Dementia Spring Foundation
Dementia is one of the most important public health imperatives of our age, affecting 1 in 3 persons over 85 today and estimated to affect 14 million adults by 2050. As awareness and community resources have increased, people with dementia are able to live with meaning and dignity in a way that was unimaginable in generations past.
Visual and performing artists have begun telling the stories of people with dementia, and therapeutic arts programs have been shown to improve quality of life for both patients and families struggling to manage the disease. Unfortunately, both of these artistic avenues are woefully underfunded.
With this in mind, the Dementia Spring Foundation was founded in 2020 by Dr. Marc Rothman, a physician and geriatrician in Louisville, Kentucky, and Sisi Myint, a bookbinder and amateur photographer, in order to connect the dementia and arts communities, raise awareness and provide meaningful outlets for creativity among people with dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
With a vision of “every dementia community inspired by art,” Dementia Spring enriches the therapeutic healing of people living with dementia through the creative arts. We provide grants to creative artists and artisans who are inspired to tell the stories of people with dementia, and fund local artistic programs that cater to people with memory loss.
Over the past year we have focused on clarifying our mission, vision and values, content development, operations and building out the organization. We have grown from a concept to a staff of 11 professionals from across the country with expertise in website design, written and filmed content, social media, fundraising and nonprofit administration. Our focus for 2021 is on grantseeking and grantmaking initiatives, the launch of an updated website, strategic social media and advisory board recruitment.
Dr. Marc Rothman began working with Alzheimer’s patients in medical school at New York University’s Alzheimer’s & Dementia Research Center, where he came to appreciate the importance of interdisciplinary team care and the role that non-medical, social and community supports play in keeping dementia patients safe and engaged at home.
He conducted research in medical decision making by people with dementia while an intern and resident in Internal Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital, and cared for Alzheimer’s patients and their families in Yale’s Dorothy Adler Geriatric Assessment Center as a fellow in Geriatric Medicine.
He then provided and oversaw post-acute rehabilitation and nursing home care in San Francisco for the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, including palliative care and home-based primary care for patients with dementia.
A certified nursing home medical director, Dr. Rothman served for several years as the Chief Medical Officer of the Nursing Center Division of Kindred Healthcare, Inc., one of the largest providers of post-acute rehabilitation with over 250 nursing homes nationwide. He went on to serve as Kindred’s Chief Medical Officer with responsibility for all home-based, post-acute and facility-based services including home health, hospice, housecalls, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, nursing homes and long-term acute care hospitals.
After leaving Kindred he joined Aspire Healthcare, the nation’s largest provider of palliative care where he treated patients with dementia, cancer and other life-threatening conditions in their homes, and oversaw a practice of over 200 nurse practitioners and physicians in over 40 markets.
Today Dr. Rothman is the Chief Medical Officer of Signify Health where he is responsible for clinical quality and strategy, and leads a medical practice of nearly 3,000 providers who deliver evaluative and diagnostic services to patients in the comfort of their own homes nationwide.
Dr. Rothman has experienced Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias firsthand in his family and friends as well. His Uncle Allen struggled with fronto-temporal dementia for many years before his passing, and his Aunt Sandy has endured – and braved – over 15 years of Alzheimer’s Disease in New York City with the support and doting attention of her husband Ira. Together they founded the Alzheimer’s & Dementia Resource Center of New York City focused on art programs that cater to people with memory loss, and Ira sits on the board of the Dementia Spring Foundation.