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Ashley Cornect-Benoit

CCNA Team 20 Trainee, 2015-2017

Investigating traditional roles of First Nations older adults as a method to promote quality of life for those experiencing Alzheimer's disease and related dementia's


Ashley Cornect-Benoit (First Nation, French and Irish - Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, Port au Port, Newfoundland) completed an MSc in the Interdisciplinary Health program at the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University as a CCNA Trainee. Ashley has a BSc in Biomedical Sciences from Laurentian University, with a personally driven focus on neuroscience and Indigenous health. Ashley’s interest and understanding of traditional medicine and biomedical health care has guided her research interests and has aided in the development of her project.


Through the constant visits to her family in Port au Port, Newfoundland, Ashley obtained a valuable understanding to the gaps and limitations in health care experienced by members of her family, and the community as a whole. Inspiration to address such gaps and limitations in health care for Indigenous people came from an Aboriginal Health and Wellness course completed through the University of Sudbury. The course created an opportunity for Ashley to learn about medicine, health care and wellbeing from a wholistic approach.


In accordance to the CCNA: Team 20, Ashley’s funded project was situated within phase one, with hopeful further implications into phase two. Ashley’s research focused on fostering intergenerational relationships in Wikwemikong First Nation on Manitoulin Island. Her project aimed to improve cognitive stimulation as a way to promote healthy brain aging for older adults experiencing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia’s (ADRD). Qualitative data comprised of focus groups and interviews provided a framework for intergenerational programming recommendations. Results from Ashley’s project highlighted the importance of culturally relevant solutions to improving the quality of life for those experiencing dementia.

Ashley started her PhD at the University of Calgary in September in Community Health Sciences. Her supervisors, Dr. Lindsay Crowshoe and Dr. David Hogan, are CCNA Investigators, and Ashley feels like working as a trainee with Team 20 helped her find the program and these mentors. She is continuing her intergenerational work in Wiikwemkoong for her PhD thesis, and plans to visit this summer.  In her spare time, she supports Aboriginal graduate students through SAGE (Supporting Aboriginal Graduate Enhancement) at the University of Calgary as the current program coordinator, and contributes to various research projects through the Family Medicine and Nursing departments at the university.

You can read Ashley's thesis here.

Sharlene Webkamigad

CCNA Team 20 Trainee, 2015-2016

Adapting Alzheimer’s disease and dementia-related health promotional materials to meet the needs of Aboriginal Peoples in the City of Greater Sudbury, Ontario


Sharlene Webkamigad is an Anishnaabe-Kwe from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve. Her contribution to Indigenous health has helped people across the lifespan from pregnancy through to palliative care. Sharlene is a Registered Nurse who has seen, first-hand, many aspects of health care, from strengths to areas for improvement. Her observations of gaps in care for older adults motivated her work in the delivery of health promotional materials for Indigenous peoples with Alzheimer’s and age-related dementias. Sharlene completed the Masters of Arts program in Interdisciplinary Health at Laurentian University as a CCNA Trainee.


As a student, Sharlene contributed a great wealth of knowledge towards projects for First Nations and Inuit Home and Community Care, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, as well as her own project, which centered on developing culturally appropriate health promotion materials.


The Alzheimer Society Research Program (ASRP) is a collaborative initiative of Alzheimer Societies across Canada, their partners, and generous independent donors who support research directed at both preventing dementia and improving the lives of those affected by it. As a recipient of the ASRP Master`s Award, Sharlene conducted a research project to improve the quality of life for Indigenous people with dementia and their caregivers by addressing knowledge needs. Her research was funded by the Alzheimer Society, the Canadian Nurses Foundation, and the CCNA.

Learn more about Sharlene's education journey in this short film: The Journey

Sharlene started a PhD in Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian in September 2017, and her thesis will explore dementia in Indigenous communities with Dr. Jennifer Walker providing supervision and Dr. Carrie Bourassa as one of her committee members. Drs. Walker and Bourassa are CCNA investigators. Sharlene worked at Health Sciences North Research Institute prior to accepting a position with Dr. Jennifer Walker as a Research Associate at Laurentian University. Sharlene has also taken on the role of lead research manager for a grant related to Indigenous healthy life trajectories.

You can read Sharlene's thesis here.

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