Dr. Pia Kontos awarded CIHR Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Mobilization in Aging

This is the third time and second year in row the KITE senior scientist has received an award from CIHR

KITE senior scientist Dr. Pia Kontos and her team are being recognized with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Mobilization in Aging for Cracked: New Light on Dementia and Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience

The award recognizes the outstanding achievements of an individual, team or organization who have advanced the mobilization of research in aging at a local or regional level.

“Our team is honoured to receive the Betty Havens Prize as it validates our long-standing commitment of using art to bridge the gap between research and practice,” said Dr. Kontos who is a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.  “Art has the power to mobilize research in a way that engages the imagination and triggers social change.”

Dr. Kontos is the principal applicant for the award. The co-applicants are KITE Affiliate Scientist and Brock University assistant professor Dr. Alisa Grigorovich, Dr. Sherry Dupuis from the University of Waterloo, Dr. Julia Gray from the University of Toronto Scarborough, and Dr. Christine Jonas-Simpson from York University. 

Cracked: New Light on Dementia is a research-based theatre production and film that explores how the stigma associated with dementia promotes social exclusion, deprives people living with dementia of their dignity and rights as citizens, and discourages their participation in daily life.  

Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience uses a cinematic display of audio and visual assets to encourage audiences to critically reflect on oppressive policies and practices across dementia care settings and provides a roadmap for how society can become more inclusive and supportive.  

These unique initiatives not only offer a new way of teaching and learning, but are helping to reimagine dementia and foster relational care.

Dr. Kontos’ research focuses on challenging policies and practices that discriminate against people living with dementia and developing and evaluating arts-based and digital knowledge translation initiatives to reduce stigma and improve social inclusion and quality of care for people living with dementia.  

This is the third time and second year in row Dr. Kontos has received an award from CIHR. In 2021, she earned the Mid-Career Investigator Prize in Research in Aging and in 2009 was given the New Investigator Award.

Recipients of the Betty Havens Prize receive $20,000 in funding. 

“The prize will help us to continue the development of arts-based knowledge mobilization initiatives,” said Dr. Kontos. “This will further our efforts to challenge stigma and to create more inclusive and relational practices that support people to live well with dementia in long-term and community care settings.”

The CIHR officially announced the award at the 2022 Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) Annual Scientific and Education Meeting in Regina, Saskatchewan, which took place earlier this week.