Alison Phinney, PHD

Academic Lead, UBC

Dr. Alison Phinney is the Principal Investigator of the Building Capacity. She is a Professor and the Associate Director of Graduate programs at the University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, as well as the Co-Director of the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia. She is an expert in dementia, with her work highlighting the potential for people to live well with the disease and as active members of their communities, bringing hope and understanding to families and society. She works in partnership with community leaders and people with lived experience to build knowledge and capacity for supporting personhood and social citizenship of older people, especially those living with dementia and their families. She has demonstrated the importance of social involvement and creative and physical activity for supporting well-being and personhood in dementia.



Elaine Wiersma, PhD

Academic Lead, Lakehead University

Elaine Wiersma is the Director of the Centre for Education and Research on Aging & Health, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. She has completed her Master’s and PhD at the University of Waterloo. Having spent many years working with older adults in practice and research, particularly individuals with dementia, Elaine’s research aims to tell people’s stories in ways that challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of older people, particularly persons with dementia. Advocacy, inclusion, and rights form the fundamental values underlying her work with people with dementia. Using participatory qualitative methodologies, her research spans community and long-term care, exploring aging and dementia care, contexts of rural and northern communities, and quality of life issues.



Eric MacNaughton, PhD

Project Manager

Eric Macnaughton is the Research Manager, responsible for overall management of the project, and coordinating the implementation of new dementia initiatives across the two sites, as well as the research and evaluative aspects of the project. He has a Ph.D. from the UBC Interdisciplinary Studies program, has completed graduate training in community psychology, and has twenty-five years of doing community-based research, evaluation, and knowledge translation in the field of community mental health. Most recently he was involved in the At Home/Chez Soi project, an initiative to implement, evaluate and scale out a model for providing housing and supports for previously homeless people who deal with mental health and addictions issues. His interest in dementia stems from his family background and with the similarities in the mental health’s recovery movement and the aims of this project in building social citizenship for people living with dementia.




Carlina Marchese

Community Research Coordinator, Lakehead University

Carlina Marchese is the Community Research Coordinator in Thunder Bay for the Building Capacity Project. She works alongside the North West Dementia Working Group, who is guiding the project in Thunder Bay. Carlina holds a Master of Health Sciences degree and has several years of experience working in research and community-based research in Thunder Bay and the surrounding region. Her interest in dementia developed from working one on one with people living with dementia as well as family experience. Her combination of research and home care experience provide a basis to support people living with dementia and care partners to create meaningful change.



Diana Cochrane

Community Research Coordinator, UBC

Diana Cochrane is the Vancouver Community Research Coordinator for the Building Capacity project. She works closely with community organizations to assist with the planning, implementation, and evaluation of new programs or modified existing programs aimed to create meaningful participation for people living with dementia and their caregivers. She holds a Masters Degree in Health Policy and Leadership in Seniors Care and has nearly 10 years management and service delivery experience in health and social services industries at the community level, and province-wide. Her extensive research background has equipped her with the skills to support people living with dementia and their caregivers, staff and volunteers and empowering them to active agents of change in their communities.



Nisha Sutherland, PhD

Co Investigator, Lakehead University

Nisha Sutherland is an Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing at Lakehead University and research affiliate at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health (CERAH). Focusing in the areas of gender, aging, and health, Dr. Sutherland critically analyzes how social relations shape health and health care experiences for people with chronic life-limiting illnesses. Building from her doctoral work, the focus of her research examines how the social determinants of health (e.g. geography, class, age gender, or race) intersect to shape health care experiences, particularly for people who are disadvantaged.



Emile Gaudet

PhD student, Lakehead University

Emilie Gaudet is a PhD student at Lakehead University working as a research assistant for the Building Community Capacity project. She has a Master’s in Health Sciences degree from Lakehead University and her research interests include the quality of life and wellbeing of people living with dementia, and the experiences of people living with dementia in the community. Emilie’s involvement in the project was a result of her experiences as a graduate assistant at the Centre for Education and Research on Aging and Health working around people living with dementia and their care partners and she is looking forward to contributing to further meaningful changes in the community.