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ACE Alzheimer Center Barcelona, commitment to people

ACE Alzheimer Center Barcelona, commitment to people

Miren Jone Gurrutxaga Tellería, General Manager

What is Ace Alzheimer Center Barcelona?

It is a non-profit organization dedicated to people with dementia and their families. With more than 25 years of experience, we are current pioneers in diagnosis, treatment, research, and training.

When did you start working at the company and when was it founded?

Psychologist Lluís Tárraga and neurologist Mercè Boada founded Ace in 1995. I started working at Ace in 1999.

What do you like most about your job?

Being able to look at people and families living with Alzheimer's and knowing that everything we do is to improve their quality of life so that one day Alzheimer's will be history.

And the least?

Seeing the impact of dementia on families.

What do you think your company excels at?

Ace is a leading entity in many aspects: we have the first online diagnostic screening test, one of the largest Alzheimer's genetic databases in the world, we are one of the best-recruiting centers in clinical trials in the world, we have the first-day hospital for people with dementia under 65... as you can see, it is a source of pride, but also a big responsibility to lead this entity.

What is your main challenge?

Currently, the challenge is the early detection. Also, the digital transformation. The pandemic has helped us take giant steps in that direction, but there is still a long way to go. We want to be able to bring the excellent diagnostics we provide to anyone in the world who does not have a medical center nearby, and to be able to give them comprehensive care.

Where is your company located? Do you know why this location was chosen?

Ace currently has several physical locations in Les Corts, Barcelona. It was originally founded in that district because of the good connection it has with the rest of the city.

What do you like the most about the neighborhood where you work?

That it integrates very well the closeness of people, characteristic of smaller areas, with the fact of being immersed in a large metropolis. In addition, it is an area full of families, with older adults and children.

How important is Barcelona for your company?

The truth is that Barcelona has always been very present since our beginnings. So much that in 2021 we decided to create a new corporate image and naming: from ACE Foundation to Ace Alzheimer Center Barcelona.

That’s why, the Barcelona brand is essential for several reasons. Firstly, we are fortunate to have one of the best public health systems. On the other hand, a large dementia research hub has been formed in Barcelona in recent years. There are public and private hospitals, research centers, and private entities and foundations dedicated to it. It is very evident in international projects, where you often find more than one center in Barcelona.

The crux of the matter is to make the most of this public-private initiative and to be able to channel all this research power through co-financing and cooperation with competent institutions.

Which city would you compare Barcelona with?

From my point of view, Barcelona cannot be included in a single comparison: it is such a multifaceted city that, in any case, we can compare features or ways of doing things with other cities. For example, we can compare the power of health research in Barcelona with the main European and international research capitals.

What city model do you think Barcelona should look like?

I think Barcelona is a city model itself. I think it shares characteristics with some of the most important European capitals such as Paris or Berlin but maintains the charm of a city that knows how to combine history, art, innovation, and science.

What good practices from other cities would you like Barcelona to adopt?

Initiatives that encourage older people with dementia to be integrated into society: that Alzheimer's or dementia is not a condemnation to ostracism, but that they can continue to participate in life in society. For this, not only institutional support is needed, but also aware citizenship is key, as well as the support of the network of organizations and associations that already exists in Barcelona.

What do you ask of the Barcelona of the future?

An inclusive city with dementia, a city that favors research in which the administration supports families who must live with a person with Alzheimer's disease. That is the city I hope we reach in the not-too distant future.

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