Research Members


Shalane Basque, Project Coordinator

Shalane Basque is the Project Coordinator in the CaRe Lab. She has extensive experience with verbal discourse transcriptions, project management, quality assurance, and intervention implementation. Her research interests are in supporting informal and formal caregivers of persons with dementia. She is interested in learning family caregivers’ goals and how their goals vary across the caregiving career. She is equally interested in teaching person-centered communication to Personal Support Workers. She strongly believes in enhancing knowledge of informal and formal caregivers in order to provide quality care to support the needs of persons with dementia.


Dr. Susan Docherty-Skippen, Post-Doctoral Associate

Susan’s research focuses on self-care curriculum and caregiving capacity in formal (health care service provision) and informal (family) caregiving. She joined the Sam Katz Community Health and Aging Research Care Lab as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in June 2020, after receiving her Ph.D. in Educational Studies from Brock University.  With over 20 years of professional experience as an Adult Educator, Susan has worked as an Educational Consultant for private and non-profit health care organizations, as a Board Director for the College Council of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario, ARCH Disability Law Society, the Hamilton Literacy Council, and L’Arche Hamilton. In these roles, Susan has led several interdisciplinary projects in the areas of care, self-care, health care education, and professional care practice curriculum. Elements of her work, including an arts-informed method she developed to textualize lived experiences of dis/ability (Docherty-Skippen & Brown, 2017; Docherty-Skippen, 2019), have been presented at international conferences and in peer-reviewed journal articles.  In April 2020, Susan won the Jack M. Miller Excellence in Research Award from Brock University, and in February 2020, her grant application to lead an on-line scleroderma patient/family caregiver support group program was approved by the Ontario Trillium Foundation for $277,000.00.  In addition to teaching in the Teacher Education Program at Brock University, currently, Susan is working on two major research projects: 1) A project funded by Future Skills Ontario where she is investigating the learning needs and working conditions that enable personal support workers to provide person-centred dementia care before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and 2) A project a funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation where she is investigating the caregiving capacity of family caregivers co-participating in an on-line scleroderma patient support group program.   


Rachel Breen, Master's Student

Rachel Breen is currently in the process of completing her Masters in the Health and Rehabilitation sciences at Western University. She graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science in 2018. Her research interests include dementia care and formal caregiving. Her current research explores the perspectives personal support workers have in the provision of quality dementia home care and compares these perspectives to what can be found in Ontario home care policy documents.


Pabiththa Kamalraj, Master's Student

Pabiththa Kamalraj is pursuing her Master of Science (MSc) in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program. She obtained her Bachelor of Health Sciences from Western University in 2017. Her research interests include issues related to mental health, dementia, and dementia care. She is presently working under the guidance of Dr. Marie Savundranayagam to understand the communication experience of formal caregivers, specifically personal support workers (PSWs), who work with individuals with dementia, in the home environment.


Reanne Mundadan, Master's Student

Reanne Mundadan is a Master’s Student in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program. She obtained her Bachelor of Sciences (Medical Sciences and French) from Western University in June 2020. Her research interests focus on the communication practices between caregivers and persons with dementia (PWD). She is enthusiastic about the Care Lab and working with its dedicated team to effect positive changes on caregiving relationships. She wishes to contribute towards an increased sensitivity to communication and language used by caregivers to create a mosaic of enduring and positive influences for PWD.


Emma Bender, Master's Student

Emma Bender is pursuing a Master’s of Science in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program at Western University. She obtained her Hons. B.A. (Therapeutic Recreation and Gerontology) from the University of Waterloo in 2020. Her passion for the field of aging was first ignited by personal family experience with frontotemporal dementia and then research experience focused on older adults living in long-term care. Emma’s current research focus is person-centered approaches to non-verbal communication between care partners and people living with dementia (PLWD). Emma hopes to use research and knowledge mobilization to create real-world solutions for PLWD and their care partners.


Kyla Finlayson, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Kyla Finlayson is pursuing an Honours Specialization in Neuroscience at Western University. Her interest in dementia care began when her grandmother was diagnosed with dementia and she began volunteering in her extended care facility. She is interested in the ways dementia care can be improved for both care facility residents and their personal support workers through person-centered communication.


Yiting Wang, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Yiting Wang is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing an Honours Specialization in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences (IMS) at Western University. He is willing to show his sincere care for individuals with dementia. He empathizes with his grandmother suffering from stroke and dementia. Yiting’s current research interest focuses on improving person-centred communications via formal and informal caregiving. He hopes to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from Pathology, Pharmacology, and Physiology area.


Leigh-Anne Noltie, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Leigh-Anne Noltie is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences with an Honours Specialization in Health and Aging at Western University. Her interest in person-centered communication stemmed from working in a rural family medicine practice as a clinical assistant. She learned about the intricacies of communicating with persons living with dementia when administering Montreal Cognitive Assessments (MoCA). Leigh-Anne is interested in enhancing knowledge translation to ensure that research results from the CARE Lab can be accessed by various healthcare professionals and caregivers. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, Leigh-Anne will be pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing and hopes to work in rural communities in Canada. In her spare time, Leigh-Anne is President of the club “Seniors in I.T.” where she organizes volunteers to help older adults become more comfortable using technology. She also enjoys hiking and crafting.


Nandita Manoj, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Nandita Manoj is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing an Honours Specialization in Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University. Her interest in dementia care began through her past experiences working with seniors through various volunteer and leadership positions. While advocating to combat isolation in older adults, she developed an interest in the research area of person-centered communication via formal and informal caregiving. She hopes to improve her understanding of Dementia from a Physiological and social perspective. 


Lisa Nguyen, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Lisa Nguyen is a fourth-year undergraduate student pursing an Honours Specialization in Health Sciences at Western University. Her interest in dementia care began when she took a course on the fundamental issues associated with aging. Her current research interest focuses on improving person-centred communication between caregivers and care recipients. She hopes to learn more about ways to support caregivers during the caregiving process.


Sabrina Yang, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sabrina Yang is a second-year undergraduate student at Western University's Medical Sciences program. Her interest in dementia research stems from working as a volunteer offering social and cognitive stimulation to clients with Alzheimer’s Disease. Sabrina's enthusiasm for studying dementia translated into a role as a research assistant where she now aims to better understand and improve person-centered communication between people living with dementia and their care partners.


Sydney Mior, Undergraduate Research Assistant 

Sydney Mior is a third-year undergraduate student pursuing an Honours Specialization in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences at Western University. She has always been interested in dementia as her great grandmother has been diagnosed with dementia since before she was born. She has had many volunteer and work experiences providing support and companionship for those with dementia. Her enthusiasm for dementia research has led her to becoming a research assistant in the CARE lab where she contributes to research regarding person-centred communication for individuals with dementia and their caregivers.