Meet the Plenary Speakers 2018

Opening Ceremonies Keynote Address | Monday, May 28, 2018 
8:30 am – 10:00 am

PL01 – Grand Debate: Systemic Transformation versus Incremental Change – Canadian Digital Health for the Future

This session will examine strategies, approach, challenges and lessons learned on the journey to connected care. It will also look at public/private sector relationships and how to foster innovation in a public-sector market and debate large scale province-wide implementations vs small scale implementations in a provocative and informative debate style format. The session will also be challenged by the innovation theory of small scale community implementations as trials to build and learn from.


Josh Blair
Executive Vice-President, TELUS Health and TELUS Business Solutions West and Chair, TELUS International

Full Biography

Josh oversees TELUS Health and Payment Solutions, a Canadian leader in electronic medical and health records, consumer health services, and benefits and pharmacy management solutions. In addition, Josh has oversight of TELUS Employer Solutions, a leading provider of innovative human resources, talent management and wellness solutions.

He also oversees TELUS’ customer experience, product marketing and Internet of Things (IoT) teams focused on business clients nationally, in addition to business sales and customer marketing in Western Canada.

As well, Josh is the Chair of the Board for TELUS International, the global arm of TELUS that is led by President and CEO, Jeffrey Puritt. TELUS International’s approximately 30,000 team members across North America, Central America, Asia and Europe, provide contact centre, business processing and information technology solutions to major corporate clients worldwide.

Josh also serves as TELUS' Chief Corporate Officer, supporting the company's Board on selected activities and priming relationships with many of TELUS' external stakeholders. In addition, he oversees TELUS Ventures, a team dedicated to investing in promising start-up companies with innovative technology solutions that can help TELUS operate more effectively and succeed in the marketplace.

As a strong supporter of TELUS’ commitment to give where we live, he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Sandbox Project and the Board of Advisors for the Cures for Kids Foundation as well as being Vice-chair of the TELUS Vancouver Community Board.

Josh is a professional engineer and his 23-year career at TELUS started after he graduated with distinction from the University of Victoria’s Electrical Engineering program. In 2015, he received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Victoria in recognition of his professional achievements and community contributions. Josh is also a graduate of the Executive Program at Queen’s School of Business.

Penny Rae
Chief Information Officer, Alberta Health Services

Full Biography

Over the last five years, Penny Rae has been leading the Information Technology department at Alberta Health Services (AHS), as the Chief Information Officer (CIO).  Penny is part of a triad that leads the Connect Care Program, a clinical transformation underpinned by an integrated clinical information system.

As CIO, Penny oversees the AHS IT department, sets direction and coordinates IT service delivery across the province.  She has built a team to deliver results by aligning IT and business goals with a focus on three strategic themes:  strengthening the foundation, optimizing operations and transforming care

Prior to that role, she was the Senior Vice President Capital Management, responsible for the physical infrastructure that supports Alberta’s health care system.

Also a professional engineer, Penny has held senior leadership roles in both the public and private sectors. 

Corrie Barclay (Moderator)

Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Sector IMIT Division, Ministry of Health, Province of British Columbia

Full Biography

Corrie Barclay is the newly appointed Assistant Deputy Minister, Health Sector IMIT Division, Ministry of Health for the Province of BC. Corrie has significant experience with business transformation, creating a culture of innovation and driving a technology vision to achieve better business outcomes. Corrie’s health experience includes leading the first clinical deployments across the Province of BC for the Pan-Canadian public health surveillance solution. Before joining the public service, Corrie  spent that last 3 years as the CIO at BC Assessment where she advanced the business vision for the company and led the creation and implementation of the digital strategy. Corrie holds a professional accounting designation with the Chartered Professional Accountants of BC.

Monday Afternoon Plenary | Monday, May 28, 2018
1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

PL02 – Space Medicine Panel

This panel explores what is on the horizon over the next 10-20 years for human travel in space and providing on-orbit medical care, and examines the points of alignment between space-to-earth and earth-to-space digital health knowledge transfer.


Sonny Kohli
Co-founder and Chief Medical Officer, Cloud DX

Full Biography

Dr. Sonny Kohli is a Physician in Internal Medicine & Critical Care in Canada, where he also serves as faculty at nearby McMaster University. His desire to improve healthcare for the marginalized and under-serviced, deepened by his work as a global medical volunteer, inspired him to co-found Cloud DX, an award-winning digital health and medical AI company focused on lowering costs and improving outcomes. After leading Cloud DX to the finals of the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition, where they were bestowed with the 'Bold, Epic Innovator' award, Sonny now focuses his efforts on finding digital solutions to healthcare’s biggest challenges. Sonny is formerly a top 40 CSA Astronaut Candidate, trained Flight Surgeon and alumnus of the International Space University, where he helped deploy the IRIS study on the International Space Station.

Robert Thirsk
Astronaut, Physician, Chancellor of the University of Calgary

Full Biography

Dr. Robert Thirsk was born and raised in western Canada. Bob received degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Calgary and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He also holds a Doctorate of Medicine from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

Bob has flown on two space missions as a member of the Canadian Space Agency’s astronaut corps. He first flew aboard the space shuttle Columbia in 1996 with six international crewmates as part of the Life and Microgravity Spacelab Mission. His second flight in 2009 was a six-month expedition aboard the International Space Station. Bob and his five international crewmates performed multidisciplinary research, robotic operations and maintenance of Station systems and payloads.

Bob currently serves as the Chancellor of the University of Calgary.  He is a strong promoter of an economy based upon exploration and innovation.  He encourages youth to build their dreams upon a foundation of advanced skills and lifelong learning.

Isabelle Tremblay
Director, Astronauts, Life Science and Space Medicine, Canadian Space Agency

Full Biography

As the Director, Astronauts, Life Sciences and Space Medicine, Isabelle Tremblay is accountable for Canada’s participation in human spaceflight missions, Canadian astronauts, Operational Space Medicine (OSM), Health Life Sciences (HLS) research to identify, quantify, mitigate and eliminate health risks associated with space exploration and spaceflight, as well as Canada’s utilization of the International Space Station (ISS), including payloads development and operations. She is also responsible for fostering awareness of CSA space programs and activities and their social and economic benefits to Canada, as well as for promoting Canada’s visibility in international human space exploration missions.


Isabelle Tremblay is from Jonquière, in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, Quebec. She received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the École Polytechnique de Montréal (1995), and a master’s degree in aerospace engineering through a co-op program offered jointly by five Quebec universities (École Polytechnique de Montréal, McGill University in Montreal, Université de Sherbrooke, Université Laval in Quebec City, and Concordia University in Montreal, 2004). She is also a graduate of the International Space University (ISU), where she completed the Space Studies Program in 1998. 

Mrs. Tremblay began working at the Canadian Space Agency in 1997 as a research and development engineer in space robotics. She later joined the systems engineering group, in 2001, where she worked as a senior lead engineer and technical manager in the context of international space exploration missions, namely NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, which operated on Mars in 2008, and the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018. From 2014 to 2016, she was the manager of the CSA’s Corporate Investment Management Office, with the mandate to increase the Agency’s organizational project management capacity. Ms. Tremblay also taught about robotics and control systems in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the École Polytechnique de Montréal from 2001 to 2008.  Over the years, she has been involved in numerous initiatives for popularizing and promoting science and technology among young people and the general public.

Bob McDonald (Moderator)
Host of CBC’s Quirks & Quarks

Full Biography

Bob McDonald is one of Canada's best known science journalists, bringing science to the public for more than 40 years. In addition to hosting Quirks & Quarks, the award-winning science program that is heard by 500,000 people each week, McDonald is also science correspondent for CBC TV’s The National and host and writer of the children’s series Head’s Up.

The host and writer of numerous television documentaries and more than 100 educational videos in Canada and the United States, Bob has also authored four bestselling science books, and contributed to numerous textbooks, magazines, and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail. His latest book is Canadian Space Walkers: Hadfield, MacLean and Williams Remember the Ultimate High Adventure.

An Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Queen’s Jubilee Medal, Bob has been honoured for his outstanding contribution to the promotion of science with the Michael Smith Award from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council the “Sir Sanford Fleming Medal” from the Royal Canadian Institute;and the “McNeil Medal” from The Royal Society of Canada. He also won a 2008 Gemini Award for Best Host in a Pre-School, Children’s or Youth Program or Series.

In 2015, asteroid 332324 was officially named "Bobmcdonald" in his honour by the International Astronomical Union.

He holds twelve honorary doctorates from Canadian universities.

Tuesday Morning Plenary | Tuesday, May 29, 2018
8:30 am – 9:30 am

PL03 – Big Ideas, Building from the Ground Up

This panel will spotlight healthcare start-ups new to the digital health industry. Key topics to be discussed include: How they came up with the idea; how the fundraising process worked, who supported them, and the challenges they encountered; how they entered the market and impediments they faced; what SOLUTIONS they think are feasible in the short and medium term; and how they can partner with others to succeed.  It will also touch on how procurement, funding models or other innovation approaches can be used to actually foster young Canadian companies to thrive in this market.


Pawel Buczkowicz
Chief Medical Affairs Officer and VP of Business Development, Gene42 Inc.

Full Biography

Dr. Pawel Buczkowicz is the Chief Medical Affairs Officer and VP of Business Development at Gene42 Inc, a Toronto-based software company developing specialized software tools for medical genetics. Dr. Buczkowicz received his PhD training in genetics and molecular pathology from the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children. His research has been published in leading medical journals such as Nature Genetics, Cancer Discovery, and the Journal of Clinical Oncology. His translational research on brain cancer in children, including the discovery of novel mutations and the development of clinical correlates lead to a new World Health Organization classification for paediatric gliomas. At Gene42, Dr. Buczkowicz focuses on consulting hospital and industry clients on clinical and laboratory genetics software workflows, as well as fostering collaborations with clinician researchers at hospitals, universities, and research institutes in order accelerate genetic and rare disease discoveries using computer-readable genotype, phenotype and family history data, with the ultimate goal of empowering greater personalized patient care and reducing time to diagnosis.

Mohamed Elmallah
Founder and CEO, Agile Consent, LLC

Full Biography

Mohamed Elmallah is the founder and CEO of Agile Consent, LLC. He has 25+ years of experience in IT, out of which 10 years focusing on HealthIT. He has B.Sc. in Computer Science and M.Sc. in Software Engineering. He is passionate about Data, Agile Methodologies and Open Source. Before Agile Consent, he worked in companies such as CHLA, KP, Oracle, CGI, Qualcomm, and IBM. He is the author of Web Development with Oracle Portal book (Prentice Hall). He speaks frequently at conferences (OSCON, Hadoop Summit, CHC, OOW) and tweets @melmallah.

David Helliwell
CEO, New Hippo Health

Full Biography

David is a software entrepreneur who has spent his career dedicated to energy efficiency and more recently to improving the delivery of specialist healthcare in Canada. In 2006, after 10 years in the energy industry, he co-founded Pulse Energy, shepherding its evolution into the world's leading energy intelligence software company for businesses at the time of its sale in 2014. After a family sabbatical in the South Pacific, in 2016 he co-founded New Hippo Health, a software company with a mission to improve the delivery of healthcare in Canada by empowering patients to be more informed and engaged in their journey through specialist care.

Tom McLellan
Technology Partner,

Full Biography

Tom has unique expertise in mobile app development, online strategy, and project management. He helps companies to bring new ideas to market through creative strategy, teamwork, and technology. Tom has 18 years experience in consulting, software, and marketing in Toronto, London, Raleigh, NC, and Atlantic Canada.

Prior to focusing on mobile technology, Tom consulted to a wide range of companies including high-tech startups and large organizations such as Macy’s, Bell Canada, Standard Life, and Credit Suisse. He completed his Advanced Marketing Certificate with the Canadian Marketing Association in Toronto and his BBA at University New Brunswick.

Henry Svec
Founder, and Click-Eat

Full Biography

Henry Svec is the founder of and Click-Eat.  For the past 5 years ExerciseMD was used exclusively within Dr. Svecs’ Psychology-Rehabilitation Practice, until it was launched to the general public in early 2018.  The platform utilizes technology to leverage expertise in Health Coaching to help fight or prevent Type 2 Diabetes, Brain Health Conditions, Obesity and Cancers.  ExerciseMD is also available and currently being Beta Tested with Seniors accessing HomeCare.

Louise Turner (Moderator)
Chief Executive Officer, Innovation Boulevard

Full Biography

Louise Turner provides the vision and strategy at Innovation Boulevard as she leads the organization’s next phase of growth and development. Prior to becoming the CEO at Innovation Boulevard, Louise held a number of executive roles including President of the BC Premier’s Technology Council, Chief Operating Officer for the Pacific Health Innovation eXchange, and Chief Operating Officer at Canada West Health Innovation Council. She was the Director of Business Development at both Abatis Systems – acquired by Redback Networks in one of Canada’s largest private acquisitions – and Newbridge Networks – a multi-billion dollar company acquired by Alcatel. Louise is a sought after speaker on the topic of innovation and systems change – particularly in technology and healthcare. She is known for her creative approaches to problem solving and ability to build high performing teams. She completed the Leading High Performance Health Care Organizations program from Harvard Executive Education, and holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Business in the UK. Fluent in English, French, and German, Louise is on the board of directors for the Rick Hansen Foundation. Louise is also a Certified Executive Coach, private pilot, and pianist.

Lunch Closing Keynote Address | Wednesday, May 30, 2018
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm


PL04 – Workplace Wellness For A Better Bottom Line

In the digital health industry we are always trying to do what is best for others – specifically for the clinicians and the patients we serve.  However, we often forget to manage our own wellness and self-care. The process of executing towards one of our goals that further advances our health care system can feel all-consuming.  We often work long hours to achieve results, and when burnout sets in and productivity declines, passion is snuffed out by resentment, dread, and stagnation.  In this presentation, Nova shares the 5 main workplace complaints along with the solutions for helping manage our own wellness. The audience will learn to proactively identify red flags at work and use various techniques to create boundaries & prioritize self-care. This session will be helpful for leaders, employees, and individuals.  Nova’s actionable takeaways will help audience members get more out of their personal and professional relationships, while organizations will learn new ways to encourage wellness at work.


Nova Browning Rutherford
Mindfulness Facilitator & Wellness Expert on CTV’s The Social

Full Biography

Nova lectures on the importance of mental health, social and emotional intelligence in the academic, public and private sectors. 

A wellness expert who demonstrates the strength in vulnerability with warmth and relatable humour as a common denominator through difficult topics. She has been named one of the Top 5 Life Coaches in Toronto and is a certified council facilitator with the global organization, Mindfulness Without Borders

A fixture on the internationally syndicated talk show CTV's "The Social", Nova has been profiled in outlets like Huffington Post, The Globe And Mail, Chatelaine, CBC, CTV, and the Oprah Winfrey Network. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association, Canada Pension Plan, Ontario Nurses Association, and dozens of North American universities are some of the organizations that have benefited from Nova has a speaker and a programmer.

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