Seventh Annual Solomon Carter Fuller
Memory Screening Day
Closing a Chapter
By Jonathan Gramling
Seven years ago, Charlie Daniel joined the staff of Alzheimer’s & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin to spearhead the organization’s efforts to
reach the African American community, which suffers a high incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia. On February 24-25, it was evident that
Daniel had made an impact as about 100 people turned out to hear Dr. Keith Whitfield speak at Mt. Zion Baptist Church and dozens of others
turned out at the Urban League the next day to have their memories tested.
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Daniel as it would be her last Solomon Carter Fuller Day as she transitioned to the next phase of her career.
“This has been one of the most gratifying jobs I have ever had for the simple reason that I really feel as though I have made a difference in the
African American community,” Daniel said. “That’s not to say that I didn’t feel good about my past employment. It’s because of the nature of this
disease and the silent epidemic in the African American community and I feel that I really have been able to go out and educate the community
not only here in Madison, but also in Rock County. Services were needed. African Americans weren’t even talking about Alzheimer’s seven
years ago. With me coming in seven years ago, there are more African Americans in Dane and Rock County who have been educated, talking
about it, getting services and getting the support that they need. I am very, very happy about that.”
Dr. Carey Gleason, a researcher with the WI Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, emphasized Daniel’s impact.
“Under Ms. Daniel’s leadership there was a new synergy between the African American community and the University of Wisconsin,” Gleason
said. “A major mission of the UW’s Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center is to develop prevention and treatment strategies for all
individual suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This requires the participation of groups traditionally under-represented in research. Ms. Daniel
helped to make it comfortable for African Americans to participate in local dementia research. Understandably, the African American
community has a deep mistrust in research given the egregious behavior of some researchers, but Ms. Daniel helped bridge the divide
between the community and researchers. She did this by helping the community to better understand the critical role African Americans can
play in ending this dreaded disease once and for all, and educating the research community on the importance and value of inclusiveness, and
communication. She voiced the need to increase the number of researchers and clinicians of color, and to provide a mechanism through
which our participants of color could give feedback to the researchers about their experience at their research visits. In all honestly, Ms.
Daniel has changed the way the Wisconsin ADRC conducts research.”
Having accomplished her goals, Daniel has moved on for the next challenge in her career.