PHILADELPHIA - A film with roots at Penn Medicine, Alzheimer’s Disease: Facing the Facts, won a 2009 Emmy for Documentary Program at the 32nd Boston/New England Emmy Award Ceremony of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on May 30. The one-hour documentary examines the personal and societal impact of Alzheimer’s disease, powerfully juxtaposing vignettes of families devastated by Alzheimer’s with medical experts on a quest to understand, treat and prevent the disease.
Carol Edwards, Associate Director of Education and Outreach for the Penn Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center, is executive producer of the film, and managed the project through several stages over nearly three years before the film took final form. She also co-produced and co-wrote the film, with long-time colleague Glenn Orkin of Motion, Inc, the film’s director.
Researchers from six National Institutes on Aging-designated Alzheimer’s Disease Centers (ADCs) are among 17 scientists and experts featured, including researchers and clinical investigators from the Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.
“Thanks to these dedicated patients, families, researchers and inspired filmmakers, this film has touched the lives of PBS viewers around the country, exposing the devastation and bravery of those touched by Alzheimer’s,” said John Trojanowski, MD, PhD, Director of the University of Pennsylvania Alzheimer’s Disease Core Center.
“This is no longer a silent epidemic – Alzheimer’s disease is the fifth leading cause of death in America and will bankrupt our economy if we don’t take swift action to fund research, strengthen social support systems, find treatments and figure out a way to prevent this fatal disease.”
The film is narrated by Tony and Emmy award-winning actor Edward Herrmann, and previously won the CINE Golden Eagle Award for a short independent documentary. It has aired on PBS affiliates reaching more than 80% of television markets since its broadcast premiere in January 2009. The broadcast license permits repeated airings of the program through 2010. Local listings and additional information is available at http://www.alzheimersfacingthefacts.org/.
This film reflects an outstanding collaboration between MetLife, Motion Inc., Connecticut Public Television, and four NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Centers whose leaders and researchers feature prominently in the film: University of Pennsylvania ADC and Director Dr. John Trojanowski; University of California, Irvine, ADC and recently retired Director Dr. Carl Cotman; Mayo Clinic ADC and Director Dr. Ronald Petersen, and Washington University in St. Louis ADC and Director Dr. John Morris. These Centers – supported by the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health – worked closely with the producers to provide access to Alzheimer’s patients and their families, the courageous stars of this award winning documentary. Rush University ADC Director Dr. David Bennett, and Indiana University ADC Director emeritus Dr. Hugh C. Hendrie also appear in the program.