Kathy Pichora-Fuller inducted as a fellow, stands with James Cross, President and Marie-France Reynault, President-Elect of CAHS.

Dr. Kathy Pichora-Fuller Elected into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Tanya Rohrmoser
Kathy Pichora-Fuller

Seventy-one newly elected fellows were recently celebrated at the 2022 Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) induction ceremony, which was held in Ottawa on October 20 at the National Arts Centre. CAHS brings together Canada’s top-ranked health and biomedical scientists and scholars — drawn from disciplines across universities, healthcare, and research institutes nationwide — to make a positive impact on the urgent health concerns of Canadians.

For those in Canada’s health science community, election to CAHS is one of the highest honours.

“Becoming a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences recognizes Fellows’ dedication to health sciences,” says CAHS president, Dr. Sioban Nelson. “We are proud of their accomplishments, and we are honoured to welcome them.”

This year, Professor Emerita Kathy Pichora-Fuller was elected to the Academy, recognized for her dedication, excellence, and contributions to the field of Psychology. A world leader in research and clinical practice, Pichora-Fuller boasts a long and impressive list of accomplishments. Her work focuses on the links between auditory and cognitive aging and the health and well-being of older adults.

“The inspiration for my work started with the stories told to me by so many older adults about how hearing problems affected their participation in everyday life,” Pichora-Fuller explains, who worked as a Clinical Audiologist and the Audiology Supervisor at Mount Sinai Hospital before doing her doctorate in Psychology at the University of Toronto (1986-1991). She worked in UBC’s School of Audiology and Speech Sciences for ten years before joining the faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Toronto Mississauga — where she is now Professor Emerita — in 2002. She is the Past President of the International Collegium of Rehabilitative Audiology and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Gerontology at Simon Fraser University.

“Over about four decades, I have combined my clinical experience as a rehabilitative audiologist and my research as a cognitive psychologist to understand age-related sensory-cognitive links,” Pichora-Fuller says. “Now we know that hearing loss in older adults increases risk for dementia as well as declines in physical (e.g., falls), psychological (e.g., depression), and social (e.g., isolation, loneliness) health.”

Pichora-Fuller was awarded the International Award in 2014 by the American Academy of Audiology and received the Eve Kassirer Lifetime Achievement Award from Speech-Language and Audiology Canada in 2021. More recently, she says she’s been inspired working with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to find new ways to integrate hearing health into healthy aging.

Now as a member of CAHS, Pichora-Fuller sees exciting new opportunities ahead. Election to Fellowship carries with it a covenant to serve the Academy and future well-being of the health sciences; members work together to evaluate Canada’s health challenges and recommend strategic, actionable solutions.

 “I look forward to opportunities to influence policies,” she shares, “And to contribute to implementing solutions that advance the inclusion of evidence-based hearing healthcare in the broader context of the national dementia strategy, new inter-professional team approaches to primary care and long-term care for older adults, and initiatives to promote healthy aging.”