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CHRs as Community Resources to Help Manage Brain Health

In this session, we will provide information on maintaining a healthy brain and preventing dementia, and on select resources available to manage brain health. We will describe how a dementia training can help community health representatives (CHRs) serve as resources for their communities to help promote and manage brain health. We also will share select resources available through the Alzheimer’s Association, such as tips for informal caregivers and the Healthy Brain Initiative, Road Map for Indian Country (2019). Participants will have the opportunity to share their knowledge of brain health, available services, and barriers to accessing services.

Learning Objectives

  1. Explain how to maintain a healthy brain
  2. Describe how dementia affects the brain
  3. List at least 3 available resources to help communities manage brain health

Intended Audience

Community health representatives, public health professionals, community members.


Kerstin M. Reinschmidt, PhD, MPH is an Associate Professor at the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). With the Oklahoma Dementia Care Network (OkDCN) for the past 2 years, she has led the development and trainings of the Dementia Curriculum for CHW/CHR. She has worked with community health workers (CHWs), and more recently community health representatives (CHRs), for the past 20 years. Her expertise includes CHW diabetes prevention interventions, the roles of CHWs in addressing emotional health in patients with diabetes, and the roles of CHWs/CHRs in addressing dementia. Since joining the OUHSC in 2017, Dr. Reinschmidt’s work has focused on CHW/CHR workforce development.

Terence D. Gipson, Ph.D., MPH is a research associate for the OkDCN and Donald W. Reynolds Section of Geriatric Medicine at OUHSC. His work focuses on health care delivery and access for underrepresented and vulnerable populations, including patients with cognitive impairments and neurodevelopmental disorders. He joined the OKDCN in 2019 as the co-developer of the Oklahoma CHW/CHR Dementia Training Curriculum and manages the evaluation of CHW/CHR dementia activities for the grant.

Keith Kleszynski is an Assistant Professor of Research in the Section of Geriatric Medicine at OUHSC. He received his BA degree in Philosophy, Psychology, and Sociology from the University of Portland. He also holds a MA degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University and a PhD in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. Keith is also currently the Associate Director for the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative (OHAI), a program housed in the Section of Geriatric Medicine at OUHSC. In this role, Keith oversees all of the health education activities conducted via five regional offices located throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Debra Isham has been the CHR Coordinator for the Oklahoma City Area Indian Health Service (IHS) since 2013. She has worked in Indian health care in both the federal and tribal sectors for over 25 years. Interests include health administration, tribal self-determination, commercial tobacco control, and CHRs. A member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation; Debra received a BBA in Management from OU and MPH in Health Policy and Administration from the University of California at Berkeley.

Robb Kennedy is a LPN that works for the Choctaw Nation in the Healthy Aging department. He works with the Choctaws as a case manager for their well-being. He is a retired paramedic and worked at St. Francis Hospital, Tulsa, OK for many years. He spent time working at the University of North Dakota in Microbiology department for a virologist.


August 25, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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