Population Health Innovations: Key People

Speaker Biographies

Roxanna Benoit 
Deputy Chief, Policy Coordination Office, Executive Council, Government of Alberta

Roxanna Benoit is the Deputy Chief of Policy Coordination with the Government of Alberta's Executive Council. Roxanna works closely with Ministries and the Premier's Office to provide coordinated policy and planning advice and analysis. Roxanna served previously as the Managing Director of the Public Affairs Bureau, overseeing the development and implementation of the Government of Alberta's communications initiatives.

Ms. Benoit has a diverse background in law, government and public policy. Prior to serving with the Alberta Public Service she was Strategic Policy Advisor with Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP in Ottawa.

Ms. Benoit is a member of the Law Society of Alberta.

Nadine J Burke, MD MPH FAAP AE-C
Medical Director, Bayview Child Health Center, California Pacific Medical Center

Nadine J Burke is the founding physician and Medical Director of the Bayview Child Health Center, a community-based satellite clinic of California Pacific Medical Center. Dr. Burke oversees the operations of the clinic and provides care to children and youth living in the Bayview Hunters Point Community of San Francisco.

Dr. Burke's areas of interest are in health disparities, child trauma, asthma and nutrition. Particularly, her focus is to serve communities where issues of poverty and race present challenges to conventional healthcare and education. Her vision is to improve health outcomes through innovative approaches that integrate medical, social, and mental health services.

Dr. Burke received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Medicine. Dr. Burke also holds a Masters of Public Health degree from Harvard School of Public Health. She completed her internship and residency in Pediatrics at the Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. Dr. Burke is board certified in Pediatrics. She has done work in critical care, and has done research on issues related to health and the community. Dr. Burke is a Certified Asthma Educator and a member of the Board of Directors of the Asthma Resource Center of San Francisco. She was appointed to the Citizen's Committe for Community Development by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2005, and served as Vice Chair from 2007-2009. She was recently featured in the film Nourish, along with prominent food activists Michael Pollan and Alice Waters, discussing the importance of food and community.

Nancy Edwards, RN PhD
Professor, School of Nursing, Departments of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa; Principal Scientist, Insitute of Population Health; Senior Scientist, Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute ; Academic Consultant, City of Ottawa (Public Health Services)

Nancy Edwards is a Full Professor in the School of Nursing, with a cross-appointment to the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa; Principal Scientist, Institute of Population Health; Senior Scientist, Élisabeth Bruyère Research Institute; and Academic Consultant, City of Ottawa (Public Health Services). Dr. Edwards obtained her undergraduate nursing degree from the University of Windsor and completed graduate studies in epidemiology at McMaster University and McGill University. Currently, Nancy is the holder of a CHSRF/CIHR Chair Award in Nursing (2000-2012). The focus of her award is "Multiple Interventions in Community Health Nursing Care". Nancy's clinical and research interests are in the fields of public and population health. She has conducted health services, policy and clinical research both nationally and internationally and was the inaugural Director of the Population Health PhD program at the University of Ottawa. She has contributed to over 144 peer-reviewed and 124 technical publications and presented over 350 conference papers. Through her research in the fields of falls prevention, maternal and child health care, tobacco control and HIV and AIDS, she has informed the design and evaluation of complex multi-level and multi-strategy community health programs. Her work in global health has spanned four continents where she has led both development-oriented and research-focused projects.

Dr. Edwards is the recipient of numerous honours. In 1997, she received the Tianjin Hai He award from Tianjin Municipal Government, China, for outstanding contributions by a foreign professor. She was awarded an honorary lifetime membership by the Canadian Public Health Association in 2000 and an honorary lifetime membership from the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario in 2008, and received the Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing national research award in 2004. In honour of her contributions to "long-term changes in policy and practice" the Mayor, City of Ottawa proclaimed "Nancy Edwards" Day in 2006. In 2007 she received the University of Ottawa Research Excellence Award; a YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Award (Science, Research and Technology category), an Honorary Doctor of Letters from Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C, and became a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2008, she received a Centennial award from the Canadian Nurses Association and was named a distinguished professor of the University of Ottawa.

Lynne Friedli, PhD
Mental Health Promotion Specialist

Lynne Friedli works across Europe to support the development of public mental health, as well as delivering training and policy advice within the UK.

She wrote Making it Possible: Improving Mental Health and Well-being in England on behalf of the National Institute for Mental Health in England and contributed to the Bamford Review of mental health promotion in Northern Ireland and the UK Government's Foresight programme Mental Capital and Wellbeing. Other projects include a Scotland wide training programme on evaluating mental health promotion and a review of ‘positive steps' for mental health for NHS Health Scotland. She is a member of the Advisory Group for Scotland's national programme on developing mental health indicators for children.

Dr. Friedli's report for WHO Europe on Mental health, resilience and inequality was published last year, as well as a new economic analysis of the case for mental health improvement (with Michael Parsonage) for the Welsh Assembly Government.

Her second WHO report, applying Amartya Sen's capability approach to mental health promotion practice, is due out in October 2011.

Lois Hawkins
Deputy Minister, Culture and Community Spirit, Government of Alberta

Lois Hawkins was appointed as the Deputy Minister of Alberta Culture and Community Spirit on March 13, 2008.

The ministry develops, promotes and preserves Alberta's culture, natural heritage and historical resources in support of vibrant, active and inclusive communities. Its diverse range of programs supports a high quality of life for Albertans. Quality of life is promoted through Alberta's cultural policy - The Spirit of Alberta and programs that provide financial support for community enhancement and that support the non-profit/voluntary sector, arts, film and heritage. Albertans also benefit from human rights legislation that promotes fairness and full participation in the social, economic and cultural life of the province. These programs are delivered with the assistance of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, Alberta Human Rights Commission, and Government House Foundation.

Keray Henke, MPA
Deputy Minister, Education, Government of Alberta

Keray Henke was born and raised in Central Alberta. He completed his Bachelor's Degree in Commerce at the University of Alberta in 1974 and started work with the federal government.

He joined the Provincial civil service in January 1980 as a policy analyst with Alberta Treasury (now the Ministry of Finance). He also commenced work on his Certified Management Accountant course work, receiving his designation in 1984.

Mr. Henke transferred to Executive Council as Director of Finance & Administration in 1991, serving briefly under Premier Don Getty. He continued in that position under Premier Ralph Klein for a number of years. He completed his course work for his Masters Degree in Public Administration, at the University of Alberta graduating in 1994.

In 1999, Mr. Henke joined the new Ministry of Children's Services, his first experience in a social delivery department, as Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for finance, human resources, information technology, legal services, administrative support, business and strategic planning.

In February 2005, Mr. Henke was appointed Deputy Minister of Alberta Education.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for Careers: The Next Generation, and for the United Way of the Alberta Capital Region, and Head of the Canadian Delegation to the Education Policy Committee (EPC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Mr. Henke was elected Chair of the Education Policy Committee of the OECD, effective January 1, 2009.

The work of Education Policy Committee reflects and complements the priorities of the OECD as a whole, in providing employment opportunities for all, improving human capital and social cohesion. It contributes to fulfilling the Directorate for Education's mission of assisting OECD member countries and non-members to achieve high quality lifelong learning for all, which contributes to personal development, sustainable economic growth and social cohesion. The OECD is headquartered in Paris, France.

Philip Jacobs, PhD
Professor, Health Economics, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta; Research Economist, Insitute of Health Economics

Philip Jacobs is a professor of health economics in the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta and a research economist at the Institute of Health Economics. He is an associate of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy and CIRRIS in Quebec City. His areas of expertise are health care finance, health care costing, and economic evaluation. He has served on the scientific review committee for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health and has consulted on financing issues for the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario and the Public Health Agency of Canada. His current areas of research are in the economics of vaccines, public health spending, and the effects of illness and care-giving on work loss. He is the co-author of the textbook, The economics of health and medical care, which has been widely used in the United States.

Dr. Jacobs developed the In Your Pocket series of health economic statistics for the Institute of Health Economics, and there are currently versions of mental health economics, health economics, and world health statistics. With Professor Carolyn Dewa, he developed a series of mental health economics publications, including How much should we spend on mental health? , The cost of mental health and substance abuse services in Canada, and the Mental health economics in your pocket booklet. He is director for the public health spending project, which is connected to the Alberta Health Services' 2030 project, and with Egon Jonsson, Arto Ohinmaa, and Jessica Moffatt is developing a book on public health spending, Everybody's business, Dr. Jacobs received his PhD in economics from the University of York, and is a Certified Management Accountant.

Patricia J. Martens, BSc Cert.Ed. MSc IBCLC PhD
Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba; Director, Manitoba Centre for Health Policy

Patricia Martens is a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, and the Director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, an internationally-acclaimed research centre for population health, through the use of population-based health and social services administrative databases. She received the prestigious 2005 CIHR KT Award for Regional Impact for her work with Manitoba's Regional Health Authorities and the Department of Health (in a research collaboration called The Need To Know Team). Her research interests include studies on health status, inequities, and healthcare use patterns of rural and northern residents, child health, and the health of Aboriginal people. She holds a CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair (2008-2013), and received the 2010 YM/YWCA Woman of Distinction for Health & Wellness.

Dr. Martens has spoken at over 300 national and international conferences, and published over 200 articles.

Riel Miller 
Futurist, XperidoX Futures Consulting

Riel Miller is a global specialist in designing and implementing strategic foresight projects. For three decades his work has concentrated on how to assess and direct the potential for socio-economic transformation in the private and public sectors. His clients range from Cisco Systems and Promethean to the Governments of Finland, Canada, Korea, Singapore, France, the European Commission, etc. Mr. Miller is widely published on topics ranging from the future of the financial sector and the internet to the future of schooling and social equity. He teaches around the world and is currently a faculty member of the Masters in Public Affairs, Institut de Sciences Politique (Sciences-Po), Paris, France. Riel is also currently a board member of the Association of Professional Futurists; a Fellow of the World Futures Studies Federation; a member of the board of Strax, The Research Unit for Strategic Intelligence and Exploration of the Future, Helsinki University of Technology; Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, UK; a member of the American Economics Association; and the European Economics Association.

Marcia Nelson, MA
Deputy Minister, Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of Alberta

Marcia Nelson began her career in public services working for the Ontario government for 14 years in a variety of policy, planning, and research positions in several ministries. Her last position was Director of Corporate Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Ministry of Community and Social Services.

In 2002, Ms. Nelson joined the Alberta public service as Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategic Services for Alberta Human Resources and Employment. Prior to her current assignment, she served as head of the Policy Coordination Office of Executive Council, where she was responsible for coordinating the Government of Alberta's annual strategic planning process, promoting cross-ministry collaboration, and advising on policy initiatives as they moved through the decision-making process.

Ms. Nelson's career accomplishments include:

  • Establishing Alberta's Policy Coordination Office and leading the Government of Alberta's Policy Capacity    initiative;
  • Developing Alberta's first Immigration Policy; and
  • Negotiating Ontario's Early Childhood Development FPT agreements.

In March 2008, Marcia Nelson was appointed Deputy Minister of Alberta Housing and Urban Affairs. As Deputy Minister, she is responsible for leading the development of 11,000 affordable housing units by 2012, the implementation of Alberta's 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness, and ensuring public land is made available for affordable housing purposes. Ms. Nelson is currently Vice Chair of the Institute for Public Administration of Canada, Edmonton Regional Group. She is also an Advisory Committee Member for Athabasca University's Bachelor of Professional Arts in Governance Law & Management program. Her past volunteer commitments include several executive positions for non-profit social service organizations.

Ms. Nelson has a Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration and a BA in Canadian Studies and Sociology both from McMaster University.

Cordell Neudorf, MD FRCPC
Chief Medical Health Officer, Saskatoon Health Region

Cordell Neudorf is the Chief Medical Health Officer for the Saskatoon Health Region. He received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master's of Health Science degree in Community Health and Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with Certification in the specialty of Community Medicine. He is the Chair of the Canadian Population Health Initiative Council, past Chair of the Canadian Public Health Association and past president of the National Specialty Society for Community Medicine.

Dr. Neudorf is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine.

His research interests include Health Inequalities, health status indicators and surveys, Health status monitoring and reporting, and integrating Population Health data and Geographic Information Systems into public health and health planning.

Tom Noseworthy, CM MD MSc MPH FRCPC
Professor, Health Policy and Management, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary; Director, Centre for Health and Policy Studies, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary

Tom W. Noseworthy is a Professor of Health Policy and Management in the Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary.

Dr. Noseworthy is the former Vice President, Medical Services, and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospitals, and Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta. He holds a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Public Health - Health Policy and Management from Harvard University.

Dr. Noseworthy is a physician with specialty certification in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the American Colleges of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians, and American College of Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Noseworthy has been a member of the National Statistics Council since 1999. He served as a member of the Prime Minister's National Forum on Health from 1994-1997, and chaired the Steering Committee; co-chaired the Advisory Council on Health Infostructure (Federal Health Minister) from 1997-1999; chaired the Senior Reference Committee for Alberta Wellnet from 1997-2002; and, was Chair of the Western Canada Waiting List Project from 1999-2006, and now chairs the research collaboration known as the Western Canada Waiting List Investigators. He was a founding Director of Canadian Doctors for Medicare in 2007.

Tom Noseworthy's research has been published in over 90 papers and book chapters and focuses on health care access and improving quality management of waiting times for scheduled services.

In 2005, Dr. Noseworthy was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal by the Province of Alberta for contributions to health care and policy and was named as one of Alberta's top 100 Physicians of the Century by the Alberta Medical Association and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. In 2007, Dr. Noseworthy was named by the Governor General as a Member of the Order of Canada for contributions to health policy and Medicare.

Gerry Predy, MD
Senior Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health Services

Gerry Predy received his MD from the University of Alberta in 1976 and holds a Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons with a specialty in Community Medicine. He has over 30 years' experience in Family Medicine and Public Health in both rural and urban settings. In September, 1996 he was appointed Medical Officer of Health for the Capital Health Region in Alberta, and later the Vice-President of Public Health.

Currently Dr. Predy is the Senior Medical Officer of Health and Senior Medical Director with Alberta Health Services. His responsibilities include managing health protection programs and monitoring and reporting on the health status of the population. He is the Doctor for the population.

Kim Raine, PhD MA RD BSc
Professor, Centre for Health Promotion Studies, School of Public Health, University of Alberta

Kim Raine's research program, Promoting Optimal Weights through Ecological Research (POWER) explores the social and environmental determinants of the emerging obesity epidemic. Her team's research explores the ways in which social conditions and people's behaviours (particularly food and eating behaviours) interact to transmit obesity and chronic diseases through social means.

Although her expertise is primarily in qualitative methods, such as ethnography, she collaborates with colleagues who bring diverse quantitative methods to the team, so that they are able to explore how social factors such as policies, commercialization of food, and the built environment of communities where people live may invisibly structure people's choices.

With knowledge of how social forces may be shaping the health of people and communities, her current research priorities are on intervening on the social conditions contributing to obesity and chronic diseases. Dr. Raine's contribution to intervention development and evaluation includes conducting large-scale, community-based and population policy-level health promotion initiatives to address chronic disease prevention.

Dr. Raine's philosophy has always been to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and this can best be accomplished if stakeholders are made aware of the relationships demonstrated through research initiatives and stimulated to act on them. Therefore, a priority of all of her research endeavors is an integration of practitioners and policy decision-makers into the research/ intervention team to facilitate rapid action.

Jay Ramotar 
Deputy Minister, Health and Wellness, Government of Alberta

Premier Ed Stelmach appointed Jay Ramotar as Deputy Minister of Alberta Health and Wellness on January 15, 2010. Before coming to this portfolio, he served as Deputy Minister in the key ministries of Treasury Board, Transportation, and Infrastructure.

Mr. Ramotar has been a proud member of Alberta's public service for over 30 years. Since joining the government in 1976, his practical leadership style and strategic long-term approach to planning and project management has gained the attention of senior executives. From his beginnings as a Bridge Planning Engineer, his "roll up the sleeves" style and innovative thinking has landed him the most complex and challenging projects.

A highlight of Mr. Ramotar's career includes assembling a team of professionals to develop Alberta's first successful public-private partnership construction project - the Anthony Henday Drive South East Leg Ring Road in Edmonton. This was one of many accomplishments that helped earn him an honorary life-time membership to the Transportation Association of Canada in 2009 - in recognition of his positive and measurable improvements to the transportation industry in Canada.

In a challenging economic climate that required tough fiscal decisions, he led a team at Alberta Treasury Board that introduced several re-engineering initiatives across government. He also helped produce a fiscal plan that would help put the Alberta government ‘back in the black' in three years and help ensure Alberta has the strongest financial position of all provinces coming out of the recession.

Mr. Ramotar's interest in building bridges goes beyond the usual bricks and mortar. He believes everyone can be a leader regardless of their title. Jay is also a strong supporter in strengthening ties within government and with external stakeholders to achieve shared goals. He is the chair and member of a number of key councils and steering committees, including the Committee for Academic Medicine, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Deputy Ministers' Committee of Capital Planning, and the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships.

As the most senior executive in the department of Health and Wellness, Mr. Ramotar looks forward to working with the Health and Wellness team to achieve Premier Stelmach's vision of having the best performing public health care system in Canada.

A native of Guyana, South America, Jay earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1975 and a Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering in 1976, both from the University of Alberta. He is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA).

Annette Trimbee, PhD
Deputy Minister, Advanced Education and Technology, Government of Alberta

On March 13, 2008, Annette Trimbee was named Deputy Minister of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. As Deputy Minister, Ms. Trimbee guides the department's strategic leadership in the development of a knowledge-based economy in Alberta through a dynamic and integrated advanced learning and innovation system.

Prior to her current assignment, she was the Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Directions Division, of Alberta Health and Wellness for 5 years and was in a variety of leadership roles at Alberta Environment for 10 years.

Ms. Trimbee's career accomplishments include significant roles in:

  • the re-alignment of Alberta's provincial funded research and innovation system into Alberta Innovates;
  • implementation of the Bringing Technology to Market Action Plan;
  • aligning post-secondary system capacity through Campus Alberta;
  • developing Alberta's Health Policy Framework;
  • developing reform strategies for pharmacy, primary care, access and continuing care; and
  • building Alberta's integrated resource management framework and water policy legislation.

Ms. Trimbee has a PhD in Ecology from McMaster University, a MSc. in Botany from the University of Manitoba and a BSc. in Biology from the University of Winnipeg.

Lennert Veerman, MD PhD
Senior Research Fellow, Centre for Burden of Disease and Cost-Effectiveness, School of Public Health, University of Queensland

Lennert Veerman is a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Burden of Disease and Cost-Effectiveness in the School of Population Health, the University of Queensland. A Dutch public health physician by training, he specialises in the mathematical modelling of the effects of preventive interventions in a broad range of subject areas. Dr. Veerman has published over 20 peer-reviewed papers, a few book chapters and two books, and is an Associate Editor of the journal BMC Public Health.


Bill Werry, MSc
Deputy Minister, Tourism, Parks and Recreation, Government of Alberta

Under Bill Werry's leadership, Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation seeks to create the conditions for a vibrant and successful tourism industry across the province; to manage and protect the province's natural areas for the enjoyment of generations to come and to promote active, healthy lifestyles through participation in sport and recreation

During his time as Deputy Minister, the Ministry has developed an Active Alberta policy intending to counteract the national trend towards inactive, sedentary lifestyles. Mr. Werry has overseen the establishment of Travel Alberta as a Crown corporation and the creation of a world-class online campsite reservation system for provincial parks.

In his current role, he serves as a member of the Travel Alberta Board of Directors andthe Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks and Wildlife Foundation and is directly involved in the province's Land-use Framework process.

Over his thirty year career in the public and not-for-profit sectors in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Bill has worked in executive roles with parks, recreation, sport, culture, aboriginal relations and human services. He has lectured at the University of Regina, and has been a frequent presenter at national, regional and provincial conferences.

Mr. Werry has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Alberta and a Master of Science degree from the University of Regina.