Menu Close

Award Recipients

2023 Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence Recipient - Renate Sainsbury

Renate Sainsbury accepting MMD Award from Lynne Mansell

Renate has devoted her knowledge, expertise, and energy to enhancing the lives of persons with special needs—as a business owner, business partner and leader, and community volunteer.

Renate K. Sainsbury took her B.A. Rec. Administration (Major in Special Population) degree at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, AB from 1979-1981. She has held various positions from travel manager, recreation director, recreation therapist and small business owner.

Renate began her work to create environments for living called Lifestyle Options Inc. in 1993, with two group homes for seniors/special needs individuals. They offered 24-hour care/support and allowed individuals to live in the community as independently as possible.

In 1996, Renate partnered with a local private developer, Ken Ferchoff to create Alberta Life Care Housing Foundation, the operator of care centers built by the Carrington Group of Companies. Both brought their vision together to provide quality affordable housing for senior citizens to reality when construction started on Lifestyle Options Whitemud and since then, they have completed four additional buildings, Lifestyle Options Terra Losa, Lifestyle Options Riverbend, and Lifestyle Options Leduc, with ambitious plans for many more locations throughout the City of Edmonton and throughout Alberta. Their most recent Centre, Lifestyle Options Schonsee, was purpose-built to exemplify the Butterfly Model of Care, culminating Renate’s vision for a “better way” to support quality of life for older Albertans. The communities provide care through the continuum with home care, Designated Supportive Living (SL4 and SL4D) and palliative end of life care.

She was a leader in integrating different levels of care for a continuum of wellbeing. Throughout her career, she has been passionate about implementing new strategies to improve quality of care and cost-effective service delivery. One of these, Groundbreaking Innovation on Dementia Care – Launching at Lifestyle Options Retirement Communities of U.K.’s Dementia Care Matters® Butterfly Care Homes, was a first in Canada.

Renate has been a member of AAG since 2003. She served on the Board from 2018 and was the Treasurer. A key contribution was working with the AAG Executive to plan, get sponsors for, and deliver the Vision 2030 event.
Renate retired from her position as General Manager in May 2023, celebrating 27 years of exemplary service to this organization, its residents and families, and the communities where they are located.

A Lifetime of Contributions—Renate’s personal commitment to improving life for persons with special needs is clear, be that as General Manager for Lifestyle Options, contributing to scholarly work to obtain the evidence for the changes being made, contributing to provincial organizations to support advocacy initiatives, and taking opportunities to advance gerontology through new and existing academic programs.

Her zest and passion - Renate is passionate about improving care for people with dementia. In 2014, she went on a study tour to Copenhagen and Amsterdam to learn more about how other countries care for older adults. Renate is selfless and is always on the go when an opportunity arises to improve care.

Renate’s philosophy in life: “Live your life to the fullest; strive to be the very best you can; when one door closes, another opens; and have lots of love and laughter in your life.”


2022 Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence Recipient

Mary Morrison Davis was born in Alberta and lived and worked in the province for most of her life. She was a professional social worker with veterans in Edmonton and is recognized as a pioneer in gerontological services. After her death, the AAG Board decided to rename its Award of Excellence the Mary Morrison Davis Award in recognition of this exemplary champion of aging and older people.

The purpose of this award is to recognize an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the Alberta Association on Gerontology (AAG) or to the field of gerontology. The recipient receives a certificate and Honourary Life membership in the AAG.

Carole A Estabrooks

Carole A Estabrooks

Professor & Tier 1 Canada Research Chair

Faculty of Nursing, College of Health Sciences

University of Alberta

Carole Estabrooks holds a Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation in the care of older adults in long-term care (LTC) settings and has been Scientific Director of the pan Canadian applied research program, Translating Research in Elder Care (TREC) since 2007. She received her undergraduate degree in nursing from the University of New Brunswick, her graduate degrees from the University of Alberta, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Toronto.

She has been the recipient of several awards and distinctions among them, the Order of Canada, the J Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research (University of Alberta), the University of New Brunswick’s Alumni Award of Distinction, and the Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Translation in Aging (Canadian Institutes of Health Research).

She is a fellow in the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Academy of Nurses, the Canadian Academy of Nurses, and the International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame (Sigma Theta Tau International). She is currently a member of the National Seniors Council of Canada, the National Long Term-Care Standards Development Committee and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Institute of Aging Advisory Board.

2022 AAG Provincial Award Recipient

Trina Thorne

Trina Thorne is currently a doctoral student and Nurse Practitioner, specializing in the care of older adults. Her research focus is on improving the quality of life and care for older adults living in care homes as well as the quality of work life for staff.

2022 AAG Edmonton Chapter Student Award

Fernanda Laís Fengler Dal Pizzol

Fernanda Laís Fengler Dal Pizzol is a PhD student in the Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta. Originally from Brazil, she moved to Alberta to complete her studies. Her work focuses on the preparation of informal caregivers for their role.

2020 AAG Provincial Award Recipient

Julie Gorenko

Julie Gorenko is pursuing a PhD, in Clinical Psychology, at the U of Calgary. Julie is focusing her research on the gambling habits of older adults. It is interesting to note that Julie started working with older adults, in an independent living facility, when she was 14 years of age. It was during this experience that she gained an understanding of the complexity of factors that influence the health and wellness of older adults. Julie’s clinical practicum training is in the area geriatric mental health and she intends to continue to focus on psychological services for older adults when she has completed her studies. We wish her success in her studies.

2020 AAG Edmonton Chapter Student Award

Beth Mansell is pursuing a Master’s of Public Health, at the U of Alberta. Her focus is health policy and management. Currently, Beth is working full time at Sage Seniors Association in Edmonton, where she is the strategic project and operations manager. Beth is the co-chair of the Age friendly community in Edmonton. One interesting item on her application was the fact that Beth is co-founder of Tusk – a care navigation platform, currently in beta testing with caregivers and community partners. Tusk is a platform that matches caregivers of adults living with dementia with the right resources, at the right time, to avoid crisis points. Beth congratulations on receiving this award.

2020 Bursary For Care Worker Award


Caring for older adults, in a diversity of settings, is an increasingly large part of health and human service provision in Alberta. Numerous team members bring their expertise and skills to their work with older adults. This bursary recognizes the desire of workers to “upgrade” their knowledge and skills.

Jessica Brulotte is currently working as a health care aide in Valleyview Health Centre. She is enrolled in year 1 at Northern Lakes College in the practical nurse program. Furthering studies, Jessica wrote in her application, will enhance her knowledge and skills to work with older adults. Jessica is currently in class but asked me to express her very sincere appreciation for the award.

2020 Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence Recipient

Linda Stanger

Linda Stanger

Reading from one of the letters of support for Linda’s nomination.

"Linda’s substantive work to promote the health of older adults and those who work with them in a variety of settings. Linda recently retired as Chief Executive Office of the College of Licensed Practical Nurses of Alberta. Over her career, Linda understands and encourages the importance of volunteering and participating in organizations such as the Alberta Association on Gerontology (AAG). ..

Linda has served in voluntary capacities in various organizations and most recently as the Chairperson for the Alberta Association on Gerontology, previously as the Chairperson of the Canadian Council for Practical Nurse Regulators, as a Director on the Board of the National Nursing Assessment Service and an Executive Officer of the National Council of State Boards of Nursing to name a few…

Linda’s skills, combined with empathy, warmth, and genuineness support her success as an exceptional leader, respected by staff, government and many various stakeholders and colleagues. ..

Linda is a committed team player who is supportive and enriches any relationship she enters. People are drawn to her warmth and she has passion for whatever she commits to and gives her “all” to any organization or event she is involved in.”

Past Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence Recipients

  • 2019 - Dr. Lily Liu
  • 2018 - Ralph Hubele

2019 AAG Provincial Award Recipient

Noelannah Neubauer

2019 AAG Edmonton Chapter Student Award

Charlotte Ryder

2019 AAG Calgary Chapter Scholarship Award

Bria Mele, PhD student in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, has been selected to receive the Calgary Student Award.

Bria has conducted research relevant to the geriatric population since her third year of undergraduate studies. Her undergraduate thesis research was awarded with distinction. In her study she combined neuroscience and economic theory to better understand the genetics of apathy in Parkinson’s disease. During her Masters studies, Bria conducted qualitative research with persons with PD and their caregivers to assess what they identify to be barriers and facilitators to living with apathy in PD. They identified difficulties with awareness of apathy as a syndrome of PD and difficulties with the diagnosis & management of apathy. Bria’s PhD project has been shaped by the difficulties identified by people with PD and their caregivers. Her PhD research is focused on the development of a clinical care pathway for diagnosing and managing apathy in PD.

Bria intends to become a clinician scientist, with a special focus on improving the mental health of older adults with common neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and dementia. She has been accepted into the University of Calgary Leaders in Medicine Program. After she completes her PhD, she will commence her medical studies. Bria hopes to specialize as a geriatrician and work closely with patients, caregivers, and other physicians to improve the quality of life of those living with neurodegenerative diseases common in older populations.

Congratulations to Bria on receiving this award, with best wishes on her future studies and career!

2018 AAG Calgary Chapter Scholarship Award

The Calgary Chapter Scholarship was awarded to Ms. Allegra Samaha, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary. Allegra has been an active member of the Alberta Association on Gerontology Calgary Chapter Board for two years as our Student Representative; however she has been making her mark in gerontology in so many other ways. In brief, this future leader in gerontology has already received eight distinctions and awards. She has participated as a co-lead or a research assistant with four research studies, and she has presented at conferences on 17 occasions either in poster or oral format. Allegra has also served in leadership capacities with the Gerontological Social Work Action Group and the Gerontology Interest Group within the Faculty of Social Work, as well as participating as a member or volunteer with other agencies.

In addition to working as a Social Worker with Alberta Health Services; Allegra is in the second year of her Master’s of Social Work program. Her Masters studies are being funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Canadian Graduate Master’s Scholarship. Her Master’s thesis explores how cultural diversity affects the help-seeking behavior of adult children caring for a parent with dementia.

2017 AAG Provincial Award Recipients

  • Peyman Khaneghah
  • Oluwasey Abgail Osho

2017 AAG Edmonton Chapter Scholarship Award

Noelannah Neubauer

2017 AAG Calgary Chapter Scholarship Award

The Calgary Chapter Scholarship was awarded to Mr. Jon Parr Vijinski, PhD Candidate, Faculty of Nursing, University of Calgary. Mr. Jon Parr Vijinski’s focus in his PhD program at the University of Calgary is exploration of affective responses of persons with Dementia in the use of music combined with video recordings of the listener. He has many years of experience as a research assistant for various professors exploring the effects of specific elements of music for promoting health and healing for a range of populations. Among his publications is a book chapter on how music moves people emotionally (see The Book Project at: The CAIT Research Group). He is a gifted tenor, composer, and producer (see examples of his compositions on his YouTube channel at:

2016 Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence Recipient

Susan Slaughter has a Master of Science in Nursing from McGill University in Montreal and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Community Health Sciences from University of Calgary, and Post Doc Fellowship in Knowledge Translation from the University of Alberta. Dr. Slaughter is currently an Associate Profession in the Faculty of Nursing in University of Alberta. She is the investigator of numerous research projects in continuing care and gerontology in various centres and service sites in Alberta. She also participated in numerous policy planning and implementation committees of various government organizations, professional bodies and university bodies.

Her profile is available on: Susan Slaughter

2016 AAG Provincial Award Recipient – Master’s Level

Ms. Allison Harding is a Master of Science student in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Alberta. Allison became interested in working with older adults when she participated in an undergraduate ethnographic field school in Guatemala. When in Guatemala, Allison volunteered at the Elder’s Centre which provided meals and support to aging women and men in need. She then conducted a study with these older Guatemalan elders. Within her master’s degree, Allison is going to examine the perspectives of speech and hearing professionals regarding the provision of auditory rehabilitation services to adults with hearing loss in Alberta.

2016 AAG Provincial Award Recipient – PhD Level

Ms. Tori Hui Ren is a PhD student at the University of Alberta. Tori is studying the impact of environmental design in long term care facilities or supported living upon older adults with dementia in Alberta. Tori is currently working with two research groups: Research on Aging, Politics, and Practice (RAPP) at the University of Alberta, as well as the Gerontology Research Centre at Simon Fraser University. She is also assisting Dr. Megan Strickfaden in developing curriculum entitled, Environmental and Ecological Foundations of Aging, for college students in China. Tori has also been involved in AAG, as well as in organizing workshops and site visits for Chinese delegates learning about residential housing for Canadian seniors.

2016 AAG Edmonton Chapter Student Award

Ms. Linzy Bohn is a PhD student in psychology at the University of Alberta. Linzy’s doctoral research examines age-related changes in cognitive processing of emotional information and the impact this has on decision-making. Linzy’s interest in aging research was sparked by her work with DriveABLE. She has also published in the Psychology and Aging journal.

2016 AAG Calgary Chapter Student Award

Ms. Jenna Powell is a Master’s student in Social Work at the University of Calgary. Her focus in her Master’s degree is geriatric mental health. Jenna’s commitment to working with older adults was fuelled several years ago when she encountered older clients in her work at the Calgary Sexual Assault Response Team and the Victim Assistance Unit with the Calgary Police Force. Together with her faculty advisor, Jenna has founded and organized the Geriatric Awareness Committee that involves students, faculty and alumni of the Faculty of Social Work in Calgary, Edmonton, Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.

Past AAG Student Award Recipients


  • Provincial Master’s Level – Allison Harding
  • Provincial PhD Level – Tori Hui Ren
  • Edmonton – Linzy Bohn
  • Calgary – Jenna Powell


  • Provincial Masters Level - Jasper Yeung
  • Provincial PhD Level - - Sharon Anderson
  • Edmonton - Stephanie Chamberlain
  • Calgary - Calandra Speirs


  • Provincial - Ashley Cornish


  • Provincial - Shawna Reid


  • Provincial Master’s Level - Sarah Lucas
  • Provincial PhD Level - Peggy McFall


  • Provincial PhD Level - Tiana Rust
  • Provincial - Scott Kendall


  • Provincial Master’s Level - Tiana Rust
  • Provincial PhD Level - Misty Renee Whalen


  • Provincial - Jennifer Swindle
  • Provincial Master’s Level - Misty Renee Whalen

Past Recipients of the Mary Morrison Davis Award of Excellence:

  • Susan Slaughter - 2016
  • Bruce West - 2015
  • Norah Keating - 2014
  • Carole-Lynne Le Navenec - 2013
  • Sharon Moore – 2010
  • Doris Milke – 2009
  • Corinne Schalm – 2008
  • Peter McCracken – 2007
  • Sandra Hirst – 2006
  • Dianne McDermid – 2005
  • Holly Crayston – 2002
  • Don Mayne – 2001
  • Robert Bramwell – 2000
  • Christine Lawrence – 1999
  • Wanda Cree – 1998
  • Joyce Church Springate – 1997
  • Vivien Lai – 1996
  • Mary Engelmann – 1992