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.

Advisory Board Biographies

Dr. Zahinoor Ismail, Co-Chair

Zahinoor Ismail is a clinician scientist and professor of psychiatry, neurology, epidemiology, and pathology at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and O'Brien Institute for Public Health, at the University of Calgary. He has over 20 years of clinical experience.

Ismail has certifications in:

  • geriatric psychiatry
  • behavioural neurology and neuropsychiatry

His research program encompasses:

  • rating scale development and measurement-based care
  • neurodegenerative disease epidemiology and diagnosis
  • dementia clinical trials of cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes
  • nosology, assessment, and management of non-cognitive markers of dementia
  • neuroimaging and biomarker studies of dementia and predementia syndromes

Ismail's research has been funded by Brain Canada, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts.

Ismail is a contributor to national and international working groups advancing education, care, and nosology of neurodegenerative diseases. He leads the Canadian Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Dementia (CCCDTD), which develops Canadian dementia guidelines. Ismail also chairs the Canadian Conference on Dementia.

He is the former academic chair of the US Alzheimer's Association International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment (ISTAART) Professional Interest Area in Neuropsychiatric Syndromes. Ismail led the ISTAART development of the criteria for the neurobehavioural syndrome Mild Behavioural Impairment (MBI) and its checklist, and co-led development of the new research criteria for biomarker and phenotypic classification of psychosis in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. He is an author on the revised International Psychogeriatric Association (IPA) criteria for Psychosis in Neurocognitive Disorders, the International Society for CNS Clinical Trials and Methodology-ISTAART criteria for Apathy in Neurocognitive Disorders, and the upcoming revision of the IPA criteria for Agitation in Neurocognitive Disorders.

Barb Shellian, Co-Chair

Barb Shellian was first appointed as a member of the board in May 2018. She was re-appointed as co-chair in 2023.

As a registered nurse, Shellian is committed to nursing practice and health care reform. She is a graduate of the Foothills Hospital School of Nursing and earned her Bachelor and Masters degrees from the University of Calgary.

Shellian is the director of rural health, Calgary zone, for Alberta Health Services and has extensive experience as a staff nurse, educator, manager and clinical nurse specialist. She is also an adjunct assistant professor for the University of Calgary's Faculty of Nursing.

Shellian has presented many papers on clinical and professional issues across Alberta and at national and international conferences. She has been instrumental in establishing a national association for rural and remote nurses and was elected as the first president of the Canadian Association of Rural and Remote Nurses.

She has received several awards, including:

  • the Calgary Health Region Peoplefirst Award in recognition of selfless endeavours
  • the Spirit of Planetree Award in recognition of Patient Family Centered Care
  • the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contribution to Canada and nursing.

Shellian served as the president of the Canadian Nurses Association from 2016 to 2018. She is currently the editor-in-chief of the Canadian Nurse journal.

Dr. Sylvie Belleville

Sylvie Belleville is a full professor at the University of Montreal's Psychology Department and the Laboratory Director for the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM).

Belleville is recognized for her work on cognitive training for older adults and persons with mild cognitive impairment and on the prevention of age-related cognitive decline. She identified processes of compensation and plasticity in aging using brain imaging techniques.

She also developed an important research program on the neuropsychology of aging and dementia. Belleville has contributed to a better understanding of the neuropsychological deficits found in persons with very early signs of Alzheimer's disease and mild cognitive impairment. Belleville developed a cohort of well-characterized older adults with suspected prodromal Alzheimer's disease.

She has published 256 peer-reviewed articles and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Aging and Brain Plasticity. She was co-president of the advisory board for the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute of Aging and Director of the CRIUGM.

Belleville leads the Consortium for the Early Identification of Alzheimer’s Disease and the national "Cognitive Intervention, Cognitive Reserve and Brain Plasticity" and "Brain Health Support Program" for the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging.

She has received many prizes in recognition of her work including:

  • the Adrien Pinard Prize of the Quebec Psychology Research Society
  • the Professional Prize of the Quebec Psychologist Association
  • the ACFAS Léo-Pariseau prize
  • an honoris causa doctorate from Mons University and member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Dr. Habib Chaudhury

Habib Chaudhury is chair and professor in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. He is also the associate director of the Gerontology Research Centre at Simon Fraser University.

Chaudhury has extensive research experience in the field of Environmental Gerontology, specifically in the following areas:

  • supportive physical environment of long-term care facilities for people with dementia
  • dementia-friendly neighbourhood environment
  • meaning of home and personhood in dementia
  • age-friendly communities; community planning and urban design for active aging

His research projects have been funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), CapitalCare Foundation and the Centre for Health Design.

He has published extensively through peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and books. Published books include:

  • Environments in an Aging Society: Autobiographical Perspectives in Environmental Gerontology (Annual Review of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Vol 38, 2018; co-edited with F. Oswald)
  • Remembering Home: Rediscovering the Self in Dementia (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008)
  • Home and Identity in Later Life: International Perspectives (Springer Publications, 2005; co-edited with G. Rowles)

Chaudhury provides evidence-based consulting with national and international organizations in the areas of planning and design of seniors' housing and long-term care facilities. He is also affiliated with the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia at the University of British Columbia. He serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Aging and Environment and on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging advisory board.

Faye Forbes

Faye Forbes was born and raised in Nova Scotia. She is the proud mother of three grown daughters. Forbes lives in Windsor Junction and is an associate priest at St. Francis by the Lakes Anglican Church.

In 2011, she was diagnosed with dementia, specifically Alzheimer's.

She is an active member of several advisory and research groups, including:

  • Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) past Board of Directors
  • Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia Board of Directors
  • ASC's research committee and was a citizen reviewer for research grants
  • TREC (Translating Research in Elder Care) Advisory Board
  • CCNA (Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration) Epled (Engagement of People with Lived experience of Dementia)

She served on numerous research advisory committees including the N.S. Dementia Strategy, the Dementia Alliance of Canada, and participated at the national conference in Ottawa which informed the development of the National Dementia Strategy.

Forbes has been engaged to speak to many groups at the local and national level as an advocate for people living with dementia, including:

  • universities and conferences, including the G7 in 2018
  • several podcasts on living with Dementia, specifically spirituality and quality of life
  • community groups and health care personnel

Forbes teaches people that there is still more life to live after a dementia diagnosis. As a person with Alzheimer's, Forbes does not consider herself disabled, but differently-abled!

Nadine Henningsen

Nadine Henningsen is the chief executive officer of the Canadian Home Care Association and Carers Canada, a national non-profit association dedicated to strengthening integrated community-based care. With a focus on leadership, awareness, advocacy and knowledge, Henningsen spearheads the identification, spread and scale of innovative leading practices across the country.

Henningsen also influences policy and programming in home and community care through submissions and presentations to federal commissions. Henningsen works on national and international initiatives to champion the rights and issues of family caregivers. Her visionary leadership is demonstrated through the successful National Caregiver Day awareness campaigns hosted annually by Carers Canada.

As chair of the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO) executive committee, Henningsen plays a key role in providing strategic leadership and facilitating the collaborative work of the 15 member countries. Together, the members of the IACO advance key initiatives to promote a better understanding and recognition of the essential role of caregivers, along with shaping a global strategy and action plan for caregivers.

Henningsen is actively involved in several expert advisory groups and coalitions, including:

  • the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada
  • the National Advance Care Planning Advisory Committee
  • the Canadian Institute for Health Information's Shared Health Priorities Advisory Council
  • the Sanofi Specialty Care Co-Lab

Henningsen was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for her outstanding contributions to home care and family caregivers in Canada.

Dr. Pamela Jarrett

Pamela Jarrett is a geriatrician with Horizon Health Network in Saint John, New Brunswick, and an associate professor of medicine at Dalhousie University.

Jarrett is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick and Dalhousie Medical School. She holds certifications from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in both internal medicine and geriatric medicine.

Throughout her career she has cared for many older adults with dementia in their homes, hospital, and residential care facilities. She was Clinical Department Head of Geriatric Medicine in Saint John, NB and worked with the Department of Health in New Brunswick as a medical consultant.

Jarrett has been involved in the teaching of medical students, and medical residents and allied health professionals about the care of older adults. She has also been a clinical researcher and is currently a member of Canadian Consortium of Neurodegeneration in Aging.

Some of her research interests include:

  • prevention and Management of Dementia
  • falls in older hospitalized adults
  • transitions in care from hospital for older adults
  • frailty in Older adults

She holds a clinical research scholarship from the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation. Jarrett is a principal or co-principal investigator on several research projects currently funded by the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project in New Brunswick.

She was recently awarded the Lieutenant Governor's Excellence in Aging Award for New Brunswick.

Jim Mann

Jim Mann is a retired executive and entrepreneur, a volunteer, a researcher, and a dementia advocate. From 1994 to 2008, Mann ran his own consulting firm, Capital Business Strategies, following a 25-year executive career with Canadian Airlines (formally Canadian Pacific Air Lines). In February 2007, at the age of 58, Mann was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease.

During his time as a board member for the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) and Alzheimer Society of British Columbia, Mann co-chaired the ASC's Advisory Group of People Living with Dementia as they developed both an ethical framework and a guide for meaningfully engaging people living with dementia, as well as the Canadian Charter of Rights for People with Dementia.

Mann is an active member of several groups and initiatives, including:

  • Research Ethics BC
  • The CIHR Institute of Aging
  • The AGE-WELL NCE Research Management Committee
  • EPIC-AT (AgeTech, Early Professionals, Inspired Careers in AgeTech: IUnnovators of Tomorrow Health Research Training Platform)
  • The Helen Carswell Research Chair in Dementia Care
  • The World Health Organization's Global Dementia Observatory Focus Group

He is the recipient of many awards, including:

  • Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from UBC (2020) for being "the single-most influential person in Canada for reducing the stigma of Alzheimer's disease"
  • 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 the Dementia Friendly Voice Award
  • the Clyde and Lanny Slade Leadership Award
  • the Youth Parliament of BC Alumni Society Award for Outstanding Leadership
  • the Kenneth G. Murray Partnership in Dementia Award from the Murray Alzheimer Research and Education Program

Mann is a researcher and is currently co-principal investigator of a CIHR-funded project focused on the reduction [and flipping] of dementia-related stigma and the promotion of social inclusion of people with dementia, and collaborator of Consent and substitute consent to participate in research: Ethics and legal practice for the meaningful inclusion of Canadians living with dementia.

Erica Matthews

Erica Matthews is a medical social worker with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). She has extensive experience working with people living with dementia and their care partners, primarily in a rural setting.

As an assistant professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, Matthews teaches the Behavioural Medicine curriculum with the Family Medicine Residency program. She has worked in partnership with the Rural Dementia Action Research (RaDAR) team from the University of Saskatchewan for many years.

She currently chairs the committee which supports the collaboration between the SHA and the RaDAR team with the focus of increasing accessible and informed dementia care in rural settings.

Matthews has volunteered with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan for many years, facilitating a support group for people living with dementia and their care partners.

Jennifer Picek

Jennifer Picek is a registered nurse and is currently the health systems navigator for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. She was previously the regional manager of continuing care for the Northwest Territories Health and Social Services Authority, Beaufort Delta Region. Prior to that, Picek was a public health and home care registered nurse, and an acute care registered nurse.

Through these roles, she developed a passion for patient advocacy and seeks to create positive change for all people, including people living with dementia.

As a registered nurse, Picek has experience providing care for people living with dementia in a long-term care unit as well as living in their own homes with the support of family.

As a resident of the Canadian North, she is aware of the challenges and limitations people face daily because of the remote locations of their homes as well as the limited resources readily available in the North.

As an Inuvialuit and Gwich'in person living in the North, Picek understands that there is a need for culturally relevant resources available for people living with dementia, their families, and their caregivers.

Dr. Samir K. Sinha

Samir Sinha was first appointed as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia in May 2018. He was re-appointed in 2023.

Sinha is the director of geriatrics for both the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network in Toronto. Sinha is also the Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing. In 2021, Sinha was appointed as a member of the Government of Canada's National Seniors Council.

Sinha is also a professor at the University of Toronto in the following departments:

  • medicine
  • family and community medicine
  • health policy, management and evaluation

He is also an adjunct professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In 2021, Sinha was appointed as the Chair of the Technical Committee tasked with Developing Health Standard Organization's new National Long-Term Care Services Standard for Canada that were finalized and released in early in 2023.

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 as a Rhodes Scholar. Sinha also completed postgraduate training in internal medicine at the University of Toronto. He served as the inaugural Erickson and Reynolds Fellow in clinical geriatrics, education and leadership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Internationally, Sinha is a fellow of the American Geriatrics Society, and has consulted and advised hospitals and health authorities across Canada as well as Britain, China, Iceland, Saint Kitt and Nevis, Singapore and the United States on the implementation and administration of integrated and innovative models of geriatric care.

Claire Webster

Claire Webster is a certified dementia care consultant, certified professional consultant on aging, as well as a conference speaker and educator in the field of caring for an individual with dementia.

She is founder and president of Caregiver Crosswalk, a consulting firm that provides education and support services to help individuals navigate the journey of Alzheimer's disease or dementia-related illnesses.

As a former caregiver to her late mother who had Alzheimer's disease, Webster has had first-hand experience about the impact that dementia has on the person as well as the ripple effect on family members.

Webster works in collaboration with McGill University's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, and the Division of Geriatric Medicine. She is the founder and ambassador of McGill University's Dementia Education Program which publishes the Dementia Companion Guide, and McGill Cares; a webcast series designed to support family care partners.

Webster is a McGill senior co-author of two Alzheimer's Disease International world reports:

  • 2021's report, A journey through the diagnosis of dementia
  • 2022's report, Life after diagnosis: Navigating treatment, care and support

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