Basket | Login


Members of the expert working group

2018: Intercultural care and support

Alzheimer Europe would like to thank the members of the expert working group who graciously donated their time and expertise, and drafted this report. Please find below a brief overview of their backgrounds.

Dianne Gove, PhD, is Director for Projects at Alzheimer Europe and Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Bradford. She chaired the working group addressing minority ethnic groups and dementia. Her background is in psychology, education and psychotherapy (analytical Gestalt therapy). In 2013, she was awarded a PhD for her research into general practitioners’ perceptions of dementia and stigma.

Jean Georges has been the Executive Director of Alzheimer Europe since 1996. Prior to this, he worked as a journalist and as a parliamentary assistant to members of the Luxembourg and European Parliament. He was responsible for setting up the European Dementia Ethics Network in 2008 and has since contributed towards several ethics projects in that context.

T. Rune Nielsen, Neuropsychologist, PhD, has worked as a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher in the Danish Dementia Research Centre, University of Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, Denmark, since 2007. His main research interests have concerned dementia diagnostics, treatment and care among minority ethnic groups in Europe as well as populations in low- and middle-income countries. Recently, he was initiator and PI of an international collaborative study on development of adequate cross-cultural cognitive assessment methods for minority and majority ethnic groups in Europe.

Charlotta Plejert,PhD, is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Linköping University, Sweden. Her primary research interests are language and interaction in dementia, multilingualism and dementia, and children and adults with speech and language impairments. Charlotta is main editor of the volume Multilingual Interaction and Dementia (Plejert, Lindholm & Schrauf, 2017) and co-editor of the International Journal of Interactional Research in Communication Disorders.

Mohammed Akhlak Rauf, MBE, is currently working through a PhD at the University of Bradford, where he is studying the coping strategies (manage transitions) of South Asian carers of a relative with dementia. He is the founder of the Meri Yaadain (My Memories) Community Interest Company, which seeks to raise awareness of dementia and facilitate culturally appropriate service provision amongst BAME communities. He was awarded an MBE in recognition of his work with people with dementia and their families.

Debi Lahav, BA OT, MA Expressive Therapy, has been working in the field of dementia for over 35 years in clinical settings, programme development, training and support groups. She is Head Therapist at the Psychogeriatric Day Center at Tel Aviv Medical Center. She jointly developed the Activities for Health programme and kit with EMDA Israel Alzheimer Association.

Siiri Jaakson, MA of Social Services, is working as Head of Culture-sensitive Memory Work in Society for Memory Disorders Expertise in Finland. She used to work as a memory adviser for ethnic minority individuals in Finland. Since 2015, she has been working in the development project ETNIMU in which she promotes the brain health of older people from different ethnic backgrounds and works to increase culture-sensitive awareness among professionals. She is currently developing a training programme for interpreters in memory tests situations.

Ripaljeet Kauris, a Senior BME Dementia Worker at Touchstone, a mental health organisation. She has over 10 years’ experience working within BME communities, with the last five years specialising in dementia. Ripaljeet delivers awareness talks within community groups, supports people on the diagnosis pathway, provides post-diagnostic support and also facilitates a South Asian Dementia café ‘Hamari Yaadain’. Ripaljeet was invited to 10 Downing Street to attend Vaisakhi event, which is a Sikh religious celebration, in recognition of her dementia work within BME communities.

Michal Herz, PhD, has been working for nearly two decades with people living with dementia, their loved ones and service providers, both in the UK and Israel. She recently completed a PhD exploring a triadic care relationship, between a person living with dementia, their spouse and a live in caregiver. She is currently starting a post as a consultant with the World Health Organisation on the Global Dementia Observatory and is an independent trainer in Israel.

Sahdia Parveen, PhD, is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Applied Dementia Studies, University of Bradford, UK. Sahdia’s background is in Health Psychology and her main research interests include exploring the influence of ethnicity and culture on how people with dementia and families cope and manage with dementia. Sahdia is currently leading on the Caregiving HOPE study which explores how cultural obligation, willingness and preparedness to care influence family carer outcomes.

Daphna Golan-Shemesh(MA in Expressive Art Therapy, BA in Social Work) is a Geriatrics Expert and Pet-assisted Therapist. She has been associated with Emda, the Israeli Alzheimer's association, since its establishment. She was the establisher of the Alzheimer's Aid Dog project and is both founder and manager of Beith-Hashemesh, which is a Geriatric Hospital linked to nature for people living with dementia.

Carolien Smits, PhD, is a professor at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, in Zwolle, the Netherlands. Her chair is in Innovating with Older Adults. Her research contributes to the Windesheim Expertise Centre on Dementia for Professionals. It focuses on the care of people with dementia and their carers, in particular the interaction, shared decision making and co-creation leading to care innovations.

Alzheimer Europe would also like to thank the following for having commented on an early draft of the report.

  • Saida Baktit Abbasi, Islamic spiritual nurse at the Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  • Gözde Duran, MSc (Psychologist), Co-ordinator of Windesheim Expertise Centre on Dementia, Windesheim University of Applied Sciences (Netherlands)
  • Sari Heikkinen, PhD (Gerontology), Senior Lecturer at the Laurea University of Applied Sciences, Järvenpää (Finland)
  • Lars-Christer Hydén, Professor of Social Psychology and Director of CEDER (Centre for Dementia Research) at Linköping University, Linköping (Sweden)
  • The CEDER (Centre for Dementia Research) interdisciplinary research team at Linköping University, Linköping (Sweden)
  • Jennifer van den Broeke, PhD, Senior Project Leader, Pharos Dutch Centre of Expertise on Health Disparities, Utrecht (Netherlands)



Last Updated: Thursday 25 March 2021


  • Acknowledgements

    This report received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020) and from the Robert Bosch Stiftung. The content of the report represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains
  • European Union