Elderly woman smiling

The Centre for Elder Research Team

Team Members

Lia TsotsosLia E. Tsotsos, PhD


Lia Tsotsos was appointed Director of the Centre for Elder Research in January 2018 after nearly seven years as a member of the Centre’s team. Lia has contributed significantly to the Centre’s national recognition as a leader in the field by being instrumental in the management and completion of over 30 projects in recent years, including designing new apps, launching innovative online platforms and developing evidence-based services for community and industry use. She also spearheaded the creation of the first 5-year ethics approval package for research with human participants at Sheridan, a first for the Ontario college system. Lia’s research interests include cognitive neuroscience, health promotion, sensory systems and accessible design, and she has a keen interest in scientific literacy and interdisciplinary research. She holds a PhD in neuroscience from McMaster University and an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Health Science from York University.

Kate DupuisKate Dupuis, PhD, CPsych

Schlegel Innovation Leader

Kate Dupuis joined the Centre as the Schlegel Innovation Leader in Arts and Aging in 2017. Kate is a registered Clinical Neuropsychologist and a researcher whose work lies at the intersection of arts, health, and aging. In her research, Kate seeks to identify both the potential personal and systemic barriers to participation in the arts, how we can facilitate arts engagement in older adults, and what the terms being creative or artistic mean to us at different stages of our lives. Kate strives to understand how the arts can benefit all domains of health and well-being, including cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being, and how we can encourage and foster creativity and innovation across the lifespan. At Sheridan College, Kate is also a professor in the Faculty of Applied Health and Community Studies.

Karen SlonimKaren Slonim, PhD, MA, MPH, BA, BEd

Research Lead

Karen Slonim joined the Centre for Elder Research team in September 2022. She is a medical anthropologist, health educator, scholar and teacher who has tremendous respect for the knowledge and wisdom held by our older adults. To this end, she strives to base her research in collaborative knowledge generation through co-creation with seniors.  For the past 12 years she has worked in primary care as a provider and applied researcher amplifying the voices of care partners; exploring frailty, cognitive impairment, and end-of-life care; advocating for engaged advance care planning; and designing health promotion activities that reflect the needs, interests, and values of our elders. Equity and inclusion are also of paramount importance to Karen, so her work is often rooted in social determinants of health and cross-cultural understandings.

A lifelong learner, Karen holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia where she was a Life Sciences Fellow. She has also completed a master of arts in the anthropology of health (McMaster University), masters of public health (University of Waterloo), bachelor of arts in anthropology (McMaster University) and a bachelor of education in adult education (Brock University). She is a certified smoking cessation counsellor, Craving Change instructor, chronic disease self-management and chronic pain self-management facilitator, Living Life to the Full facilitator, Powerful Tools for Caregivers trained, and regional champion under HPCO's Health Care Consent and Advance Care Planning Community of Practice.

The Centre for Elder Research Advisory Board

Kathleen BéginKathleen Bégin

Kathleen has an MBA from Athabasca University and is a Certified Financial Planner. She earned the Elder Planning Counsellor (EPC) designation in 2011. She is a professor and program coordinator for the finance diploma programs at Sheridan College. Her experience in financial planning has taught her the importance of understanding elder issues and how older clients are served. This has influenced the way she teaches, in courses such as Retirement and Estate Planning, where she now incorporates more content about the concerns of elders, rather than just focusing on the number crunching. Current and changing demographics demand that our graduates have access to the knowledge and skills they need to work with older adults and their families.

Joanne BerriganJoanne Berrigan

Joanne comes to the Board with over 25 years of continual learning and experience while supporting people with various mental and physical health challenges. Joanne is the author of three books and one training manual, advocates tirelessly for persons with dementia and is soon to launch an awareness and education campaign about hidden disabilities (for the retail and service sector) called Want2Talk. She joins this team with a wide array of experience and an equal amount of enthusiasm to collaborate in identifying the best practical research endeavours that will maximize quality of life for older adults.

Andrea EnglandAndrea England

Andrea England serves as Sheridan’s Vice Provost of Research. In this role she provides leadership for research, innovation and entrepreneurship across Sheridan’s three campuses, to help cultivate highly-skilled graduates and create economic and social impact. Andrea is committed to fostering an inclusive culture of scholarship, research and creative activities (SRCA) that engages Sheridan’s students, professors, staff, and the communities it serves. Throughout her 20-year career in higher education, she has been focused on promoting and supporting research and innovation.

Samira MehrabiSamira Mehrabi

Samira is a physiotherapist with several years of industry experience in national and international settings. She is also a PhD candidate in aging, health, and well-being at the University of Waterloo. As an interdisciplinary/multidisciplinary professional, Samira leads research and innovation in the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies and innovative technologies to improve older adults’ health and well-being. She has received multiple recognitions due to her excellence in aging research, including the Interdisciplinary Trailblazer Award and the Exceptional Doctoral Student Award, in 2021 and 2020, respectively. Samira also served as Board Chair of the Graduate Student Association of University of Waterloo.

Mary NestorMary Nestor

Mary has over 30 years’ experience in the field of seniors’ care and services in both government and the private sector. Throughout her career, she has held executive and senior leadership positions with varied portfolios focused on seniors’ care and services involving strategic and operational policy development, long-term care (LTC) home inspections, accountability and enforcement, project management, privacy, corporate and crisis communications, and government relations. Mary retired from the Ontario Public Service and now provides consulting services to the LTC home sector. Mary is currently President of the Board of Directors, Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils (OARC).

Sarah PollockSarah Pollock

Sarah is a Senior Development Officer at Sheridan and has worked closely with the Centre for Elder Research since 2020. With seven years’ experience in fundraising/program management and five years’ experience in environmental science, she has a track record for achieving revenue targets, fostering new relationships, research and telling stories. She is committed to solutions that ensure older adults can live full, rich lives and believes that meaningful change can happen at the intersection of research, evidence-based policies and community solutions.

John PurcellJohn Purcell

Over the first half of John’s work life, he had varied business experience including several years as a management consultant practicing, and occasionally teaching, operations research. During the emergence of personal computers in the 80s, he joined Sheridan College to become a professor in the Faculty of Applied Science and Technology. In this latter half of his working life, he guided student teams in software development projects and, in one instance, a co-op assignment of mature students doing an operations research project on the Registrar’s office. As a practicing elder living in a large, adult-style-living community of retired people, he is a “voice at the table” for older adults.

Javier SantosJavier Santos

Javier is a diverse Canadian entrepreneur and speaker on workplace mental and emotional health. As CEO of The House of Purpose, Javier redefines what is possible by using our emotional capital to become happier and healthier at work. He is passionate about living with purpose and maintaining our mental health as we age. Javier is now training as a psychotherapist and lives in Toronto with his husband Marco.

Catharine TamasCatharine Tamas

Catharine joined Sheridan faculty in 2007 and is a professor in the Bachelor of Film and Television program.  During 2020 and all of 2021, she was the Interim Associate Dean of the Animation and Game Design programs. Catharine brings her experience as a researcher, professor, postsecondary administrator, producer, journalist, and filmmaker to the Board. She has extensive experience in the television and journalism industries, where she first began working on stories and producing medical shows that covered issues related to older adults and the senior community. As a certified mindfulness meditation teacher, she is very interested in supporting and exploring conscious aging, bringing an introspective, supportive, holistic and inclusive lens to her work in this area.

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