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Enhancing Ontario's World-Class Health Care Technology Sector

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Enhancing Ontario's World-Class Health Care Technology Sector

The new Ontario Health Innovation Council unites experts from the health care, community, home care, medical device, non-profit, mental health, research, academic and business sectors. 

The Ontario government created the council to improve the sustainability of the health care system and accelerate Ontario innovations into practice and within the global marketplace.

The council will identify opportunities for evidence-based innovation and strategies in health care to:

  • Improve health, health care and well-being in Ontario.
  • Spur innovation that lowers health care costs.
  • Increase quality of patient care.
  • Stimulate the environment needed for job creation in this sector.
  • Attract the best and brightest researchers and entrepreneurs to Ontario.

Supporting Health Innovation in Ontario

Ontario's health system and health technology sector have tremendous intersecting opportunities:

OHIC Members: Experts in Innovation

Dave Williams
President and CEO, Southlake Regional Health Centre 
Canadian astronaut, physician, and most recently appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada, Dr. Dave Williams is President and CEO of Southlake Regional Heath Centre and Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining Southlake, Dr. Williams was Director of the McMaster Centre for Medical Robotics at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and Professor, Department of Surgery, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, 2008 to 2011, and held the position of Chief Medical Officer of Quality and Safety at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton from 2010 to 2011.

In 1976, Dr. Williams graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor of Science, major in biology. He obtained a Master of Science from the Physiology Department, a Doctorate of Medicine and a Master of Surgery from the Faculty of Medicine, McGill University. Areas of keen interest for Dr. Williams and the Southlake team include safety and quality, precision diagnostics and therapeutics, clinical informatics, and computer assisted surgery.

Richard Dicerni
Adjunct Research Professor, Lawrence Centre, Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University
Richard Dicerni is Adjunct Research Professor, Lawrence Centre, Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University. He was Deputy Minister of Industry Canada from 2006 to 2012.

In his federal government career he held executive positions including Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Health and Welfare and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet. In 1992 he joined the Ontario government as Deputy Minister of Environment and Energy; in 1995, he assumed the position of Deputy Minister, Education, Post-secondary Education and Training.

In 1996, Mr. Dicerni was appointed President and CEO of the newly established Canadian Newspaper Association, leaving in 1998 to join the Ontario Power Generation (OPG) as Senior Vice President. He stayed at OPG for the next seven years and led the company between 2003 and 2005. Mr. Dicerni is a board member of Desjardins Financial Security and of Holcim Canada. He has served on boards of Trent University, Credit Valley Hospital, Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. and the Public Policy Forum.

Mr. Dicerni graduated from the College Sainte Marie in 1969 with a Bachelor of Arts; he pursued graduate studies at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard where he earned a Master of Public Administration in 1981.

Robert S. Bell, MDCM, MSc, FACS, FRCSC
President and CEO, University Health Network
Dr. Robert Bell was appointed President and CEO, University Health Network (UHN), in June 2005. An internationally recognized orthopaedic surgeon, health care executive, clinician-scientist and educator, Dr. Bell brings more than 20 years of academic health care leadership to Canada's largest research hospital. From 2000 to 2005, he served as Chief Operating Officer of UHN's Princess Margaret Hospital where he led Canada's largest comprehensive cancer centre. From 2003 to 2005, he served as Regional Vice President and Chair of the Clinical Council of Cancer Care Ontario.

Dr. Bell earned a Doctor of Medicine from McGill University in 1975 and a Master of Science from the University of Toronto in 1981. He completed a Fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in 1985. During his career as a clinician-scientist, University of Toronto, he received more than five million dollars in peer-reviewed funding and published more than 170 peer-reviewed papers. He participated in the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2005. Dr. Bell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown
Director, Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto
Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown is Director of the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and the Dalla Lana Chair in Public Health Policy, as well as Head of the Division of Public Health Policy at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Presently a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre in the Li KaShing Knowledge Institute, at St. Michael's Hospital, past roles include Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategy and Policy, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care and for Science and Research, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.

He received his undergraduate degree in government from Harvard University and his Doctorate from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He has received several leadership awards including being named one of Canada's 'Top 40 under 40' in recognition of his work on performance measurement in health care. He has held founding roles in consulting, software, and Internet companies and has advised the World Health Organization, banks, software and insurance companies, and health care providers in North America, Europe, and Asia.

Neil Fraser
President, Medtronic of Canada Ltd.
Neil Fraser joined Medtronic of Canada Ltd. in 1984 and was promoted to President in 2004. 

As Chair of the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation Advisory Council, Mr. Fraser guides collaborative partnerships to enhance quality health care. He was executive sponsor of one of Canada's greatest cardiology device trials: RAFT (Resynchronization/Defibrillation for Ambulatory Heart Failure Trial) which recruited 1,798 patients (90% from Canada) and resulted in new guidelines worldwide for heart failure.

Previously, Mr. Fraser worked at Alcan Canada Products Ltd., where he introduced aluminum cans to Canada and initiated curbside recycling programs in Ontario and Quebec. While at Procter & Gamble Inc. he oversaw start-up of a new automated cake mix technology and patented invention of a world product: Liquid Spic & Span®.

Mr. Fraser has a Bachelor of Applied Science, in Chemical Engineering, University of British Columbia and an MBA, Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University. He holds a P.Eng, is a member of Professional Engineers Ontario and advises engineering faculties and government and industry associations on biomedical engineering and health care innovation.

Mr. Fraser is an executive board member of MEDEC, a founding member and co-chair of the Centre for the Advancement of Health Innovations, Conference Board of Canada, and a founding member of the Rotman School's 'Judy Project' (An Enlightened Leadership Forum for Executive Women).  In 2013, Mr. Fraser joined the advisory board for the life sciences division, National Research Council Canada. He was the 2013 United Way of Peel campaign chair.

Sarah Friesen
CEO and General Manager, Central Ontario Health Care Procurement Alliance
Sarah Friesen is CEO and General Manager, Central Ontario Healthcare Procurement Alliance, an independent, non-profit corporation that implemented a standardized information technology platform and leading practices to provide integrated supply chain management services to affiliates. COHPA is owned by six founding hospitals and governed by an independent board of directors. It also has five customer hospitals.

Previously, Ms. Friesen was President of Friesen Concepts Inc., an independent practice specializing in health care procurement solutions, and vice president operations for Plexxus, a shared services organization supporting 11 Toronto area hospitals. She has over 14 years of health care experience, and brings an additional 20 years of private-sector strategic sourcing and supply chain expertise.

Ms. Friesen serves as a member on the boards of the Healthcare Supply Chain Network and the Brescia University College Foundation. She holds an MBA from York University in Toronto.

Rafi Hofstein
President and CEO, MaRS Innovation
Dr. Raphael (Rafi) Hofstein joined MaRS Innovation as President and CEO in June 2009. During the 1980s, he was Scientific Director of Biotechnological Applications Ltd., and Manager of Research and Development and Chief of Immunochemistry at the International Genetic Scientific Partnership - organizations pivotal in developing Israel's world-leading biotechnology sector. Dr. Hofstein was Scientific Director of Ecogen Inc., Israel, a subsidiary of Monsanto, for over six years before assuming the role of Vice President, Business Development for Ecogen in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Hofstein received his PhD and Master of Science degrees in Life Sciences and Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. His Bachelor of Science in chemistry and physics is from Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Jeffrey Lozon
President and CEO, Revera Inc. - Retirement Living/Long Term Care (Canada)
Prior to joining Revera in 2009, Mr. Lozon was President and CEO of St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, for 17 years. He was previously seconded to the position of Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, 1999-2000. He has also served on a number of national and provincial committees and organizations, including Chair of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and Vice Chair of Canada Health Infoway. Mr. Lozon holds a Honourary Doctor of Civil Laws from Bishops University, a Master of Health Services Administration from the University of Alberta and a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) from the University of Guelph. He completed the Senior Executive Program at Stanford University. In 2009, he was appointed as a Member to the Order of Canada.

Peter Robertson
Vice President and General Manager, GE Healthcare
Peter joined GE Healthcare in 1985 as the National Sales Manager. He advanced through a series of senior roles in sales, marketing and operations, and was a key contributor to building GE's leadership position in the Canadian health care environment. He became General Manager, Diagnostic Imaging in September 2006, and assumed his current position in May 2008.

Mr. Robertson's passion for improving the effectiveness and delivery of Canada's health care system extends to his community involvement. In May of 2012, he was appointed Chair of MEDEC's Board of Directors (Canada's medical technology industry association) where he provides industry leadership and serves as a corporate advisory council member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders. 

Anne Snowdon
Chair, International Centre for Health Innovation, Richard Ivey School of Business
Dr. Anne Snowdon is Academic Chair and Leader of the International Centre for Health Innovation, Richard Ivey School of Business. She is also a Professor at the Richard Ivey School of Business and Western University's Faculty of Health Sciences, and is cross-appointed to the Faculty of Engineering. She is also an Associate Professor to the adjunct academic staff of the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen's University.

Dr. Snowdon holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Western University, a Master of Science from McGill University and a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan. She is a Fulbright Scholar and was awarded the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship for her doctoral research. Dr. Snowdon is the Principal Investigator for a Strategic Teams for Applied Injury Research (STAIR) grant funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). This research focuses on injury prevention for children and has resulted in the commercialization of innovative new safety seat products for child occupants in vehicles.

Shirlee Sharkey
President and CEO, Saint Elizabeth
Shirlee Sharkey is President and Chief Executive Officer of Saint Elizabeth, a leading national health care organization known for its social innovation, strong financial performance and pioneering practices. As an award-winning and diversified not-for-profit, Saint Elizabeth delivers more than six million health care visits annually and employs 7,000 people providing nursing, rehabilitation, personal support, crisis, research and consulting services.

Ms. Sharkey's commitment to community advancement is evident in her leadership and involvement on many boards, ranging from health to education. She is a past Chair of George Brown College, Toronto and a former President of the Canadian Home Care Association. Internationally, she is Chair of the World Homecare and Hospice Organization. She is also a past President of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario. In 2007, the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care appointed Ms. Sharkey as an expert advisor on staffing and care standards for long-term care homes in the province.

Academically, Ms. Sharkey is cross-appointed to the University of Toronto's Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation as an adjunct professor. She has appeared on a number of media panels and is widely published on home and community-based health care, health transformation, social innovation and breakthrough leadership.

Leslee Thompson
President and CEO, Kingston General Hospital
Leslee has extensive public- and private-sector strategic, operational and transformational leadership experience. Ms. Thompson's passion for improving patient care has fueled a career that spans from the bed side to the board rooms of top tier organizations. Ms. Thompson started as a critical care nurse and is now President and CEO of Kingston General Hospital and adjunct health sciences professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Queen's University.

Ms. Thompson has led many teams through periods of significant change. She has been Vice President, Cancer Care Ontario; Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Sunnybrook & Women's Health Science Center; Chief Operating Officer, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network; and Senior Operating Officer of Royal Alexander Hospital - Capital Health, Alberta.  Ms. Thompson was Canadian Vice President of Health System Strategies for Medtronic, a global private medical devices company where she had national and international responsibilities in strategy, health policy and strategic account management. She was also a member of the Shoppers Drug Mart Board of Directors and is a Certified Corporate Director (ICD.D).

Ms. Thompson has an MBA from Western University, a Master of Nursing from the University of Toronto, and a nursing degree from Queen's. She is currently Chair of the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO), Vice Chair of Canadian Foundation of Healthcare Improvement and a Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. She has won awards for contributions to the nursing profession, leadership of a national public service program, and advancement of best practices in health care management.

Peter van der Velden
Managing General Partner, Lumira Capital Investment Management Inc.
Mr. Peter van der Velden has spent his entire career investing in, mentoring and building innovation- centric businesses in North America. He is currently a founder and the Managing General Partner of Lumira Capital Investment Management Inc., one of Canada's largest venture capital investment companies.  In 2012 Lumira established two new venture capital investment funds, Lumira Capital II and the Merck Lumira Biosciences Fund.

Prior to Lumira, Mr. van der Velden's experience includes: President and CEO of MDS Capital, Canada's oldest and largest life sciences- and medtech-dedicated venture capital firm; Co-Founder of Fusion Capital, a boutique investment bank targeting private Canadian technology-centric businesses; Managing Partner and head of investment banking for technology investment bank Taurus Capital; Partner at private equity boutique Bedford Capital; Vice President Business Development for venture-capital backed and TSX 300-listed Hyal Pharmaceuticals; Associate at Vencap Equities Alberta Limited, which at the time was Canada's largest venture capital fund, and Assistant to the Vice President of Operations, Connaught Pharmaceuticals.

In addition to his role at Lumira, Mr. van der Velden is currently President and a Director of the Canadian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association. His other current and recent board positions include:  CML Healthcare, vendorlink.ca, LCC Legacy Holdings, Spinal Kinetics, Milcom Ventures, Craigleith Ski Club and Lumira Capital Investment Management Inc.

Mr van der Velden holds an MBA in Finance and Policy from the Schulich School of Management, a M.Sc. in Pathology from Queen's University and a B.Sc. (Honours) from Queen's University.

Theodore Witek
President and CEO, Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd.
Dr. Witek was appointed President and CEO of Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. in 2008 and is Head of Prescription Medicine business. Prior to his current role, Dr. Witek served as Managing Director, Boehringer Ingelheim Portugal for four years.

Dr. Witek currently serves on the Board of Directors of Canada's Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D) and is Chair of the Health Technologies Assessment (HTA) Committee and the Health Technology Assessment Task Force. He is also an Associate Professor at Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. He has authored more than 100 scientific papers and several chapters and books.

He holds an MBA from Henley Management College (UK), a Doctor of Public Health from Columbia University and a Master of Public Health from Yale University.

Catherine Zahn
President and CEO, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Dr. Zahn joined CAMH as President and Chief Executive Officer in December, 2009. Previously, Dr. Zahn was Executive Vice President, Clinical Programs and Practice, at the University Health Network (UHN). She has held senior leadership roles in the organization for 12 years. Previous UHN positions have included Vice President and COO, Toronto Western Hospital, Program Medical Director for Neuroscience and Division Head for Neurology, and inaugural holder of the Krembil Family Chair in Neurology.

An honors graduate, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, she completed her residency training in neurology at the U of T. Dr. Zahn is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a professor in the U of T's Faculty of Medicine. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and is internationally recognized for her contributions to neurologic education and to standards of practice in neurology. Dr. Zahn earned a Master of Health Science in Health Administration at the U of T, and has made numerous contributions to health care in Ontario through leadership in technology assessment, chronic disease management and stroke care co-ordination.

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