UVic Clinical Neuropsychology Graduate Student Receives Eldercare Foundation's Ruth A. Gardner Award

Eldercare Foundation's Ruth A. Gardner Award Recipient Alison Chung
Pictured left to right: Eldercare Foundation Executive Director Tom Arnold, Award Recipient Alison Chung and Assistant Professor (UVic Nursing) Lorelei Newton. Photo Credit: Ashleigh Enright

Congratulations to Alison Chung, a Masters Student in Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria and a Student Affiliate with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health (IALH), on receiving the 2023/2024 Ruth A. Gardner Award. The award is administered by the Eldercare Foundation with research support provided by IALH. 

Parkinsonism, a motor syndrome encompassing a range of difficulties such as tremor and stiffness, introduces a host of disruptions to everyday functioning due to its effect on mobility, cognition, and psychosocial well-being. Though research has examined specific individual impacts of parkinsonism, the literature is limited when it comes to a comprehensive examination of these synergistic associations, particularly across time.

Alison's master's thesis project aims to investigate the role of psychosocial (e.g., social support, depressive symptoms, etc.) and mobility factors (e.g., activities of daily living, life space mobility, etc.) on the relationship between parkinsonism and cognition. She will be using longitudinal structural equation modelling methods on secondary data obtained from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center's Memory and Aging Project. Findings may aid in informing structural level policy and infrastructure, as well as targeted health and community interventions, to assist the healthcare system to accommodate the needs of individuals living with parkinsonism.

Being primarily raised by her grandparents, Alison personally observed the deterioration of her grandparents due to chronic conditions such as dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. As she grew to recognize how these conditions negatively impacted their quality of life and daily activities, she became increasingly interested in pursuing clinical neuropsychology as a career. As a clinical neuropsychologist, Alison can both conduct research to advance clinical knowledge, and directly support older adults with similar conditions as her grandparents through cognitive assessment and rehabilitation. Though both of her grandparents have passed, she strives to dedicate her research and clinical career to them in hopes of carrying on their legacy and to thank them for raising her.

The Eldercare Foundation is dedicated to enhancing care and improving quality of life for older adults on Vancouver Island. The Foundation pursues this mission by raising funds to assist seniors living at home with chronic illnesses, to provide equipment and therapy support for seniors living in long-term care, and to fund research and education programs aimed at improving the care available to seniors everywhere.