5 Alzheimer’s Clinical Trial Volunteers Nominated for National Awards

GAP-Net site ADMDC at Lifespan Rhode Island Hospital’s citizen scientist nominees were featured about their involvement, as well as GAP President John Dwyer.

The Alzheimer’s Disease and Memory Disorders Center (ADMDC) at Lifespan Rhode Island Hospital, a national leader in Alzheimer’s disease care and research, has nominated five clinical trial volunteers for the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation’s (GAP) 2020 National Citizen Scientists Awards®. These nominations are an opportunity to recognize and celebrate remarkable volunteers for their dedication, passion, and commitment to finding a cure for Alzheimer’s. 

“Citizen Scientists are the first responders of Alzheimer’s disease,” said John Dwyer, the President of GAP in a statement. “They confront the disease head-on by donating their most precious asset, time, to help the world make progress towards a cure.” 

Every year, GAP recognizes exceptional Alzheimer’s clinical trial volunteers from its 80 affiliated Alzheimer’s research centers across North America. Though 5.8 million Americans – including 24,000 Rhode Islanders – are living with Alzheimer’s, 90% of Alzheimer’s clinical trials are delayed by slow recruitment. 

“There are currently more than 100 drugs in the Alzheimer’s treatment pipeline, but the lack of volunteers impedes progress,” said Dr. Brian Ott, the Director of ADMDC. “That’s why volunteer Citizen Scientists are vital – we cannot find a cure without them.” 

ADMDC’s 2020 National Citizen Scientist Award nominees are:

Ann Bellotti of Warwick for a Champion Award. Ann was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago. She embraces the challenge and strives for constant intellectual engagement by being a historical society docent, participating in a monthly book club, and being a clinical trial volunteer. Ann sees her participation in clinical trials as a way to be proactive about her diagnosis: “It keeps me on my toes.”  

Barbara Costa of Tiverton is nominated for a Cornerstone Award. She is a former nurse who lost her mother to Alzheimer’s. She has already participated in four trials and jumps at every opportunity to help. “I’m more likely to get it because my mother had it, and I also have years of medical experience, so I will continue to serve as long as it takes.” 

Kate Lowell of Coventry is nominated for a Collaborator Award.

Kate is a study partner for her father, David, who is living with Alzheimer’s. Kate is a wonderful advocate for research, and thinks of her study visits with her dad as a time to de-stress. “As crazy as it sounds, it’s an enjoyable moment for dad and me to hang out, and, best of all, he likes going.” 

 Michael Russo of Norton, MA is nominated for a Cornerstone Award.Michael’s father and his brother lived with Alzheimer’s disease. He has participated in three trials, and contributes to Alzheimer’s community events. “I don’t want to deny research a single damn thing. It’s too important.” 

 North Scituate resident Robert (Bob) Lovinger is nominated for a Cornerstone Award. Bob has participated in three clinical trials, and he uses his expertise to go above and beyond in supporting the research center. A former grant writer, Bob helps to create new funding opportunities for ADMDC, and in one instance his help secured funding for a full-time outreach position. “After retiring, I felt more acutely than ever the desire to volunteer and be part of something larger than myself.” 

Originally posted by Warwick Beacon Online on November 5, 2020.

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