Thursday, February 3, 2022, CLEVELAND: Cleveland Clinic and Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), announced a ground-breaking partnership today aimed at further addressing and reducing women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease: The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic (WAM at Cleveland Clinic).
As the preeminent organization for women and Alzheimer’s, WAM will now formally join Cleveland Clinic, combining the non-profit’s extensive educational, advocacy and fundraising experience around women’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease and prevention with the health system’s vast medical expertise and robust research network. WAM has been a leading advocate and funder of gender-based Alzheimer’s research since first reporting in 2010 that the disease has a disproportionate impact on women.
This partnership builds on an existing successful collaboration between WAM and Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, which opened the nation’s first Alzheimer’s disease prevention center for women in June 2020. WAM at Cleveland Clinic will continue working on the long-term sustainability and growth of the prevention center, while expanding its mission to include all neurological diseases that affect women. In addition to her role as Founder of WAM, Shriver will now serve Cleveland Clinic as a Strategic Partner for Women’s Health and Alzheimer’s.
“We are proud to collaborate with Maria Shriver and WAM to expand our efforts from a focus on Alzheimer’s prevention to understanding the link between gender and all neurodegenerative conditions,” said Tom Mihaljevic, M.D., Cleveland Clinic CEO and President. “One in two women will be diagnosed with a neurological disorder in her lifetime, and we hope this new alliance will foster an environment of collaboration and innovation to seed future discoveries and advance women’s brain health.”
For more than 20 years, Shriver has been one of the world’s leading Alzheimer’s advocates, raising awareness around women’s brain health and funding for women-based Alzheimer’s research. In 2017, the Alzheimer’s Association awarded Shriver its first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award for using her voice to bring much needed attention to women, brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention. In her new role at Cleveland Clinic, she will continue building on her extensive career as an award-winning network broadcast news journalist, whose reporting has helped redefine the narrative of this disease as a women’s health issue.
“Today, more than 55 million people around the globe are living with Alzheimer’s, and for more than 10 years, WAM has been at the forefront of informing policy makers and the public that two out of three of them are women, as are two out of three caregivers,” said Shriver. “Having helped establish the fact that women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s, we are now intent on focusing on the question of why women are disproportionately impacted by this -- and so many other -- neurological diseases.
“We could not have found more powerful, effective partners in this endeavor than Cleveland Clinic with its proven commitment to ground-breaking science and its thousands of highly gifted researchers and medical personnel around the world,” Shriver said. “We are so proud to become part of this first-in-class organization and believe that together, we stand a fighting chance in our efforts to change the future for women’s brains.”
“We are excited to have Maria Shriver join us as we work to further explore and understand the connections between how women’s unique biology and health experiences over the course of a lifetime impact their risk for developing Alzheimer’s and other diseases,” said Beri Ridgeway, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Chief of Staff. “WAM and Maria have been at the forefront of making sex differences in brain health a matter of discussion, paving the way for ground-breaking research, education and innovation.”
“Neurological diseases are a great threat to humanity and the threat is worsening with global aging. It is time that we study in greater depth the underpinnings of neurological disorders and how they affect women and men as we age,” said Andre Machado, M.D., Ph.D, chair of the Neurological Institute and the Charles and Christine Carroll Family Endowed Chair in Functional Neurosurgery. “As an organization, we have embarked on answering these questions through research aimed at identifying the earliest stages of disease. We could not have picked a more opportune time to partner with WAM and build upon our work. We look forward to making strides toward our shared goal of prevention.”
“After both experiencing the life-changing impact of Alzheimer’s disease with our fathers, Maria approached me with an idea to help change the course of this devastating disease for other families: an Alzheimer’s prevention center designed specifically for women. Now, to have our work embraced by the Cleveland Clinic health system and amplified through the WAM at Cleveland Clinic partnership gives me hope that our vision will continue to expand,” said Larry Ruvo, philanthropist, chairman and co-founder of Keep Memory Alive, the fundraising arm of the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. “This alliance represents a new era for women’s brain health that will impact generations to come.”
Philanthropy is an integral part of WAM at Cleveland Clinic, with gifts supporting gender-based Alzheimer’s and neurological research. To donate, visit: https://cle.clinic/WAM
About Cleveland Clinic
Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S. News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. Among Cleveland Clinic’s 67,554 employees worldwide are more than 4,520 salaried physicians and researchers, and 17,000 registered nurses and advanced practice providers, representing 140 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic is a 6,026-bed health system that includes a 165-acre main campus near downtown Cleveland, 19 hospitals, more than 220 outpatient facilities, and locations in southeast Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; Toronto, Canada; Abu Dhabi, UAE; and London, England. In 2019, there were 9.8 million total outpatient visits, 309,000 hospital admissions and observations, and 255,000 surgical cases throughout Cleveland Clinic’s health system. Patients came for treatment from every state and 185 countries. Visit us at clevelandclinic.org. Follow us at twitter.com/ClevelandClinic. News and resources available at newsroom.clevelandclinic.org.
About Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic
The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement at Cleveland Clinic is a partnership between the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM), the pre-eminent non-profit organization for women and Alzheimer’s founded by Maria Shriver, and Cleveland Clinic, a nonprofit multispecialty academic center that integrates clinical care with research and education. The venture between these two renowned organizations is focused on raising awareness about women’s increased risk for Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases, educating the public about brain health, and raising funds to support women-based Alzheimer’s and neurological research. WAM has led the way in re-framing the narrative of Alzheimer’s as a women’s issue, starting with its ground-breaking 2010 Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s, produced with the Alzheimer’s Association. Since then, Shriver and WAM have continued to help shape the national dialogue and policy around Alzheimer’s, including leading the first ever California Task Force on Alzheimer’s Prevention, Preparedness and the Path Forward in 2021. To learn more visit thewomensalzheimersmovement.org or follow @womensalzmovement and @womenalz
Editor’s Note: Cleveland Clinic News Service is available to provide broadcast-quality interviews and roll upon request.