About Us

Our vision is to foster a training environment for CCNA members and trainees with the goal of building the next generation of researchers working on brain health and cognitive impairment in aging. 

Program Objectives: 

  • To foster the development of “core” intellectual competencies and professional skills. 
  • To provide funding support to conduct research projects that align with the CCNA themes including the prevention and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases and quality of life for persons with dementia and their caregivers. 
  • To foster collaboration between trainees and scientists.

The Training & Capacity Building Program Team

Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso
Program Lead (April 2021 - Present)

Manuel Montero-Odasso is a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, and Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Western Ontario and Director of the “Gait & Brain Lab” at Parkwood Institute, London, Ontario. He is a geriatrician and clinician-scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and serves as team leader at the CCNA and team co-leader at the Ontario Neurodegenerative Research Initiative (ONDRI).

He leads the Gait and Brain Health Program with the goal of understanding mechanisms and potential treatments of mobility and cognitive decline in older individuals. He focuses on gait performance and has established the use of “motor biomarkers” like slowing gait and dual-task gait to predict frailty, falls, and dementia in older people. He has initiated clinical trials applying the novel approach of “improving cognition to improve mobility” using pharmacological and non-pharmacological approaches such as physical exercise, cognitive training and non-invasive brain stimulation. As team leader in CCNA (Canada Research Dementia Strategy) he is focusing in multi-domain clinical trials, including the SYNERGIC Trial (www.synergictrial.com), to delay dementia in older adults at risk (MCI spectrum) using physical exercises combined with cognitive training, and nutritional interventions (Vitamin D).

Amanda Duncan
Program Coordinator

Amanda graduated with an MA in Anthropology from the University of Alberta with a focus on medicine and health. She conducted an ethnographic study investigating the integration of traditional Tibetan and Western medical systems in Bhutan. Prior to joining the CCNA in 2015, Amanda coordinated research and policy evaluation projects for the Centre for Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital, the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project at the University of Waterloo, and the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Alberta.

Lauren Bechard
Program Consultant

Lauren is completing her doctoral research with Dr. Laura Middleton (CCNA Team 14) at the University of Waterloo, investigating how physical activity and other lifestyle factors can support living well with dementia. Lauren has supported the CCNA Training and Capacity Building program since 2018 in various roles to advance trainee engagement and development in the CCNA. As a Program Assistant, Lauren is supporting the Training Program in completing special projects to develop new programming and report on program impact during CCNA Phase II.


Past T&CB Program Leads

Dr. Colleen J. Maxwell
CCNA Phase II Lead (2019-2021)

The T&CB Program would like to thank Dr. Colleen Maxwell for her leadership of the T&CB Program for Years 1 & 2 of CCNA Phase II. Colleen oversaw the development of a new and highly innovative period of growth for the Training Program. Among Colleen’s major accomplishment as Program Lead are the Trainee Symposium on “Rethinking Traditional Mentorship,” the launch of the Interdisciplinary Trainee Research Innovation Challenge (ITRIC) Program, and the establishment of key collaborative initiatives with the CCNA Indigenous Cognitive Health (ICH) Program. This included the 2020 T&CB-ICH Indigenous Dementia Research Award.

Dr. David Hogan
CCNA Phase I Lead (2015-2019)

The T&CB Program would like to thank Dr. David Hogan for his tremendous dedication to and leadership of the T&CB Program during Phase 1. David oversaw the development of educational resources for trainees including a social media guide and a series of five training videos on how to conduct interviews with print and television journalists. He was invaluable to the planning process for the CCNA Science Day and Partners Forum and sought to empower trainees within the CCNA by having them participate in the Conference Program Planning Committee.


Partner Acknowledgement

T&CB Program would like to acknowledge our funding partners, the Alzheimer Society of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research including the Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health, and the Canadian Nurses Foundation.