Government of Canada announces new members to the Ministerial Advisory Board (MAB) on Dementia
MAB provides advice on the implementation of the national dementia strategy
June 20, 2023 | Ottawa, Ontario | Public Health Agency of Canada
According to the latest national data, in Canada, almost 474,000 people aged 65 and older have been diagnosed with dementia, including Alzheimer's disease. Organizations such as Alzheimer’s Society of Canada estimate that the number of Canadians affected by dementia is expected to be close to one million by 2030.
Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, announced the appointment and reappointment of 12 individuals to the Ministerial Advisory Board (MAB) on Dementia for three-year terms. These members will provide evidence-informed advice on current and emerging dementia-related issues, including opportunities to improve the quality of life of persons living with dementia and caregivers.
Minister Duclos kicked off the two-day meeting of the MAB by discussing with members areas of priorities for addressing dementia, including the need for data to improve the quality of life of people living with dementia and caregivers, person-centred care, and risk reduction and awareness raising.
The MAB is comprised of people living with dementia, caregivers, researchers, advocacy group representatives, and health care professionals. The following individuals have been appointed and reappointed:
- Dr. Zahinoor Ismail (Co-Chair), Clinician Scientist, Professor of psychiatry, neurology, epidemiology, and pathology at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary, and 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
- Barb Shellian (Co-Chair), Registered Nurse, and Former President of the Canadian Nurses Association
- Dr. Sylvie Belleville, Professor at the University of Montreal’s Psychology Department and Laboratory Director for the Institut Universitaire de Gériatrie de Montréal (CRIUGM), and Former Co-President of the Advisory Board for the Canadian Institute of Health Research Institute of Aging and Director of CRIUGM
- Dr. Habib Chaudhury, Chair and Professor in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University
- Faye Forbes, Active member of Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) past Board of Directors, Alzheimer Society of Nova Scotia Board of Directors, ASC’s Research Committee, Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) Advisory Board, Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration (CCNA), Engagement of People with Lived experience of Dementia (EPLED)
- Nadine Henningsen, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Home Care Association and Carers Canada, and Chair of the International Alliance of Carer Organizations (IACO) Executive Committee
- Dr. Pamela Jarrett, Geriatrician with Horizon Health Network in Saint John, New Brunswick, Associate Professor of medicine at Dalhousie University, and Principal and Co-Principal Investigator on research projects by Healthy Senior Pilot Project in New Brunswick
- Jim Mann, Retired executive and entrepreneur, volunteer, researcher, and dementia advocate, Former Board Member of the Alzheimer Society of Canada (ASC) and Alzheimer Society of British Columbia, and Researcher and Co-Principal Investigator of CIHR-funded project
- Erica Matthews, Medical Social Worker with Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), Assistant Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and Volunteer with the Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan
- Jennifer Picek, Registered Nurse, and Health Systems Navigator for the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
- Dr. Samir Sinha, Director of Geriatrics for the Sinai Health System and the University Health Network of Toronto, Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing, Professor at the University of Toronto, Adjunct Professor of Medicine at the John Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Chair of the Technical Committee for Developing Health Standard Organization’s new National Long-Term Care Services Standard for Canada
- Claire Webster, Certified Dementia Care Consultant, Certified Professional Consultant on Aging, Founder and President of Caregiver Crosswalk, and Founder and Ambassador of McGill’s University’s Dementia Education Program
The MAB, first established in 2018, is required by the National Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias Act. The MAB provided valuable input towards the development of the Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire released in 2019, and is expected to continue providing expert advice and input as Canada continues to implement the national strategy.
"Our government is committed to continuing efforts towards a Canada where all people living with dementia and caregivers are valued and supported, quality of life is optimized, and dementia is prevented, well understood, and effectively treated. Congratulations and thank you to the newly appointed and reappointed members, your vast range of expertise and experience will provide us with invaluable advice and guidance as we implement the Dementia Strategy for Canada."
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
"Access to Dementia care has a renewed importance for people in Canada. Despite the large projected increase in numbers of persons living with dementia, hope has been provided by the emergence of potentially disease modifying drugs. However, the landscape of dementia care is largely unknown and many questions remain unanswered. Initiatives like the Ministerial Advisory Board can provide input and guidance to steer researchers, clinicians, and policy makers to address the fundamental issues that will further the goal of reducing the impact of dementia on the individual and those who care for them, the public, and the system at large."
Dr. Zahinoor Ismail
Co-Chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia
"The Ministerial Advisory Board's work will make an important contribution to furthering the implementation of the dementia strategy for Canada to support prevention, identifying priorities for research, and strengthening efforts to provide quality of life for those living with dementia. The Ministerial Advisory Board will provide the Minister with evidence-based advice as well as practical knowledge related to care of individuals with dementia, support for families and caregivers and public education. The Ministerial Advisory Board will provide perspectives from across the country from diverse viewpoints to enhance dementia care, prevention, and research in Canada."
Co-Chair, Ministerial Advisory Board on Dementia
While the risk of dementia increases with age, there are actions that can be taken to reduce the risk. For example, being physically active, eating a healthy balanced diet, not smoking, effectively managing chronic health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes, and maintaining a healthy weight are all linked with a reduced risk of developing dementia.
Most cases of dementia are not related to genetics. While there are genetic forms of dementia, these are extremely rare (about 1% of all people living with dementia). When there is a higher risk due to genetics, it may still possible to reduce overall risk by acting on modifiable risk factors.
Many Canadians will be impacted by dementia over the course of their lives, either through a personal diagnosis or that of someone close to them. As such, it is crucial to increase collective efforts to reduce the stigma around dementia and to make our communities more age-friendly and dementia-inclusive.
Since 2017, the Government of Canada has announced more than $300 million in funding that supports the national dementia strategy. Budget 2022 announced an additional $50 million in dementia and brain health.
Senior Communications Advisor and Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health
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