The National Certification Board for Alzheimer Care (NCBAC™) is rooted in the traditions of the University of Chicago. Dr. Donna Surges Tatum became aware of quality of caregiver issues in Alzheimer care through a student of hers at the University of Chicago – Graham School. The student was president of a company of assisted living homes for persons with Alzheimer disease and other dementias. As part of her company’s training program for caregivers, a certificate was given to them upon completion of the course. Because of Dr. Surges Tatum’s interest in quality delivery of healthcare, she began to investigate Alzheimer care and soon discovered there was no independent national board that administers a healthcare credential given to persons involved in Alzheimer care.
Meaningful Measurement, founded by Dr. Surges Tatum, undertook and made the commitment to investigate, and if needed, develop and support a national examination, which would then lead to certification in the area of Alzheimer care. Dr. Surges Tatum and colleagues spent a significant amount of time and research to identify skills, job tasks and competencies necessary to caring for persons with dementia. They determined that there is a distinct body of knowledge necessary to competently perform the job of caring for people with dementia. They also determined that there is a distinct body of knowledge for individuals who provide education and training to the caregivers.
In October 2004, Meaningful Measurement organized the first meeting of interdisciplinary experts at the Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. These individuals discussed the feasibility of developing examinations and offering certification credentials for the Alzheimer caregiver and the Alzheimer educator. The decision was made to move forward to develop national certification examinations in these areas. The NCBAC™ employed the healthcare certification/credentialing model to implement the CAC (Certified Alzheimer Caregiver) and CAEd (Certified Alzheimer Educator) certifications.