The Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) held its first annual Partners Forum and Scientific meeting in Ottawa at the Élisabeth Bruyère Hospital on September 30 and October 1, 2015. These events brought together the best and brightest Canadian researchers in dementia and the partner organizations of the CCNA to discuss the previous year’s activities, outline a strategy for continued success, and identify and expand synergies throughout the consortium.
Highlights included His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, applauding the efforts of the consortium while speaking to the pressing need to address the challenges raised by neurodegeneration in aging. In particular, he emphasized the importance of cross-disciplinary and cross-border collaboration. Ms. Phyllis Fehr, a former nurse who is now living with dementia, expressed how encouraged and appreciative she is of the work that CCNA researchers are doing. A lively partners panel, “Partnering for maximum impact”, discussed the ways in which partners can contribute their expertise and networks to the consortium.
Not to mention, there were many informative talks from CCNA researchers on various aspects of the consortium, including a general overview by Howard Chertkow, as well as overviews of the Ethical, Legal and Social Issues Program by Serge Gauthier, the Women, Gender, Sex, and Dementia program by Mary Tierney, and the Platform 1: Clinical Cohorts COMPASS-ND study, with special focus on the biospecimens being collected by Howard Chertkow, Elizabeth MacNamara, and Roger Dixon.
In addition, there were poster sessions which provided an opportunity for lots of interaction between researchers and partners. The Knowledge Translation talk showcased the value of connections established during informal discussions. Event attendees are being asked to take moment to identify the value of these connections by participating in a brief Social Networking Evaluation.
The CCNA is also pleased to report that 13 CCNA trainees attended, including trainees supported by ASRP-CCNA Research Awards and CIHR-CCNA Travel Awards. While in Ottawa, trainees had the opportunity to meet and network with fellow trainees, CCNA investigators, and representatives of CCNA partner organizations.
Going forward, the next event will take place in Vancouver (2016). The conference organizing committee wishes to thank all of the participants for attending, and looks forward to learning what their new collaborations and synergies will bring to improving the quality of life and quality of services for people living with dementia.
The CCNA would like to acknowledge our funding partners for the CIHR-CCNA Trainee Travel Awards, the Institute of Aging and the Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We would also like to acknowledge the Alzheimer Society of Canada for their support of trainees through the ASRP-CCNA competitions, and the Canadian Nurses Foundation.