Dustin Ziegler named 2019 Bowen Center Torchbearer

POSTED: May 21, 2019

Dustin Ziegler is only 35, but he has a clear vision of what aging should look like in Indiana, especially for those suffering from dementia. Ziegler, director of community programs for CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions, brought the Dementia Friends movement to Indiana. He worked in partnership with Conner Prairie to create the area’s first Memory Café and collaborated with local emergency responders to help them better treat those with the disease.

Today, Ziegler received the 2019 Bowen Center Torchbearer Award for his leadership to advance policies to improve health and well-being. Ziegler is only the second person to receive the award, which was presented during The Indiana University School of Medicine Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research & Policy’s annual Indiana Health Workforce Summit.

“Dustin works tirelessly to break down the stigma experienced by Hoosiers diagnosed with dementia,” said Marnie Baker, Bowen Center program coordinator. “He has been instrumental in bringing key stakeholders to the table in order to identify problems, work on goals and collaborate on solutions surrounding dementia care.”

Indiana was the 10th state in the country to establish Dementia Friends, which works to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia. Ziegler has used this grassroots movement to open doors with health systems, state government officials and emergency responders. He has worked with Dr. Michael Kaufman, director of emergency medical services at Indiana Department of Homeland Security, to create an online educational tool for the EMS workforce. The goal is to provide insights to better guide emergency runs where the patient may have dementia.

“Status quo is not in Dustin’s vocabulary,” said Mary Durell, CICOA’s interim CEO. “When Dustin sees a need, he works to find a solution, and that’s what he’s done in helping improve the quality of life for people with dementia and helping us all better understand what we can do.”

Ziegler joined CICOA in 2016, after working four years at the Alzheimer’s Association. As the aging population continues to grow, dementia is one of the most dreaded diseases, because it is rooted in the fear of not knowing. Education can help alleviate some of those fears.

“Dustin takes on this movement as a personal weight to make things better for those around him. He sees all that we could be doing and strives daily to move the needle in Indiana to think of the future,” said Jean Ross, a nurse and CICOA volunteer who has worked alongside Ziegler to grow the Dementia Friends Indiana movement.

Learn more about Dementia Friends Indiana or sign up to become a Dementia Friend at www.dementiafriendsindiana.org.

CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions is a nonprofit organization and the designated Aging and Disability Resource Center serving Central Indiana. CICOA provides a wide range of services for older adults, people with disabilities and family caregivers, including care management, home health care, home-delivered and neighborhood meals, transportation, home accessibility modifications, respite care and caregiver assistance.

The Bowen Center for Health Workforce Research and Policy at Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine, is engaged in research to inform health policy, improve health care delivery and promote population health. A large portion of Bowen Center’s current research focuses on the health workforce and the influence of various health care delivery models on access to care.

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