California Gov. Gavin Newsom included a $3 million allocation for Alzheimer’s research in his proposed 2019-20 ‘California for All’ state budget announced Thursday, Jan. 20. Newsom also announced the creation of a Brain Health Task Force in the state budget proposal. Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement, advocated to help make this allocation possible. 

See Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal here: 

Read an LA Times article about the budget and Alzheimer’s research allocation: Newsom’s budget proposes $3 million for Alzheimer’s research, brain task force

Read Maria’s statement below:

Every 65 seconds, a new brain develops Alzheimer’s disease. Two-thirds of those brains belong to women and no one knows why that is. Studies also show older African-Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and older Latinos are 1.5 times more likely to be diagnosed with the brain disease than older whites. 

Thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s commitment of $3 million for research, along with the establishment of an Alzheimer’s Task Force in the budget proposal announced today, we can hopefully learn why and get closer to a cure.

Alzheimer’s disease not only ravages the lives of hundreds of thousands of Californians, but it also devastates the lives of the loved ones caring for them as well. Today’s announcement declares that, as a state, we believe that we can wipe out Alzheimer’s in our lifetime. It also acknowledges that we must prepare our families and our communities for the realities of this disease. 

Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias will soar by 178 percent among Americans aged 65 and older by 2060, with the Latino, African-American, and Native American communities experiencing the fastest growing rates. That’s why I am especially glad that our new governor is recognizing that Alzheimer’s disease disproportionately affects women and minorities in our state. Awarding grants to researchers to focus on these vulnerable populations is the right thing to do and will help us advance our understanding of the complexities of this mind-blowing disease. 

I believe that the brain is the next frontier. It is its own Mount Everest for us to conquer. Harnessing its full potential, understanding its complexity and scaling its magnitude is the work of fearless explorers and pioneers who dare to try.

With Gov. Newsom’s budget announcement, California is declaring that exploring the brain is a “moonshot” opportunity. The state will be attempting to do what no other state has done and make understanding our brains a priority, just as it has been a priority to explore the moon, the stars and the planets in the past.

To quote my uncle President John F. Kennedy, this is an undertaking “we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone and one which we intend to win.”

This is personal to me, just like it is to millions of California families. Alzheimer’s is one of the largest medical, social and economic crises in our state, and of our time. I am so proud that, once again, California is leading the way. Wiping out Alzheimer’s is going to require bold thinking, and there is no doubt in my mind that California is home to bold thinkers who can make this happen. This groundbreaking initiative in Gov. Newsom’s budget is one that the Legislature should welcome and adopt.

Maria Shriver

Founder, The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement