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Grey Matters 2015

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Elder Advocates Of Alberta Society

July 20, 2015

Email letter to laura.paradowski@gov.ab.ca.

Ms. Laura Paradowski, Manager,

Seniors Information Services, Alberta Health

Edmonton, Alberta

Dear Madam:

Grey Matters 2015

It has been brought to our attention that a Grey Matters 2015 presentation will again be chaired by Bonnie Dobbs PhD.

At the 2014, Grey Matters conference, Ms. Dobbs published a deceptive profile. We strongly objected and Ms. Dobbs failed to attend the conference.

We allege that Ms. Dobbs has a history of publishing and promoting ageism, defamatory willful untruths and fraudulent misrepresentation.

1)  On the “Homestretch”, CBC radio, December 5, 2014, Ms. Dobbs stated to listeners:

Starting at about age 70, seniors become the most dangerous drivers on the road“.

With full knowledge she published this scurrilous, untruthful statement?

2)  On the same broadcast she again quoted the misleading outdated 2001 data concerning the “High Crash Risk”, data, which has long since been challenged.

A study dated February 14, 2014  titled “OLDER DRIVERS DO NOT HAVE A HIGH CRASH RISK- A REPLICATION OF LOW MILEAGE BIAS”, authors, Langford J, Methorst R, Hakamies-Blomqvist L., found that most drivers aged 75 years and older and above were safer than younger age groups.


3)   Ms. Dobbs created a deceptive, misleading profile for the October GREY MATTERS CONFERENCE 2014 as follows

The percentage of seniors with a driver’s license is declining and

the majority of seniors will become ‘transportation dependent”.

After we brought this matter to your attention, SENIORS INFORMATION SERVICES, Alberta Health, who were sponsoring the conference, the profile was withdrawn.

In fact, according to most recent studies, the exact opposite is true. There are dramatic increases in older workers staying in the labor force and continuing to work and commute well past 65.  In 2011, over 60,000 Alberta seniors were fully employed in the Alberta labour force.

4)  At the same conference, according to provided documents, she again provided further misinformation, the “high crash risk.”.  Because she failed to attend the conference, her co – presenters provided her misleading information to the conference. The document was titled, “Safety also an important consideration”, which indicated that older seniors are a threat to road safety which is not factual or true.

5) It has been widely published that the Simard MD cognitive. test was developed by Bonnie Dobbs PhD and Donald Schopflocher PhD, of the Medically At-Risk Driver Centre. (MARD).

6)  Ms. Dobbs has repeatedly and publicly misrepresented the Simard MD cognitive test to seniors and others.  She has widely published that :

“A cognitively intact person can easily pass the Simard MD.

7)   We challenge the veracity of that assertion.   In lectures and public presentations, Bonnie Dobbs presents the Simard MD as a product of their research.

She refers to the Simard MD as the “screening tool that we have developed”.

She informs her listeners, mostly seniors, that “we designed our research .  . . . “

 She refers to the Simard MD as a “research based tool”, the reason we developed it”.

 When challenged concerning the danger of the test, she responds,

 “A cognitively intact person, of any age, will do well on the Simard MD”.

She informs listeners that the test is  “based on eight years of research”.

At no time, during local presentations, has Bonnie Dobbs told listeners that the Simard MD was not developed by her and her fellow PhD but is essentially Der DemTect test.

Der DemTect was developed in year 2000, by Dr. Pasquale Calabrese, Joseph Kessler & Elke Kalbe in Bochum, Germany.

On the MARD website the SIMARD MD is cited as a “modification of the DemTect because it uses a subset of the items from that screening tool“.

Indeed.  We submit that the Simard MD is hardly a subset. 

The Simard MD is in fact the DemTect test minus question 4, renamed Simard MD and touted as “a new screening tool”

8)   The Simard MD cognitive test is part of the Simard MD and DriveABLE computer based pilot project.  Seniors are subjected to the Simard MD cognitive test and when they score low, they are referred to the $250. private for profit DriveABLE computer based test. Academics have told us that the Simard MD test sets up the senior for failure.

We first became aware of the Simard MD and DriveABlE pilot project in late 2009. It soon became clear to us that there was little correlation between the said testing and the ability to drive.   Individuals who were cognitively intact and safe drivers were known to fail these tests, then be denied the right to drive. Some of them, Class I licensees.

9)  The DriveABLE test sponsored by the private for profit , multi-million, multi-national DriveABLE Assessment Centers inc. was developed and is partly owned by husband Allan Dobbs. Bonnie Dobbs, Allan Dobbs and DriveABLE are cited on the NY Bloomberg financial site.

10)   Last year it became known that over 8,000 Albertans have lost their right to drive as a result of the Simard MD & DriveABLE pilot project. This year it must be more.

11)  The Alberta Motor Association (AMA), who for years have actively supported Ms. Dobbs and promoted & published her on their website, have since removed her from their website.  Don Szarko, Director of Advocacy, affirmed to us that the premise that a cognitively intact person can easily pass the Simard MD, is indeed false.

12) This falsehood is the cornerstone of the Simard MD & DriveABLE pilot project.

13)  This falsehood has disrupted senior’s lives across Alberta. Under the guise of science, research and safety, older Albertans have been subjected to sustained elder abuse. In collusion with those whom Ms. Dobbs mislead and those who were willingly mislead, incredible injustices have been and are being inflicted on its’ most trusting citizens, older Albertans.

14)    At the GERIATRIC ROUNDS, April 7, 2009 held at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, AB. in regard to disclosure, Ms. Dobbs dishonestly stated and denied that she had any conflict of interest in the context of her presentation.

15)    At the NTSB PUBLIC FORUM ON SAFETY, MOBILITY AND AGING DRIVERS, in Washington, DC, November 9 & 10th, 2010, she provided ageist misinformation, untruths and promoted the Simard MD.

16)  At the AUMA CONVENTION AND TRADE SHOW, Edmonton, AB. September 26, 2012, Ms. Dobbs presented the MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT “OLDER DRIVERS”, which is a frightening, ageist document of misinformation. 

17)  February 2013, Nebraska, she promoted an ageist agenda and spoke in favor of a bill for mandatory testing of senior drivers.

18)  It has been reported in Ontario, “With aggressive marketing Bonnie Dobbs has managed to become a policy maker inside OSMV in BC, inside the Canadian Council of Motor Transportation administrators which affects all provinces, and inside the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. Now she is targeting CAA across Canada. Once inside, she uses her influence to promote her protocol while fending off the consensus opinions of the global research community”.   

– RCMP vets website

19)  Ms. Dobbs has published misleading and inaccurate information on the University  of Alberta MARD website. For example, “The myths and facts about older drivers”.

20)  Ms. Dobbs now has a new modus  operandi.

She expresses concern for all those Albertans who are no longer licensed to drive.

Development, Dissemination, and Evaluation of a Toolkit for the Implementation of Age-Friendly Alternate Transportation of Seniors in Rural and Urban Alberta”.

21)  Bonnie Dobbs  / MARD, have developed a Mobility Guide for Edmonton and area seniors, titled:     A Comprehensive Listing of Essential Services and Transportation Providers in Edmonton and Outlying Communities

We have presented only a brief overview of some of Ms. Dobb’s activities, activities which some might perceive as nefarious. These activities have affected, disrupted and virtually destroyed numbers of senior’s lives. 

Older Albertans fear having to undergo license renewal. We receive fear filled calls from across the province, even before they make the appointment with their doctor for license renewal.  We submit that seniors have good reason to be fearful.

In conclusion, Ms. Dobbs has proved to be less than trustworthy.  After the known harm that she has caused to thousands of older Albertans, it is most troubling that she should be given standing and be allowed to again promote

her wares at a seniors’ Grey Matters conference.

Thank you.

We shall be grateful to be in receipt of your response by the 27th of July, 2015.

Yours truly,

Elder Advocates of Alberta Society

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