A new medical center focused on treating Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia is coming to the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (HSC).

UNM physicians who are leading the effort announced the creation of the UNM Memory and Aging Center during a news conference Thursday at the State Capitol in Santa Fe.

Currently UNM provides dementia care clinical services through three separate departments: Neurology, Internal Medicine and Psychiatry. The new center will allow doctors from these departments to come together in a focused environment and streamline clinical, educational and research services, according to Gary Rosenberg MD, chair of the UNM Department of Neurology, and Janice Knoefel, MD, professor of Geriatrics and Neurology.  

An estimated 43,000 people in New Mexico suffer from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia but traditionally they and their families have found little in the way of centralized care.

“New Mexico has a fast growing senior population and the number of patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia could reach 53,000 by 2025," Rosenberg said. "Yet until now, there have been no centers devoted to Alzheimer’s and dementia research and treatment in New Mexico or the Mountain West region. With this center, we will be able to bring in clinical trials."

The center will  work to support activities of the New Mexico State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias as well as the Office of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in the Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD), which was established by Gov. Susana Martinez to address critical needs to aid in support for caregivers and families, gaps in the health care system capacity, and opportunities for New Mexico-specific research, said Knoefel.

“We have worked closely with the ALTSD and Alzheimer’s Association New Mexico Chapter for the past five years to build a strong partnership that collaborates in clinical, educational and advocacy efforts," she said. "The new center will build on this established foundation while adding a strong emphasis on the innovative research ongoing at UNM.”

The creation of the center came at the request of Paul B. Roth, MD, UNM chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the UNM School of Medicine and Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Larson MD, PhD.  The center will be funded through a combiniation of research grants and Health Sciences Center support.

Links for additional information include: