CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The International African American Museum (IAAM) hosted a conversation and short film screening Friday focused on health and best practices for combatting disease.

The screening was for the short film “Small Miracles” and the IAAM partnered with the BrightFocus Foundation for Friday’s showing, which focused on participating in clinical trials and the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

“A little-known fact I think for some is that African Americans suffer Alzheimer’s and dementia at twice the rate of the rest of the population,” IAAM’s president and CEO Dr. Tonya Matthews said. “So, it’s really important that we engage in those conversations, and we are rarely involved in clinical trials at the scale where we need to get that information.”

The museum partnered with the BrightFocus Foundation for the event. The organization is a leading funder of research to defeat Alzheimer’s, macular degeneration and glaucoma.

“They’re very interested in diversity and rural communities,” Matthews said. “So, they reached out to the International African American Museum to see if we could partner for a preview screening of some movies they’re doing about some work being done in Valdosta, Georgia.”

“Small Miracles” was the film being previewed at Friday’s screening.

“Small Miracles talks about trying to engage a small, rural community down in Georgia in clinical trials around Alzheimer’s,” Matthews said, “and while the intention was good, there was some learnings along the way which is you don’t show up in a community when you need something, you show up in a community when they need something.”

Matthews says she wants those who attended to leave feeling empowered, hopeful and to remain curious.

“Curing a disease seems difficult,” she said. “It seems way too big for us to handle, but community-by-community, conversation-by-conversation and participation and self-education is always the way to get through these things. So, I want folks to leave with a renewed sense of ‘I can,’ and a renewed sense of ‘Here’s what I’m going to do next.’”

Friday’s film screening and panel discussion was followed by an opportunity for audience members to ask questions to several health experts.