Help Rianna study dementia at UCL
My name is Rianna Patterson. At 18, I founded a youth-led dementia charity called the Dominica Dementia Foundation in memory of my grandfather who passed away from dementia when I was 16 in Dominica. I spent some time at the hospital with him. There, I noticed the lack of understanding of dementia in public health facilities.
I have been offered a place at UCL to study for a full-time Master's degree in Dementia this September. Studying Dementia: Causes, Treatment and Research Masters at the University College London will provide a culturally diverse and multidisciplinary environment with international leaders in dementia and students. This degree also covers all biological, psychosocial and clinical elements of dementia, which are uncommon in academic programmes. Also, Queen’s Square, UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology, is renowned for its groundbreaking work in dementia.
Through my work, I hope to reduce the impact of dementia in BME communities and promote the importance of intergenerational and cultural differences in policy, research and practice around dementia care at institutional and community levels.
CC: Meeting with the President of Dominica as a Queen's Young Leader to talk about the social development approaches for people with dementia in Dominica.
My financial circumstances have significantly changed, and due to this, I am not able to afford my living expenses, which I estimate to be around £12,000 as I will need to relocate to London to pursue this course. This cost is in addition to my tuition fee which is £14,100. Although my overall expenses are £24100, I'm crowdfunding for a portion of that (£20k).
I have already deferred my degree to 2023, so I need to secure the funding to pursue this master's degree or I will have to withdraw my place on the course.
Receiving financial aid will allow me to pursue my career through the Master's programme without financial worries, and I can provide the level of commitment required to excel. I am exploring other funding routes to cover the tuition.
1. Founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation
2. Associate Fellow at the Royal Commonwealth Society
3. Student Representative for the School of Psychology 2017/19
4. Speaker, Alzheimer's Association International Conference in 2017, London
5. Delegate, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2018
6. Fundraiser for Alzheimer's Society
7. Social Media Officer for the Kent Caribbean Union 2018-2019
8. Speaker at the Commonwealth of Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda 2021
9. Ambassador for CommonAge in 2021
10. Trustee for Dominica UK Association (DUKA)
11. Young Ambassador for the Prince's Trust in 2022.
12. Film director of Dementia: The Island Journey documentary 2019-2022
13. Adjudicator for the 2023 Commonwealth Youth Awards
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth awarded the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in Buckingham Palace to me in recognition of dementia activism in 2017
- Forbes 30 U 30 Shortlist in 2020
- Employability Points Prize, University of Kent 2020
- Recipient of the Diana Award in 2022
- Recipient of the Commonwealth Youth Award for Development Excellence in 2022
- Recipient of the 30 U 30 Ignite Caribbean Awards in 2022
- Citizenship award recipient by the Medway African Caribbean Association in 2022.
Building consensus and convening decision-makers on a regional and international level on public health and dementia promotion, to key stakeholders, has been my approach to making dementia a health priority in Dominica. I have provided key recommendations to the National Policy on Ageing to the Government of Dominica. I have also published a report on dementia in Dominica. This was published by Alzheimer's & Journal in 2017 and accepted in the National Archives of Dominica in 2022.
CC: Directing a documentary film on dementia in the Caribbean
I was also the Programme Director for the Dominica Dementia Friends Programme, an initiative by the Dominica Dementia Foundation to provide psycho-education in communities. Facilitated and trained members of the community to become Dementia Friends, including the former President of the National Youth Council of Dominica, Paul Baron and carers at the Dominica Infirmary.
My bachelor's degree in psychology at the University of Kent increased my understanding of human behaviour and brain activity. My dissertation examined the impact of dementia gardens on people with dementia. A horticultural perspective on the condition provided a unique insight into the social and health benefits of gardening.
CC: TEDx speaker at the University of Kent in 2017
I have volunteered at leading organizations such as the Alzheimer’s Society UK as a Dementia Friend Champion. Delivered dementia sessions at the University of Kent and residential care homes in Dominica. I also worked closely with the international team at the Alzheimer’s Society to adapt the lesson content in preparation to launch the Dominica Dementia Friends Programme.
CC: Fundraising for Alzheimer's Society by participating in a 2k memory walk
Most recently, I co-chaired a Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation Informal Consultation with People Living with Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health Conditions in the Caribbean and North America.
CC: Speaking at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda as founder of the Dominica Dementia Foundation
In 2022, I was requested by the Ministry of Youth and Culture of Rwanda to participate in a plenary titled “Youth Championing Innovation for Transformation and Development” at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. This event was attended by world leaders, including diplomats and prime ministers. As a Commonage ambassador, I also spoke at the Women’s forum. This speaking opportunity allowed me to share the importance of building a just society for all ages, including older people, to key decision-makers.
As the community manager at One Young World, I led a team of 33 regional coordinators from parts of Africa, America, the Caribbean, Europe and Asia who drive action within their local communities. In this appointment, I supported over 13,000 young people globally with their initiatives through their communities. I managed core community programmes, such as the intergenerational mentoring initiative as part of One Young World Connect, which connects senior leaders with young people globally.
Upon completing my degree, I hope to work at a multicultural organization which will not only focus on making dementia a health priority in Dominica but to fulfil my mission of creating a dementia-friendly world for people with dementia and their families.
Dementia is one of the biggest medical challenges of our time. This sponsorship should be seen as a social investment for the community, as I hope to upskill my peers. This opportunity to read about dementia at UCL will enhance my career prospects in the field.
I grew up in Dominica. This opportunity means everything to me.
Thank you so much for your support, God bless.
Please donate whatever you can afford.
CC: Speaking with King Charles as Young Ambassador of the Prince's Trust and Commonwealth Youth Award Recipient
CC: Kent Caribbean Union Committee (I was the social media officer) with Mr.Paul Crooks who shared his journey and ancestral background with us.
CC: Visit to 10 downing street as a Queen's Young Leader
For contributions £1000 or more, you will receive a copy of my dissertation and a mention in the acknowledgements.
DonationsSee top donations
Become the first supporter
Your donation matters