Gupta, Halperin to receive Proxmire Award

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LeadingAge and senior living provider Integrace will honor Sanjay Gupta, M.D., chief medical correspondent for CNN, and advocate Alexander “Sandy” Halperin, D.D.S., with the 2016 Sen. William Proxmire Award at the third Great Minds Gala. This year's event will be March 14 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C.

The gala, a fundraiser held in conjunction with LeadingAge's PEAK Leadership Summit, was created to help improve the care offered to people with Alzheimer's disease and the support options available for their caregivers. LCS is the event's “Visionary Sponsor.”

The Proxmire Award recognizes national figures who have demonstrated leadership and are deemed to have positively affected public awareness of Alzheimer's disease and dementia. This year, the award is being shared because of the unique relationship that has developed between the two recepients. Halperin, in whom Alzheimer's disease was diagnosed in 2010 when he was aged 60 years, agreed to let Gupta and a CNN film crew into his home to document his journey.

“I'm a journalist, but my day job is still neurosurgery. I love neuroscience and I've studied the brain for a long time,” Gupta said in a statement. “And yet, Sandy still taught me so much medically. I've never had that sustained contact with someone who has Alzheimer's and was so willing to share so much of themselves.”

Halperin, a dentist and assistant professor at Harvard, not only is sharing his story publicly; he also volunteers as an advocate for Alzheimer's disease, an activity that he said has given him renewed energy and purpose.

“I took action with the hope of helping to bring together the different silos of people who are working so hard on Alzheimer's and dementia issues all around the world, so that the missions of better care and a cure can be more quickly achieved,” Halperin said in a statement.

The late Sen. William Proxmire, for whom the award is named, received an Alzheimer's diagnosis in 1994 and spent the last five years of his life at the memory care community now known as Integrace Copper Ridge, in Sykesville, MD. After his death, Proxmire's widow, Ellen, worked with Integrace and LeadingAge to create the gala. She passed away in 2015.

Also being honored at the gala will be Phoebe Ministries, winner of the Excellence in Dementia Care Award, and Judy Steffes, winner of the Exceptional Friend or Family Caregiver Award.

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