e-Health 2024 Plenary Speakers

  • Avis Favaro, Health Journalist, CTV News

    e-Health 2024 Emcee

    Avis Favaro has always had one mission—telling stories that help Canadians. Favaro began as a news writer at Global Television and then discovered a passion for health journalism. In 1992, she was recruited by CTV News and reported on a vast array of important health issues in the three decades since. Since 2022, she has worked as a freelance journalist, contributing stories to W5 and CTV News on the rise of Medically Assisted Death in Canada and the crisis in front-line medicine. She also hosts the “The CHIP” – the English language podcast by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

    She is a proud London, Ontario girl, a graduate of Western University with an honorary PhD from McMaster University, where she served as the first journalist in residence in 2022. She speaks English, Italian, and a bit of French. She is also an enthusiastic grandmother who believes public healthcare is a human right.

  • Dr. Kathleen Ross, MD MSc MCFP, President, Canadian Medical Association

    Opening Keynote Speaker

    Dr. Ross is a family physician in Coquitlam and New Westminster, British Columbia; she does clinical work in community primary care and obstetrics and surgical assist work in cardiovascular surgery at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH). She is a wife and mother of two. She holds a MSc in pathology and a MD from the University of British Columbia and teaches in the UBC Department of Medicine undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

    Numerous leadership roles have provided Dr. Ross the opportunity to establish health care policy and lead grassroots improvement in both community and acute care services, including: past president of Doctors of BC; founding member and chair of the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice (FNDFP), RCH’s Collaborative Services Council and FNWDFP’s Shared Care Committee; and president of the RCH medical staff.

    Dr. Ross is recognized for her interest in advancing technology in front-line clinical care. She has served as a physician lead and chair of the Pathways Patient Referral Association from inception to its current state as an indispensable online clinical and referral tool for physicians in BC and the Yukon.
    As a founding member of Doctors of BC’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group in 2018 and physician lead for RCH’s Antiracism and Unconscious Bias Working Group in 2021, Dr. Ross remains committed to fostering learning, awareness, education and ongoing implementation of inclusive, diverse and antiracist practices in health care.

    Dr. Ross is a member of the Physician Quality Improvement faculty with the Fraser Health Authority and the Physician Quality Improvement and Spreading Quality Improvement Steering Committee with the Specialist Services Committee and Fraser Health.

    She also currently chairs the CMA’s Administrative Burden Working Group and is participating in the McMaster National Health Fellows Program.

    Volunteerism is important to Dr. Ross. She has twice been recognized by Rotary International District 5050 for her health care educational training project work in remote Andean regions of Peru. She is a board member of Rotary World Help and the chair of the International Affairs Committee Chair for Rotary Club of Coquitlam. Dr. Ross works to awaken young women and girls to their possibilities and empower them via Girl Guides of Canada. In recognition of her long-standing community and international service work, Dr. Ross was inducted into the Terry Fox Wall of Fame in Port Coquitlam in 2019.

  • Dr. Deborah Cohen, Chief Operating Officer, Health Workforce Canada

    Opening Keynote Moderator

    Dr. Deborah Cohen is the Chief Operating Officer of Health Workforce Canada, a newly formed organization mandated to work with health system stakeholders to plan, build and support a strong health workforce for the future – one that will enhance quality of care and health outcomes for all. Most recently she was the Director of Health Human Resources Information Systems at CIHI, where she focused on building the pan Canadian HHR data foundation, as well as health workforce analytics and forecasting models to meet critical healthcare planning needs across the country.  Throughout her 20-year career, she has worked in a variety of health data sectors including health human resources, pharmaceuticals, mental health, population health, Indigenous health, and equity. Deborah holds a PhD in epidemiology and is an Adjunct Professor with the University of Ottawa, School of Epidemiology and Public Health.

  • Kathleen Morris, Vice President, Research and Analysis, Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI)

    Monday Host Session Panellist

    Kathleen Morris is the vice president of Research and Analysis at CIHI. She provides leadership for an integrated program of health services and population health initiatives, including indicator development, web-based performance reporting and analytical reports. She also has responsibility for the data standards and quality analysis that underpin CIHI’s work. Ms. Morris initially worked with CIHI as a consultant for major database renewal and e-strategy development and implementation. In 2009, she joined CIHI as an employee, and she most recently held the position of director of Health System Analysis and Emerging Issues.

    Prior to joining CIHI, Ms. Morris led strategic and operational projects for hospitals, health regions and governments across the country. She has considerable experience as a volunteer board member. She has an MBA from Queen’s University and is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

  • Mark Casselman, Chief Executive Officer, Digital Health Canada

    Monday Host Session Panellist

    Mark Casselman is Chief Executive Officer of Digital Health Canada, the national association that connects, inspires, and empowers the digital health professionals creating the future of health in Canada. Digital Health Canada members are a diverse community of accomplished, influential digital health professionals who work passionately to make a difference in advancing healthcare through information, technology, and data management. Mark is a health executive and advisor with 20 years of experience working with executives, entrepreneurs, and clinical leaders across sectors within the Canadian health ecosystem. He has led large-scale transformation initiatives and has been recognized as an innovator in the field of digital health. Mark has a proven track record of working with public sector, private sector, and government stakeholders and integrating both shared and different perspectives to achieve success.

  • Simon Hagens, Vice President, Performance, Canada Health Infoway

    Monday Host Session Panellist and Closing Keynote Moderator

    Simon Hagens is Vice President, Performance at Canada Health Infoway, leading Analytics, Research, Performance Reporting and Governance functions. Simon was recently Board Chair at Four Villages CHC in Toronto, leading the organization through a merger with two other community health service providers. Simon holds a B.Sc from the University of Guelph and an MBA from McGill University.

  • Shez Daya, Director of Digital Solutions, CIHI

    Monday Host Session Moderator

    As Director of Digital Solutions at Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), Shez Daya provides leadership for a transformational program across the organization. She brings both hospital and government health agency experience, having planned, designed and executed many large-scale digital and virtual programs in Ontario’s health system.

    Prior to joining CIHI, Ms. Daya served as a Director at Ontario Health, where she oversaw the implementation their transition efforts into a unified organization and led the development of their Enterprise Project Management Office. Ms. Daya holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Health Science from the University of Toronto and is a certified Project Management Professional.

    Ms. Daya has over 15 years of experience in strategic partnerships, corporate planning and digital health program management within government agencies and acute care hospitals in Ontario. She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Health Science from the University of Toronto, and is a certified Project Management Professional.

  • Sue Robins, Author and Patient Engagement Consultant, Bird Comm

    Tuesday Plenary Session Panellist

    Sue Robins is a health care activist, speaker and author. Her latest book, Ducks in a Row: Health Care Reimagined, is a scrappy challenge to the established health care world.  Her first book, Bird’s Eye View: Stories of a life lived in health care is a poignant memoir of her experience as a caregiver and cancer patient.

    Sue has written for The New York Times, Canadian Medical Association Journal and The Globe and Mail. She has spoken at countless national and international health conferences about storytelling, the patient experience and best practice in patient engagement.

    Sue’s work experience includes paid family leadership positions with the B.C. Children’s Hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital. She is a senior partner with Bird Comm, a health communications company.

    She lives with her husband and youngest son on a mountain outside of Vancouver.  More about Sue can be found at www.suerobins.com.

  • Dr. Khaled El Emam, Canada Research Chair in Medical AI and Professor, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa

    Tuesday Plenary Session Panellist

    Dr. Khaled El Emam is the Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Medical AI at the University of Ottawa, where he is a Professor in the School of Epidemiology and Public Health. He is also a Senior Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and Director of the multi-disciplinary Electronic Health Information Laboratory, conducting research on privacy enhancing technologies to enable the sharing of health data for secondary purposes, including synthetic data generation and de-identification methods.

    Khaled has founded or co-founded six product and services companies involved with data management and data analytics, with some having successful exits. Prior to his academic roles, he was a Senior Research Officer at the National Research Council of Canada. He also served as the head of the Quantitative Methods Group at the Fraunhofer Institute in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

    He participates in a number of committees, including the European Medicines Agency Technical Anonymization Group, the Panel on Research Ethics advising on the TCPS, the Strategic Advisory Council of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, and also is co-editor-in-chief of the JMIR AI journal.

    In 2003 and 2004, he was ranked as the top systems and software engineering scholar worldwide by the Journal of Systems and Software based on his research on measurement and quality evaluation and improvement. He held the Canada Research Chair in Electronic Health Information at the University of Ottawa from 2005 to 2015. Khaled has a PhD from the Department of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, King’s College, at the University of London, England.

  • Dr. Kimberlyn McGrail, Professor, University of British Columbia and Scientific Director and CEO, Health Data Research Network Canada

    Tuesday Plenary Session Panellist

    Dr. McGrail is a Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, and Scientific Director of Population Data BC and Health Data Research Network Canada. Her research interests are quantitative policy evaluation and all aspects of population data science. In 2019-2020 she participated as a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research Task Force on AI4Health and from 2020-2022 she was a member of the Expert Working Group for the Pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy. She is currently a Canadian representative to with the Global Partnership for AI as part of the data governance working group, and sits on a number of other data-related advisory committees. She holds a PhD in Health Care and Epidemiology from the University of British Columbia, and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan.

  • Dr. Devin Singh, Emergency Physician & Clinical Lead for AI in Medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

    Tuesday Plenary Session Panellist

    Dr. Devin Singh is one of Canada’s first physicians to specialize in clinical artificial intelligence. He is an emergency physician at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and holds a Masters in Computer Science degree from the University of Toronto. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in both the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and the Division of Computer Science and is an emerging scholar helping to innovate the regulatory, privacy, and ethical landscape for AI in Canada and beyond. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Hero AI, a healthcare technology company dedicated to empowering patients and providers with AI.

  • Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia, CEO, eHealth Centre of Excellence

    Tuesday Plenary Session Moderator

    Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia is a practicing Family Physician at the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team and the CEO of the eHealth Centre of Excellence. He is the Faculty Digital Health and Innovation Lead at McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (Waterloo Campus) and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo.

    Dr. Alarakhia was awarded the Digital Health Executive of the Year Award in 2019 and the College of Family Physicians of Canada Award of Excellence in 2018 and 2022. Dr. Alarakhia and the eHealth Centre of Excellence won the Innovation Award in 2022 from the Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce. The eHealth Centre of Excellence received a Canadian Medical Association Joule Innovation Grant and an AFHTO Team Award in 2020, as well as a Patient Care Innovation Team Award at the 2019 Canadian Health Informatics Awards and a 2019 Ingenious Award from Information Technology Association of Canada. The eHealth Centre of Excellence is recognized as one of the Best Workplaces in Canada.

  • Tamara Taggart, Mother, Podcast host of TELUS Talks with Tamara Taggart, and Volunteer President of Down syndrome BC

    Closing Keynote Speaker

    Tamara Taggart learned how to be an advocate out of necessity. When her son Beckett was born with Down syndrome, healthcare providers were negative and dismissive of his potential. When her son was three years old, Tamara received life-saving surgery and a rare cancer diagnosis and the response from physicians was positive and encouraging – a stark contrast to what she heard when her beautiful baby boy was born.

    Words, tone and basic kindness play a huge role in healthcare, especially when it comes to conquering the discrimination of disabled people in healthcare. Tamara will share her journey to healthcare advocacy and why we must all become advocates for positive change.

    Tamara Taggart is a mother of three, podcast host of TELUS Talks with Tamara Taggart, and the volunteer President of Down syndrome BC.

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