Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Education, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Matthew Davis, PhD


Kimberly Allen, EdD

Keith Miller, PhD

Thomasina F. Hassler, EdD


Alzheimer’s disease is a growing crisis in this country, particularly in the African American community. Despite this awareness by the health care community and educational programs offered about the disease, a deficit in research assessing the impact of these programs exists. Consequently, the purpose of this study is to analyze the key criterion relative to the educational programs about Alzheimer’s offered by local organizations and the impact they have on a Midwest African American community.

According to research regarding Alzheimer’s disease, African Americans continue to go undiagnosed and untreated. The literature review in this study explores the synergy of three theoretical constructs: Critical Race Theory, Community Theory and the Theory of Culture. The three theories were used to determine what influences if any, the theories may have on the key criterion relative to the educational programs provided by the local organizations in this study.

This intrinsic case study involved fieldwork, individual interviews, a focus group session and survey/questionnaire. The case boundary is a Midwest African American community and participants included two local organizations offering educational programs about Alzheimer’s; two local service agencies and ten (10) African American caregivers from the community.

The findings suggest that both organizations are consistent in their efforts to offer educational programs to the community. However, two barriers that include the African American culture and lack of visibility in the African American community adversely influence the effectiveness of the educational programs about Alzheimer’s disease.

Consequently, further research is recommended to determine strategies that will address the adverse influences and identify approaches to promote the visibility of both organizations in the African American community.