Conference SpeakersFind out more about our confirmed speakers for the conference in 2018
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Morning breakout session speakers
Please see below for a list of confirmed speakers, to date, for the 2018 conference programme. We’ll be adding to this list over the coming weeks.
Deputy Director of Workforce Development, Alzheimer Scotland
Jan joined Alzheimer Scotland in 2014 as Deputy Director of Workforce Development, having previously ran a consultancy business. The Quality and Workforce Development team are responsible for developing a culture that encourages and rewards staff to share practice, build peer support encourages learning and stretches thinking. Jan is also Chair of Fair Deal, an innovative learning disabilities organisation in Glasgow that is recognised as being at the forefront of personalisation.
Dementia Advisor, South Highland, Alzheimer Scotland
I have been working as a Dementia Advisor with Alzheimer Scotland for 2 years now. I am passionate about and fascinated by the complex field of dementia and am currently doing a post graduate certificate at St Andrew’s University on the Psychology of Dementia.
During my time as a Dementia Advisor I have been involved in various creative projects. I set up a Woodland Activity group for people with dementia and their carers and I have worked with young people on raising awareness of dementia through drama and dance. I have also enjoyed being involved in local engagement work, and run various carer support groups and a monthly Supper Club.
Dementia Adviser, Alzheimer Scotland
Fiona has worked with Alzheimer Scotland as a Dementia Advisor since August 2011. Like many of her colleagues, she has also been personally affected by dementia and this experience encouraged her to apply for the Dementia Advisor role. She sees her role as being absolutely crucial in supporting local people with dementia and their families to access the support and services they need and to have their voices heard and is passionate about involving people with dementia and carers in Alzheimer Scotland’s local engagement work. In 2017, she was seconded to the additional role of Development Officer (within the Public Policy team) where she worked with NDCAN, SDWG and local staff to engage people with dementia and carers across Scotland, particularly regarding the impact of Scotland’s third National Dementia Strategy.
Dementia Nurse Consultant, Balhousie Care Group
Yvonne has been a Dementia Nurse Consultant for Balhousie Care Group since 2016. She is a registered mental health nurse, with an MSc in Dementia Studies, with 23 years’ experience of working in care homes in a variety of roles such as care assistant, nurse, manager and dementia nurse consultant.
Dementia care has always been the focus of Yvonne’s career with a particular interest in promoting wellbeing through personalisation and a strong belief in the benefit of collaboration and workforce development.
Yvonne has been involved in the creation of a dementia strategy with residents, staff and families from across Balhousie care group and in projects such as music therapy in various forms, dementia care mapping ™, Life story work, Namaste care, therapeutic gardens, delivering dementia training and the creation of the successful Balhousie dementia ambassador program.
Activities Coordinator, Balhousie Care Group
Maria started her career in Balhousie Wheatland’s Care Group as the administrator in June 2015, whilst working within the Care Home. She spent time researching and training to become a committed dementia ambassador and Care Assistant within the company whilst maintaining her role as administrator.
Since then Maria has moved into the role of activities co-coordinator and has been working with external partnerships such as the Forestry Commission and Paths for All. Maria has a particular interest in fitness and wellbeing, creating fun ways to get active using music and singing to aid in the experience. She is enthusiastic about music therapies with the use in Namaste Care and Playlist for Life. Maria’s most recent projects have been the development of intergenerational work with a local nursery, Cognitive Stimulation therapy and delivering Namaste care.
Activities Co-Ordinator/ Dementia Ambassador, Balhousie Care Group
Having commenced a career within childcare Tanya made the move into Elderly Care with Balhousie Care Group in December 2013.
Since then, in the role of activities co-ordinator Tanya has developed a range of projects, involving residents and external agencies and stakeholders which includes the local schools, playgroups, community groups and friends & relatives of residents. Tanya is a committed Dementia Ambassador, playing an active role within Balhousie Huntly Care Home, and reaching out to local communities. She has a particular interest in the areas of community involvement and intergenerational working, as well as having been an early adopter and enthusiast of the Playlist for Life initiative. Tanya’s most recent projects have been the development of Family Focussed Events (FFE) and the creation of Dementia Gardens and Community resources.
Prof Tara Spires-Jones
Professor of Neurodegeneration, University of Edinburgh and UK Dementia Research Institute
Tara Spires-Jones is Professor of Neurodegeneration, Deputy Director of the Centre for Brain Sciences, and a UK Dementia Research Institute Programme Lead at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the brain changes that cause dementias. Prior to moving to Scotland in 2013, Prof Spires-Jones ran a research group at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Harvard Medical School. She completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School doctoral training at Oxford.
In addition to her research, Prof Spires-Jones is passionate about communicating scientific findings to the public and policy makers in order to share the joy of our ever -expanding understanding of the brain and to facilitate a productive conversation about the role of science in society. She is also a FENS-KAVLI Network of Excellence scholar working to foster the careers of neuroscientists, and advises the Scottish Government on science policy as a member of the Scottish Science Advisory Council.
Project Mnager, CrossReach Heart for Art
Since gaining a degree followed by diploma in Fine Art in 1997 Paula has worked extensively in supporting and facilitating a diverse range of people in various settings through the use of art making. Additionally she gained education in art psychotherapy which helped her to continue to develop her individual and group work practice. Her passion for working with people combined with passion for art is as strong now as it was when she began working in the voluntary sector in her early teens. Currently she manages CrossReach Heart For Art service based on creative, visual arts for people affected by dementia diagnosis.
Co Director, Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre
Tom is a consultant psychiatrist in NHS Lothian, an honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Dementia Prevention, University of Edinburgh, and Co-Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Dementia Research Centre, University of Edinburgh. 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.
Comunications Manager, Alzheimer Scotland
Kirsty has worked with Alzheimer Scotland for almost 12 years and has been involved in every aspect of its communications, PR, media, social media, awareness-raising and campaigning in that time. Her current focus is engagement; both externally, through her work to ensure that people with dementia and carers in Scotland’s communities are heard and respected by local decisionmakers, and internally, driving forward Alzheimer Scotland’s commitment to all its staff having an effective voice within the organisation.
Professor Debbie Tolson
Assistant Dean Research and Enterprise and Alzheimer Scotland Professor of Dementia/DSirector of Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice, University of the West of Scotland
Professor Tolson joined the University of the West of Scotland in 2013 as the inaugural Director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice and Alzheimer Scotland Professor of Dementia. Debbie is a nurse leader with an international reputation for advancing evidence informed interdisciplinary care with people with dementia and family caring. In 2010 she was awarded the Jim Flood Memorial Alzheimer Disease Distinguished Lectureship St Louis University (USA) Medical School. Current research interests include advanced dementia (Pallaire), non-pharmacological caring interventions, individualised and group based reminiscence including football focussed reminiscence, individualised sensory interventions and experiences of early onset dementia associated with employment. She is an active member of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortia.