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I am a nurse researcher interested in how health, wellbeing and quality of life can be enhanced for older people. My work also focuses on improving health care transitions and community care for older people, especially those living with complex conditions such as dementia. My interests in research lie at the intersection of social and health care understandings and practices, and the human experience. Much of my research has been inspired by my clinical work, and as a researcher, I continue to maintain ties to the clinical setting.

I have over 20 years of nursing experience and specialize in community health, having worked in several roles within the community and home health spectrum of care. I am a skilled educator, having taught in the clinical setting, as well as at the undergraduate and graduate level.


Currently I serve as the president-elect for the Gerontological Nurses Association of British Columbia. As a nurse, I practice from a person-centered perspective, and my research approach reflects this outlook. As a researcher, it is vital that the projects that I am a part of directly involve and empower others.

Mariko Sakamoto's Profile Photo

I support equity, diversity and inclusion in nursing practice, education and research. I acknowledge that systemic racism is deeply embedded in Canadian society, our health care system, and in our academic institutions. I am committed to creating space for reconciliation and fostering a culturally-safe, decolonizing and equity-oriented environment in my nursing practice, teaching and research.


Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria. 



Assistant Professor – 2023

School of Nursing, University of Victoria

Alzheimer Society of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow – 2022

School of Social Work, University of British Columbia


Postdoctoral Fellow (2021- Now)

Centre for Research on Personhood in Dementia, University of British Columbia


Doctor of Philosophy (2016 - 2020)

School of Nursing, University of British Columbia

Supervisors: Dr. Alison Phinney, Dr. Jennifer Baumbausch, Dr. Genevieve Thompson

Dissertation: Waiting for Home: Dementia and the Alternate Level of Care Experience


Master of Nursing (2011- 2015)

Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University

Supervisors: Dr. Sharon Moore, Dr. Steven Johnson

Thesis: Perceptions of Personhood and the Early Onset Dementia Experience: “I’m Still Here”


Bachelor in Science in Nursing (Honours) (1994 - 1998)

School of Nursing, University of British Columbia


Bachelor of Arts (1990-1994)

University of British Columbia



I am building a program of gerontological research focused on bringing to the fore the perspectives and experiences of older people living with complex and chronic conditions, such as dementia. My work to date has brought attention to the challenging issues and difficult transitions that older people with dementia face in our health care system, and has offered solutions to how care can be improved. My research has also highlighted the stigma and discrimination that many people with dementia experience, as well as their ongoing potential as social and active citizens. 


My research is informed by person-centered and social citizenship perspectives, whereby people with dementia are understood as persons with rights who have agency regardless as to stage of their condition. I am interested in research that aims to challenge and change current health care practice and policies, as well as societal understandings and assumptions about the aging and dementia experience. I am also interested in work where people, such as those living with dementia, can participate directly in research and knowledge translation. 


I have expertise in qualitative methods, and am particularly interested in Participatory and Community-Based research approaches that emphasize co-design and co-research practices, and where the goal of the research endeavour is to effect real-world action and social change. I appreciate and am excited by the integrated knowledge translation possibilities inherent in participatory and community-based approaches.




2021-    Postdoctoral Fellow

Center for Research on Personhood in Dementia, University of British Columbia

Project: Reducing Stigma and Promoting Social Inclusion: Putting Social Citizenship into Practice

Supervisor: Dr. Deborah O’Connor


2021-  Research Coordinator 

IDEA Lab, School of Nursing, University of British Columbia

Project: WhatMatters: A Digital Solution to Support Person-Centered Care for People with Dementia



September 2022 – Postdoctoral Fellow

Funded by the Alzheimer Society of Canada

Project: Dementia Friendly Communities: Including the Perspectives and Experiences

of People with Dementia Who Live Alone

Supervisor: Dr. Deborah O’Connor



While I regard myself as a nurse researcher, I am also an educator and am invested in teaching and facilitating learning. Overall, I find that there is a reciprocity to teaching that is rewarding and enriching, as I am continuously learning from the students I interact with. I consistently receive feedback from students that they appreciate my approachability, and my investment in supporting their learning.


Over the years I have been able to work as a clinical nurse educator, clinical instructor, teaching assistant, course leader and sessional lecturer. My approach to teaching is guided by adult-learning principles, recognizing that adult learners are goal-oriented and bring their own life experiences to learning opportunities.


My own goal as a teacher and facilitator of learning is to create a safe, respectful and supportive environment for learners. I have found that effectively communicating and engaging with learners has always been key to positive learning experiences, as well as being able to respect and adapt to a wide range of diverse learning styles. I am experienced at developing curricula, and currently am a sessional instructor at Athabasca University and the University of British Columbia.


NURS 542 – Social Epidemiology of Aging

Master of Health Leadership Program

School of Nursing, University of British Columbia

MHST/NURS 603 – Facilitating Inquiry

Master of Nursing Program 

Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University

MHST/NURS 618 – Community Development for Health Care Leaders

Master of Nursing Program

Faculty of Health Disciplines, Athabasca University



Hung, L., Yang, S., Guo, E., Sakamoto, M, Mann, J., Dunn, S. & Horne, N.  (2022). The Staff’s Experience of a Canadian Long-Term Care Home During a COVID-19 Outbreak: A Qualitative Study. BMC Nursing.


Aaltonen, M., El Adam, S., Martin-Matthews, A., Sakamoto, M., Strumf, E., & McGrail, K. (2021). Dementia and Poor Continuity of Primary Care Delay Hospital Discharge in Older Adults: A Population-Based Study from 2001-2016. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 22(7), 1484-1492e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.11.030


Durepos, P., Sakamoto, M., Alsbury, K., Hewston, P., Borges, J., Takaoka, A. (2021). Older Adults’ Perceptions of Frailty Language: A Scoping Review. Canadian Journal on Aging, 1-10 10.1017/S0714980821000180


Raber, C., Hannan, J., Sakamoto, M., Kulkarni, S., Beyzaei, N., Salami, A., Levi, D. & Phinney, A. (2019). Emily Care University Zeitgeist Program: Bringing Together Student Designers and Care Home Residents to Co-Design Publications – A Social Innovation Project. Dementia Lab 2019, Springer CCIS Series. doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-33540-3_6


Hannan, J., Raber, C., Ellis, E., Beyzaei, N., Levi, D., Phinney, A. & Sakamoto, M. (2019). Zeitgeist Publication: A Storytelling Project with Residents and Design Students. Design for Health. doi:10.1080/24735132.2019.1596210


Sakamoto, M. (2018). Nursing Knowledge: A Middle Ground Exploration. Nursing Philosophy, 19(3): e12209. doi: 10.1111/nup.12209  


Sakamoto, M., Moore, S. & Johnson, S. (2017). “I’m Still Here”: Personhood and the Early Onset Dementia Experience. Journal of Gerontological Nursing, 43(5), 12-17. doi: 10.3928/00989134-20170309-01




Sakamoto, M., Malcolm, P., Raber, C., Beyzaei, N., Hannan, J., Kulkarni, S., Salami, A., & Phinney, A. (2021). The Perspectives Research Project: Storytelling as a Tool to Create “Connections Beyond the Years”. Activities, Adaptation & Aging.


Sakamoto, M., Phinney, A., & Thompson, G. (2022). Waiting for Home: The Experience of Older Adults with Dementia Designated Alternate Level of Care. International Journal of Older People Nursing


O’Connor, D., Sakamoto, M., Seetharaman, K., Chaudhury, H., & Phinney, A. (2022). Conceptualizing Citizenship in Dementia: A Scoping Review of the Literature. Dementia. The International Journal of Social Research and Practice.



2022  Podcast Interview

Let’s Chat with Gero Nurses: Tales from the Front/Episode 6

2020 Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute

Learning from the Perspectives of Older Adults Stuck in Hospital “Limbo”, Interview article.


2017   Athabasca University Health Sciences Newsletter

World-leading Awards, Two Years Running, Interview article.


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