia, the event is particularly timely.

“These are difficult times with caregiving, caregiving while reducing risk for COVID-19,” said Dr. Hill, who grew up in College Park, Ga., and witnessed challenges for accessing quality health care. “There is a high level of anxiety and stress, but I believe this is a real opportunity for us to pursue equity in terms of engaging those communities with information, care and support.”

Jennifer Lepard, Alzheimer’s Association Michigan Chapter president and CEO, said at the national level the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to not only funding diverse initiatives – like the new IDEAS study, whose goal is to enroll 4,000 African American and Latino participants to determine if amyloid PET scans improve diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease – but also committed to working with national partners to ensure that early detection and diagnosis initiatives reach all communities.

Locally, the Michigan Chapter works with community members and partners representing a wide range of underserved populations and communities to understand needs and provide support and services.

“Our goal as an Association is to work toward a world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia. We can’t do that without research, and we can’t do that without listening to and understanding the needs of diverse communities locally,” Lepard said. “While we already work with some amazing partners and entities, we’re always looking to connect with others who can help us work on solutions that might help us ensure greater equity in our communities.”

To register for the Dr. James S. Jackson Seminar on Health Equity and Alzheimer’s Disease, visit: For more information and support, visit or call the Association’s 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

Brooks Kushman Named One of Michigan’s Best and Brightest in Wellness

Intellectual property and technology law firm Brooks Kushman has been named one of Michigan’s Best and Brightest in Wellness for the first time.

Best and Brightest in Wellness identifies and honors organizations that excel in making their workplace, their employees and their community a healthier place to live and work through health and wellness initiatives. The winning organizations are evaluated by an assessment tool created and administered by SynBella, the leading wellness provider in the nation.

“We are proud to be recognized among the 101 Best and Brightest in Wellness,” said Mark Cantor, President of Brooks Kushman. “We believe the health and well-being of our employees and community is vital. We look forward to continuing to develop our company culture to create a healthy and positive workplace environment conducive to best serving our clients and the greater community.”

As an award recipient, Brooks Kushman will be honored at Michigan’s Best and Brightest in Wellness symposium and awards gala on October 20, 2016 at The Henry Autograph Collection Hotel in Dearborn.

The Best and Brightest in Wellness provides education, benchmarking, assessment tools and interaction among top employers throughout Michigan all year long. This encourages companies to continue to strive to improve the health of their employees and the greater community making Michigan an even better place to live and work.

About Brooks Kushman P.C.

Brooks Kushman P.C. is a leading intellectual property (IP) and technology law firm with offices across the nation, and represents clients nationally and internationally with respect to protection, enforcement and monetization of IP, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. The firm has more than 90 intellectual property professionals specializing in various technical disciplines, and has a reputation for providing leading IP counseling with a focus on the business objectives of their clients.

Brooks Kushman counts a number of Fortune 100 companies across a variety of industries among its clients. The firm is also recognized by leading legal publications and rankings, including Corporate Counsel magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Law360, Intellectual Asset Management, Managing Intellectual Property, World Trademark Review, and Intellectual Property Today. For more information, please visit

American Society of Employers (ASE) releases 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey findings

The American Society of Employers (ASE), one of the nation’s oldest and largest employer associations, has released its 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey. The second annual survey, covering Michigan employers, examines the premiums, deductibles and co-pays of employer-sponsored health plans as well as wellness benefit offerings.

Highlights of the ASE 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey:

• At 91%, the most widely used plan type among respondents was a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO), which offers employees greater provider options. Only 33% of surveyed companies offered a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plan.
• In 2016, the median in-network PPO plan deductible (in high deductible plans) for employee-only coverage in non-unionized companies was $1,875, up from $1,750 in 2015. Median deductibles for employee plus family coverage increased by $250 to $3,750. Changes in health deductibles among traditional plans (i.e. those without high deductibles) were mixed. In-network deductibles among traditional PPO plans decreased slightly for employee only and employee plus family coverage. Decreases for those plan types were between $100 and $200 for employee-only and employee plus family coverage respectively. However, among HMO plans, the median deductibles increased $250 for employee-only coverage and $500 for employee plus family coverage.
• Among non-union firms, the average employer premium percentage for employee only and employee plus family coverage for consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs), plans that typically combine high-deductible health insurance with tax-advantaged accounts, was 80%, down slightly from 82% in 2015. For traditional PPO plans, the median employer premium for both union and non-union organizations was consistent with 2015 at 82%. For traditional PPO plans, the median employer premium for both union and non-union organizations was maintained at 80%.

In response to a survey question regarding healthcare cost containment strategies, the following are among those noted:

• Increase the employee’s cost share of health insurance: Nearly 40% of organizations responding either increased the employee’s share prior to 2016 or plan to do so this year.
• The implementation of additional formulary tiers for prescription drug coverage: In looking at a traditional PPO in 2015, 22% of union organizations used four or five tiers; in the 2016 survey findings, that number rose to almost 24%. In non-union organizations, 94% of organizations reported using three tiers and above in the 2016 survey, up from 88% in 2015.
• The creation or expansion of wellness programs: Union organizations offering screening activities, preventative interventions and health promotion activities increased more than 10% from 2015; there was also an overall increase in the percentage of union organizations offering cash or cash equivalent incentives for wellness activity participation as opposed to a premium discount or contribution to an HSA/HRA.

The ASE 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey findings were announced by ASE President and CEO, Mary E. Corrado.

“This survey serves as a resource employers can use to ensure they are effectively competing in the marketplace,” Corrado said. “Healthcare remains a substantial investment for both employers and employees. Employers are adjusting their health plans and associated premium, co-pay and deductible expenses in a manner that ensures affordability for both the employer and the employee.”

Background information on the ASE 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey:

• 229 organizations from across Michigan participated.
• Organizations with 50 to 499 employees nationally made up more than 60% of the survey sample, while organizations with more than 500 employees nationally represented nearly 22% of the sample. The remaining 18% of the sample come from organizations with fewer than 50 employees nationally.
• A variety of industries are represented, with manufacturing or goods producing organizations representing 51% of the survey sample. The remaining 49% are represented by trades and services organizations.

To obtain a copy of ASE’s 2016 Healthcare Insurance Benefits Survey, contact ASE’s Compensation and Benefits Surveys department at or 248.353.4500. This survey is available free of charge to ASE-member survey participants, $225 to ASE members and $1,350 for non-members.

About the American Society of Employers (ASE) – a Centennial Organization

The American Society of Employers (ASE) is a not-for-profit trade association providing people-management information and services to Michigan employers. Since 1902, member organizations have relied on ASE to be their single, cost-effective source for information and support, helping to grow their bottom line by enhancing the effectiveness of their people. Learn more about ASE at

Millennial Engagement in Health


Jonathan So, Senior Director of Health Care Initiatives, recently served on the panel focused on Millennial Engagement in Health and Wellness in the workplace at the 2015 Employer Healthcare & Benefits Congress in Orlando.  The session, which was was moderated by Vic Villanueva of the ROC Group, centered on the opportunities and challenges in engaging Millennial employees (those born between 1980 and 2000) in their health and wellness benefits. Jonathan’s comments centered on the need to get this population engaged as they will represent 50% of the workforce by 2020 and have no established behavioral patters when it comes to interacting with the health care system.

In  one question centered on busting stereotypes regarding millennials, So said, “I think that many regard millennials as not being loyal to their employer. So a lot of employers don’t want to invest in their young talent who may leave for another job at any time.  I actually think that this generation is one of the most loyal.  If you gain their trust and give them opportunities to grow, they will run through walls for you.  They are your biggest and loudest champions, but they can also be your most vocal detractors. They smell inauthenticity immediately and you can lose them just like that.  Its a population you need to win over every day.”

Another question was in regards to busting health care myths.  So said, “The need to get a CEO involved in health are is a huge myth.  Millennials couldn’t care less about whether the CEO is participating in the walking program. The people who need to be involved is the frontline managers because they are the ones who operationalize the culture in your organization.  They are the key to the success or failure of any initiative.  This is especially important with millennials because the oldest millennials are now 35.  They are or will represent most of an organizations front line supervisors within the next few years and if they are jaded, everyone else will be too.”

Jonathan managed to snap a selfie with the panel just before they exited.

To learn more about the Employer Healthcare and Benefits Congress, you can follow this link:

If you would like to share your experiences with millennial engagement at your organization, contact Jonathan So at