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Conference Speakers 2019

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.

Keith Chapman

Keith Chapman

Chair, Research Advisory Forum, Alzheimer Scotland

Keith is a retired GP and has supported the work of Alzheimer Scotland for over 20 years, including awareness raising, fundraising and cooking at his local Dementia Café. He also has close family experience of dementia. Keith has a keen interest in dementia from a research perspective and now chairs the Research Advisory Forum of Alzheimer Scotland. He maintains contact with wider health matters as a member of Midlothian Integration Board and chairs the ‘Hot Topics’ public engagement forum in Midlothian

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’. 

Dr Fergus Doubal

Dr Fergus Doubal

Consultant Stroke Physician and Geriatrician, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh

Dr Fergus Doubal is an honorary senior lecturer at the University of Edinburgh and consultant stroke physician and geriatrician at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.  His research focuses on finding the causes and then treatments for cerebral small vessel disease which can cause stroke and dementia.  He uses advanced brain MRI scanning and retinal imaging to find the causes of small vessel disease and large studies to find out what happens to memory and thinking following stroke.  He also runs randomized drugs trials aiming to improve cognition in patients with stroke.

Hilary Evans

Hilary Evans

Chief Executive, Alzheimer’s Research UK

Hilary Evans is Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK, a leading charity with a mission to defeat dementia by funding and delivering pioneering research, campaigning and collaborating with governments, funders, industry and people affected by dementia to find effective treatments.

As Chief Executive Hilary has led the transformation of the charity to one of the leading medical research charities in the UK – seeing the charity more than triple its income in three years and therefore significantly enhanced the organisations ability to fund ground-breaking new projects.

She is driven and fascinated by ideas that can make a difference and has led major public campaigns aiming to shift public perceptions of dementia and break down the stigma around these diseases.

Before joining Alzheimer’s Research UK Hilary worked at Age UK, improving the lives of people in later life both in the UK and internationally. Hilary also brings experience of working in Government and with the pharmaceutical industry in corporate affairs roles. She holds an honorary doctorate in medicine from The University of Exeter.

Dr Jill Fowler

Dr Jill Fowler

Alzheimer’s Research UK Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Dr Jill Fowler is an Alzheimer’s Research UK senior research fellow at the University of Edinburgh.  The goal of her research is to understand the mechanisms by which reductions in blood flow to the brain, including stroke, can cause degenerative changes in the brain which can lead to dementia. Jill has developed a number of mouse models for investigating disease mechanisms and novel therapeutic approaches.

Geoff Huggins

Geoff Huggins

Director, NES Digital Service

Previously Geoff was the Director of health and Social Care Integration until 2018 at the Scottish Government. Prior to this, he was Head of Mental Health and Protection of Rights Division. He has worked across a variety of roles covering housing and education policy in Scotland and politics and security with the Northern Ireland Office. He is also the leader of the forthcoming EU Joint Action on Dementia.

Lewis Killin

Lewis Killin

Project Manager and Clinical Studies Officer, Centre for Dementia Prevention and Neuroprogressive and Dementia Research Network

Lewis Killin is the Project Manager of the Scottish Dementia Informatics Partnership and is based at the Centre for Dementia Prevention. He also works as a Clinical Studies Officer at the Neuroprogressive and Dementia Research Network in NHS Lothian. As part of his project management role he is overseeing the implementation of the Scottish Brain Health Register, and is interested in how research can be offered to families living with dementia, and how dementia research is understood and communicated within the NHS.

Professor Brian Lawlor

Professor Brian Lawlor

Deputy Executive Director of Global Brain Health Institute, Trinity College, Dublin

Brian Lawlor is Deputy Executive Director of GBHI, Program Director for the Atlantic Fellows for Equity in Brain Health training program at GBHI and Conolly Norman Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin.  He trained in internal medicine in Ireland and in Psychiatry in the United States, completing a residency at University of Florida at Gainesville and a fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health at Bethesda before taking up the position of Chief of Psychogeriatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. He returned to Dublin in 1991 to establish the Memory Clinic at St. James’s Hospital, where he also developed a comprehensive old age psychiatry service. His research interests are in early detection and diagnosis of dementia, behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia, clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease and the study of depression and loneliness in older people. He is recognized nationally and internationally as an expert in Alzheimer’s disease and has published extensively in the field of dementia and geriatric psychiatry.

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.

Professor Hugh Masters

Professor Hugh Masters

Policy Consultant, Alzheimer Scotland

Hugh has over three decades of experience working across professional practice, education and policy in a number of leadership roles, most recently in the Scottish Government from 2009 to 2018 as Nursing Officer for mental health nursing and Associate Chief Nursing Officer.  His key responsibilities were in nursing education, workforce, mental health and learning disabilities.  He led the work, on behalf of the CNO, to develop a programme of hospital inspections for older people and to deliver the commitments in the three dementia strategies on general hospital care and latterly specialist dementia care settings.  Since August 2018, he has acted as a Policy Consultant to Alzheimer Scotland in the area of hospital care, working closely with the Alzheimer Scotland Nurse Consultant group. In his spare time he is a tennis referee, coach and increasingly average player; motorcyclist; dog lover, and grandchild minder.

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.

Danny & Catherine McDonald

Danny & Catherine McDonald

Danny is a member of the Scottish Dementia Working Group and Catherine is a member of the National Dementia Carers Action Network

Danny was 52 and still working full time when diagnosed in 2016 with vascular dementia. He became involved with SDWG as he feels remaining active is very important. He is very involved with his local dementia resource centre, the community choir, day centre and social events hosted by Alzheimer Scotland. This has helped him make new friends and remain positive throughout. Family has always been very important to Danny and both his son and daughter enjoy being involved in activities in the resource centre such as the family quiz. 

Catherine is a part time Learning Assistant working with children with additional needs.  She is also carer to Danny, after his diagnosis of dementia in 2016.  Catherine became involved with NDCAN in 2018 as she wants to be involved in influencing the effective implementation of policies in her local area.  She loves spending time with Danny and their two children, both of whom are at university.  She is very involved in her local dementia resource centre and enjoys many activities on offer.

Archie Noone

Archie Noone

Chair, Scottish Dementia Working Group

Archie was diagnosed at the age of 72.  He feels that it’s really important for people diagnosed with dementia to get professional advice as soon as possible to help them understand the full implications of the condition and develop coping strategies.  Archie joined SDWG in 2013 before becoming vice chair in 2015.  He was Chair of the group from 2016 until 2019.

“I have a fun, active and stimulating life at present and my work with the SDWG gives me great purpose and satisfaction. My attitude is: I have dementia…… but dementia has not got me.”

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.

Dr Catherine Pennington

Dr Catherine Pennington

Senior Clinical Research Fellow, Edinburgh Dementia Prevention

Dr Catherine Pennington is a Senior Clinical Research Fellow with Edinburgh Dementia Prevention and an honorary consultant neurologist with NHS Lothian. Her research interests are around how cognitive disorders interact with personality and behaviour, in particularly symptom awareness. She is involved in the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease Consortium, and the Alzheimer Society-funded PREVENT project, alongside clinical trials aimed at preventing and treating dementia.

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.

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.

Emma Stevenson

Emma Stevenson

Professor of Exercise Science and Nutrition, Newcastle University

Emma Stevenson is Professor of Exercise Science and Nutrition in the Institute of Cellular Medicine in the Faculty of Medical Sciences at Newcastle University. Emma is also a PI in the Human Nutrition Research Centre at Newcastle University. Emma’s research focuses on the effects of exercise and nutrition on metabolism and healthy ageing. She is the principle investigator for the Medical Research Council funded NuBrain consortium which focuses on optimum nutrition for healthy brain ageing which launched in Spring 2019.

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