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Conference Speakers

Find out more about our confirmed speakers for the conference in 2019
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Please see below for a list of confirmed speakers to date (in alphabetical order).

We’ll be adding to this list over the coming weeks.

Dr Margaret Brown

Dr Margaret Brown

Depute Director, the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, School of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of Scotland

As a researcher, educator and practitioner Margaret has many years of experience in the field of dementia and mental health care for older people. Her current research and educational interest includes simulated learning and compassion in advanced dementia and her recent PhD study was about quality of life for the person with severe dementia. She is a member of the team delivering the award winning ‘Scotland’s Dementia Champions Programme’. She recently completed the first report in Scotland about Housing and Dementia. In 2016, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award for services to dementia care from NHS Health (and Education) Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council.

Fiona Carragher

Fiona Carragher

Chief Policy and Research Officer, Alzheimer’s Society

Fiona Carragher joined Alzheimer’s Society as Chief Policy and Research Officer in January 2019. As a member of the Executive Group and Strategic Leadership Team, Fiona plays a pivotal role in the Society’s vision to create a world without dementia. She has overall responsibility for delivering the New Deal on Research strategy; leading the Society’s growing and ambitious world-class research programme and portfolio.

Prior to this, Fiona was the Deputy Chief Scientific Officer for NHS England, supporting the head of profession for the 50,000 healthcare science workforces in the NHS.

Fiona is a Consultant Clinical Biochemist by background. She has worked in multi-professional teams for two decades at Guy’s & St Thomas’ Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children, Edinburgh and Kings College Hospital London, with a focus on providing high quality, innovative services.

She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, Chartered Scientist and a European Specialist in Laboratory Medicine.

Dr Julie Christie

Dr Julie Christie

Region Manager UK and Europe, Dementia Centre, HammondCare

Dr Christie is UK Region Manager for HammondCare and has practiced as a nurse, social worker and social work manager. She has a PhD in the subject of resilience and dementia and has worked in integrated health and social care settings, residential, care home and hospital sites, and has extensive knowledge on care systems, co-production, assessment, risk enablement, self-directed support, and issues of support and protection. Dr Christie is a registered social worker, a visiting research fellow at the University of Edinburgh, and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of New South Wales, Australia. She has published work on acute hospital care practice, the ethical evaluation of dementia services, social work practice with older people, sensory changes in dementia and virtual reality applications. Forthcoming publications include technology choices for organisations working with people who have dementia and new practice paradigms. She is currently working on her forthcoming book ‘Resilience and Dementia: assessing and promoting resilience in dementia care’. 

Laura Finnan Cowan

Laura Finnan Cowan

Self-Directed Support Manager, Alzheimer Scotland

Laura has been working as the Self-Directed Support Manager in Alzheimer Scotland for over four years now. She has lots of experience of supporting people to learn about Self-Directed Support and consider what it might mean for them in their own situation.

Laura is also responsible for delivering SDS training to Alzheimer Scotland staff, helping to ensure that our workforce is ready, willing and able to support people to make the most of SDS.

Visit Laura and her colleagues on the day to find out more about Self-Directed Support, ask any questions you might have, consider new ideas about support that works for you and support to overcome any barriers to getting the support of your choice.

Professor Mary Marshall

Professor Mary Marshall

Senior Consultant, Dementia Centre, HammondCare

Mary Marshall has been in the field of dementia care since 1982 when she went to work in Australia for six months and discovered a social model of care in action in many areas of Victoria. She came back inspired and has been promoting this ever since in various ways: writing, teaching, research and running projects. She now works as a senior consultant for Dementia Centre, HammondCare, mainly on helping improve environments for people with dementia. She is an Honorary Professor at the University of Edinburgh and Emeritus Professor at the University of Stirling.

Rt. Hon Henry McLeish

Rt. Hon Henry McLeish

Former First Minister of Scotland

The Right Honourable Henry McLeish, a former professional football player, began his political career in Fife, Scotland in the early 1970’s. He progressed through the Kirkcaldy District Council and Fife Regional Council before being elected to the UK Parliament in 1987 and becoming a member of the Blair Government in 1997.

Mr McLeish was elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999 as Minister for Enterprise and Life Long Learning where he oversaw higher education, industry, science, technology and the economy.

He became First Minister of Scotland in 2000, taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and World stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies.

As First Minister, he played key role in the introduction free personal and nursing care. He also has a family connection to Alzheimer Scotland and has been a key mentor in helping the charity identify inequities in health care for people with advanced dementia.

After 30 years in elected office, Mr McLeish retired from elected public office in 2003. During the last few years he has been visiting professor and lecturer at a number of universities in USA, teaching European Union studies and UK Government and Politics.

Jim Pearson

Jim Pearson

Director of Policy & Research, Alzheimer Scotland

As Director of Policy & Research, Jim leads on all of Alzheimer Scotland’s public policy engagement. Jim is responsible for working with other partners to drive forward the commitments of Scotland’s National Dementia Strategy, including work around the post diagnostic support guarantee, testing our 8 pillar model of integrated community support and extending the improvement work in health care to other settings such as specialist dementia care services and continuing care environments. Jim is also responsible for Alzheimer Scotland’s engagement with international partners including Alzheimer Europe and Alzheimer Disease International.

Professor Craig Ritchie

Professor Craig Ritchie

Professor of Psychiatry of Ageing, University of Edinburgh

Craig leads the Alzheimer Society-funded PREVENT project; a major initiative nationally which will identify mid-life risks for later life dementia and characterize early changes of neurodegenerative disease through imaging, genetic, cognitive and biological tests. PREVENT is a core cohort of the MRC Dementias Platform.

Craig also leads the EPAD (European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia) Consortium, which is a 5-year project to establish a pan-European network of Trial Delivery Centres. The EPAD project is part of a global effort in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease and is a major European initiative to create a novel environment for testing numerous interventions targeted at the prevention of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Martin Rossor

Martin Rossor

NIHR National Director for Dementia Research, NIHR

Martin Rossor trained in Neurology at the National Hospital, Queen Square and undertook research into the neurochemistry of degenerative dementia at the MRC Neurochemical Pharmacology Unit, Cambridge.

He is Professor of Clinical Neurology at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, and established a specialist cognitive disorders clinic which acts as a tertiary referral service for young onset and rare dementias. Clinical research interests are in the degenerative dementias and particularly in familial disease. He was editor of the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, and President of the Association of British Neurologists. Martin is the NIHR National Director for Dementia Research.

Dr Tom Russ

Dr Tom Russ

Co-Director, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre

Tom is a consultant psychiatrist in NHS Lothian, an honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre. His research began by examining geographical variation in dementia risk in Scotland and Sweden (and later Italy, Chile, New Zealand, and – hopefully – Japan) and now focuses on environmental risk factors for dementia, such as sunlight (and consequently vitamin D levels) and air pollution. The aim is to identify and understand how the most important factors affect dementia risk with a view to delaying the onset of symptoms and, ultimately, preventing dementia.

Henry Simmons

Henry Simmons

Chief Executive, Alzheimer Scotland

Henry Simmons joined Alzheimer Scotland as Chief Executive in August 2008, prior to this he worked as an Executive Director with ENABLE Scotland. He is a registered Social Worker, Registered Mental Nurse and has an MBA. Henry has over twenty years’ experience in the health and social care sector and has spent the majority of his career in the voluntary sector, primarily involved in developing new community-based person-centred services.

Henry has worked in both the learning disability and mental health fields. He was a Board Member of Alzheimer Europe for several years and is a General Member of the Mental Health Tribunal for Scotland. He is also chair of the NHS NES/SSSC Dementia Programme Board and currently a member of the Fair Work Convention.

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