Ontario Shores Appoints Research Chair in the Community Management of Dementia

April 08, 2013

Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) is excited to announce the appointment of Dr. Arlene Jean Astell as Inaugural Research Chair in the Community Management of Dementia.

Created in partnership with the University of Toronto and Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health, the research chair reflects Ontario Shores’ commitment to provide leadership through research, education and exemplary practice for individuals living with complex and serious mental illness.

Dr. Astell arrives at Ontario Shores by way of the United Kingdom where she established a distinguished 20-year career in the field of dementia research through her work out of the University of Sheffield and the University of St. Andrews. Dr. Astell has participated in research initiatives in several countries around the world.

“Today’s appointment of Dr. Astell in this unique role represents a significant milestone,” notes Karim Mamdani, President and CEO at Ontario Shores. “People living with dementia, their family members and caregivers throughout the communities we serve will be positively impacted by her passion, innovative leadership and the translation of her research into practice.”

Dr. Trevor Young, Chair of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, echoes Mamdani’s excitement of the appointment.

“Her work is incredibly important,” says Dr. Young. “Our department has placed a strong focus on the brain and this academic chair position is an integral part of our strategic plan. I am certain that, with Dr. Astell’s help, the stories of people living with dementia will be filled with more hope.”

Throughout her career, Dr. Astell has specialized in research which applies psychology to supporting people to live and age well. She led the development and evaluation of innovative interventions, including the creative application of technology, to early detection of change, maximizing spared abilities and minimizing impaired ones, and training caregivers about the impact of cognitive impairment on communication and relationships.

“The opportunity to focus on the experience of people living with dementia is quite unique,” states Dr. Astell. “Commonly, research efforts are focused on the cause or prevention of dementia. Our focus is on how we can improve the lives of people living with dementia, their loved ones and the people supporting them.”

Ontario Shores supports more than 50 long-term care facilities, making Dr. Astell’s impact far reaching. Responsible for developing collaborative research partnerships as well as evidence-based care practices that will improve the lives of people living with dementia, Dr. Astell will be a visible figure throughout the dementia care community.

“We are proud to provide funding to advance a culture of innovation and discovery at Ontario Shores,” says Neil Hannam, Executive Director of the Ontario Shores Foundation. “Dr. Astell’s globally-based research is compelling and anyone struggling with dementia will benefit.”

About Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences:
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) is a leader in mental health care, providing a spectrum of specialized assessments and treatment services for people living with complex mental illness. Patients benefit from a recovery-oriented environment of care, build on compassion, inspiration and hope. Ontario Shores engages in research, education and advocacy initiatives to advance the mental health care system.

For more information, or to set up an interview, please contact:
Communications and Public Affairs
Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
905-430-4055 ext. 4001