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Our Team

“The neighbourhood environment has a critical role in fostering independence and autonomy for people living with dementia."

Habib Chaudhury

Principal Investigator

  • Dr. Habib Chaudhury is Professor and Chair of the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University. 
  • He has extensive research experience in the aging and the built environment and development supportive environments for people living with dementia. His research has examined dementia-friendly communities, role of the built environment in long-term care facilities, and community planning and urban design for active aging. 
  • In his community engaged research, Dr. Chaudhury frequently collaborates with health authorities, municipalities, care provider organizations and various care partners to advance knowledge and help make informed policy and program decisions. His most recent research project looked at social participation and mobility challenges faced by persons in early stages of dementia in British Columbia, as part of an international collaboration among four countries.

"In this project, we are proud to work collaboratively with people with lived experience and municipalities in Metro Vancouver and Prince George."

Lillian Hung

Co-Investigator

  • Dr. Lillian Hung is the founder and head of University of British Columbia’s IDEA lab (Innovation in Dementia & Aging), Assistant Professor at UBC School of Nursing and Adjunct Professor at SFU in the Gerontology Department.
  • Dr. Hung works closely with patients and their families to help empower patients with dementia to share their experiences. Her research efforts led to the creation of a specialized acute medicine unit with dementia-friendly environment features at Vancouver General Hospital. She has worked closely with people living with dementia to publish articles on the meaningful involvement of people with dementia in research.
  • Dr. Hung has recently led a large collaborative team of scholars, people living with dementia, caregivers, community organization, politicians, and health authorities to understand the most important research questions about Dementia-Friendly Communities.

“To support people living with dementia so they can age with dignity and grace, we need to make it possible for them to continue to participate in activities they find meaningful.”

Shannon Freeman

Co-Investigator

  • Dr. Shannon Freeman is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Northern B.C. 
  • As a social gerontologist, Dr. Freeman is an expert in health and social care needs of older adults living in rural and northern communities. At the forefront of research exploring new technology and innovations to support older adults to age with dignity and grace, Dr. Freeman has also led a number of research studies supporting the wellbeing of older adults, their care partners, and the broader health system. 
  • As lead of the northern component of the DemSCAPE project, Dr. Freeman brings her extensive place-based knowledge, connections to local service providers, and her expertise working with persons living with dementia.

“To ensure neighbourhoods are walkable for people living with dementia, we will learn with persons living with dementia and their family or friend care partners here in the northern community what aspects of their neighbourhoods shape use and enjoyment.”

Mark Groulx

Co-Investigator

  • Dr. Mark Groulx is an Associate Professor in UNBC’s School of Planning and Sustainability and a Registered Professional Planner. 
  • Mark’s research focuses broadly on sustainable and resilient communities, and specifically on the importance of community engagement and placemaking in effective collaborative planning. Inspired by the creativity and careful craft of place makers of all types, Mark explores how communities are tapping into local knowledge and values to ensure that planning and design for inclusive and resilient communities is person-centred. 
  • Mark is currently leading the SSHRC funded Nature for All project. The Nature for All project includes a diverse network of academic, tourism sector, not for profit, and government partners collaborating in the development and use of new tools to document accessibility in nature-based tourism and recreation spaces.

“I firmly believe that everyone, by virtue of being human, has the right to live their life to the fullest. The DemSCAPE project is an important contribution toward ensuring that quality of life for those who are experiencing dementia.”

Dawn Hemingway

Co-Investigator

  • Professor Dawn Hemingway is an Associate Professor in the UNBC School of Social Work, joining the department in 2000 and serving as its Chair from 2005 to 2019. One of her major research interests focuses on the health and quality of life of older adults in northern and rural communities, especially older women, including those with and/or caring for someone with dementia.
  • Current research relevant to the DemSCAPE initiative include Aging in Place in Rural and Remote Regions examining policies and programs in both Interior and Northern Health and Intergenerational Activities for Growth and Engagement that involves university students residing in a Long Term Care and Assisted Living residence. Complementing these research initiatives is Dawn’s role as a founding member of the Northern Feminist Institute for Research and Evaluation (Northern FIRE) and her ongoing appointment to its Leadership Council.
  • Some related community roles include Professor Hemingway’s appointment to the Council of Advisors for the BC Seniors Advocate; the provincial Board of the BC Community Response Networks, Nidus Personal Planning Resource Centre & Registry; and to the Advisory Committee for the Prince George-based Council of Seniors.

"It is important to work closely with people with dementia, and listen carefully to what they have to say about making their neighbourhoods more inclusive and welcoming."

Alison Phinney

Co-Investigator

  • Dr. Alison Phinney is Professor at UBC in the School of Nursing and is the co-director of the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia. 
  • Known internationally for her work on dementia, meaningful activity, and aging, Dr. Phinney's research works closely with community leaders, persons living with dementia and their families to design and develop community-based innovations to support meaningful participation by people living with dementia. 
  • Some of her recent studies have looked at creating opportunities for meaningful social participation and how to promote social inclusion of people with dementia.

Project Managers

Cari Randa

Metro Vancouver Project Manager
Contact Cari to participate by email (demscape@sfu.ca) or by phone (778-686-4180)

"I am so excited to witness the evolution of the photos and videos captured in the walk-along interviews into powerful knowledge translation tools!"

Emma Rossnagel

Prince George Research Manager
Contact Emma to participate by email (demscape@unbc.ca) or by phone (250-960-5154)

“Working in partnership with persons living with dementia and their care partners here in the north is critical to ensure the guidelines are relevant to those living and aging in our northern communities.”

Research Project Coordinators

Kishore Seetharaman

Simon Fraser University
Research Project Coordinator

"I’m excited for the implications that our research findings can have on policy and practice."

Joey Wong

University of British Columbia
Research Project Coordinator

"The engagement of people living with dementia is key to understanding their neighbourhoods and needs in the study."

Research Assistants

Alison Chung

Simon Fraser University
Research Assistant

"I am excited to work with individuals with dementia and give them the opportunity to share their experiences and stories."

Keone Gourlay

University of Northern British Columbia
Research Assistant

"This project gives opportunities for real people to share what accessibility means to them in their own communities. I look forward to the outcomes that the DemSCAPE project can bring for people living with dementia. "

Habana Gutierrez Vior

Simon Fraser University 
Research Assistant

"I am excited to conduct research and understand the relationship between older adults with dementia, their environment and what factors may affect this interaction."

Madison Jacob

Simon Fraser University
Research Assistant

"My goal is to further develop my skills in conducting interviews to help move forward in making communities supportive for people living with dementia."

Sadia Sharmin

Simon Fraser University
Research Assistant

"Working in this project will help me to identify the possible causes of depression among people living with dementia...[my research topic]."

Knowledge Translation

Lily Haopu Ren

University of British Columbia

"I am very excited to be part of DemSCAPE as I can work with an amazing team and contribute to research informed policymaking, which could better accommodate needs from older adults with dementia and address concerns from the community."

Visiting Researchers

Stéphanie Lanthier-Labonté

Postdoctoral fellow of Public Health and Preventive Medicine
University of Sherbrooke, Quebec

"We will be creating a healthier environment with and for adults living with dementia. The design is innovative and grounded in the community; the results will be meaningful and important for a healthier future."