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Hoag's Vital Brain Program Awarded Grant for Online CME Courses in Cognitive Health

Physicians in Orange County will soon have more resources to manage their patients’ cognitive health. Hoag Neurosciences Institute’s Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program has been awarded a grant to develop an online tool to address that issue.

The $132,000 grant by the UniHealth Foundation, combined with designated philanthropic donations, will help the Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program (Vital Brain Program) to create online-based continuing medical education (CME) courses to help physicians learn more about cognitive health management. The Vital Brain Program hopes to launch the program in summer 2015.

One of the primary goals of the Vital Brain Program is to educate the community and physicians about Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative disorders that can produce irreversible cognitive impairment, increase healthcare costs, and lower quality of life unless identified and treated early.

“We at the Vital Brain Program understand that primary care physicians are on the frontlines in the battle against these insidious diseases,” said William Shankle, MD, a board-certified neurologist and the Judy and Richard Voltmer Chair in Memory and Cognitive Disorders Program at Hoag Neurosciences Institute. “By helping physicians identify signs of cognitive impairment early and by learning how to slow the progression of the disease, we hope to help doctors help patients maintain brain health through all stages of life.”

Among its many other services, the Vital Brain Program also offers in-person memory assessment at four locations around the county, including Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Newport Beach, Oasis Senior Center in Corona Del Mar, Florence Sylvester Memorial Senior Center in Laguna Hills, Hoag Hospital Irvine and Hoag Health Center Huntington Beach.

“By deepening the understanding of brain health and risk-factor management among primary care physicians, this generous grant will allow us to expand our mission of focusing on healthy brain aging by leveraging our expertise to engage and support primary care physicians in managing their patients,” said Dr. Shankle.

The UniHealth Foundation, based in Los Angeles, is a nonprofit philanthropic organization whose mission is to support and facilitate activities that significantly improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities within its service area.

For more information about the Orange County Vital Brain Aging Program,, and for more information about Hoag Neurosciences Institute,