Thank you to everyone who took part in our first virtual WAM Summit this month. The event’s presenting sponsor was Kensington Senior Living, with additional support from Microbiome Labs, and was moderated by two award-winning journalists, both daughters of Alzheimer’s, Paula Zahn and WAM founder, Maria Shriver. Both shared poignant, personal stories about their experiences dealing with parents with Alzheimer’s during their conversations with many of the nation’s top rated scientists, doctors and policy makers who have extensive expertise is Alzheimer’s prevention, caregiving and women’s brain health research.

“We know that two out of three brains that develop Alzheimer’s belong to women, but we don’t know why. In addition, women’s research is way behind men’s research,” said WAM founder Maria Shriver. “We can’t close the knowledge gap unless we do the research. And we can’t help women on the front lines of this disease without that research.”

Dr. Janine Clayton, the NIH Director for the Office of Research on Women’s Health–the largest government funder of women’s health research– kicked off the event by explaining the continued need to break with historic tradition of focusing only on men in medical research. “The gold standard for studying women’s health does not lie in studying men, but women,” she told an audience of almost 2000 attendees. Also speaking on the prestigious panel were Jessica Caldwell, PhD, Director of the WAM Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic, who addressed the exciting, new center and its opportunities for Alzheimer’s prevention; Lisa Mosconi, PhD, Weill Cornell, Author of The XX Brain who spoke of a cutting edge study released the same day as the WAM Summit on women’s brains and hormones; and Patrice Harris, MD, former President of the AMA, who discussed health equity and Alzheimer’s awareness, especially for women of color.

A second panel included caregiving advocate, Donna Rand, and MacArhtur Genius Award winner, Anne Basting PhD, author of the new book, Creative Care. Their tips on how to survive and be effective caregivers was echoed by Cynthia Huling Hummel, herself living with early onset Alzheimer’s, who spoke about the need to de-stigmatize dementia and include people living with the disease in all conversations about priorities and policy. “Don’t talk about us, without us,” pleaded the former pastor.

“Kensington Senior Living was honored to sponsor the distinguished WAM Summit. It was engaging and empowering for caregivers throughout the country,” said Tiffany Tomasso, Co-Founder, Kensington Senior Living. “The loving care we provide at Kensington Senior Living when we partner with families dealing with dementia, deeply relies on the crucial work organizations like WAM do to raise awareness and promote brain health for a brighter tomorrow.

“It’s a pleasure to support this critical organization and the work you all do,” said Kiran Krishnan, CSO & Co-Founder of Microbiome Labs. “It’s very important to the team at Microbiome Labs to share our research and knowledge to the WAM audience on leaky gut and how it can impact our brain health.”

WAM is grateful for the amazing support and turnout from its growing community and plans on a second virtual WAM Summit in the fall.