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NYSUT Women to examine impact of Alzheimer’s

mobilize around health issues
By Molly Belmont


Members of the NYSUT Women’s Committee
James Morrison

The NYSUT Women’s Committee met in Albany in November. Above, members wear purple to bring awareness to Alzheimer’s Disease.


ince its founding, the NYSUT Women’s Committee has prioritized women’s health as a vital issue, and this November’s annual meeting turned the spotlight on key health areas for women, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

“Representation matters. We know this because we have seen it,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango, who chairs the committee.

“We know that women must be their own best advocate when it comes to access to health care and the actual care they receive,” DiBrango added. “That’s just one example of why it is so important for women to hold positions of leadership and power in all sectors, so that the challenges that are unique to them are understood by those they go to for guidance and support.”

Board member Dora Leland and Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango
Dora LeLand/Twitter
NYSUT Board member Dora Leland and Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango take a quick photo break at the November Women’s Committee meeting.
In New York state, more than 410,000 people are living with Alzheimer’s, and two-thirds of those New Yorkers are women. Women also bear the brunt of care when it comes to Alzheimer’s patients, and that can take a toll mentally, physically and financially.

In November, the Northeastern New York Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association presented the latest research on this devastating disease to NYSUT’s Women’s Committee. The organization, represented by Executive Director Elizabeth Smith-Boivin, and Erica Salamida, director of community outreach, also discussed the array of resources that are available to women dealing with Alzheimer’s.

“People were really captivated by the content because it does really have a significant impact on women,” said Smith-Boivin. She said her organization continues to raise awareness but emphasized that they can’t do it alone. “That’s why it was so good to see this committee successfully mobilizing a community around the cause,” she added.

Barbara Hafner, vice president of NYSUT Retiree Council 18 and chairperson of the Long Island Retiree Delegate Council, was impressed by the resources the Alzheimer’s Association offers families and plans to bring information back to her local members in January.

“I always found the topic of Alzheimer’s to be scary, because it always seemed like a hopeless case,” Hafner said. “But after listening to these two women, it was scary, but we learned there’s also hope.”

The NYSUT Women’s Committee is co-chaired by Aisha Cook, New Rochelle Federation of United School Employees, and Leslie Rose, Hewlett Woodmere Faculty Association. To learn more about the committee, visit nysut.org/women.