Research Institute for Aging

Impact Report 202223

Letter from the Executive Director

Tina Mah,
Executive Director

RIA by-the-numbers

An overview of RIA's impact in 2022-23

Letter from the Chair of the Board

Ronald Schlegel,
Director and Chair

Year in review

Discover notable milestones from 2022-23

Donor profile

Honouring those who help make our research possible

Impact stories

Take a deeper look at how RIA research is transforming the way we age

Letter From the

Executive Director

It is with great pleasure and gratitude that I address you in this Impact Report to reflect on our achievements and express our deepest appreciation to all who have supported the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging (RIA).

Our research continues to advance the quality of life for older adults in all communities. Through evidence-informed resources and education, such as the Virtual Music Therapy Guides and Forward with Dementia website, we are bringing research into the real world to enhance the wellbeing and independence of seniors.

I would like to extend our appreciation to our core partners (University of Waterloo, Conestoga College, and Schlegel Villages), as well as all the organizations and individuals who have worked closely with us. Together, we have been able to address critical issues related to aging, challenge conventional wisdom, and effect meaningful change in the lives of countless individuals.

I also want to thank our donors, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in fueling our progress. Your generosity has allowed us to undertake vital research, develop innovative programs, and attract world-class talent to the RIA.

As we prepare to embark on a new strategic plan, I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead to build on our achievements and strive to make an even greater impact on the lives of older adults. Together, we can create a future where aging is viewed not as a burden, but as an opportunity for growth, connection, and fulfillment.

Tina M. Mah, PhD, MBA, BScOT
Executive Director,
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging



Researchers, specialists, scientists, trainees


Research grant funding


New grants received


New publications


New research projects started in 2022


provincial, national and international collaborators


New Living Classrooms opened in 2022

Letter From the

Chair of the Board

I am delighted to present the 2022–23 Impact Report of the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging. As the Chair of the Board, it is my privilege to reflect on our remarkable accomplishments and share our vision for the future.

The RIA has remained committed to its mission of advancing research and innovation in aging. We have made significant strides in enhancing the quality of life for older adults and promoting healthy aging practices.

I extend my sincere gratitude to our researchers and passionate team members. Your commitment to improving the lives of older adults and promoting healthy aging is truly inspiring, and we are immensely grateful for all your contributions and dedication.

Thanks to these teams, the RIA has explored innovative approaches to dementia care, falls prevention, and the impact of technology on aging populations. These endeavours not only contribute to the body of knowledge in gerontology but are translated into practical interventions that positively impact the lives of older adults.

I know that the RIA remains committed to driving positive change in the culture of aging. We are determined to foster a society that values and supports healthy aging as we forge ahead.

Ronald Schlegel, O.C., Ph.D, LL.D, F.C.A.H.S
Director and Chair,
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

Notable Awards

RIA founder and board chair Dr. Ron Schlegel

Selected as a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) 2022 Fellow in recognition of the excellence of his work as a leader in Canadian health sciences. The CAHS Fellowship is considered one of the highest honours for members of the Canadian health sciences community.

Heather Keller

2022 Earle Willard McHenry Award for Distinguished Service in Nutrition from the Canadian Nutrition Society

Dr. Joanne Ho

Canadian Geriatrics Society Peter McCracken Physician Innovator in Education Award

George Shaker

$2.1M Mitacs awarded for Democratizing Radar Sensing for Healthcare Applications

Lora Giangregorio

Osteoporosis Canada 2022 Backbone Award

Richard Hughson

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada for his remarkable contributions to the sciences.

Year in Review


The RIA hosts its first virtual conference with 350 older adults, care partners, educators, policymakers, students and researchers from all over the country. Walk with Me 2022 provided the post-pandemic forum needed to reconnect, reimagine, and recommit to changing the culture of aging in Canada.


Cosmin Munteanu is appointed the new Schlegel Research Chair in Technology for Healthy Aging, bringing a new and rapidly expanding research topic to the RIA. Munteanu explores meaningful and safe interactions between older adults and digital media devices.


Living the Dementia Journey expands their Train the Trainer education to Alberta and British Columbia and organizations outside longterm care.


The RIA reopens its doors for tours at the Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Aging. We hosted more than 100 visitors in Fall/Winter, including the Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care and Federal Minister of Seniors.


Richard Hughson, Schlegel Research Chair in Vascular Aging and Brain Health, is inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Hughson, also a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Waterloo, conducts award-winning research on human cardiorespiratory responses to exercise and physical inactivity.


Andrew Costa’s vaccine research is published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. The study was among the first in the world to show evidence for a fourth vaccine dose and to report on the need for equivalent vaccination policies across long-term care settings, a lifesaving contribution by Costa (Schlegel Research Chair in Clinical Epidemiology) and colleagues in the fight against COVID-19.


The RIA resumes the first in-person engagement sessions for more than 75 secondary school students and educators since the pandemic, as part of the Ontario CLRI’s initiatives to address workforce retention and recruitment for long-term care.


The Preceptor Resource and Education Program in Long-Term
Care enrolls 81% of all long-term care homes in Ontario and thus supports
an estimated 10,000 preceptors to orient, advise, guide and evaluate nearly 6,500 students.

Our Donors Drive Our Impact

The long list of benefits this organization has to assist and improve the quality of life, both mentally and physically,for our seniors is truly a blessing.
– Bob McCauley

The RIA plays a dominant role in the aging population by being available to assist seniors to ensure their senior years are quality years.
– David & Susan Seyler

I saw a great need to participate in educational research for older adults and to donate so one can live a more productive and fuller life. We are never too old to learn as we journey on in life.
– R. Jane Laman

Impact Stories

Engaging in meaningful co-design

Making meaning with technology with and for older adults

Tom Kane has been a part of the Winnipeg Folk Festival crew – or in his words, family – for 36 years. The 79-year-old describes the place as “our family home,” fondly reminiscing of the people who gather at the festival, tirelessly working to prepare for the event and maintain the grounds. Kane lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, but despite being over 2,000 km away, he visits the festival all the time – through virtual reality (VR).

As a co-design partner for the Technology for Aging Gracefully (TAG) Lab, Kane has been heavily involved in research with Cosmin Munteanu, Schlegel Research Chair in Technology for Healthy Aging. Among other projects, Kane is advising Munteanu and PhD student, Sho Conte, on a project to build virtual reality spaces that help older adults leave a digital legacy that captures spaces and places important to an adult’s life story.

“The VR space brings me to a familiar world,” said Kane, describing the place as a family album. “I can now share this special place with anyone.” His immersive experience replicates the festival ambiance with an accurate layout and includes over 150 photos that Kane has taken over the years, reflecting his cherished memories and passion for photography. Kane regularly tests the VR space, gives feedback, and gives Conte new ideas to add to the space.

Munteanu involves as many older adults as possible in his lab where he designs intelligent applications and devices that improve access to information, support learning, and reduce digital marginalization for older adults.

“Applied engineering research needs to incorporate authentic involvement of older adults in the conceptualization and design stages if the expectation is the adoption of the new technologies by older adults,” explains Munteanu. The scientific process of co-design helps ensure that new technologies are created meaningfully with and for older adults. “I don’t want processes to forget about older adults any longer.”

More Impact Stories

New research underscores the value of MINT Memory Clinics in alleviating health-care pressures

A new study exploring the cost-effectiveness analysis of MINT Memory Clinics has found a net cost savings of $51,500 per patient, compared to those in Ontario without the service, with improvement in quality of life for those living with dementia.

Preventing adverse drug events from medication list discrepancies

As we age, our bodies change, and so does the way we process medication. Combine this with the fact that older adults often have to manage multiple medications for various health conditions, and it’s easy to see how things can get tangled up.

Shaping guidance on the management of osteoporotic spine fractures

Spine fractures, the most frequent osteoporotic fracture, can cause severe chronic pain, spinal deformity, and functional disability, leading to a diminished quality of life and increased mortality.

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