Summary of expertise and experience – Members of the Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia

Members of External Advisory Bodies (EABs) must disclose information about expertise, experience, and affiliations and interests relevant to the group's mandate as declared by members. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) considers these declarations as part of the appointment/membership process.

Member responses


William Reichman, Co-Chair

Dr. William E. Reichman, an internationally-known expert in geriatric mental health and dementia care, is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Baycrest, one of the world's premier academic health sciences centers focused on aging, seniors care and brain function. Dr. Reichman is also Professor of Psychiatry of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. His academic interests have included Alzheimer's drug development and testing, behavioral changes in dementia, and the character and quality of dementia and mental health services delivered in congregate geriatric care settings. Dr. Reichman is a former President of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry and is President-elect of the International Psychogeriatric Association. He has advised government in the United States, Canada and China on the impact of an aging society on health care demand. Among honors received, Dr. Reichman is named among the Best Doctors in America and Canada, and has been recognized by the New Jersey Society on Aging as Gerontologist of the Year. He has been quoted by all of the major media outlets in North America. Dr. Reichman is a recipient of a Bronze Telly Award for a documentary film that he co-created and hosted entitled Reflections of Memory Lost: Understanding Alzheimer's disease.

Pauline Tardif, Co-Chair

Pauline Tardif is the National Director, Fundraising and Partnerships with United Way Centraide Canada, working to improve lives and build community by engaging individuals and mobilizing collective action.  She recently served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Alzheimer Society of Canada (2017-2020), the leading nationwide health charity supporting people living with all forms of dementia, as well as their caregivers and their families. She also served as the Vice-President of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada’s Ontario Division (2007-2013), and as Executive Director for ORBIS Canada (2004-2007) and the Ontario & Nunavut Division of Muscular Dystrophy Canada. (1995-2004). As a former caregiver of a parent living with dementia, she brings first-hand knowledge of the impacts of dementia on individuals, families and communities. Pauline Tardif holds a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Political Science and History from the University of Ottawa. 


Howard Chertkow

Howard Chertkow is a practicing cognitive neurologist, founder and Director of the Jewish General Hospital/McGill University Memory Clinic and a Professor of Neurology at McGill University. Dr. Chertkow is an active researcher in the area of dementia, and a Scientific Director with the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging. In 2014, he was elected to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2011, he was the only Canadian member of the National Institutes of Health team that revised the diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Chertkow is a past president of the Consortium of Canadian Centres for Clinical Cognitive Research, and received the Irma M. Parhad Award for Excellence for his outstanding contributions to Alzheimer's disease research. In 2006, Dr. Chertkow chaired the Third Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia, which brought together many of Canada's experts to formulate new guidelines for physicians. In 2005, his team published the Montreal Cognitive Assessment, which has become an international standard for diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment. Dr. Chertkow studied Medicine at the University of Western Ontario (M.D.) and trained in Neurology at McGill University (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians).

Lucie Clark

Lucie Loretta Clark lost her husband to frontotemporal dementia in May 2015. Clark cared for him at home for several years until he moved into a long-term care home. Her dementia caregiving was also extended to her mother who had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. From the start of her husband's struggle with dementia, Clark has been a strong advocate for those with dementia as well as their caregivers. She has spoken at several educational events and volunteered to share her experience with nursing students at the University of Saskatchewan, and with students at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Medical Diagnostics Program. She also spoke to continuing care aides at a long-term care facility in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and to students in Saskatoon. Clark was an active fundraiser for the Alzheimer Society for more than ten years, through the annual Walk for Alzheimer's in Saskatoon and as co-coordinator for the annual Coffee Break at Saskatchewan Polytechnic. Prior to retirement, Clark held a position as an instructor in the Chemical Technology Program at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic for over 25 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science with major in Chemistry, and has been the recipient of a Faculty Awards for Excellence: Teaching from Saskatchewan Polytechnic.

Odette Gould

Odette Gould is a Professor of Psychology at Mount Allison University, an Adjunct Research Scientist with the Horizon Health Network, and an Adjunct Professor with the Centre d'étude du vieillissement at the Université de Moncton. Gould has been carrying out research in the field of psychology and aging for over 25 years. She has published over 50 peer-reviewed scholarly articles in national and international journals, and presented over 100 papers at gerontology and psychology conferences. Her work has focused on medication adherence in older adults, decision-making on health care and intergenerational communication. Her recent work addresses the experiences of front-line workers in nursing homes. Gould is also an active volunteer with the Alzheimer's Society of New Brunswick, and presents educational sessions for caregivers and family members. Recently, she co-founded a dementia caregiver support group in her community, and has been involved in community education about dementia-friendly communities. Gould has felt the direct impact of dementia in her own family, having been a caregiver for two close family members living with dementia. She holds a Bachelor of Art in Psychology from the Université de Moncton, and a Doctorate in Life Span Development from the University of Victoria.

Michel Haché

Michel Haché is an active advocate for a long-term care strategy for persons with dementia. Now retired, Haché worked in health care for over 30 years. During his last 20 years in the workforce, he was the Executive Director of a long-term care home whose mission was to serve patients with psychogeriatric issues. Every day, he witnessed the difficulties families living with or caring for persons with the disease experienced. After listening to the people's needs, his employer decided to expand the services by opening an affordable housing complex for people with decreasing independence; Haché managed this complex during his years of service. Committed to improving the lives of New Brunswick residents, he was a Board Member for the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes, and currently sits on the Board of the Alzheimer Society of New Brunswick. He continues to provide his services to his former employer and the provincial government as a coordinator/consultant in implementing programs that would allow people in the community to live at home for as long as possible. His involvement in several community-based organizations makes him a committed volunteer. Haché holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the Université de Moncton.

Jim Mann

Jim Mann is a retired executive and entrepreneur, a volunteer and a dementia advocate. From 1994 to 2008, Mann ran his own consulting firm, Capital Business Strategies Ltd., following a 25-year executive career with Canadian Airlines/CP Air. In February 2007, at the age of 58, Mann was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease. He is a former Board Member of the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) and Alzheimer Society of BC, and currently co-chairs ASC's Advisory Group of People Living with Dementia. Mann is an active member of several groups and initiatives, including BC's Leadership Group of People Living with Dementia, AGE-WELL NCE Research Management Committee, the Global Council on Alzheimer's Disease, Access Transit Users' Advisory Committee, the Patient Council of BC SUPPORT Unit, the STAR Institute, and University of BC's Health Integrated eHealth Curriculum Working Group. Mann is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Governor General's Medal for Volunteers, the Change-Maker Award from the Neurological Health Charities of Canada, Clyde and Lanny Slade Leadership Award, the Kenneth G. Murray Partnership in Dementia Award from the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program, and the Youth Parliament of BC Alumni Society Award for Outstanding Leadership.

Isabel Petit

For over six years, Isabel Petit was her husband's caregiver. He had Alzheimer's disease and cancer, which took his life on May 10, 2017. She is a dementia advocate, and serves as a spokesperson and a member of the committee on patients and caregivers for the Fédération québécoise des Sociétés Alzheimer, the provincial voice for the twenty regional Alzheimer Societies around Quebec. As part of her work with the organization, Mrs. Petit hosted a webinar discussing partnership and teamwork between residents with dementia and their loved ones, which was part of the series Conférences mémorables 2018. In 2017, she participated in the working committee for FACIL'iti, a customizable web portal with the goal to improve the browsing experience of seniors and people with disabilities. Isabel is also a member of the Optimizing Practices, Use, Care and Services - Antipsychotics (OPUS-AP) project with the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. The OPUS-AP project is dedicated to improving the quality and experience of care in long-term care centres for people with dementia, their loved ones and staff. She has also participated in several interviews and round-tables with Radio-Canada, LCN Canada and La Semaine magazine discussing issues related to mental health, Alzheimer's disease and medical assistance in dying.

Kenneth Rockwood

Kenneth Rockwood is a Professor of Medicine (Geriatric Medicine and Neurology) and the Kathryn Allen Weldon Professor of Alzheimer Research at Dalhousie University. He is a member and co-lead of the Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration and Aging, and leads the quality of life theme, and the Knowledge Translation Program. He is a member of the Lancet Commission on Dementia and the Bishop's Committee on Medical Aid in Dying of the Anglican Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. A leading authority on frailty, Dr. Rockwood has more than 400 peer-reviewed publications and nine books to his credit. He has also co‐written and co‐produced an award‐winning short film about Alzheimer's disease entitled Dancing Inside: An Alzheimer story/ La danse du Coeur. Along with a degree in medicine from Memorial University, Dr. Rockwood holds a Special Certificate in Internal Medicine, a fellowship with the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, a Certificate of Special Competence in Geriatric Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, and a Diploma in Geriatric Medicine from Dalhousie University. Dr. Rockwood also serves as the President and Chief Scientific Officer of DementiaGuide Inc., a firm that provides information for the creation of individualized dementia care plans.

Barbara Shellian

Barb Shellian is the Director of Rural Health Alberta Health Services Calgary zone, with the operational responsibility for continuing care supportive living and long term care facilities. Shellian is former President of the Canadian Nurses Association, the national professional voice of registered nurses in Canada. Her leadership was key to establishing the Canadian Association for Rural and Remote Nursing, a national organization that seeks to advance this unique specialty of rural and remote nursing practice through recognition, research and education. As the inaugural president (2004-2006) of this organization, Shellian began Alberta's rural educator telehealth networking conferences to give nurses an opportunity to share ideas and strategies. Shellian is the co-chair of the International Council of Nurses' rural and remote nursing network, and is acknowledged internationally for her work to raise awareness and improve the practice of nurses working in these settings. Under her leadership as Director of the Bow Valley Corridor's rural health and community facilities, innovative programs have been established. From 1995 to 1997, she served on numerous committees as the President of the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta. Shellian is the recipient of a Spirit of Planetree award, a People First Award from the Calgary Health Region for her work in patient- and family-centered care, and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her distinguished service to nursing in Canada.

Samir K. Sinha

Dr. Samir Sinha is the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network and the Peter and Shelagh Godsoe Chair in Geriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital. Dr. Sinha is also an Associate Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Family and Community Medicine, and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2012, Dr. Sinha was also appointed by the Government of Ontario to serve as the expert lead of Ontario's Seniors Strategy. A Rhodes Scholar, after completing his undergraduate medical studies at Western University, he obtained a Master's degree in Medical History and a Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Oxford's Institute of Ageing. Dr. Sinha also completed postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Toronto, and served as the inaugural Erickson/Reynolds Fellow in Clinical Geriatrics, Education and Leadership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Internationally, Dr. Sinha is a Fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, and has consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities in Britain, China, Singapore and the United States on the implementation and administration of integrated and innovative models of geriatric care.

Saskia Sivananthan

Dr. Saskia Sivananthan, an international strategy and policy advisor on dementia care, is the Chief Research and (Knowledge Translation Officer) KTE Officer at the Alzheimer Society of Canada. She oversees the Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) and is co-lead for the inaugural nonpharmacological interventions working group of the Canadian Consensus Guidelines on Dementia, which developed the first national recommendations on psychosocial interventions for the management and treatment of dementia. Previously, Dr. Sivananthan served as a senior strategy and policy advisor for the World Health Organization (WHO). She co-drafted the WHO’s Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia which was unanimously adopted at the 170th World Health Assembly by all 194 member-states. It identifies key priorities and tangible actions for countries to transform their health systems and frames the agenda for global collaboration. Dr. Sivananthan and her team were also responsible for the architecture of the WHO Global Dementia Observatory, an online platform for collating data to support countries to develop evidence-based policies in dementia and monitor progress toward targets outlined in the Global Dementia Action Plan. Dr. Sivananthan is a neuroscientist and health data scientist who uses population-level data to understand aging.  She has worked in health system development and with governments on health services, policy and strategies to improve health for older adults with complex needs and those living with dementia.

Jennifer Walker

Jennifer Walker is a researcher and epidemiologist who focuses on Indigenous use of Indigenous health and health services data across the life course, with a focus on older adults. Dr. Walker collaborates closely with Indigenous organizations and communities to address health information needs, such as prescription opioid use, chronic disease, and mental health. She is an Assistant Professor at the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University. In addition, she is a Core Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, and has an appointment at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Dr. Walker is a Principal Investigator on two Canadian Institutes of Health Research grants, including the First Nations Aging Study, which examines age-related frailty and wellness from First Nations’ perspectives, and the development and validation of a Canadian Indigenous Cognitive Assessment tool. She is also a co-principal investigator on an Ontario SPOR Support Unit-funded study that aims to address diabetes inn First Nations people in Ontario. Dr. Walker holds a Doctorate degree in Community Health Sciences (Epidemiology) from the University of Calgary. Walker is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River.

Mary Beth Wighton

Mary Beth Wighton is a writer, blogger, inspirational speaker, and a founding member and co-chair of Dementia Advocacy Canada, an organization of people living with dementia and partners whose goal is to have an active and respected role in decisions about all programs and policies that impact their lives. Wighton was diagnosed in 2012 with probable frontotemporal dementia at the age of 45, and since then, has become an advocate for people living with dementia, both at local and international levels. Wighton is also considered a pioneer in promoting the rights of people with dementia, inspiring Canadians to work alongside particularly vulnerable and excluded people, and to build coherent supports and platforms for co-creation and partnership building aligned with a vibrant, resilient and inclusive democratic Canada. Her work crosses many initiatives including membership in the Canadian Dementia Working Group, which is a Task Force consortium of non-governmental disability organizations in Canada; the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative's Patient Community Advisory Committee; and the Dementia Capacity Planning Clinical Advisory Committee. Previously, representing the Ontario Dementia Advisory Group, Wighton has also served as a witness for the Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology for its study on dementia in the Canadian society.

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