The Alzheimer Study Group is a non-partisan panel led jointly by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey. Its charge is to assess the current national investment in Alzheimer disease research and care, develop a “National Alzheimer's Strategic Plan,” and to present this plan next summer to the bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer Disease led by Senators Hillary Clinton and Susan Collins. Administered through Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation, the group has been forming over the past few months, and on November 28 announced its full membership.
Gingrich and Kerrey recruited a diverse group of leaders in medicine, public policy, capital investment, and philanthropy. The group includes retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, whose husband has been widely reported to be suffering from AD, Nobel Laureate and former NIH director Harold Varmus, the sixteenth U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, former FDA commissioner Mark McClellan, and former NIMH director Steve Hyman. The hope is that this group manages to make Alzheimer disease more of a national priority than it has been until now. The group’s report may raise the profile of Alzheimer disease as an issue in the presidential election campaign. For context, see ARF San Diego conference story).—Gabrielle Strobel.