Banner Alzheimer’s Institute offers provider training, mentoring in dementia care

[Banner Alzheimer's Institute in Tucson]PHOENIX – Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is offering a virtual training and mentoring program for Arizona physicians and other primary care professionals to help them effectively treat patients with cognitive disorders, including Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

The Dementia ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes), is a free 12-week course, with sessions running once every two weeks. The program aims to help medical providers feel more confident about caring for their patients and caregivers living with dementia. The course will begin on Jan. 24.

“As a primary care and palliative physician, I have found the ECHO program to be an incredibly valuable resource,” said Sam Downing, MD, who specializes in outpatient palliative medicine in Prescott. “It is refreshing to have ready access to experts in the field of dementia care, with cutting-edge information and research presented regularly.”

For each one-hour session, program participants will connect virtually with instructors/mentors who specialize in Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Each session will include brief lectures to share evidence-based practices in care across a range of topics such as: evaluating dementia; medications; behavior management; disease progression; caregiver support; conveying diagnoses, prognoses, and managing difficult issues such as driving, advance directives, and end-of-life care. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to present their challenging patient cases (de-identified) for expert advice and discussion.

More than 6 million Americans have dementia, and as the proportion of older adults continues to grow in Maricopa County, more Arizonans will be living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Maricopa County alone has approximately 81,000 people living with Alzheimer’s, according to Axios.

Project ECHO, initially developed by the New Mexico Health Science Center, is intended to help lessen these burdens on primary providers while elevating their expertise in specialty care. Banner Alzheimer’s Dementia ECHO launched in 2020 with plans to expand across Banner Health and other health systems, and to attract care providers from a range of disciplines in diverse and underserved communities.

“For patients and families, delayed detection and management of dementia results in worse outcomes, higher caregiver stress levels, and fragmented, often redundant care,” said Ganesh Gopalakrishna, MD, associate clinical medical director for Banner Alzheimer’s Institute’s Stead Family Memory Center in Phoenix. “For the health care system, a shortage of specialists in this field places a heavier burden on other providers to manage care of these patients.”

Medical professionals interested in participating should contact Learn more at

About Banner Alzheimer’s Institute
Since its inception in 2006, Banner Alzheimer’s Institute has sought to find effective Alzheimer’s disease prevention therapies without losing another generation, establish a new model of dementia care for patients and family caregivers, and forge new models of collaboration in biomedical research. It has made groundbreaking contributions to the unusually early detection, tracking, diagnosis and study of Alzheimer’s, and aims to find an effective prevention therapy by 2025. It includes the pioneering Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative, an extensive profile of research studies and clinical trials, comprehensive clinical, family and community service programs, a leading brain imaging research program, and strategic partnerships with public and private research organizations around the world. Learn more at

In Tucson, the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute is located at 2626 E. River Road. For questions about its Tucson operations, call (520) 694-7021. Learn more here.

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Release Date: 
12/13/2023 - 4:30pm