Design and Dementia Community of Practice Leads

Deb Bryson, B.Sc.(OT), OT Reg.(Ont.), is a Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant (PRC) for Hamilton which is a role that provides case consultation and education to formal care providers of persons who exhibit responsive behaviours associated with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementias. Her employer is the Alzheimer Society of Hamilton and Halton. Deb is an Occupational Therapist with over 40 years of experience, with a focus on dementia care. Deb has worked in a variety of settings across the continuum of care, including community, chronic care, long-term care, outpatients and inpatients. 
Dr. Frances Morton-Chang is an experienced health services leader and change agent. She is a sought after health systems consultant, lecturer and dementia specialist with advanced training in evidence-based health systems research further informed by cross-sectoral professional expertise across the broader health and social care spectrum (community, primary, acute, and long-term care sectors, health charities and health research programs). She is the Director of Dementia Programs at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging,  Principal of Morton-Chang Consulting, and Adjunct Faculty at the University of Toronto Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. 
Frances describes herself as a passionate gerontologist, committed dementia advocate, and boundary spanning pracademic with specialization in integrated care, knowledge mobilization and health services leadership. She has co-led the long-running Design and Dementia Community of Practice (CoP) since 2008 with co-lead Deb Bryson. Frances’ professional, research and personal experience and expertise in the field of dementia motivates her work with the amazing members of this CoP which seeks to translate knowledge and best practices on the impact of the architectural built environment and salutogenic design for the benefit of people with dementia, and all that partner in their care and policy affecting their wellbeing regardless of setting. 
Frances Morton-Chang, MHSc, PhD.
Director of Dementia Programs, Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging
Adjunct Faculty, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation
Principal, Morton-Chang Consulting
Email: |  Tel: 416-476-6716

Design and Dementia CoP Membership

Jennifer Blaik is both a care partner and health professional. Her drive to improve the quality of life in Long Term Care is evident in her passion as a family advocate and educator.  Jennifer has worked in LTC and community for the last twenty-two years.  She has worked for the Regional Municipality of York for the past thirteen years in various positions in Seniors Community Programs. In her current role, she supports front line staff serving clients with responsive behavior related to dementia, mental health and other psychogeriatric related diagnoses. In this role she has been able to provide support to staff and family through various workshops, education sessions and most recently pivoting their programming to a virtual platform.

Jennifer is an active member of the Design and Dementia CoP, who supports development of tools on Best Practice for design in LTC and community settings. She has contributed to the modules on lighting, noise, doorways, wayfinding, and is currently working on outdoor spaces.  She has been able to share this research right across Canada with webinars and workshops. She is a Gentle Persuasive Approaches in Dementia Care Master Coach, PIECES trainer, U-First trainer, and a certified Mental Health First Aid for Seniors Trainer. Jennifer earned her undergraduate degree from Brock University, a post degree program in Therapeutic Recreation, and a certificate in Adult Education.

Jennifer Blaik, Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant, Paramedic and Seniors Services, Community and Health Services
The Regional Municipality of York | 10424 Keele St. | Maple, ON, L6A 2L1
Tel:1-877-464-9675 ext. 73120 | Email: |
Peggy Chi, OALA, CSLA, LEED AP, is a landscape architect and a Ph.D. candidate in health services research with training in Dementia Care Mapping. She published a conceptual framework on healthcare natural environments and developed an instrument to measure the natural environment in long-term care homes. Her research examines the influence of these environments on residents' mental health and well-being and job stress among nurses and personal support workers across 83 long-term care home areas. She has helped long-term care homes develop evidence-based design visions and program interventions to optimize the use of outdoor environments in care delivery. Prior to research, she designed urban parks, masterplans, transportation infrastructures, commercial buildings, and residential buildings located in Canada, the UK, Italy, and Saudi Arabia. She has presented her work to diverse audience such as clinicians, long-term care leaders, hospice workers, health services researchers, gerontologists, designers and gardeners across North America. 

This community of practise is truly invaluable. Every member of this trans-disciplinary team authentically shares their experiences and expertise in the realms of dementia design and person-centred care. We listen and we share our works in life. Ultimately to make the positive changes we wish to see in long-term care.

Peggy Chi, landscape architect and Ph.D.(c)
Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation, University of Toronto 
Rebekah Churchyard, BA, BSW, MSW, RSW, PMP is a Psychotherapist, Social Worker and Project Manager. Rebekah currently works as a Mental Health Clinician in Specialized Geriatric Services with Home and Community Care Support Services Waterloo Wellington. Prior to this, while living in Toronto and working as a Project Manager for The Neighbourhood Group, Rebekah gained extensive volunteer experience in charitable board governance and in municipal policy. She served as President and Vice-President with the Toronto Council on Aging Board of Directors and as an Accountability Table member with the City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy.  

As a tribute to her grandfather, Rebekah founded Green Care Farms Inc. in 2021. Her work as CEO of Green Care Farms provides nature-based engagement for people with dementia. As a social purpose business owner, engagement with the brainXchange Design and Dementia CoP is critical. The CoP enables opportunities to share knowledge, apply best practices and raise awareness for providing nature-based services for people with dementia.

Rebekah Churchyard, CEO, Green Care Farms, Care Coordinator, Specialized Geriatric Services
532-404 King St W, Kitchener, ON N2G 4Z9
Tel: 226-666-7382
Keith Francis - As an interdisciplinarian, phenomenologist, strategist, researcher, and change agent, Keith has worked in several design mediums such as signage, wayfinding and placemaking, human factors, accessibility, and design strategy.

Keith holds a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University. His interdisciplinary thesis work merging narrative psychology, spatial phenomenology, and cognitive factors to conceptualize the narratives of persons living with dementia presented at the Congress of the International Academy of Law and Mental Health in Vienna. Keith is a recipient of the York University Christopher Innes Interdisciplinary Studies Champion Award for exceptional academic achievement, research and advocacy and serves as a Fellow at McLaughlin College. Keith continually champions the promotion of accessibility within the built environment, serves as a member of the Culture, Communication, Information, and Technology (CCIT) Professional Advisory Council at Sheridan College, a member of the brainXchange Design and Dementia Cop, a guest speaker for the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and most recently has published a peer-reviewed paper featured in Taylor and Francis Architectural Science Review. | Tel: 416-277-1200
Jocelyn Hunt, BA(Hons) Geron, RSW, MSW, has a Masters of Social Work from the University of Windsor Masters and a degree in Gerontology and Health Studies from McMaster University. Jocelyn completed her undergraduate thesis with Gail Elliot , Gerontologist of DementiAbility Enterprises, on “Innovations in Wayfinding Using Cupboard Door Templates for Dementia”, which focused on the use of environmental cues such as directional arrows and signs on kitchen cupboards to help persons living with dementia better find commonly used items and places within their homes. Her research was further implemented with Alzheimer Society of Hamilton & Halton through a pilot project called the New Horizons Wayfinding Program. Jocelyn is a former knowledge broker with the brainXchange and has held various other education and support positions including Public Education Coordinator with the Alzheimer Society of Dufferin County, Elder Life Specialist as Peterborough Regional Health Centre and is currently an Education Facilitator at the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. I
Lindsay Ogilvie, is an Information Specialist at St. Joseph's Health Centre in Guelph Ontario and long-standing member of the Design Community of Practice supporting the group with reading lists, literature searches and a vast knowledge of dementia since the CoP’s inception in 2008.

Marg Pattillo, BASc, is a certified Long Term Care Administrator and a Positive Approach to Care Trainer and Coach. She is a  former Long Term Care Administrator and Registered Dietitian with extensive management, design, and construction experience. Though her career began in pediatrics than onto food production, community-based nutrition assessment and meal provision, a switch to long term care in the early 90s marked the beginning of a passion for senior’s care. A request to manage the design and construction of two long-term care homes in 2000 led to 5 years entrenched in the intricacies of design and construction. She became intrigued with design, and its potential to enable and support.

For the past 15 years, while raising 2 lively daughters, Marg was the Administrator at one of the homes she helped to design. Her team and the residents, lived with the reality of both, “good” and “not great” design decisions, made in theory, during design and construction. Faced with escalating acuity and resource limitations, long term care providers have been increasingly challenged to find cost effective ways to do more with less. An awareness of the growing body of research related to dementia and the built environment and my continued interest in design, led her and her team to find simple and cost-effective ways to improve care by applying new knowledge to existing design issues. This process of experimentation was rewarding and successful. Marg has come to believe that the built environment is an undervalued and under-utilized resource that can be better leveraged to the benefit of all. With this as a driving force, Marg is currently pursuing an interior design certification and has become an advocate for long-term care redesign.
Email: |  Tel: 905-870-4189
Stephanie Long-Riley, B.Sc.(OT), OT Reg.(Ont.) is the Administrator/Director of Care at Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and a former Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant to Primary Care for the Toronto Central LHIN. She is also a consultant/owner of Sage Homes. Stephanie has 20 years experience in occupational therapy, including acute care, outpatient, and community settings in both Canada and the U.S. Stephanie's business, Sage Homes, specializes in adapting seniors’ homes to enable them to remain at home as safely and independently as possible.
Rotem Yaniv, MArch, is the Director of Development Strategy at CXT Architects, a Toronto firm which specializes in the design and construction administration of independent living housing units for seniors. Rotem joined the Design and Dementia Community of Practice with the brainXchange in 2018 and brings a valuable architectural perspective and passion to the Community of Practice. He has supported research, tool development and presentations in areas of lighting, HVAC systems, noise mitigation, and gardens and outdoor spaces. 

CXT Architects Inc.
362 Dupont Street
Toronto, ON   M5R 1V9   Canada
Tel: 416-585-9950 x229

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