There are very few moments that set the course for where the rest of our lives will lead. But Gregory Pappas of Plymouth, Massachusetts experienced that moment as an intern at the Memory and Aging Program at Butler Hospital, a leading center of Alzheimer’s research.
Pappas is a senior at Providence College. He’s majoring in Psychology with a minor in Biology and is also involved in the neuroscience program there. Pappas says that when it came time to complete an internship, a former classmate and a professor both recommended Butler Hospital. With its dual focus on research and clinical care, the Memory and Aging Program was the perfect fit.
From January to May, 2019 he spent 10 hours each week at the program. He shadowed the research staff, observing as study participants underwent cognitive assessments and assisting with administrative tasks for the various studies.
“Within the first week I knew that neuroscience was the type of work I wanted to do, and I have Butler to thank for that,” Pappas says.
“My internship was a great experience. The whole team – the research team, Dr. Salloway, Bill [Menard, research operations manager] – they all were really helpful and wanted me to learn, and I’m so thankful,” Pappas says.
But it wasn’t just the learning that convinced Pappas that neuroscience was where his life’s work should be. It was also the humanity he observed at the program.
“I have a history of dementia in my family as well, so this was a good way for me to apply something I was learning in a personal way. And the way the staff interacts with the community and the patients is just so special,” he says. “That [the staff and the research participants] know each other’s lives, know about their children, know how they’re doing beyond the monthly or yearly study assessments is so great. Even though Butler is nationally recognized, it is very much a community hospital, and that’s very important.”
Though his internship ended in May, Pappas’ involvement at the Memory and Aging Program did not. He continues working with the program as a volunteer.
“In my volunteer capacity, I just help out with whatever they need. I’m doing some administrative work related to one of the studies, and I also help out a lot at the community outreach events the program hosts. When I have time, I still walk around and chat with people too, to keep learning new things about the field,” he says.
Now that he’s got a clearer picture of what he wants to do with his life, Pappas says he hopes that vision will keep him involved with Butler Hospital and the Memory and Aging Program for some time to come.
“I’m planning to go to grad school, perhaps at Brown University because I already know so many of the doctors from Butler,” Pappas says. “But first I’m planning to have a gap year after I graduate from PC, because I want to have a few more research experiences. I’m looking into applying to be a research assistant at the Memory and Aging Program, but either way I’ll still continue to volunteer. This is definitely a place I’ve come to call home.”
To learn more about internship and volunteer opportunities with the Memory and Aging Program, call (401) 455-6402.
The first infusion of an investigational drug that aims to delay or help to prevent the earliest memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease took place in September at Butler Hospital in Providence, R.I., researchers announced.
Sam Slezak originally set out to become a trainer for professional athletes. Here’s how and why he became a project manager for a landmark national Alzheimer’s study instead.
The study seeks to identify new cognitive and neural biomarkers of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, which would aid in earlier diagnosis and interventional treatment for the disease.
Caregiver to both her young husband and her father with dementia, now she’s supporting others in the caregiver journey.
AHEAD 3-45 is a clinical trial for a treatment aimed at preventing cognitive decline in people with preclinical Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).
MAP Director Dr. Stephen Salloway, along with other international leaders in the fight against Alzheimer’s, talk with the Providence Journal and WJAR NBC10 about how the fight to end Alzheimer’s continues despite coronavirus.
Aducanumab, an investigational drug for the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, has been submitted to the FDA for approval with a request for Priority Review. If approved, it would become the first therapy to reduce the clinical decline of Alzheimer’s disease.
RI Chosen as 1 of 5 Sites for First Nationwide Study of Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk of Cognitive Decline
The U.S. Study to Protect Brain Health Through Lifestyle Intervention to Reduce Risk (U.S. POINTER) is sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association and is the first such study to be conducted in a large, diverse group of Americans across the United States.
Louisa Thompson, Ph.D., research scientist at Brown University and Butler Hospital, will evaluate how app-based and online cognitive tests might be used to detect subtle changes in memory and thinking associated with Alzheimer’s.