New alliance to advance dementia research in Canada
November 2, 2023 – Toronto, Ontario – Canadian Institutes of Health Research
In 2019, the Government of Canada released Canada’s first national dementia strategy to address the significant and growing impact of dementia on people in Canada. With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and other organizations, researchers across Canada are providing evidence to support the three national objectives of the strategy: to prevent dementia, advance new therapies and find a cure, and improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and their caregivers.
Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced a new collaborative initiative that will further strengthen and advance dementia research in Canada. With leadership from the CIHR Institute of Aging, the Dementia Research and Innovation Funders Alliance will bring together representatives of the brain health and dementia research funding community in Canada to align future research investments.
The Alliance held its inaugural meeting in Toronto today with representatives from the brain health and dementia research community and leaders from CIHR and the Alliance’s other founding members: Alzheimer Society of Canada, Brain Canada, Centre for Aging + Brain Health Innovation, Healthcare Excellence Canada, and the Public Health Agency of Canada.
The Alliance will provide a forum for funders and other partners in research to work together to advance dementia research, promote training, scan the current dementia research landscape, compile and analyze data of all Canadian funded dementia research, identify research gaps and needs, and mobilize knowledge gained through dementia research.
“We remain strongly committed to working with our partners across Canada to support Canadians living with diagnosed dementia, their families, and caregivers. We are investing in research that will deepen our understanding of dementia and improve dementia treatment and care while also promoting brain health.”
The Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
“We are delighted to launch the Dementia Research and Innovation Funders Alliance with our partners in the brain health and dementia research community in Canada. The Alliance will provide a platform for us to collaborate and to speak with one voice as we continue to invest in research that will improve the lives of people living with dementia and caregivers and promote brain health in aging.”
Dr. Jane Rylett
Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging
“The Alzheimer Society of Canada is committed to funding the best and brightest minds in dementia research in Canada – sparking big ideas from the ideation stage to impact. We’re honoured to join with like-minded organizations through the Dementia Alliance, and together, change the future of dementia for millions of people in Canada.”
Chief Executive Officer, Alzheimer Society of Canada
“Brain Canada plays a unique and invaluable role as the national convener of the brain research community. We are thrilled to be part of this collaborative effort aimed at advancing dementia research, with the ultimate goal of enhancing the quality of life of people in Canada impacted by Alzheimer’s and dementia.”
Dr. Viviane Poupon
President and CEO, Brain Canada
“Researchers require resources to fully dedicate themselves to their work – generating new knowledge, discovering cures, and identifying treatments to enhance the quality of life for people, like me, living with dementia. By supporting research, this Alliance will benefit all of us impacted by dementia and all of those who will be diagnosed with the disease for years to come.”
Paul Lea, a person living with dementia
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms affecting brain function. It is characterized by a decline in cognitive abilities, including memory; awareness of person, place, and time; language; basic math skills; judgement; and planning. Dementia can also affect mood and behaviour.
According to the latest national data, almost 477,000 people aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with dementia in Canada. Of those living with the condition, nearly two-thirds are women. In the last two decades, the number of Canadians living with dementia more than doubled, and as our population ages, this number is expected to continue to increase.
Launched in 2019, Canada’s national dementia strategy, A Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire, sets out a vision for the future and identifies common principles and national objectives to help guide actions by all levels of government, non-government organizations, communities, families and individuals. Research and innovation is one of five pillars underlying the strategy.
In 2022, CIHR’s Institute of Aging launched the Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment in Aging Research Initiative, with a budget of more than $40 million, including $20 million in new funding from Budget 2022, to expand the scope of brain health and dementia research at CIHR. A key component of this initiative is the Dementia Research and Innovation Funders Alliance.
Office of the Honourable Mark Holland
Minister of Health
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.
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