Directors Guild Foundation Makes Ten Year Commitment to MPTF In Support of Cognitive Wellness Programs

DGA Foundation logo

November 6, 2014

On November 6, the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) announced a ten year commitment from the Directors Guild Foundation (DGF) to support an ambitious research program exploring the relationship between cognitive health and wellness programs. First up is a two year study to assess whether the cognitive benefits of combining memory training with physical exercise programs delays the onset of Alzheimer’s dementia symptoms. MPTF will partner with the UCLA Longevity Center on the first phase of this research.

“The Directors Guild Foundation is proud to be a long-standing supporter of MPTF and its programs to enhance the wellbeing of the entertainment community,” said DGF Chair Donald Petrie. “We are excited that our contribution enables MPTF to be at the forefront of the exciting work it is doing with the UCLA Longevity Center. We hope this work will add to the quality of life of our members and that of the entire entertainment community, helping each of us to remain active longer than ever before. The establishment of the DGA Foundation Cognitive Wellness Program is the first step in a long term commitment towards supporting this research effort.”

“Recent scientific evidence indicates that lifestyle habits such as physical and mental exercise reduce Alzheimer’s risk and may forestall symptom onset,” explains Gary Small, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry & Biobehavioral Sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and Director of the UCLA Longevity Center. “We hope that this study will provide us with a greater insight into these factors,” Small adds. “Over five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.”

“This collaboration between UCLA and MPTF expands our existing relationship and creates new avenues for cutting-edge research to be translated into measures we can take to improve our brain health,” says Scott Kaiser, M.D., MPTF Chief Innovation Officer, who will lead the study for MPTF. “The Directors Guild Foundation grant will allow us to develop novel programs, directly informed by our research, and implement them to both improve the health and well-being of our community and have a broader impact in a world facing an alarming rise in the prevalence of dementia,” Kaiser concludes.

Over 140 entertainment industry member “volunteers” will be recruited into the program at The Saban Center for Health & Wellness on MPTF’s Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills. MPTF and UCLA Longevity Center will publish the criteria for volunteers shortly and begin identifying participants thereafter.

Founded in 1945, the DGF has a rich history of generosity, providing confidential loans to Directors Guild of America members who are facing short term financial hardship. In addition to assisting members in need, the Foundation is also a contributor to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, supporting programs and services to better serve our members and their families. Additionally, the Foundation supports The Actors Fund, which is a national nonprofit human services organization that provides for the welfare of all entertainment professionals. The Foundation is supported by the generosity of Guild members, fellow entertainment industry partners and corporate donors.

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DGA Foundation Cognitive Wellness Program
A Directors Guild Foundation event