Sam Katz Community Health and Aging Research Unit


Marie Savundranayagam, PhD

Marie Savundranayagam

Dr. Savundranayagam is an Asssociate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences, Director of the Caregiving Research (CaRe) Lab and a member of Western's Brain and Mind Institute at Western University, Canada.  Her research focuses on improving caregiving relationships through enhanced communication, identifying ways to enhance personhood for individuals with dementia, and uncovering the mechanisms by which caregiver interventions are effective. She received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research ‘Age Plus’ Award for her work on communication problems and burden among family caregivers of persons with dementia. Her work on communication and dementia led to two knowledge translation and exchange efforts sponsored by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA): a publication called “Communicating With Older Adults: An Evidence-Based Review of What Really Works” (2012) for health professionals and policy experts who work with older adults, and an e-learning module on “Communicating With Older Adults With Mild Cognitive Impairment” (2014) for pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and elder law attorneys. Additionally, Dr. Savundranayagam’s research, funded by the Alzheimer’s Association, assessed the effectiveness of communication strategies used by caregivers to resolve communication breakdowns and investigated the differential impact of effective versus ineffective strategies in predicting caregiver burden. Dr. Savundranayagam serves as associate editor for the Clinical Gerontologist and is on the editorial boards of Educational Gerontology, Journal of Family Communication and Social Work in Health Care.