Driving change for those effected by dementia through communication, leadership and advocacy

Sara Masoud selected for the Aspen Institute’s Healthy Communities 2023 fellowship

Cultivating healthy communities is the goal for Sara Masoud, PhD(c), MPH, as she joins nine other change makers from across the country as a 2023 Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellow. With plans to use her lived and learned experience to advocate for solutions and communicate topics surrounding those effected by dementia, Masoud will continue to make a positive impact in the San Antonio area and beyond.

Masoud currently serves as Program Manager for Caring for the Caregiver at the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing. She is a former family caregiver and researcher who creates spaces for communities impacted by dementia to gather, collaborate, educate and advocate for research that matters to them.

“I am really proud to be representing our community engaged research here in South Texas through this experience,” Masoud said. “For the next year I will be receiving mentorship from highly experienced journalists and PR strategists to share our local messages on a global platform.”

Through the Aspen Institute Healthy Communities Fellowship, Masoud will receive individualized and tailored communication, narrative and leadership training and coaching. As a locally rooted leader, she will be equipped with communication, leadership and advocacy training to drive change in the community. Masoud will learn to write opinion pieces, devise advocacy plans, conduct interviews and establish a social media presence to position herself as an expert.

Masoud is driven by her steadfast belief that those closest to an issue should be the leaders of research that affects them. As a Palestinian-American raised in a Texas border town who cared for her grandfather living with dementia, she struggled to find inclusive, supportive care. She recognized the need for research to understand the lived experiences of those impacted by dementia and how to support them.

By partnering to co-lead research with families and communities impacted by dementia, she aims to eliminate the discrepancy between the needs of communities and the priorities of research that informs dementia care. Together, Masoud and her partners are defining a future in which research can be open and accessible to communities who have the right to dictate how science can improve their ability to thrive in spite of dementia.

Dr. Cindy Sickora, Dr. Carole White and Dr. Lixin Song all encouraged me to take this opportunity and it has already been extremely enlightening and fulfilling,” Masoud said. “Thank you for the motivation and support.”

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