Dr. Jacqueline Wiltshire appointed to new Alzheimer’s research board

| COPH Home Page Feed, Featured News, HPM, Monday Letter, Our Accolades

Dr. Jacqueline Wiltshire, assistant professor in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the USF College of Public Health, has been appointed to the state Alzheimer’s Disease Research Grant Advisory Board, a new entity created by the Florida Legislature during this year’s session to complement the new Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program.

Jacqueline Wiltshire, PhD, MPH

Jacqueline Wiltshire, PhD, MPH

The board will advise the state surgeon general on the scope and direction of the program, grant appropriations and proposals, program priorities and dissemination of research findings.

The legislature provided $3 million to set the endeavor in motion. A competitive peer-review process will award research grants to applicants who present the most innovative proposals to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s in Florida. Researchers at any university or research institute in the state will be eligible to apply for funding.

“This board brings together expertise that will advance Alzheimer’s research in Florida,” said Dr. John Armstrong, state surgeon general and secretary of health. “The creation of the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program demonstrates Florida’s dedication to finding a cure for this disease that affects too many of our loved ones and their families.”

“Today is a step forward for the individuals who are battling this terrible disease,” Gov. Rick Scott said as he signed the bill. “Our budget invested $3 million in funding so that we can continue to focus on improving the health and well-being of Floridians battling Alzheimer’s disease while enhancing Florida’s developing research community. We look forward to working with the Ed and Ethel Moore Alzheimer’s Disease Research Program to find a cure for this terrible disease that affects so many Floridians.”

The Florida Department of Elder Affairs estimates that more than 450,000 Floridians are afflicted with Alzheimer’s. The department’s website does not specify whether that number is inclusive of part-time residents.

Armstrong appointed the 11 board members after reviewing their applications, curricula vitae and written statements of why they wanted to serve. Wiltshire said she applied at the urging of a friend.

“My goal is to participate in any activity, whether it’s research, service or teaching, that promotes women’s health and that addresses aging and disparities,” Wiltshire said, “and being on this board will be in line with my research interests as well as the College of Public Health mission to serve the community.”

That service essentially will entail three functions, Wiltshire said: developing a strategic plan for the state, evaluating non-institutional treatment options to keep more patients in their homes, and directing effective management of the allocated funds, including evaluating the merits of the incoming funding applications.

“I think it’s a great opportunity,” she said. “I do disparities research, and I look at access-to-care problems among women and the elderly. Aging is my business. I love it. I just find older people fascinating.”

The appointment is for two years, Wiltshire said. The board’s initial meeting will be in Orlando in November.

“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “I’m so excited, because this is something close to my heart. This is not like work for me. This is the kind of service I really want to do.”


Story by David Brothers and photo by Natalie D. Preston, College of Public Health.