The CCNA Trainee Society

The CCNA Trainee Society was founded in January 2018 and is a national network of Master’s and Doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows engaged in CCNA-related work.

Total CCNA Trainees

Percentage of trainees that are female

Percentage of trainees that are male

CCNA Trainees: Tackling complex questions about age-related neurodegenerative diseases.



The CCNA Training & Capacity Building (T&CB) Trainee Society was founded in January 2018 and is a national network of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working in the CCNA’s three strategic research themes: Prevention and Treatment of age-related neurodegenerative diseases, and Quality of Life for those with lived experience (persons living with age-related neurodegenerative diseases and their care partners).

Am I a CCNA Trainee?

Any undergraduate or graduate student registered full-time or part-time in a Canadian post-secondary institution is automatically a CCNA trainee. The student must be supervised by a CCNA investigator and engaged in CCNA-related work.

If you are a postdoctoral researcher or postgraduate clinical fellow (research focused), you are also recognized as a CCNA trainee if you are associated with a Canadian post-secondary institution (registered as a student and/or holding an appointment as an employee). You must be working under the mentorship of a CCNA investigator and engaged in CCNA-related work.

The Trainee Society Executive Committee

The activities of the Trainee Society are organized by an Executive Committee and supported by the T&CB Program Coordinator and Lead.

The objectives of the Trainee Society are to:

  • Develop a peer network for CCNA trainees.
  • Promote interdisciplinary collaboration across and within the CCNA’s strategic priorities.
  • Create and support networking and mentoring opportunities.
  • Represent the interests of trainees in the CCNA.



Executive Committee Members

Lauren Bechard
President | University of Waterloo

CCNA Team 12: Mobility, Exercise and Cognition / Team 19: Integrating Dementia Patient Care into the Health Care System

Lauren is a PhD student in the interdisciplinary Aging, Health and Well-Being program at the University of Waterloo with Dr. Laura Middleton. Lauren's research is supported by an Alzheimer Society Research Program Doctoral Award and seeks to understand how physical activity can be used as a strategy to help prevent and live well with dementia. Lauren has served on the CCNA Trainee Society in various roles since 2018, during which she has supported multiple trainee events in Southern Ontario on the topic of patient and public engagement in dementia research.

Danielle D'Amico
Vice President | Ryerson University

CCNA Team 5: Diet and Prevention

Danielle is a PhD student in the Psychological Science Program at Ryerson University under the supervision of Dr. Alexandra Fiocco in the Stress and Healthy Aging Research Lab and CCNA Team 5 (Diet and Prevention). Her research interests center around lifestyle behaviours and cognitive health in later life. Specifically, her research aims to 1) examine the interactive effects of modifiable factors (i.e., diet patterns, exercise, stress, social and cognitive engagement) that facilitate healthy cognitive aging, and 2) elucidate the biological mechanisms through which lifestyle behaviors impact cognitive function. Through this research, Danielle aims to understand how effective prevention strategies can be developed to meet the needs of our diverse aging population and ultimately enhance cognitive well-being among older adults. Danielle is also interested and actively engaged in knowledge translation and community outreach both within the CCNA as a Knowledge Translation Champion and externally through the LIFE Institute at Ryerson. Outside of research, Danielle enjoys yoga, exploring Toronto with her rescue dog Maya, and trying new recipes. She is excited to be a part of the CCNA Trainee Society as Executive Co-Chair and to connect with other trainees, researchers, and CCNA partners.

Emma Conway
Communications Coordinator | University of Waterloo

CCNA Team 19: Integrating Dementia Patient Care into the Healthcare System

Emma is a PhD student in the School of Public Health and Health Systems - Aging, Health and Well-Being program at the University of Waterloo. Emma’s PhD is supervised by Dr. Carrie McAiney. Emma’s research focuses on co-design and participatory research methods with persons living with dementia, family and friend care partners, and health and social care providers. Through this research, Emma works to identify inclusive research methods that can improve research engagement for persons living with dementia. Outside of her research, Emma volunteers with St. John Ambulance with her therapy dog, Avery. Together they provide support to older adults living in residential care settings in the Waterloo-Wellington region. Emma is excited for this new opportunity as Communications Coordinator and is looking forward to connecting with Trainee’s across the CCNA.

Joyla Furlano
Western University

CCNA Team 18: Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations

Joyla is a fourth-year PhD student in the Exercise, Mobility and Brain Health Lab at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Lindsay Nagamatsu and a member of CCNA Team 18 (Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations). Her doctoral research examines the effects of exercise on cognitive and brain health in clinical populations of older adults. She is also a Research Assistant in the Health Equity Action Research Team at Western University, where she works with Dr. Lloy Wylie’s team to improve healthcare delivery for Indigenous people. Broadly, her research interests include healthy active aging, dementia prevention, brain health promotion, Indigenous health, healthcare policy development, and undergraduate curriculum development.  

Nabina Sharma
Laurentian University

CCNA Team 18: Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations

Nabina is a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Rural and Northern Health program at Laurentian University. Nabina is a CCNA trainee with Team 18: Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations under the supervision of Dr. Jennifer Walker. Her PhD research includes developing an Indigenous Functional Assessment (IFA) tool to address the lack of a culturally appropriate cognitive function assessment tool for the Indigenous population in Canada. This tool will be a first-ever informant tool designed and validated in partnership with Indigenous care partners. Her research interest includes community-engaged research, Indigenous health and aging, cultural safety, cognition, and dementia. Nabina is a mother of a 9-year-old son. She loves yoga and hiking on the trails of Sudbury. Nabina is excited to be a part of the CCNA trainee Society.



Past Executive Committee Members (2018 – 2020)

We would like to thank the following Committee Members from CCNA Phase 1 who helped establish the Trainee Society.

  • Lindsay Wallace, Team 14: Multi-Morbidity and Dementia, Dalhousie University
  • Allen McLean, Team 20: Issues in Dementia Care for Rural and Indigenous Populations, University of Saskatchewan
  • Bruna Seixas Lima, Team 10: Cognitive Intervention, Reserve and Brain Plasticity, University of Toronto
  • Charlene Chu, Team 15: Gerontechnology and Dementia, University of Toronto
  • Saira Mirza, Teams 7 & 8: Vascular Illness and its Impact on Neurodegenerative Diseases and Lewy Bodies, Aging and Dementia, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre


2021 Trainee Society Events

Each year the Trainee Society Executive Members organize workshops and events for CCNA trainees. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Trainee Society events will be online in 2021.

Trainee News: Share your success stories with us!

The CCNA Trainee Society wants to acknowledge all of your hard work and amplify your successes. We are seeking trainee success stories to share on the Training and Capacity Building Program website. If you have a story to share, submit it using the form below.

We look forward to hearing from you!


Please paste your news story here (Max 500 words).

Get Involved

The Trainee Society Executive Committee is always interested in hearing from CCNA trainees who are interested in organizing events and activities for fellow trainees.

Volunteering your time with the Trainee Society is a great way to get involved with the CCNA, and you can add it to your CV! 

If you are interested in volunteering email us at: