IHE Innovation Forum XIV - Strengthening Mental Health Services

Strengthening Mental Health Services: Key People

Speaker Biographies

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Stan Kutcher, ONS, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS
Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health and Director World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Mental Health Policy and Training, Dalhousie University and IWK Health Centre

Dr. Kutcher is an internationally-renowned expert in adolescent mental health and an international leader in mental health research, advocacy, training, policy and services innovation working at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University.

Dr. Kutcher first stepped into the role of Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health in the fall of 2006. Prior to accepting the chair, Dr. Kutcher was Dalhousie’s Medical School’s first Associate Dean of International Medical Development and Research. He first joined Dalhousie in the 1990s as professor and Department Head of Psychiatry.

Authoring more than 300 scientific papers and numerous medical textbooks, Dr. Kutcher continues to break new ground in the vital area of mental health. He has received numerous awards and honors locally, nationally and internationally for his work, including the Order of Nova Scotia, Excellence in Education Award (CACAP), Best Doctor in Canada Award, Doctors Nova Scotia Health Promotion Award, Dr. John Savage Memorial Award for outstanding humanitarian contributions to global health, Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacolgy Gold Medal, Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Psychiatric Research Foundation and the Ruedy Award for Innovation in Medical Association from the Association of Faculties of Medicine Canada. A distinguished fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, Dr. Kutcher has been honoured by the Canadian Psychiatric Association with the JM Cleghorn Award for his contribution to mental health research and the Paul Patterson Award for his innovations in psychiatric education.

Internationally, Dr. Kutcher has been involved in mental health work in over 20 countries. One of his recent projects was leading the development of a national child and youth mental health framework for Canada: Evergreen. Dr. Kutcher’s current focus is on knowledge translation pertaining to improving mental health literacy, mental health care in schools and primary care, and the development, application and evaluation of an electronic personal health record that focuses on youth mental health engagement and self-care. He continues his innovative youth mental health development and research across Canada, and globally in China, South America, Latin America and Africa.

The Sun Life Financial Chair in Adolescent Mental Health was established in 2001 and made possible by a $1 million contribution from Sun Life Financial, combined with contributions from a broad group of corporate, foundation, friends and family donors. It is funded in part through the Kathryn Allen Weldon Endowment Fund, entrusted to the DMRF, where $520,000 has been earmarked for this crucial research position.

Ms. Molly Burke
Motivational Speaker and Mental Health Advocate

At just four-years-old, Molly Burke’s world became a little bit darker: she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare retinal disease causing loss of vision. Despite this, and the ensuing obstacles and hardships she faced, it wasn’t long before she began bringing light into the lives of others. Molly began public speaking at the age of five as an ambassador for The Foundation Fighting Blindness Canada. Since then, she has inspired thousands with her story.

Over the years, as Molly’s vision deteriorated, her confidence and optimism only strengthened; but not without struggle or adversity. As a student she was tormented by bullies, and suffered from depression and anxiety. It wasn’t until she found the strength to face her challenges, and the courage to reach out to others, that she came to see the light and find hope.

As a motivational speaker, Molly has travelled the world sharing her story with youth, families and corporate organizations. She has spoken on We Day stages across North America and UK in front of audiences as large as 20,000. Molly has shared the stage with some of entertainment’s biggest names; Demi Lovato, Macklemore, Martin Sheen and Magic Johnson, to name a few. She has worked with activists like Martin Luther King III, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Malala Yousafzai and the Kielburger brothers.

In 2009, Molly was awarded the Oakville YMCA Peace Award for outstanding contributions towards developing understanding in the community. She ran with the Paralympic torch for the winter games and won the title of Miss Teen Canada International 2010. Molly was also a correspondent on the Orange Carpet for the 2013 TeenNick Halo Awards in Los Angeles.

Molly enjoys downhill skiing, horseback riding, crafting lyrics, and practicing yoga. She is certified in Reiki and is a passionate Guide Dog user and advocate.

Molly openly shares her experiences of overcoming adversity and embracing diversity, connecting with her audiences at a very personal, relatable level. She believes that we all have the strength within us to survive any challenge, and learn how to thrive from those struggles. Molly encourages others to let go of the past and look to the future with bright eyes and a positive outlook. Her goal is to educate, motivate and inspire others to find peace, happiness and achieve their goals, even in the darkest days.


Ms. Robyn Blackadar
President and CEO, The Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research

Ms. Robyn Blackadar has over 20 years of experience in Alberta’s social and health system focusing on policy development and analysis, quality improvement, knowledge mobilization, and data system innovation.

Appointed in September 2012 as President and CEO, Ms. Blackadar is responsible for strategic and operational leadership of the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research (The Centre). She oversees The Centre’s generation and mobilization of evidence for child and family well-being through a collaborative cross-sector approach between government, academia, and the community. Ms. Blackadar leads the team responsible for the analysis of linked administrative data from all child and youth serving ministries through the Child and Youth Data Laboratory.

She provides strategic advisory support to provincial initiatives such as the Early Childhood Development Research and Innovation Strategy, Alberta Mentoring Partnership, Building an Inclusive Education System, Addictions and Mental Health Strategy and the Maternal Newborn Youth and Child Strategic Clinical Network. Ms. Blackadar holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Calgary, an MBA from the University of Alberta, and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta.

Dr. Roger Bland
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychiatry, University of Alberta

Dr. Bland is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta and was Chair from 1990 to 2000.

He completed medical training at Liverpool University in England followed by internships and then five years in general practice in England and in northern Manitoba before joining the psychiatry residency program at the University of Alberta.

His research interests have included psychiatric epidemiology, the long-term outcome of mental disorders, familial distribution of disorders, suicidal behaviors and primary care mental health.

He has held a number of administrative positions in mental health with the Government of Alberta, including Assistant Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Medical Director with the Alberta Mental Health Board.

Clinically he has worked in rehabilitation psychiatry, general hospital psychiatry, community clinics, primary care psychiatry, crisis services and diversion programs.

He has received a number of awards including: the Michael Smith Award from the Schizophrenia Society of Canada; the Alberta Medical Association Medal for Distinguished Service, the Canadian Academy of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Canadian Psychiatric Associations’ Alex Leighton Award in Epidemiology; and the Research Award of the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention. In 2012 he was appointed a member of the Order of Canada.

Dr. John Chmelicek
President, Alberta College of Family Physicians

Dr. John Chmelicek has been a family doctor for almost three decades. He has spent his career working in rural family medicine. He has a strong passion for wilderness medicine, global health, and teaching.

He currently is the Family Medicine Residency Program director at the University of Alberta, department of Family Medicine. He is a versatile educator, engaged at all levels of medical education from bedside student teacher to Board examinations, from urban centre practice to remote areas of the world.

Dr. Chmelicek especially loves to combine two of his greatest passions—primary care and travel—through his trips to Nepal. For many years he has traveled to Nepal to help set up rural primary health clinics and establish primary care health protocols.

Dr. Gary Hnatko
Medical Director, Child, Adolescent and Family Mental Health (CASA)

Dr. Hnatko obtained his medical degree and psychiatric training at the University of Alberta. He completed a fellowship in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, Hospital for Sick Children in 1986. He was the Program Director for General Psychiatry for 10 years following which he served as both the Division Head and Program Director for Child Psychiatry at the University of Alberta. He was promoted to Full Professor in 2005.

Clinically, Dr. Hnatko has consulted at Child and Adolescent Services for nearly 25 years and was the Co-CEO from 1993-1994. He currently is the Medical Director of CASA. He has provided consulting child psychiatric services to mental health clinics in Sherwood Park, Vegreville and Camrose, and for 17 years travelled monthly to the Yellowknife. He also consulted to the Learning and Development clinics in Edmonton. In addition to outpatient work, he has had worked on the inpatient/residential units at the University Hospital, Glenrose and Columbia House.

Dr Hnatko has contributed to numerous local, provincial and national planning and advisory committees including Past Chair of the Specialty Committee in Psychiatry for the Royal College and member of the Committee on Specialties. He currently is a member of the Specialty Committee for Child Psychiatry. He was founding President of the AMA Section of Child Psychiatry and Past President of the Alberta Psychiatric Association.

Amongst other awards he was recently awarded the title of Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Psychiatric Association for his contributions to education redesign in Canada which led to formal recognition by the Royal College of Child Psychiatry as a distinct subspecialty in Canada. He was co-editor of a book on Psychiatric Education. In September he was awarded the Lieutenant Governors True Compassion Award for Mental Health.

Dr. Alain Lesage
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Montreal

Currently Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Montreal, since 1987 Dr. Alain Lesage is a clinician at the Montreal University Mental Health Institute (IUSMM, formerly Louis-H. Lafontaine Hospital) and researcher at its Research Centre (formerly Fernand-Seguin Research Center). Since 2009 he is associate director of the Quebec Network on Suicide funded by the Quebec health and social Research Funds. Graduated in medicine from the University of Sherbrooke (Quebec), he completed his training as a psychiatrist in the hospital system affiliated with the University of Montreal. He completed his research training with a postdoctoral three years at the Institute of Psychiatry and Maudsley Hospital, London (Great Britain) and a year in Verona (Italy) at the Istituto di Psichiatria. He has been a visiting scholar in 1994-1995, at the Health Systems Research Unit, Clarke Institute of Toronto; National Health Research Scholar of Quebec 1999-2004; and invited scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health from 2003 to 2005. Through evaluative and epidemiological research, he studies the needs for care and services for people with severe mental disorders. In this context, he founded in 1997 at L-H Lafontaine, a module to evaluate the development of psychiatric services, which became in autumn 2011, the mental health technologies and interventions evaluation unit of the IUSMM.

Former associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, Dr. Lesage was editor-in-chief of the journal Santé Mentale au Québec, and is past president of the Canadian Academy of Psychiatric Epidemiology (CAPE), and past vice-president of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). He kept with CIHR a mandate to promote the research agenda on mental health in the workplace. He received in November 2007 the Alex Leighton Award from CAPE and the Canadian Psychiatric Association. In fall 2008, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health awarded him the title of 2008 Canadian champion for research. He continues to train the next generation of researchers in mental health and addiction services and public health with colleagues in Quebec, Canada, Italy and Great Britain. In 2013, he has been nominated associate member of the executive of the European Network of Mental Health Services Research (ENMESH). He is an invited scholar at the Institute of Health Economics (Edmonton, Alberta) for the duration of September 2015 to July 2016.

Dr. Heather Raymond
Managing Director, Inclusive Learning, Diversity, and Comprehensive School Health Edmonton Public Schools

Dr. Heather Raymond completed her Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Alberta in 2002. Her topic was inclusive education and the narrative of parents when they seek inclusion for their children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Raymond has presented papers, workshops and taught university courses on the topic of inclusive education in Canada, the U.S.A., Mexico, U.K. and Australia. In addition to the completion of her PhD she holds a Bachelor of Education, Diploma of the Faculty of Education and a Master of Education from the University of Alberta.

Dr. Raymond has been a public school educator for 34 years with Edmonton Public Schools (EPS). Her 34 year teaching career began in the field of special education and has included teaching in many diverse settings which include teaching special education grades 1 to 9, kindergarten, grades 1 to 3, and junior high. She worked for 10 years in the inner city, first as assistant principal at McCauley Elementary Junior High School and then as the principal of Norwood School which was a part of the City Centre Education Project. The City Centre Education Project was a groundbreaking collaboration, launched in 2001, of seven inner city schools that have come together to create a positive learning environment. As school administrators we collectively pooled and manage our resources to offer enriched programming opportunities and improve student learning, making tough decisions about how to use scarce resources. The collaborative included working with nonprofit social service groups to target supports to families and children to help them get the most of out their education.

Upon leaving Norwood School Dr. Raymond has worked as a senior manager in EPS central office for the past 9 years and is presently the Managing Director for Inclusive Learning, Diversity, and Comprehensive School Health over seeing a team of consultants supporting students from kindergarten to grade 12. Part of her work the past two year has been supporting the transition from School Health Initiative Partnership, Complex Youth and Children Needs and Edmonton Regional Education Consulting Services into the new delivery service called Regional Collaborative Service Delivery. Her work related to the conceptualizing of the Edmonton RCSD has been actualizing Alberta Education’s approach to collaborative practices.

Dr. Raymond is an active passionate volunteer. Her present volunteering is with the University of Alberta Alumni Association. Past volunteer activities have included being a Board member of Centre for Family Literacy, Secretary for Avenue of Nations Rotary Club, an In-School Mentor, President of the University of Alberta Phi Delta Kappa Chapter, Board Development Instructor for Alberta Community Development and Cabinet Member for United Way. In addition to this she volunteered in the Community Living Movement, advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, for over 16 years. She has worked at the local, provincial and national level. She was the Chairperson for the Canadian Association for Community Living's Education Task Force for 3 years. Dr. Raymond was the volunteer advisor for the Edmonton People's First Association and was a Director-at-Large with the Gateway Association for Community Living (GACL) for 6 years. Her most valued volunteer initiative was the establishment of a youth group through GACL. The purpose of the group was to bring youth with and without disabilities together to develop a values-based, understanding that all citizens are valued and contributing community members.

Her work throughout her volunteer and work career reflects her desire to create communities that meet the needs of all children ensuring they have the resources to grow up to be healthy contributing citizens.

Dr. Kathryn Todd
Vice President, Research, Innovation & Analytics, Alberta Health Services

Dr. Todd has responsibility for overseeing research priorities, planning, innovation and analytics for Alberta Health Services (AHS).

Dr. Todd obtained her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences (Neurochemistry) from the University of Alberta in 1994 after receiving her MSc (Psychology) and BSc (Rehabilitation Medicine) degrees. She went on to complete two Postdoctoral Fellowships, one with the Government of France in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Nantes Hospital in Nantes, France, and the other a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Neuroscience Research Unit, in Montréal.

Prior to joining AHS, Dr. Todd held a variety of administrative capacities at the University of Alberta, including Interim Chair of Psychiatry, Director of the MD/PhD program, Associate Chair, Research, Department of Psychiatry, and Director for the Centre for Neuroscience. She is currently a full Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, an Adjunct Professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, and continues to operate her laboratory at the University of Alberta investigating the central nervous system response to disease and injury.

Dr. Todd has held numerous awards from provincial and national funding organizations, including the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and also sits on numerous team grants, including Alberta Innovates Health Solutions and Canada Foundation for Innovation. She currently sits on a number of oversight, advisory and Board of Directors for community, university, provincial and national organizations.

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, OC, AOE, MD, PhD, FRCP, FRSC
Chair, Institute of Health Economics
Professor and CIHR/GSK Chair in Virology, University of Alberta

The former Dean of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, Dr. Tyrrell is the Board Chair of the Institute of Health Economics. He is the CIHR/GlaxoSmithKline Chair in Virology at the University of Alberta. He is also Chair of the Gairdner Foundation and a member of the Research Council of the Canadian Institute of Academic Research. Dr. Tyrrell is a member of the Alberta Order of Excellence, an Officer of the Order of Canada, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He received the F.N.G. Starr Award from the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) in 2004, and the Principal Award of the Manning Foundation in 2005 for his work on the development of oral antivirals for the treatment of HBV. He was inducted into the CMA Hall of Fame in 2011.