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First Private Alzheimer’s Clinical Research Site in Region

Alzheimer’s World Directs Eyes on the Rio Grande Valley as Acclaimed Family Physician Opens New Facility in Area with Highest Alzheimer’s Rate in the Country

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The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP) and Dr. Antonio Falcon celebrated the opening of El Faro Health & Therapeutics in Rio Grande City, TX. Courtesy Image
The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP) and Dr. Antonio Falcon celebrated the opening of El Faro Health & Therapeutics in Rio Grande City, TX. Courtesy Image

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Rio Grande City, Texas – The Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation® (GAP) and Dr. Antonio Falcon celebrated the opening of El Faro Health & Therapeutics in Rio Grande City, TX on Saturday, marking a historic day for South Texas and the medical research community across the nation. This groundbreaking initiative is the first private clinical research site in Starr County, which has the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease in the country. El Faro will bring new Alzheimer’s treatments, resources, and research opportunities to the region with the specific goal of increasing Hispanic participation in clinical trials. The first study to be conducted at El Faro will be GAP’s groundbreaking Bio-Hermes Study, which has made a landmark commitment to enroll at least 20% Black and Hispanic participants.

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Starr County – which is 97% Hispanic – has the highest prevalence of Alzheimer’s in the country at nearly 23%. Nationally, Hispanics are 1.5x more likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias but are also less likely to be diagnosed due to misdiagnosis, lack of accessibility, language barriers, and certain health factors. As a result, Hispanics are often diagnosed later in the disease progression, with fewer options for treatment and research.

“El Faro Health & Therapeutics will improve access to Alzheimer’s research and care for people in the Rio Grande Valley and has the potential to alter the course of clinical trial design industry wide,” said Dr. Antonio Falcon, founder of El Faro Health & Therapeutics. “The Alzheimer’s public health crisis happening in Starr County and in Hispanic communities across the nation highlights why we need to direct our attention to providing clinical trials directly in underrepresented communities.”

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El Faro is the latest enterprise of local renowned family physician Dr. Antonio Falcon, who decided to establish a research and care site in his native Rio Grande City to increase clinical trial participation in the region. El Faro joins the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation’s network of clinical trial sites (GAP-NET) with access to resources and innovation to achieve faster, more conclusive clinical trials. 

“El Faro will be a case study in how to bring complex clinical trials and resources to underserved, rural communities,” said John Dwyer, President of GAP. “In bringing Bio-Hermes to Rio Grande City, we are demonstrating to the world that it is possible to achieve true equity in Alzheimer’s research with collaboration from local leaders and communities.”

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