Professor and Associate Director, Faculty Development
- Phone 1-604-822-7484
- Email Alison.Phinney@ubc.ca
- Website Twitter
UBC School of Nursing
T201 2211 Wesbrook Mall
Vancouver BC V6T2B5
Dr. Phinney is co-director of the Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, and is known internationally for her work on dementia, meaningful activity, and aging. She conducts research in partnership with community leaders and people with lived experience to build knowledge and capacity for supporting personhood and social citizenship of older people, especially those living with dementia and their families.
BA Honours (Psychology), McGill University
MSc(A) (Nursing), McGill University
PhD, University of California at San Francisco
Affiliations & Links
Co-Director, Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia www.crpid.ubc.ca
Associate Editor, Innovation in Aging
Honours & Awards
Recognition Award for Excellence in Student Mentoring in Honour of Evelyn Shapiro, Canadian Association on Gerontology, 2020
CRNBC Award for Excellence in Nursing Research, 2012
School of Nursing, Associate Director, Faculty Development
Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, Co-Director
Innovation in Aging, Associate Editor
Area of Research
My research takes a broad view of health to identify the capacities of older people for successfully coping with the functional consequences of aging and disease. I am exploring what can be done in partnership with families and communities to support the health and well-being of older people both within and outside the traditional health care system. Much of my work has focused on people who are living with neurocognitive impairment (e.g. Alzheimer disease). Using qualitative methods, I have advanced understanding of how people with dementia and their families experience the impact of cognitive impairment on everyday life, how people with dementia cope through involvement in meaningful activity, and the role that families and communities play in supporting them. My current research takes a community-engaged participatory approach to address issues of social citizenship in dementia, promoting inclusion and reducing stigma.
Centring the Lived Experience of Dementia in Policy, Practice, and Community Development, A. Phinney (PI-Canada) with E. Wiersma (co-investigator), R. Ward (PI-UK), and R. Gronemeyer (PI-Germany). SSHRC ORA (2023-2026).
2023 Tour: COVID in the House of Old, M. Davies (PI), A. Phinney, M. Porter, R. Compton, E. Dyck, E. Tungohan. SSHRC Connection Grant (2023-2024)
Flipping Stigma in Dementia: Adapting a Toolkit for Primary Care, A. Phinney (PI), J. Mann, M. Sakamoto, G. Puurveen, E. Wiersma, E. Moody, H. Chaudhury. CIHR Planning and Dissemination Grant, (2023-2024).
Developing Supportive Neighbourhood Built Environment to Foster Mobility, Engagement and Social Participation among Community-dwelling Adults Living with Dementia. L. Hung & H. Chaudhury (Co-Principal Investigators), with A. Phinney & S. Freeman (Co-Investigators). Public Health Agency of Canada (2021-2023).
Putting Social Citizenship into Practice: Reducing Stigma and Promoting Social Inclusion of People with Dementia. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator), J. Mann & D. O’Connor (co-PIs) with E. Wiersma & H. Chaudhury (Co-Investigators). Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2018-2023).
Building Capacity for Meaningful Participation by People Living with Dementia. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) & E. Wiersma (co-PI), with Northwest Dementia Working Group and Westside Seniors Hub (community partners). Public Health Agency of Canada (2019-2023).
Primary Healthcare for People with Dementia: Exploring Care Provided by Collaborative Family Practice Teams. E. Moody (Principal Investigator) with A. Phinney, R. Martin-Misener, G. Warner, E. Marshall, S. Savage, C. Smith, K. Aubrecht, L. Hung (Co-Investigators), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2021-2022).
Do you really know what I want? Voices of people with dementia in shared decision-making about living well with dementia to the end of life. S. Cox & G. Puurveen (Co-Principal Investigators) with A. Phinney, C. Courneva, D. O’Connor, L. Burnside (Co-Investigators). Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2018-2022).
Implementation of the “one high risk site only” policy—its impact on staff, family and long-term care residents. J. Sims-Gould & F. Havaei (Co-Principal Investigators) with A. Phinney, L. Hung, M. Macphee, S. Robinovitch, H. McKay, et al. (Co-Investigators), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2021-2022).
Evaluation of rapid redesign and resource redeployment in Long-Term Care during COVID-19. F. Havaei (Principal Investigator), with A. Phinney, M. Macphee, D. Keselman (Co-Investigators), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, (2020-2021).
‘What Matters’: A Digital Solution to Support Person-Centred Care for People with Dementia in Care Settings. L. Hung (Principal Investigator) with A. Phinney, L. Currie, H. Chaudhury, A. Lim, J. Boger, C. Rayber. (Co-Investigators), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2021-2022).
Developing CIRCA-CA to Support Conversations with People with Dementia. A. Astelle (PI). with A. Phinney, J. Boger, R. McAloney, M. McConnell, B. Purves, et al. (Co-Investigators), Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation Spark Program. (2021-2022).
Dementia Friendly Communities: Development of a Research Agenda. A. Phinney & L. Hung (Co-Principal Investigators). Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2019-2021)
Zeitgeist: Utilizing Intergenerational Co-Design and Storytelling as a New Model for Therapeutic Recreation in Long Term Care Facilities. D. Levi (Principal Investigator), with A. Phinney, C. Rayber, J. Hannan (Co-Investigators). Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation Spark Program. (2018-2019)
Citizenship Across Borders: UBC-UW Dementia Collaborative for Supporting Social Citizenship. UBC Collaborative Research Mobility Award, A. Phinney & G. Puurveen (Co-Principal Investigators) with L. Burnside (Co-Investigator).
Shape the Path: Targeting the Health and Mobility of Older Men through Key Community Partnerships. H. McKay, M. Hermann, J. Sims-Gould (Co-Principal Investigators), with A. Phinney, D. Mackey, S. Rabinovitch (Project leads), and C. Hoppman, A. Lang, K. Miran-Khan, M. Winters (Co-Investigators). Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2014-2019).
Making Art for Making Place: The Effect of Visual Art in a Transitional Care Setting. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) with L. Mackenzie, M. Wilson (Co-Investigators). UBC Hampton Fund (2014-2015).
Promoting Social Citizenship for People with Dementia through Community-Based Programming. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) with J. Baumbusch, D. O’Connor, B. Purves. Alzheimer Society of Canada (2014-2016).
A Randomized Controlled Trial of Group Music Therapy in the Out-Patient Care of Moderate Alzheimer Disease. Robin Hsuing (Principal Investigator) with A. Phinney, C. Jacova, K. Kirkland, L. Beattie, S. Summers (Co-Investigators). Alzheimer Society of Canada (2010-2012).
CIRCA BC: Community based research to customize a computer-based reminiscence program for BC seniors with dementia. B. Purves (Principal Investigator) with A. Phinney, W. Hulko (Co-Investigators). British Columbia Medical Services Foundation (2008-2011).
Arts Health and Seniors: Impact of Community-Engaged Arts on Healthy Aging. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) with J. Perry, J. Small (Co-Investigators). UBC School of Nursing (2007-2008).
Meaningful Activity from the Perspective of Persons with Dementia. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) with H. Chaudhury, D. O’Connor (Co-Investigators). Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2005-2009).
Changes in Social Interaction and Everyday Activity in Dementia. A. Phinney (Principal Investigator) with H. Chaudhury, D. O’Connor (Co-Investigators). Social Sciences and Humanities Research (2005-2010).
Selected Publications not Indexed in PubMed
- Phinney, A., Gram, C., weaving, j. & Moody, E. Healthy Aging Through the Arts: Supporting Older People to Thrive in their Communities. (2021). In Rootman, I., Edwards, P., Grunberg, F. & Levasseur (Eds.) pp. 339-351. Health Promotion and Older Adults in Canada. Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.
- Phinney, A. (2018). Self, lost and found. In[PA1] Memory, pp.243-249. Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
- Sims-Gould, J. McKay, H. Martin-Matthews, A., O’Connor, D., Hurd Clarke, L., Phinney, A. & Hoppmann, C. (2017). Time to “re-imagine aging” in the twenty-first century. In Reflections of Canada. pp. 161-165. Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies.
- Canning, S. & Phinney, A. (2015). Documenting new relationships with old partners: data collection and knowledge translation through documentary film. Perspectives, 38, 1-13
- Tang, S., Boschma, G. & Phinney, A. (2011). Residential elder care in British Columbia: Policy development and culture change (1950-2005). Perspectives, 34(4), 5-16.
I teach in areas related to older adult health, both within nursing and from an interdisciplinary perspective. By exposing students to different ways of thinking about aging, I aim to help them build confidence and capacity to provide skilled and compassionate care, and to think critically about how to promote healthy aging at individual, community and population levels. I also teach in the graduate program at both the masters and doctoral level, providing students the opportunity to both grapple with the philosophic underpinnings of inquiry and develop practical skills in the generation and translation of new knowledge.
I supervise a dynamic group of masters and doctoral students whose interests align in the area of dementia and older adult care. Students or post-doctoral fellows who are thinking of pursuing further study in this area are welcome to contact me to explore possibilities for conducting their own research, or joining one of our ongoing projects.
MHLP, MN, MSN - thesis, MSN - non-thesis, PhD
This is a selection of students supervised by Dr. Phinney who have completed their final projects and graduated.
Canning, Shelley – PhD, 2020
Understanding the Experience of Emotional and Social Engagement for People with Advanced Dementia Living in Long-term Care
Sakamoto, Mariko – PhD, 2020
Waiting for Home: Dementia and the Alternate Level of Care Experience
Thandi, Manpreet – MSN, 2018
Experiences of Physical Activity by Community-Dwelling Older Men
Hung, Lillian Mei - PhD, 2017
Co-creating person-centred care in acute care
Puurveen, Gloria – PhD, 2016
Constructing the Experiences of People with Advanced Dementia who are Nearing the End of Life
Moody, Elaine Marie - PhD, 2015
An examination of nurses’ practical judgments about the cognitive function of hospitalized older people
Caspar, Sienna – PhD, 2014
The Influence of Information Exchange Processes on the Provision of Person-Centred Care in Residential Care Facilities
Roy, Jennifer Ann - MSN, 2014
Reconnecting nursing and patient dignity: an integrative review
Dahlke, Sherry - PhD, 2013
Orchestrating care: nursing practice with hospitalized older adults
McDuff, Jennifer - MSN, 2013
Walking with meaning
Snyder, Jill – MSN, 2012
Measuring the Physical Activity of Older Adults Residing in Assisted Living Facilities
Baumbusch, Jennifer – PhD, 2008
Decomissioning Citizenship: The Organization of Long-Term Residential Care
Derman, Sarah – MSN, 2008
The Experience of Medical Decision Making for Adolescents with a Progressive Neuromuscular Disease
Moody, Elaine – MSN, 2008
The Experience of Community for Seniors Involved in Community Engaged Arts
Dyck, Jeff – MSN, 2007
Nursing Instructors’ and Male Nursing Students’ Perceptions of Undergraduate, Classroom Nursing Education: An Interpretive Ethnographic Study
Byres, David – MSN, 2006
Emergency Room Nurses’ Experiences of Violence in the Workplace
Dahlke[PA1] , Sherry – MSN, 2004
How Nurses Care for Hospitalized Older Adults at Risk for Delirium