I grew up in a small Northern Ontario town and at a very early age, I recognized racism and discrimination.
I recognized the impact this has not only on Aboriginal people, but also on relationships between Aboriginal people and non-Aboriginals.
So when I had the opportunity in my career to improve relations, that’s what I wanted to do.
Health care is an area with huge impacts and I want to improve the experience of Aboriginal people in dealing with our system.
But I also want to help non-Aboriginals understand other points of view. I know what my family went through when my grandfather had Alzheimer’s disease and I see it happening again with my uncle.
I want to help people understand dementia in other ways. The way to do that is to help reposition some of the rhetoric around Alzheimer’s that is so negative.
I want to show that there are bright lights and opportunities that can make it a better experience – not just for the person with dementia, but for everybody around them.
I take a tremendous amount from my research with Aboriginal communities that has nothing to do with publishing my work. It has made me a better human being.
Read more about Kristen’s research.
Alzheimer Society Research Program Researcher