Skip to main content

Through Our Eyes

My mother, Velma Wiggins, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s-related dementia. During the last three years of her life, I was honored to be her primary caregiver.

The Office of the Lt. Governor’s Through Our Eyes campaign was born out of the Lt. Governor’s personal experience. 

The Office of the Lt. Governor partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association’s Illinois chapter to launch a six-month statewide listening tour focused on listening to and learning from caregivers, doctors, researchers, and others.

The findings inspired action.

Lt. Governor Stratton sponsored a resolution within the National Lieutenant Governors Association committing all members to work within their respective states to implement or improve continuing education for doctors regarding Alzheimer’s disease. The resolution passed in July 2020, making Illinois a nation-leader in the fight to end Alzheimer’s.  

In August 2021, Governor Pritzker signed Senate Bill 677, making Illinois the first state in the country to require all healthcare professionals serving adults to undergo training on the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

In response to barriers accessing culturally relevant care highlighted by families, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Rush University Medical Center, and Illinois Cognitive Resources Network partnered with the office to launch the Next Generation Alzheimer’s Service Awareness Platform in Spring 2022. The website is a resource hub for diverse communities on the early warning signs and symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as services available to help.

To continue the effort to educate and inform, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) in partnership with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor launched several initiatives.

The Healthy Brain Newsletter was created to deliver quarterly education, resources and information about healthy cognitive aging and ways to support brain health. Subscription is free.

IDPH and the Illinois Public Health Association lead "Know ALZ," a media awareness campaign about early detection of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Community-based organizations and community health workers are also providing direct education in higher risk, underserved communities throughout Illinois.

The Brain Trust was launched with the IDPH and the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians. The physician training program includes an online educational webinar, physician toolkits and a podcast series that meets Continuing Medical Education Requirements.