The Courage To Cure Disease

How can you lead with optimism and empathy when you’re trying to prevent and cure a disease as devastating as Alzheimer’s?

George Vradenburg, Chairman and Co-Founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s, discussed these challenges — and the broader issues of brain health — as part of what it means to be an Impact Executive.

Vradenburg has an accomplished record in the private sector. Educated and trained as a lawyer, he served in senior executive and legal positions at CBS, FOX, and AOL/Time Warner before turning his attention to eradicating Alzheimer’s.

Over 50 million families today are suffering from this disease around the world, and between three and four million people will die this year of Alzheimer’s. Vradenburg said, “I had a drive to solve a problem that was attacking my family.” In 2010, he co-founded UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.

Vradenburg believes that companies must pay attention to their human capital and calls on corporate executives to consider the cognitive health of their employees.

“In part because of COVID, and in part because of the economic stress and distress created by the responses to COVID, that [the number of cases of] mental health issues, …is much, much higher,” he explained. 

Vradenburg expects humility and empathy from business leaders today. He believes as executives “you are not solely responsible for your own success, so be humble about how you’ve achieved what you’ve achieved and humble and empathetic with respect to the people you serve.” 

Despite the challenges of tackling Alzheimer’s, Vradenburg looks forward with optimism and ambition.

This year, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s hopes to create a system in which a wide variety of affordable tests are widely available to low-income populations that do not have access to the traditional healthcare system. He also hopes to prevent a third of the cases and mobilize public health interventions that will help make this possible.

You can watch the full discussion here: