Meet the HABIT Team: Dr. Courtney McAlister

Mar 22 6:00am | Dr. Anne Shandera-Ochsner, HABIT Midwest Director | @dranneshanderaochsner


Courtney McAlister, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist at Mayo Clinic Health System in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This is a site that is part of the larger Mayo Clinic Midwest practice, made up of the academic medical center in Rochester, Minnesota and surrounding community medical centers in the region. Dr. McAlister is my clinic partner in the Neuropsychology service, and has recently become a part of our regional HABIT team. I sat down with her to help our readers get to know a little more about her. We are so thrilled to have her on our team. Look for her additions our blog in the near future!

  1. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

From an early age, I knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. Maybe it was related to all of the horror movies I watched with my father. I learned that I wanted to work with older adults while I was in high school. During a lecture in college, I was introduced to the field of neuropsychology, and in that moment, I knew this was the perfect way to combine my interests in biology, older adults, and psychology. I haven’t looked back since!

  1. What is your favorite thing about the HABIT Program?

I enjoy being able to help patients learn to use compensatory strategies for memory loss in order to improve their quality of life. I also enjoy teaching others what we know so far about how to keep our brains healthy.

  1. How did you get involved as part of the HABIT Team?

I developed an interest in brain health and compensatory strategies for individuals with memory concerns and mild cognitive impairment several years ago while I was still in graduate school. Knowing my interest in this area, my colleague and HABIT director, Dr. Shandera, recently invited me to join the HABIT team. I am excited for this opportunity to continue to work with individuals with MCI and their loved ones.

  1. What is your favorite thing about living in Wisconsin? Where else have you lived?

I love the four seasons that Wisconsin offers and being able to explore a new area, the Midwest. I grew up in a small town in Louisiana. Many of my family members speak Cajun French, and we recently celebrated Mardi Gras! More recently, I lived in Washington and Idaho; Memphis, Tennessee; and Denver, Colorado.

  1. Do you have any special talents?

I have an uncanny knack for napping in unusual places. I once fell asleep while on tour of Westminster Abbey in London!

  1. What motivates you?

Professionally, I am in awe of the strength and courage it takes for patients and their families to acknowledge memory changes and choose to participate in programs such as HABIT. I consider it a privilege to be able to share what we know about memory changes and aging with our patients. I also enjoy continually learning about the brain!

Dr. McAlister and her husband, Kenny.

Interested in more newsfeed posts like this? Go to the Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) blog.

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