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Dr. Mary Chiu

Mary Chiu
Role
Researcher
Credentials
PhD

Research Scientist, Research & Academics, Ontario Shores 
Caregiving Research Working Group Lead, Toronto Dementia Research Alliance
Adjunct Professor, Ontario Tech University 
905-430-4055 x6805    
chium@ontarioshores.ca                      

Dr. Chiu’s research interests lie within geriatric psychiatry, specifically the social psychology of older adults and the concept of psychological resilience in the context of informal caregiving and dementia.  Her primary research aim is to identify individual level factors (e.g. psychological and somatic well-being) and community-level factors (e.g. social-connectedness and workplace enablers and barriers) that promote resilience and effective coping by exploring the interactions within and across these levels using an ecological framework applied to informal carers.

In addition, her work aims to identify components of group psychotherapy programs that make them effective in addressing complex needs and challenges of informal carers caring for someone with dementia.  

Learnings from Dr. Chiu’s research at Ontario Shores will be applied to the development of innovative tools, training and education for informal carers and health professionals, that is culturally sensitive and inclusive.  Findings will also inform a care model to meaningfully engage family members in co-designing personalized care for caregivers.

Dr. Chiu holds an MSc and a PhD from the University of Toronto. She was appointed Status-only Lecturer (2014-17) and then Assistant Professor (2017-19) with the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry.  Currently, she holds an Adjunct professorship with Ontario Tech University. 

Areas of Research

  • Psychosocial well-being of family caregivers: Stress and depression, Resilience, Skills-building, Effective Coping
  • Caregiving interventions: Group Psychotherapy, Problem Solving Technique
  • Dementia care education and training initiatives developed for frontline health professionals (e.g. PSW)
  • Social isolation in senior caregivers: Identifying, engaging and connecting caregivers with community-based education activities and building public awareness of resources.
  • Recovery oriented program and support co-designed with persons with dementia and family members 

Successful Grants

2022

Project Name: Dementia Caregivers Skills Training Through Virtual Reality Simulation (VR-SIM CARERS)
Amount: $546,204
Funding Type: 3-year
Funding Source: National Research Council Canada (NRC) and CIHR Institute of Aging
Funding Held at: Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
Partners: NRC, Ontario Tech University, Toronto Dementia Research Alliance, Baycrest, Sinai Health System 

Research Collaborators

  • Baycrest Health Sciences
  • CAHBI, Ontario Tech University
  • RB33.com
  • Toronto Dementia Research Alliance
  • Sinai Health System

Recent Publications

2022

  • (Co-Primary author) Paul, S., Chiu, M., Markoff, M, Im-Bolter, N. Experiential learning in a virtual “Living Lab in Aging” course in a mental health setting: a qualitative study, Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, doi: 10.1080/02701960.2022.2150843
  • (Co-author) Williamson, G., Paul, S., Chiu, M., Murry, J., ‘It is easier to express yourself through art’: A qualitative exploration of recovery through Expressive Arts (Under Review at American Journal of Recreation Therapy, June 2022)
  • (Co-author) Arbour, S., Chiu, M., Paul, S., Battistelli, R., Harris H. (2022) Exploring the Recovery Phenomenon from Adolescents’ Perspective: A Qualitative Study, Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health, doi: 10.1007/s40737-022-00283-7

2021

  • Feldman R, Chiu M, Lawson A, Sadavoy J.  Evaluating Caregiver Risk: The Dementia Caregiver Interview Guide. Psych. 2021 Sept 3:552-561. DOI: 10.3390/psych3040036
  • Sadavoy J, Sajedinejad S, Duxbury L, Chiu M. The impact on employees of providing informal caregiving for someone with dementia. Aging Ment Health. 2021 Jan 18:1-7.  DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2021.1871878.
  • Sadavoy J, Sajedinejad S, Chiu M. Evaluation of the Reitman Centre CARERS program for supporting dementia family caregivers: a pre-post intervention study. Int Psychogeriatr. 2021 Jan 18:1-12. DOI: 10.1017/S1041610220004019.
  • Sadavoy J, Sajedinejad S, Duxbury L, Chiu M. A Canadian national survey of informal employed caregivers of older adults with and without dementia: Work and employee outcomes. Int J Soc Psychiatry. 2020 Dec 29:20764020983866.  DOI: 10.1177/0020764020983866.