Public Health Spotlight: Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald Champions New Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Registry

March 25, 2015

Dear Healthcare Provider,

I am writing to make you aware of a concerted effort currently underway in Georgia to assemble and report accurate and reliable data about Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to be used in a state-wide registry. I am also seeking your help in creating this registry, which has the potential to be a useful tool for all levels of the medical community involved with the care of Georgia’s aging population.

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are currently more than 130,000 Georgians living with Alzheimer’s disease and that by 2025 that number will grow to 160,000. Additionally, 93,200 Georgia Medicare recipients were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in 2012, of which 13 percent were hospitalized – for a total cost to Medicare of $467.2 million. Awareness of this increase in prevalence resulted in the creation of the Georgia Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias (GARD) State Plan Task Force which was charged with creating a state Alzheimer’s disease plan. A key recommendation was the development of a state registry due to the lack of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias data in Georgia.

The data will be used to assist with elder care planning in Georgia, identify epidemiological trends, bring awareness at the state level of issues that affect healthy aging, and inform stakeholders for future implementation needs. The registry will be populated by a mix of existing data sources from health plans and government repositories, including Medicare and Medicaid, and patient information reported by physicians. The data will allow us to measure the direct impact of dementia on the health of our communities, which may fundamentally impact Alzheimer’s disease care in Georgia. By evaluating and reporting the demographic scope of the registry data we hope to increase the potential for positive state-wide health outcomes and influence the management of associated healthcare costs.

I am asking physicians throughout Georgia to voluntarily submit Alzheimer’s and related dementias patient data via the following secure website: You can also find helpful reporting sources at The information in the registry will remain confidential and any data provided for research purposes will be de-identified.

I understand there are many demands on your limited time, but know that your help in creating this registry will be a critical part of planning for our large, and growing, aging population in Georgia, their caregivers and families.

If you have any questions, please contact: Francis Annor, 404-463-2450 or

Thank you for all that you do.

Very truly yours,

Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D.
Commissioner and State Health Officer
Georgia Department of Public Health