Hospital joins multisite study to foster health equity and inclusivity in Alzheimer’s Disease research in Asian population

LOS ANGELES—July 11, 2023—CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC), a member of CHA Health Systems, a global network providing a full spectrum of dynamic healthcare services, is proud to announce its participation in a prestigious $40.5 million, multisite study funded by a grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for the development of the Asian Cohort for Alzheimer’s Disease (ACAD). CHA HPMC’s state-of-the-art eye institute, Southern California Eye Institute (SCEI), is one of the 15 academic medical centers across the United States and Canada, participating in the study led by Penn Medicine.

Hospital joins multisite study to foster health equity and inclusivity in Alzheimer’s Disease research in Asian population.

Hospital joins multisite study to foster health equity and inclusivity in Alzheimer’s Disease research in Asian population.

Alzheimer’s disease poses a significant public health challenge, with increasing prevalence among aging populations worldwide. However, research on this disease has limited data on its impact on people of Asian descent due to their underrepresentation. “This collaboration presents an incredible opportunity to address the significant research gaps that exist regarding Alzheimer’s disease in the Asian community in the United States and Canada and we are honored to be selected as a participating site. By studying a diverse cohort of Asian individuals, we can enhance our understanding of the disease, identify potential risk factors, and develop tailored interventions and treatments to improve patient outcomes,” said Dr. Rohit Varma, Chief Medical Officer of CHA HPMC, Founding Director of SCEI, and site PI for the study.

Led by Li-San Wang, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the project represents the first major Alzheimer’s disease genetics cohort for Asian Americans and Asian Canadians. ACAD is recruiting adults age 60 and older, with or without cognitive issues, from Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese ancestry. Participants are asked to complete a lifestyle and demographic questionnaire, undergo a cognitive assessment, and provide a saliva and/or optional blood sample. The research team—which includes international leaders in Alzheimer’s disease, genetics, and epidemiology—will analyze the genetic data from the samples to identify risk variants in the Asian American and Asian Canadian populations, compared to other populations and to those living in Asia. Based on these analyses, their goal is to develop blood biomarker benchmarks and a polygenic risk score model to measure the risk for Alzheimer’s disease specifically among Asian Americans and Asian Canadians.

As one of the oldest and top hospitals in Los Angeles known for its exceptional patient care, research, and innovation, CHA HPMC’s selection in the ACAD project is a testament to its commitment to addressing the unique healthcare needs of diverse communities and ensuring that all ethnic groups have equal access to care. “We are fully dedicated to the success of this prestigious study and contributing our expertise, resources, and state-of-the-art facilities to drive the study,” said Dr. Varma.

The grant builds on a two-year, NIA-funded pilot grant awarded in September 2020 to assess the feasibility of the ACAD study design. As of May 2023, more than 1,800 individuals have joined the interest list for the study, with 713 formally consented to enroll. The goal of the new grant is to expand enrollment and recruit at least 5,000 participants over five years.

About CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center
CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center (CHA HPMC) is a nationally recognized acute care facility that has cared for Hollywood and its surrounding communities since 1924. Today, CHA HPMC offers comprehensive health care services with a 434-bed acute care facility, including 89 skilled nursing beds. The hospital has a medical staff of more than 550 physicians and specialists, representing 69 specialties and 75 different countries. CHA HPMC embraces the area’s diverse, multicultural patient populations by providing all who walk through its doors quality care in a compassionate manner. It is a member of CHA Health Systems, a dynamic global healthcare organization that provides a full spectrum of services in seven countries around the world, including 86 hospitals and clinics, 30 research and 14 education institutions and 31 bio/pharmaceutical/healthcare companies. For more information, visit

About Southern California Eye Institute
Southern California Eye Institute is dedicated to providing the highest level of vision care, using the latest technology and treatments to deliver the best outcome to patients in Los Angeles and from around the world. The institute’s expert physician-scientists are advancing innovations in stem cell and regenerative therapies, artificial intelligence and bioelectronic implants to further the prevention, early detection and treatment of eye diseases and conditions. Founded by world-renowned ophthalmologist Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, SCEI is located in Los Angeles at CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Liliana Viamari
Public Relations
CHA Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center

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