Digital Health Canada elects board of directors
June 21, 2023
TORONTO – The results of the Digital Health Canada board of directors election were announced at the association’s Annual General Meeting, held virtually. 14 candidates stood for election to four open positions; 1,024 votes were cast to elect new members to the Board.
The Digital Health Canada members elected are Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia (eHealth Centre of Excellence), Lorraine Blackburn (Vancouver Coastal Health), Anne Forsyth (CIHI), and Wendy Tegart (Alberta Health Services). The association acknowledges with gratitude the generosity of outgoing members Dr. Jonathan Choy, Keltie Jamieson, and Zen Tharani for their time as board directors.
Immediately following the virtual Annual General Meeting was the first meeting of the new board of directors, at which board members elected Chris Carvalho as vice-president and Shy Amlani as secretary-treasurer.
The 2023-2024 Digital Health Canada board of directors:
- Shannon Malovec, Past-President
Shannon is a highly skilled health informatics leader, passionate about transforming healthcare through patient engagement and experienced in strategic planning, portfolio/program management, and systems implementation. Shannon is chief digital innovation officer for BC Provincial Health Services Authority. In her role Shannon works through with the Ministry of Health and the BC Health Authorities to drive digital health advancements in the Province. Prior to PHSA, Shannon served as principal, Patient Engagement at TELUS Health.
- Cassie Frazer, President and Board Chair
Cassie Frazer has 20 years of healthcare experience working in numerous roles, including 12 years as a front-line Respiratory Therapist. She has a Bachelor of Science from Queens University and a Masters in Heath Administration from the University of Toronto. She was a co-founder of the Pan-Canadian Change Management Network, a leading contributor to the National Change Management Framework and is a certified health informatics professional. Cassie currently works for Canada Health Infoway as the senior director, Private Sector Engagement.
- Chris Carvalho, Vice-President
Chris is an experienced entrepreneur and senior leader that combines strategic thinking with an action-oriented approach to drive large change and transformation initiatives. Chris is a certified project management professional (PMP) with a proven track record of successfully delivering projects and has led numerous IT system implementations (50+) in various clinical settings across Western Canada. Chris has spent the majority of his career in the healthcare sector working with both public and private organizations and has built significant expertise on the implementation of electronic medical records, hospital information systems, and other digital health technologies.
- Shy Amlani, Secretary-Treasurer
Shy Amlani is an occupational therapist by background and has an MBA in Health Services Management. She is particularly interested in increasing the quality of patient care by bridging clinical care, research and quality improvement. She has held lecturer and facilitator positions in the Occupational Therapy programs at McMaster University and the University of Toronto. Currently, Shy is the provincial director of the Virtual Health Program within AHS. The Virtual Health program aims to connect patients to care providers using virtual technologies, supporting access to high quality care that is effective and efficient.
- Dr. Syed Sibte Raza Abidi, Director
Dr. Syed Sibte Raza Abidi is director of Health Informatics, professor of Computer Science and Medicine at Dalhousie University, Halifax. He holds a PhD and Masters in computer science. He has been involved with digital health academics, innovation, advocacy and policy-making for over 20 years. Dr. Abidi is the scientific director of the NICHE (kNowledge Intensive Computing for Healthcare Enterprises) research group, and leads R&D activities that have led to a range of innovative digital health solutions.
- Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia (pictured), Director
Dr. Mohamed Alarakhia is a practicing family physician at the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team. Dr. Alarakhia is the chief executive officer of the eHealth Centre of Excellence. He is also the faculty Digital Health and Innovation Lead at McMaster University, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine (Waterloo Campus), as well as an adjunct professor at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Alarakhia is the co-executive lead of the Ontario eServices Program, which is delivering shorter wait times through the deployment of eReferral and eConsult. He is also co-executive lead of the Evidence2Practice Ontario Program, which is implementing clinical decision support.
- Lorraine Blackburn, Director
As vice president, Professional Practice, chief nursing & allied health officer, and chief clinical information officer, Lorraine Blackburn oversees professional practice, clinical education, clinical informatics and virtual health across Vancouver Coastal Health and provides leadership to nurses and allied health professionals to achieve best practice and clinical transformation through digital health initiatives. A registered nurse with over 23 years of experience, Lorraine began her career as a frontline nurse on acute surgical and medical units, and then as a transplant coordinator. She was responsible for building the first clinical informatics team within her organization, a group that is now critical to the implementation and sustainment of digital solutions across the organization.
- Anne Forsyth, Director
Anne has 15 years of experience in the Digital Health field across government, hospital and community organizations. Her expertise is in the areas of data standards, information privacy and program development. Anne is currently the manager of Data Standards at the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), where she is responsible for establishing and operationalizing a corporate centre of excellence for data standards within the organization. Prior to this role, she led the expansion and modernization efforts of CIHI’s largest data holdings, DAD and NACRS, which collect data from acute, ambulatory and emergency departments. She successfully increased pan-Canadian emergency department data coverage from 65% to 85% and led key initiatives such as increasing the timeliness of opioid overdose data in Ontario and planning for the next generation of data collection systems that will serve the data needs of one of Canada’s biggest and busiest health sectors.
- Wendy Tegart, Director
Wendy is a highly skilled health informatics leader; passionate about transforming healthcare through stakeholder engagement and experienced in strategic planning, road mapping, portfolio/program management, and systems implementation. Her 25+ year career has been focused on operational management and service excellence in various healthcare organizations including Alberta Health Services, Calgary Health Region, and University Health Services in Toronto. Currently, Wendy leads a team of 225 IT professionals and oversees service desk management, access provisioning, identity management and directory services. She is enthusiastic about creating a safe, diverse, and inclusive working environment at AHS and is a member of the Diversity & Inclusion Council, and co-chair of a Joint Workforce Health & Safety Committee.
- Blair White, Director
An experienced leader with a demonstrated history of strategic vision along with operational delivering in the ehealth/digital health industry. Passionate about where our industry is going. He is skilled in stakeholder engagement, leadership, PMP, ITIL, digital health, healthcare information technology (HIT), electronic medical record (EMR), electronic health record (EHR) eHealth, cyber and sports coaching. Strong professional program from McGill University – Desautels Faculty of Management.
- Julia Zarb, Director
Julia Zarb is a digital health and AI communicator, strategist, innovator, and advisor with 25 years in the private, public, and commercial sectors. Working via 32 organizations and 200+ partnerships, Julia has brought myriad data-driven technologies into US and Canadian health/life science ecosystems. Specializing in health informatics strategy, marketing, and business development, Julia’s 11 years on corporate executive teams resulted in a #3 US EHR Brand position. Her Zarb Consulting firm lifted market share for retained clients including, Allscripts, American College of Cardiology, Partners/Harvard, Siemens Healthcare, Nuance, and Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS). Active in Washington, DC, in the early days of health informatics, Julia co-founded the Electronic Health Record Vendor Association (HIMSS EHRA); HIMSS, HL7 & IHE Interoperability Collaborative; and National Health IT Week. Julia has served twice in federal crisis response efforts requiring rapid virtualization: HIMSS Katrina Phoenix Advisory Board; CanCOVID (Academic and Managing Director; Health Canada, ISED). She led the Rapid Evidence Access Link (REAL) Knowledge as a Service platform.