Prof. Debbie Tolson, PhD, RGN, FRCN (UK)

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Prof. Tolson was appointed in January 2013 to the post of Alzheimer Scotland Professor of Dementia and became the inaugural director of the Alzheimer Scotland Centre for Policy and Practice based at the University of the West of Scotland. Previously (1999–2012), she was a Professor of Gerontological Nursing and Later Life Research Group Leader within the Institute for Applied Health Research at Glasgow Caledonian University, UK. Professor Tolson gained a first class BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies from South Bank Polytechnic/ Registered General Nurse Guys Hospital (1983), MSc Nursing from University of London (1988), and PhD from Glasgow Caledonian University (1995). She is a nurse leader with an international reputation for advancing evidence informed care with older people and people with dementia. She is an enthusiastic promoter of inclusive approaches to practitioner education and social participatory research methods. Between 2000–2006 she led the National Gerontological Nursing Demonstration Project within Scotland, advancing evidence informed person centred practice through a managed community of practice framework within nursing homes, hospitals and community settings. The so called Caledonian Improvement Framework has been adapted for use in a number of countries including Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and the United States of America. Her current research interests include reminiscence, delirium and the contribution of performing arts to compassionate dementia care.

In 2010 her contribution to research with older people was recognised by St Louis University (USA) Medical School through the award of the Jim Flood Memorial Alzheimer Disease Distinguished Lectureship. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Nursing UK, and an Honorary Fellow of the Queens Nursing Institute: Scotland. She was the recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International, 2007 award for the Best of Worldviews on Evidence Based Nursing. She has served on ministerial groups and currently is a member of the Scottish Improving Healthcare of Older People in Hospital Stakeholder Reference Group. She is also the nurse lead and UK representative on the IAGG-WHO Global Taskforce focussed on improvement of Nursing Homes. She has published widely including peer reviewed research papers and papers in professional journals, other outputs include national care guidance for nurses and patients, edited books and book chapters some of which are co-authored with older people. Knowledge exchange activities include features in popular press and newspapers, live radio broadcasts and radio programmes such as BBC Scotland Medical Matters-Football on the Brain (a programme about football reminiscence for people with dementia).