Digital Health announces top women leaders
November 18, 2020
TORONTO – Digital Health Canada has announced the names of those chosen as Women Leaders in Digital Health 2020. The Women Leaders in Digital Health Award was created to annually celebrate 10 female visionaries harnessing the power of IT to transform health and healthcare in Canada. The award is inclusive of all women of influence in health information technology, no matter what their specialty, and is open to all women in the digital health community in Canada.
This year’s leaders:
Lynda Brown-Ganzert, CEO, Curatio
Lynda Brown-Ganzert (pictured) forged a solution to the problem of safely supporting out-patients at home during the pandemic, especially those that are frail, vulnerable and isolated. The ‘Stronger Together’ project offers a peer support platform, coaching from nurses and experts, evidence-based health literacy programs and daily check-ins, for both patients and families. The project is designed to combat isolation and to make compassionate communication and valuable health-care information available when they are most needed.
In 2020, Curatio doubled its team size and was recognized by Digital Technology Supercluster as a company that could improve the lives of Canadians during a trying time with a unique and advanced digital health solution. The company was also awarded the NSERC Research Grant in order to pursue research and development to enhance mental health resources and offerings. Curatio’s No Patient Alone mission is a true inspiration and Lynda is a powerful and confident woman whose vision is significantly improving the lives of patients not only in Canada but around the world.
Heather Chalmers, president and CEO, GE Canada
COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge. Under Heather’s leadership, GE Canada is navigating this pandemic through the rapid implementation of remote working technology. A a rigorous Health & Safety culture and protocols have protected all 4,500 GE employees in Canada.
Moreover, GE Healthcare Canada has been at the forefront of supporting governments and healthcare providers with critical technology and services. Heather has been instrumental in pushing teams to adapt and adopt new ways of working by leveraging digital technologies to directly support customers virtually. Her actions have included tripling investment in e-Commerce tools to allow providers to access critical parts and services, developing custom online education courses and virtual training to allow frontline health workers to access new knowledge.
Dr. Allison Crawford, associate chief, Virtual Mental Health and Outreach, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Dr. Crawford is an energetic, charismatic, and confident leader, who has demonstrated her long-standing commitment to advancing mental health service access using virtual care technologies.
Dr. Crawford has been a leader in virtual mental health care for many years, contributing significantly to research, practice, and policy development. At the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, her knowledge and expertise were instrumental in the rapid implementation of virtual care across the hospital. Dr. Crawford and her team supported the development of virtual care policies and guidelines for individual virtual sessions and virtual groups as part of a virtual care toolkit and provided training across the organization to ensure that physicians and staff were well-supported in the transition to virtual care.
Laura Desveaux, scientific lead, Virtual Care, Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care
Dr. Desveaux’s commitment to bettering the health system and leading future generations of women health leaders culminated in the establishment of Women Who Lead – a volunteer-run network created to support women in healthcare in the areas of career advancement and leadership development. Women Who Lead extends beyond academic institutions to reach women across the healthcare sector, including clinicians, managers, administrators, communications specialists, among others, across all career stages.
Her commitment to supporting others is an ideal complement to her experience, productivity, methodological skills, and expanding network, which create a strong foundation from which she will continue to impact the digital health agenda over the course of her career.
Dr. Patricia Lingley-Pottie, president, CEO and co-founder of Strongest Families Institute
As SFI president and chief executive officer, Dr. Lingley-Pottie is the driving force behind SFI’s phenomenal success – clinically, academically and operationally. She provides oversight and management on all aspects of the institute, including business development and acquisition, financial control, clinical supervision, quality service control and employee hiring, training, scheduling and supervision. She is dedicated to advancing the digital health agenda; increasing the sustainability of SFI’s financial well-being and improving the quality of life of all Canadians.
The stability, growth and sustainability of this organization is a result of her dedication and outstanding leadership of this organization. She has leveraged innovation and technology to deliver distance-based mental health services for children and families in Canada. She provides direct mentorship to the SFI women leaders, many of whom have advanced their careers through her leadership within SFI. Moreover, Dr. Pottie has mentored many staff who have pursued further education to become doctors, nurses, lawyers, and/or those she supported as they obtained their Master or PhD degrees.
Jennifer Quaglietta, vice president, Performance Excellence and Information Services, Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC)
Jennifer Quaglietta is a highly respected leader, change agent, mentor, lecturer, and facilitator with experience in a wide range of roles across the healthcare sector. Her passion for improving the healthcare system stems from her belief that the strength and betterment of our community lies in the health of those who reside within it. Throughout her career, from health care consulting and the Ontario Public Service, to acute care and her most recent role at the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC), she has demonstrated the ability to successfully design, manage and lead numerous complex health care initiatives at the local, regional and system level.
HIROC is a trusted healthcare safety advisor, committed to offering a full spectrum of insurance products and support throughout the lifecycle of a claim. Combined with sage counsel and risk management solutions, HIROC works with its partners to increase safety. Shortly after joining HIROC, one of Jennifer’s major deliverables was to assess the organization’s cybersecurity posture and develop a strategy to identify and address potential gaps. Jennifer quickly formed effective and collaborative relationships with stakeholders within the organization and partners outside of HIROC. Under Jennifer’s leadership, HIROC proceeded with a request for proposals from cybersecurity vendors. This undertaking resulted in the organization’s incumbent cybersecurity current vendor continuing to provide a portion of services, with a new vendor providing the remainder of the services. Jennifer’s leadership helped this transition take place seamlessly, resulting in a cybersecurity posture that better meets the needs of the organization and the changing environment.
Eva Serhal, senior director, Outreach, Virtual Mental Health, ECHO, and the Canada Suicide Prevention Service, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Dr. Eva Serhal is a thoughtful and compassionate leader whose influence on the provision of virtual mental health care extends throughout and beyond CAMH. She provides confident and effective guidance to the managers and teams directly reporting to her, and leads by example with kindness and intelligence. Eva also works to enable other teams across the organization – and the country – to engage meaningfully and effectively in the provision of virtual care through the creation of video tutorials, publications (institutional, provincial, and academic), and award-winning conference presentations.
She is a provincially recognized authority on virtual mental health care, as well as virtual community building and professional development through the use of the ECHO (Extension of Community Healthcare Outcomes) model. Eva also co-chairs the Toronto Telemedicine Collaborative, and sits on the Ontario Health Virtual Working Group, supporting the growth of virtual care through collaboration. Lastly, Eva’s strategic communication supported the proposal that led to the successful appointment of CAMH as the lead of Canada’s Suicide Prevention Service (CSPS), which includes several digital health strategies. In all that she does, Eva is focused on health equity – and promoting high quality care through an equity lens to rural, remote, and underserved communities.
Dr. Gillian Strudwick, independent scientist, The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
Dr. Strudwick is a nationally and internationally recognized digital mental health leader who has passionately devoted her career to the advancement of health informatics for the benefit of patients and clinicians. She is an accomplished researcher who has published more than 60 manuscripts and led large national and international projects with more than $1.5 million in funding. As a nurse with a deep practical understanding of compassionate care, Dr. Strudwick has creatively pursued technology as the means to improving quality of care for patients. She is a passionate and innovative advocate for digital health and the power of technology to transform healthcare. Dr. Strudwick’s impact on the field of digital mental health is profound and will undoubtedly continue for years to come.
Dr. Strudwick has shown exceptional leadership in advancing research related to digital health in the area of mental health and addictions. She has been instrumental in defining the field of digital compassion, having written ground-breaking papers and a book chapter on this topic. Dr. Strudwick co-leads an AMS Funded initiative defining digital compassion in healthcare, which is critical particularly with the recent proliferation of virtual care due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Strudwick is also co-leading a CIHR funded research grant focused on synthesizing knowledge on digital interventions to support population mental health during COVID-19. Her success in these large initiatives is indicative of her reputation as a leader in digital mental health.
Gillian Sweeney, vice president, Clinical Information Programs and Vhange Leadership, Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information (NLCHI)
Gillian is a central leadership figure in digital health advancement – both in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), and countrywide. Through her work at NLCHI, Gillian has helped move the Canadian Health Informatics agenda forward. She provides expertise and leadership in the areas of electronic health record management and change management of digital health solutions. At NLCHI, Gillian leads the team responsible for provincial leadership of eHealth projects and clinical information programs. She also supports virtual care delivery throughout the province. This includes hospital information systems, provincial EHRs, EMRs and change management, all of which support clinician adoption, training and education. Under Gillian’s leadership, NLCHI has made huge strides in providing care closer to home. Through initiatives such as the Telepathology Network and Telehealth, Gillian is helping make NL one of the first provinces to launch a province-wide pathology network and is expanding telehealth services throughout the province to physician offices and patient homes. This is crucial to moving the HI agenda forward, by increasing access to care for those in rural and remote regions of the province.
Gillian is a recognized digital health leader in Newfoundland and Labrador, throughout Atlantic Canada and across the country. Her involvement with Digital Health Canada has further bolstered that leadership. Gillian was involved in the establishment of the Atlantic Canada chapter of Digital Health Canada (the first regional branch, launched in 2018) and served on its Board of Directors. She is now co-chair of the Atlantic Chapter Advisory Committee and a member of the Finance and Audit Committee.
Barbara Veder, vice president, chief enterprise clinician and LifeWorks clinical services lead, Morneau Shepell
For over 26 years, Barb has been a clinical leader with Morneau Shepell, an industry leading EAP provider that services over 30,000 organizations and their 23 million employees. Throughout her career she has been keenly focused on not only the development of top class digital clinical services, but also on the measurement of clinical outcomes and cross-industry sharing of results as a means of both evaluating and improving upon existing services and providing invaluable learning opportunities to advance future innovation. Since our launch of e-counselling back in 2000, Barb has been passionate about clinical excellence, reaching more people through engaging and accessible digital service delivery, and guiding our industry towards ever-expanding digital behavioural health offerings grounded in clinical excellence.
Barb is a mentor and role model in the digital mental health industry, and a strong leader for her Canadian and international colleagues. She guides her teams to look for solutions that combine clinical best practice with digital platforms, building on traditional clinical treatment options with digital total well-being solutions, in order to bring services to clients in ways that were not possible before.
About Digital Health Canada
Digital Health Canada is a member-supported not-for-profit professional association that connects, inspires, and educates the digital health professionals creating the future of health in Canada. The CHIEF Executive Forum offers senior professionals and leaders in digital health and healthcare a place to connect, collaborate, exchange best practices, and offer their expertise in setting the agenda for the effective use of information and technology to improve health and healthcare in Canada.