Dan Levitt, MSc., CHE
Adjunct Professor, Gerontology
Simon Fraser University
Dan Levitt, MSc., CHE
Dan Levitt shepherds the enhancement of social, spiritual and care needs for more than 300 seniors, inspiring a team of over 400 employees and volunteers with a commitment to continuously improving quality of life. Dan is an Adjunct Professor in Gerontology teaching Long Term Care Administration at Simon Fraser University. His adventure exploits have taken him from Africa’s highest peak Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Caribbean Sea’s Planacar Reef, from canoeing across the Yukon to racing in the Boston and New York Marathons. Dan has appeared on television and radio as well as authoring many articles in newspapers and professional journals. His insights on seniors care leadership are sought after at events across North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA)
Tony Baena has held executive level operational roles in seniors housing and care for the last 10 years. His experience encompasses independent living, assisted living and residential/long-term care in BC. Tony was the Vice-President of Operations for Retirement Concepts for over seven years. During his tenure, the company more than doubled in size in terms of revenue, properties and employees through acquisitions and new builds. Tony was responsible for the day to day operations and the P&L results of 19 retirement communities, assisted living and skilled nursing facilities conducting business with four different B.C. Health Authorities (Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Fraser Health Authority, and Interior Health Authority). He was also accountable for leading and directing corporate human resources, labour relations, clinical services, hospitality services, and marketing and sales. Tony joined BayBridge Senior Living Inc. as Regional Vice President, Western Operations in June 2013 where he was responsible for the day to day operations and P&L results of an ever changing and expanding portfolio of properties.
Tony is currently the Vice-President of the BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) which provides advocacy, leadership, education and networking opportunities for its members who are committed to innovation, resident choice, and excellence in seniors’ living/retirement communities. He is a past Board Member of the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) which provides advocacy, leadership, education and networking opportunities for private sector companies that offer residential care/long-term care services on both a private pay and government funded basis.
Tony’s educational background includes a B.Comm. from McGill University and an MBA (Finance) from the University of Alberta. He is also a Chartered Public Accountant (CPA, CGA). Prior to working in seniors housing and care, Tony held senior management roles in accounting, finance, and human resources in banking, the airline industry and post-secondary education with most of this experience in organizations that have undergone significant and fundamental change.
Director, Quality Improvement
The Good Samaritan Society
Erin Bampton (BScN, MN, MBA) is Director, Quality Improvement, for The Good Samaritan Society. Erin’s role includes overseeing Accreditation, the Dementia Strategy, Quality –related initiatives and Education. Her varied experience includes clinical, education, and leadership. Erin’s career has focused on older adults in a variety of settings. Her thesis included 358 older Albertans in a quantitative study examining fitness, sedentary patterns and associations with health behaviours. Erin has been involved with community service including the Brain Injury Society, Pilgrims Hospice, SCN- Seniors Health (Elder Friendly Care), and the AB Dementia Strategy working group. Her previous role was as Research Assistant for Dr. Susan Slaughter (U of A), for CIHR and AIHS projects related to older adults. Erin’s passion is working with healthcare teams to ensure optimum quality care for residents in the continuing care setting.
Patricia (Trish) Barbato
Senior Vice President, Innovation
and Strategic Partnerships
Patricia (Trish) Barbato
Ms. Barbato is Senior Vice President, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships for Revera Inc. She is responsible for establishing and driving a culture of innovation and establishing Revera as an industry-leading senior’s innovation partner and investor. She has also held the positions of SVP, Home Health and Business Development and SVP, Retirement at Revera. Prior to Revera, she was President and Chief Executive Officer of COTA Health, a leading community care provider specializing in mental health and rehabilitation services. Ms. Barbato was also Vice President, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer of Providence Healthcare and Managing Director of Bayshore Healthcare. Ms. Barbato is author of the book Inspire Your Career: Strategies for Success in Your First Years at Work and a frequent speaker. Ms. Barbato has worked on numerous not-for-profit Boards. Ms. Barbato is a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants Association and holds an Economics degree from the University of Waterloo. She is a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Dr. Cécile Bensimon
Director of Ethics, Canadian Medical Association
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Ottawa
Cécile Bensimon, PhD, is Director of Ethics at the Canadian Medical Association. Cécile earned her PhD from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. She was previously at the University of Toronto Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Dentistry after returning from a visiting scholarship in humanitarian and disaster ethics at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. Previously, she was a research scientist at Bridgepoint Health after completing a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. At the height of the H1N1 pandemic, Cécile acted in an ethics advisory capacity to the Canadian Public Health Agency (PHAC) and Public Health Ontario (PHO) to guide vaccination prioritization plans. Prior to that, she was a Research Fellow with McGill University Faculty of Law Centre for Intellectual Property Policy where she was a member of the International Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation and Intellectual Property that sought to develop more effective intellectual property systems to bolster access to essential medicines. As part of her work in global health, she jointly authored the book, Bioindustry Ethics, on ethical decision-making and corporate social responsibility in the bioscience industry. She is an editor for the journal Bioéthique Online. Her recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, Healthcare Quarterly, and Public Health Ethics.
Jennifer Mabugat-Chan is the Director of Care / Clinical lead of Lifestyle Options Retirement Communities, Edmonton. Her current research interests are in activism, both younger and elder people with dementia and participatory methods. Her key strength is the implementation of person-centered approach through training and development, with that philosophy in mind. Recently, she has been fortunate to partake an instrumental role as one of the Lead in the project launch of U.K’s Dr. David Sheards first’ Dementia Care Butterfly homes® in Canada.
Currently, representing the operative organization she’s at, her research activities include: quality of life measurement, staff satisfaction with people living with Dementia. She participated as well as a member in the Provincial Dementia Advisory committee (representing Alberta Seniors Citizen Housing Association) and continues to be passionately involved in the dementia field as a volunteer, mentor, trainer and running information/public awareness services for family and carers on a daily basis.
Beforehand, she held the position as a Board of Director and General Manager in the hospitality industry and property management, respectively.
Jennifer holds both a degree in Nursing, and in Business Administration, majoring in Commerce. She is also a specialized Gerontological Nurse certified by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA). Jennifer is affiliated as an active member with professional associations including the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta and the Institute for Continuing Care Education and Research (ICCER).
Good Samaritan Society
Jessica Chisholm (BScN, RN, IIWCC) is Care Manager of a 100 bed dementia, Alzheimer’s and brain injury unit within The Good Samaritan Society. Jessica’s role includes managing the needs of residents, families and staff and aligning unit priorities in order to achieve facility goals. Raised by her grandparents and later became their care giver, Jessica has first-hand experience with communicating and relating to the senior population and dealing with dementia. Jessica has a decade of experience in frontline nursing within orthopedics, rehabilitation and geriatrics. Jessica’s passion is bettering the lives of seniors and promoting a dignified and safe environment to live the last chapter of their lives.
CEO/Director of Care
Choice Dementia Services
Cyn spent the first part of her career helping people make better choices and decisions about their lives. Today, fueled by her transformative personal experiences, she now focuses on the wellbeing of CareGivers as CEO of Choice Dementia Services. Her mission is to help the CareGiver who struggles with bringing mind and body to harmony and balance, while living the fullest life they can, one moment at a time.
Professional Practice Director, Residential Practice
Vancouver Coastal Health
She is the Director for Professional Practice in Residential Care for Vancouver Coastal Health. Sharon has her Master’s Degree in Nursing with a clinical specialty in Gerontology and is certified in Gerontological Nursing with the CNA. She also has a Green Belt in LEAN Methodology. She is passionate about older adult care and in particular care of individuals and their families who are experiencing dementia.
VCH Dementia C.A.R.E Team Lead
Vancouver Residential Practice Team
I am a Registered Nurse with 21 years of Gerontological experience working in home support, staff nurse, Resident Care Coordinator, RAI Lead, Educator in Older Adult Tertiary Mental Health and Residential Care Educator.
My education experience includes Nursing Diploma, CNA Gerontology Certificate, Nurse Continence Advisor and currently am an UBC Masters in Nursing Graduate student.
I am a PIECES and Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) Coach and Trainer
Dr. MaryLou Harrigan
Project Manager, Provincial Tertiary Mental Health
Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine UBC
Alzheimer Society of B.C.
Maria Howard, MBA
Maria Howard is the CEO of the Alzheimer Society of B.C. Since joining the Society in 2014, the five year strategic plan she has set for the Society is well underway. The strategy includes ambitious goals to expand the First Link® program across the province, implement Dementia Friendly Communities and augment funds for research.
Maria is a dynamic and strategic thinker with both provincial and national board governance experience. Her decades of leadership in the health-care sector and her commitment to operational excellence fit with the Society’s ambitious strategy. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Washington University and an MBA from Athabasca University.
Maria lives in Vancouver with her husband and two children and enjoys biking, swimming and spending time with her many pets.
Martha Jane Lewis
BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support
Martha Jane Lewis
Martha Jane Lewis, LLB, LLM, is a practicing lawyer and executive director of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support (“BCCEAS”). BCCEAS is a charitable organization that delivers programs to prevent elder abuse. BCCEAS programs include the Seniors Advocacy and Information Line, Victims Services Program, Legal Advocacy Program, the Elder Law Clinic, and Education and Outreach programs. The Seniors Advocacy and Information Line provides information to callers who are concerned about older adults being abused or mistreated. The callers remain anonymous so that they can talk freely about their concerns. The Victim Services Program provides information, support and referrals to people aged 50+ who are victims of abuse. The legal programs provide legal advice and representation to people aged 55+ who because of low income are not otherwise able to access legal help for issues such as financial abuse, guardianship and capacity issues, residential care disputes, and accessing government benefits.
Renate K. Sainsbury
Lifestyle Options Retirement Communities
Renate K. Sainsbury took her B.A. Rec. Administration (Major in Special Population) degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB from 1979-1981. She has held various positions form travel manager, recreation director, recreation therapist and small business owner.
From 1983 to July 1995 she was responsible for setting up therapeutic recreation programs at the Misericordia Hospital in various areas as pediatrics, psychiatry, long term care and geriatric assessment.
Renate has also set up and operated two group homes for seniors/special needs individuals called Lifestyle Options Inc. in 1993. They offered 24 hours care/support and allowed individuals to live in the community as independently as possible.
In 1996 Renate partnered with a local private developer, Ken Ferchoff. Both of them brought their vision together to provide quality affordable housing for senior citizens to reality when construction started on Lifestyle Options Whitemud and since then, they have completed three additional buildings, Lifestyle Options Terra Losa, Lifestyle Options Riverbend, and Lifestyle Options Leduc, with ambitious plans for many more locations throughout the City of Edmonton and throughout Alberta.
Renate has been involved in numerous Boards that look at senior’s issues relating to quality of life. She also chaired a community health council looking at grass roots solutions to healthcare.
Renate is passionate about improving care for people with dementia. In 2014 she went on a study tour to Copenhagen and Amsterdam to learn more about how other countries care for the older adults. Renate is selfless and is always on the go when an opportunity arises to improve care.
Renate’s philosophy in life? “Live your life to the fullest; strive to be the very best you can; when one door closes another opens; and have lots of love and laughter in your life.”
Director Elder Care and Palliative Services
Providence Health Care
Jo-Ann Tait is a Registered Psychiatric Nurse who has served in various roles from staff nurse, supervisor, educator, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Operations Leader and is currently the Program Director supporting the ElderCare and Palliative Services in Providence Health Care. She is credited for opening the successful Parkview Unit, a Tertiary Mental Health Older Adult program serving people with BPSD since 2011. Jo-Ann is passionate about supporting vulnerable older adults, their families and staff. She currently is supporting the creation of a Dementia Strategy and work in changing care environments to support people with dementia. Jo-Ann also is an Adjunct Professor in the UBC School of Nursing and when she’s not at work, she is enjoying the outdoors with her family.
Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc.
Karen Tyrell, CDP, CPCA
Karen Tyrell is a Dementia Consultant & Educator and Founder of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc. She is the author of “Cracking the Dementia Code – Creative Solutions to Cope with Changed Behaviours” (published in 2013). She is also the
co-creator of the “Dementia Caregiver Solutions” iOS App (released in 2015) which has helped hundreds of caregivers to better care for individuals exhibiting common dementia behaviours. With over 7 years of post-secondary education in the field of Gerontology as well as over 20 years of front-line experience, Karen has acquired well-rounded practical skills and knowledge that have enabled her to successfully support her clients. She is a lifelong learner, having taken several courses in dementia, psychology and leadership, including obtaining a certificate in Long-Term Care Management from the Canadian Healthcare Association.
Before moving to BC in 2009 Karen was the Executive Director of the Alzheimer Society of Leeds-Grenville in Ontario, providing dementia support and education in her community. Previously, she held the role as Board President for the Society for 4 consecutive years.
As the CEO of Personalized Dementia Solutions Inc., Karen shares her expertise through speaking engagements and dementia workshops to both families and front-line staff. She also facilitates family caregiver support groups and works one-on-one with caregivers to provide emotional support and practical creative non-pharmacological solutions to help alleviate everyday challenges associated with dementia.
Supporting various community organizations is another way Karen is able to share her passion. She is an active member in the Tri-Cities Seniors Network and she serves on the Board of the North Fraser Chapter of CARP as Vice-Chair. She also writes the monthly “Dear Dementia Solutions” column on the CARP National website. Karen continues to be inspired to be a change maker for those affected by dementia.