Healthy Debate is led by a core team from Alberta and Ontario that includes patients, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, paramedics, physician assistants, journalists, business leaders, managers, policy advisors and researchers.
Our team is working with leaders across the health care system to provide you with unbiased evidence, and informed opinions, about health care issues in Alberta, Ontario and Canada. Our articles and opinion pieces reflect the views of their authors, not those of the editorial team as a whole. They do not reflect authors’ employers or other organizations with which they are affiliated.
Dr. Andreas Laupacis is the Executive Director of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital and a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is a general internist whose interest in health care is driven by his experiences as a consumer, practitioner, researcher and involvement in health care governance. He served on the Board of Directors of Alberta Health Services from 2008 to 2010, and was Chair of its Quality committee from 2009 to 2010. He is currently the Chair of the Board of Health Quality Ontario and a Board Member at Cancer Care Ontario. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Health Policy and Citizen Engagement. He is convinced that the health care system would be better if there is more informed input from citizens. Follow Andreas on Twitter @AndreasLaupacis
Dr. Debra Bournes is the Chief Nursing Executive and Vice President Clinical Programs at The Ottawa Hospital. She provides professional leadership to nursing and the other health professions, and oversees the Mental Health, Telemedicine, Family Health Team, and Obstetrics/Gynecology and Newborn Care Programs. From 2011 – 2014 Debra was Ontario’s Provincial Chief Nursing Officer at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. She has served as the Director of Nursing New Knowledge and Innovation at University Health Network in Toronto, as Assistant Professor at York University, and in cross-appointments at the University of Toronto. Debra is known nationally and internationally for her leadership in nursing theory-guided patient and family-centered care, academic practice and professional development for health professionals, health human resource analysis, strategic planning in nursing, and quality workplace/quality patient care indicator dashboards for healthcare leaders. In 2008, Debra received the University of Toronto, Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing Award of Distinction and the Ontario Hospital Association Award of Excellence in Nursing Leadership. In 2009, she received the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario’s Leadership Award for Nursing Research for her work on developing a research culture among health professionals.
Francine Buchanan is pursuing her PhD at the Institute of Health, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. In the midst of a successful career as Strategy Consultant, her son was born with complex medical issues. Taking inspiration from the challenges her family has faced caring for a child with medical complexity within the medical system, Francine embarked in a new direction as a researcher, patient adviser and consultant. Francine’s research interests are in the area of Family Centred Care, Knowledge Translation and Quality Improvement.
Francine is a member of the Canadian Family Advisory Network and the Hospital for Sick Children’s Family Advisory Network, where she works with clinicians, administrators and researchers to draft processes and policies that take into consideration the families’ perspectives.
Francine holds a degree in English and Philosophy from McMaster University as well as a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. He is a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation, a Health Senior Scholar with the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and the Principal Investigator for a number of large interdisciplinary projects that explore the ethical, legal and health policy issues associated with a range of topics, including stem cell research, genetics, patient safety, the prevention of chronic disease, obesity policy, the commercialization of research, complementary and alternative medicine and access to health care. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He writes frequently for the popular press on a range of health and science policy issues and is the author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness (Penguin 2012). Follow Tim on Twitter @CaulfiedTim
Dr. Christopher Doig is Head of the Department of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Calgary, as well as a Professor in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine, Internal Medicine and Community Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine. He was president of the Alberta Medical Association from 2010 to 2011. He has over 90 peer-reviewed publications including in journals such as Nature Medicine, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Canadian Medical Association Journal. He is married with 4 children. He is an avid cyclist, swimmer, and soccer player….currently ranked 4th in his family in goal scoring, but hoping to improve.
Dr. Jill Konkin is a rural family doctor and the Associate Dean for Community Engagement with the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta. She is both an academic and a clinician, as well as a community leader and a mentor. She has, for most of her career, dedicated herself to improving the quality of family medicine in smaller communities in Alberta and across the country. Prior to joining the University of Alberta she was the Dean of Admissions and Student Affairs of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Prior to her roles in academia she spent 16 years as a family doctor in Jasper, Alberta. She is involved in provincial and federal organizations including the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada and the Admissions of Rural and Remote Students to Medical Schools Task Force and Alberta College of Family Physicians. Follow Jill on Twitter @djillk1
Chief Michael Nolan is the Paramedic Service Chief and Director of Emergency Services for the County of Renfrew. He was previously the Deputy Chief of the Ottawa Paramedic Service and the Director of Emergency Management for the City of Ottawa. Chief Nolan has worked as a Paramedic, Critical Care Flight Paramedic, and Professor. He has previously served as the President of the Paramedic Chiefs of Canada from and the Chairman of KidActive, a not for profit organization in support of healthy childhood development. Since working as a front line clinician, Chief Nolan has worked to align and advance emergency services leadership locally, nationally and internationally through research, government relations, policy development and the creation of regulatory standards in support of evidence based practice for paramedicine and emergency services. Follow Michael on Twitter @ChiefMNolan
Dr. Sachin R. Pendharkar is a respirologist and sleep physician at the Rockyview General Hospital and FoothillsHospital in Calgary, Alberta. He is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary, and a scientist at the Ward of the 21st Century Research and Innovation Centre. He was supported by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and Health Quality Council of Alberta while completing a Master of Science degree in Health Services Research at the University of Calgary. His research focuses on health care operations research, patient flow, and improving health systems efficiency using simulation modelling. Follow Sachin on Twitter @srpendharkar
Dr. Jeremy Petch is the Manager of the Li Ka Shing Centre for Healthcare Analytics Research and Training of St. Michael’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is a core member of the Health Technology Expert Review Panel at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health and he sits on the Board of Directors of the Regent Park Community Health Centre and is the Chair of its Quality Committee. Dr. Petch holds a PhD in Philosophy from York University and a graduate diploma from the Ontario Training Centre in Health Service and Policy Research. His doctoral work focused on the intersection of ethics, law and public policy in the regulation of genetic screening technologies. He was previously a research associate at the Institute for Work and Health. His academic work has appeared in Annals of Epidemiology and the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @JeremyPetch
Maureen Taylor is a physician assistant in infectious diseases at Toronto East General Hospital and an Associate Clinical Professor in the Physician Assistant Studies program at McMaster University in Hamilton. Before her acceptance into the inaugural class of physician assistants at McMaster in 2008, Maureen had a long career as an award-winning broadcast journalist for the CBC and TVOntario, including six years as the National Medical/Health Reporter for CBC News. She was the CBC’s lead reporter on SARS, the withdrawal of Vioxx and the controversy over HRT and mammography screening. She is still a frequent guest on CBC radio and television on medical topics and healthcare issues and enjoys finding ways to blend her two passions: journalism and medicine. Follow Maureen on Twitter @maureentaylor31
Dr. Joshua Tepper is a family physician and the CEO of Health Quality Ontario. He was formerly the Vice President of Education at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and he spent five and a half years as the Assistant Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Health Human Resources Strategy Division. He led the HealthForceOntario health human resources strategy. He was a senior medical officer for Health Canada, an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and a research consultant for the Canadian Institute of Health Information (CIHI). He has a Bachelors degree in Public Policy from Duke University and a Masters of Public Health from Harvard, and completed his executive MBA in June 2011 at the Richard Ivey School of Business. Most important of all he has two gorgeous children Ishai and Adara. Follow Joshua on Twitter @DrJoshuaTepper
Mike Tierney is Vice President of Clinical Programs at The Ottawa Hospital and his portfolio includes Emergency, Critical Care, Medicine and Neurosciences. He has over 30 years experience in healthcare, including past roles as Director of Pharmacy at The Ottawa Hospital and Vice President of the Common Drug Review at the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Career experiences include clinical pharmacy practice in adult critical care, clinical education and research and, the application of an evidence-informed approach to healthcare decision making. Mike is trained as a clinical pharmacist, and obtained a M.Sc. in Pharmacology from the University of Ottawa and completed a hospital pharmacy residency program at the Ottawa General Hospital. Follow Mike on Twitter @MTierneyOttawa
Vanessa Milne is a researcher-writer with Healthy Debate, at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St Michael’s Hospital. She studied journalism at Ryerson University in Toronto, and has spent the past decade working as a health editor at Canada’s top publications, including The Toronto Star and Chatelaine. She has written on health care and other topics for The Globe and Mail, the Star, Reader’s Digest, Toronto Life and Marketing Magazine among others. Follow Vanessa on Twitter @vanessamilne
We gratefully acknowledge the following past writers and editors who have contributed to making Healthy Debate the vibrant hub for health care and policy discussions that it is today: Ann Silversides, Greta Cummings, Gord Winkel, Irfan Dhalla, Karen Born, Karen Palmer, Mary Ferguson-Paré, Robert Allan Bear, Roger Palmer, Terrence Sullivan, Verna Yiu and Wendy Glauser.