RIA announces new Schlegel Chair in Primary Care for Elders

January 6, 2016

WATERLOO, Ont. (Wednesday, January 6, 2016) – The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging (RIA) has added another Schlegel Chair to its roster of experts whose work enhances quality of life for Canada’s aging citizens. Dr. Linda Lee, a practising physician with the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team and founder of its innovative new model of dementia care, is settling into her new role as Schlegel Chair in Primary Care for Elders.

Dr. Lee has led the development of a highly successful Memory Clinic that uses an innovative interprofessional approach within primary care. Patients attending the clinic receive a comprehensive assessment and have access to a team of health professionals from physicians to social workers. This model increases the capacity of family practice so the most complex cases are referred to a specialist, lessening the burden on our health care system.

Dr. Lee developed the Primary Care Memory Clinic Training Program which has assisted many other family health teams, community health centres, and family health organizations across Ontario to develop their own clinics. There are currently 78 clinics up and running around the province.

“Dr. Linda Lee has been nationally recognized for revolutionizing the way we provide memory care,” says Dr. Mike Sharratt, President of the RIA. “This new role will enable her to expand this work, empowering both those living with memory changes and their families to live life fully.”

Dr. Lee’s new role is a partnership with the Centre for Family Medicine. She will work with RIA to continue to extend Primary Care Memory Clinics beyond family health teams so this interprofessional approach to care can reach an even greater number of community members. She will also explore how the Primary Care Memory Clinic model can be applied to other complex conditions associated with memory changes. By continuing to foster authentic collaborations with specialists, allied health, and community agencies, Primary Care Memory Clinics are paving the way for coordinated and integrated care aimed at improving quality of life for persons with dementia and their care partners.

“I greatly respect the work of the Schlegels and the Schlegel Chairs and I am honoured to receive the appointment of Schlegel Chair in Primary Care for Elders,” says Dr. Lee. “I see this as a tremendous opportunity to continue to improve the care for older adults and their loved ones.”

In recognition of her leadership in helping to improve the care of those living with memory changes, Dr. Lee was awarded the 2015 Betty Havens Award for Knowledge Translation in Aging from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute for Aging. This award recognizes outstanding achievements and excellence in knowledge translation efforts that have integrated research and practice and successfully changed policy or practice at a local or regional level.

This award is one of many Dr. Lee has received for her efforts. In 2009, she was awarded the Regional Family Physician of the Year and the Individual Achievement Service Award for Geriatric Excellence by the Regional Geriatric Program of Hamilton Health Science. In 2012, she was named McMaster University Department of Family Medicine’s Outstanding Researcher, and she received the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario 2012 Bright Lights Award. In 2014, she was awarded the Ontario Health Minister’s Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety.

In addition to her Schlegel Chair appointment and family medicine practice, Dr. Lee is Director of the Centre for Family Medicine Memory Clinic, and Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University.

About the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging

The Schlegel-University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging was created in 2005 as a senate-approved research institute at the University of Waterloo, and subsequently became a public foundation with charitable status in 2006. RIA’s core partners are the University of Waterloo, Conestoga College and Schlegel Villages. The RIA conducts practice-relevant research to enhance the care, health and wellness of older adults in community-based and long-term care environments. The Schlegel Villages provide voluntary and vibrant living research environments and living classrooms. The best of what is learned is then disseminated broadly to benefit older adults everywhere. For more information go to www.the-ria.ca.

Media Contact

Hilary Dunn
Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging
519-904-0660 ext. 4111