Keynote Speakers

Brian Brodie

Brian Brodie is a physician, keynote speaker, board chair, and the principal visionary for the CMA’s bold vision of change. Brian practises family medicine in Chilliwack, B.C., is Chair of the CMA Board of Directors, and serves on the Boards of MD Financial Management and Joule. Brian has shared his vision for the future of the medical profession and a renewed health care system at numerous conferences, and has been invited to present at government-led consultations on the most pressing medical issues of our time. He was recognized by his peers and honoured with the distinction of the Canadian Certified Physician Executives in 2015. This credential demonstrates the skills and leadership accomplishments that are necessary to effect change in today’s multifaceted health care environment. Brian has also sat on the Board of Doctors of BC, serving as their president in 2009-2010. He is a fellow with the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Peter Diamandis

Peter Diamandis is Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE Foundation, a world leader in designing and launching large incentive prizes to drive radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. Best known for the $10-million Ansari X PRIZE for private spaceflight, the foundation is launching prizes in Exploration, Life Sciences, Energy, and Education.

Dr. Diamandis co-authored Abundance: The Future Is Better Than You Think. He has founded and co-founded many leading, entrepreneurial companies, including Zero Gravity Corporation, the Rocket Racing League, and Space Adventures. He also counsels the world’s top enterprises on how to leverage exponential technologies and incentivized innovation to dramatically accelerate their business objectives. Dr. Diamandis has earned his degrees in molecular genetics and aerospace engineering from MIT, as well as his medical degree from Harvard Medical School.

Chris Hadfield

Chris Hadfield is an astronaut and the first Canadian commander of the International Space Station (2013). A heavily decorated astronaut, engineer, and pilot, Colonel Hadfield’s many awards include the Order of Canada, the Meritorious Service Cross, and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal. He was named the Top Test Pilot in both the US Air Force and the US Navy, and was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame. Colonel Hadfield is the author of three internationally bestselling books and is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Waterloo.

Judith John

Judith John brings varied professional and life experiences to her role as patient advocate. Having held senior communications and public affairs positions at the Hospital for Sick Children and Mount Sinai Hospital, her work is now dedicated to improving patients’ experiences as they navigate their way through health care systems. She works with Toronto Western Hospital, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Michael Garron Hospital and the Sinai Health System enhancing partnerships and communications on behalf of patients. A trained patient partner, Judith was part of Ontario’s Phoenix Project on education and patient care and now chairs the province’s Quality Management Partnership Citizen Advisory Committee. She also works with physicians, residents and medical students, is participating in innovation projects with Joule, and regularly contributes to numerous articles, media appearances and speaking engagements both in Canada and the US.


Jennifer Zelmer

As president of Azimuth Health group, Jennifer Zelmer provides advisory services to local, national, and international clients who seek to advance health and health care. She also serves as editor-in-chief of Healthcare Policy, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria, faculty/advisor for the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement, and on a range of health-related advisory committees and boards.

Prior to founding Azimuth Health Group, Jennifer held a series of leadership positions in Canada and abroad, mostly recently as executive vice president at Canada Health Infoway, where she was executive lead for the organization’s national clinical adoption, innovation, consumer health, and communications programs, as well its Ontario investment portfolio. Before joining Infoway, Jennifer served as CEO for the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization and as vice president for the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

Jennifer has earned a PhD and MA in economics from McMaster University and BSc in health information science from the University of Victoria.


Aranka Anema

Aranka Anema is a scientist, entrepreneur and investor with a passion for leveraging technology to achieve planetary food security and health. Aranka has designed and led independent impact audits for major bilateral and multilateral institutions, including the World Health Organization, USAID and the European Commission. She also serves as a scientific advisor to the American Public Health Association, World Bank Group, X-Prize Foundation and United Nations. Aranka guides technology entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies on how to leverage digital epidemiology and informatics methodologies to grow their competitive advantages and ensure social impacts align with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

She holds faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Singularity University Canada. Aranka has won numerous awards and accolades for her contributions to research, including the 2017 United Nations World Food Program Global Impact Challenge for entrepreneurial innovations to eradicate hunger.


Yanick Beaulieu

Yanick Beaulieu is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal, and a practising cardiologist-echocardiographer and critical care physician. He is a member of national and international guideline committees for bedside ultrasound, and has published many articles on the subject. Dr. Beaulieu went into business to develop innovative medical tools that would facilitate teaching and collaboration. In 2005, he founded ICCU Imaging, a company specializing in the creation of multimedia educational material on bedside ultrasound. In 2007, he co-founded Vimedix, a company that designed and patented a high-fidelity ultrasound simulator. In 2012, he founded Innovative Imaging Technologies (IIT) and created Reacts, a digital platform that reinvents how we interact and collaborate remotely. Reacts has been deployed in 28 countries and across various medical disciplines. IIT is currently collaborating with several major hospitals in Quebec, Canada and abroad, as well as innovation and health care focused organizations like Joule, a Canadian Medical Association company.

Cindy Blackstock

Cindy Blackstock is executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada. A member of the Gitksan First Nation, Cindy has 25 years of social work experience in child protection and Indigenous children’s rights.

Her promotion of culturally based and evidence informed solutions has been recognized by the Nobel Women’s Initiative, the Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Frontline Defenders, and many others. 

An author of more than 50 publications and a widely sought-after public speaker, Cindy has collaborated with other Indigenous leaders to assist the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in the development and adoption of a General Comment on the Rights of Indigenous Children.

Chaitanya Dahagam

Chaitanya Dahagam, who leads business development and go-to-market efforts as a business development executive for the IBM Watson Health Ecosystem, helps organizations understand how cognitive computing, machine learning, and augmented intelligence capabilities can build solutions for health-related use cases.

From 2011 to 2015, Dr. Dahagam served as a health IT-focused management consultant with The Advisory Board Company based in Washington, D.C., where he led engagements that included clinical operations and workflows, electronic health record and health IT implementations, as well as healthcare-revenue-cycle solutions for multiple health systems, clinical integration networks, and other healthcare organizations.

Dr. Dahagam has earned a medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, and has completed general surgery training in San Antonio, TX.

Philip Edgcumbe

Philip Edgcumbe, a medical student at the University of British Columbia, is looking to positively impact the health of a billion people by connecting medicine, biomedical research and entrepreneurship. And he is already well on his way to achieving that goal. In 2013, he was the medical expert for a company focusing on early Alzheimer’s detection. In 2016, he co-founded Lume Biotics, a company developing a device to treat infections with phototherapy, and attended Singularity University to apply exponential technologies to medical innovation. He is a 2017 recipient of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Award, which recognizes medical students for community leadership, communication skills, and advancing knowledge and innovation in Canadian health care. Also in 2017, under Philip’s leadership, the Alzheimer’s team received top honours at the annual XPRIZE Visioneers Summit, was listed as the top priority for the 2018 XPRIZE launch, and received $25 million USD in pledged support from Ric and Jean Edelman, founders of Edelman Financial Services.

Read feature story Philip Edgcumbe

Dawnmarie Harriott

Dawnmarie Harriott graduated from Voices from the Street’s leadership program in 2007 and is now the organization’s coordinator. She shares her personal experience of fleeing abuse, and falling into poverty, housing obstacles, mental illness and addiction — among other things — as a way of educating the public on removing stigmas and misconceptions. Her goal is to promote changes to policies that create barriers for service users. Dawnmarie firmly believes that people with lived experience of all forms of marginalization should be included in research and service delivery.

Kendall Ho

Kendall Ho is an emergency medical specialist at the Vancouver General Hospital, and a professor in the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine, where he leads the Digital Emergency Medicine Unit. His areas of research include: sensors and wearables in health care settings, health apps to improve patient care, virtual health to support care access, and raising digital health literacy for health professionals and patients. He is a member of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the BC Ministry of Health’s provincial home health monitoring joint management committee and Patients as Partners provincial working group, the BC Emergency Medicine Network management committee, and the Canada Health Infoway telehomecare forum. Dr. Ho conducts his research in Canada, and internationally in Asia, Europe and Australasia. He is an adjunct professor at the Universities of Hong Kong, Melbourne and Victoria, as well as the vice-president of the International Association for Humanitarian Medicine. He was the recipient of the Canadian Health Informatics Award in clinician leadership, and the eHealth award by the Canada Health Infoway/Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada.

Zayna Khayat

Zayna Khayat is the Future Strategist at Saint Elizabeth, a health and social impact enterprise with a major focus on home care. In 2017, Zayna was on secondment from MaRS Discovery District, an innovation hub in Toronto, Canada to the REshape Health Innovation Centre at Radboud university medical centre in Nijmegan, Netherlands (January to December 2017). At the REshape Center, she was their “Innovation Sherpa in Chief”, working on several key initiatives to strengthen the Dutch health innovation ecosystem. At MaRS, Zayna lead the Health System Innovation platform from 2014 to 2017, helping smooth the path to adoption of health innovation by health and care systems in Canada and around the world. Zayna is adjunct faculty with the Rotman School of Management in the Health Sector Strategy stream. Zayna completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Toronto (2001), followed by a long career in strategy consulting, including as a Principal in the healthcare practice of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Dr. Khayat has been on the Faculty of Singularity University (Exponential Medicine) since 2016.

Read feature story Zayna Khayat

Tara Kiran

Tara Kiran is a family physician and a clinician scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital who takes an equity lens in all her research to understand how reforms impact the most vulnerable in society. Her research evaluating the impact of Ontario’s primary care reforms has received national and international recognition. She has studied the impact of payment incentives on diabetes care and cancer screening. More recently her work has highlighted the patients and physicians left behind from medical home reforms. She now leads a program of quality improvement research including efforts to improve screening cancer screening rates and reduce related disparities. Dr. Kiran is the quality improvement program director and board chair for the St. Michael’s Hospital Academic Family Health Team, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto and an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences. She has held numerous advisory roles with local and provincial governments. She is currently an Embedded Clinician Researcher with Health Quality Ontario where she is collaborating to improve care for patients transitioning from hospital to home.

Sonny Kohli

Sonny Kohli is a practising internist and critical care physician, and a faculty member at both SingularityU Canada and McMaster University. His desire to improve access to care — deepened by his global volunteering — inspired him to co-found Cloud DX, a company utilizing unique sensors and raw data analytics to tackle grand challenges in health care. Cloud DX was recently bestowed with the “Bold Epic Innovator” award in the Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE competition. Sonny is formerly a Canadian Space Agency astronaut candidate, trained flight surgeon and alumnus of the International Space University, where he deployed an experiment on the International Space Station.

Alika Lafontaine

Alika Lafontaine is an award-winning physician, speaker, alignment consultant, and the first Indigenous physician listed by the Medical Post as one of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Doctors. He is a recognized expert on Indigenous health systems and health policy, institutional bias, racism and reflective practice. For three years, he led the Indigenous Health Alliance project whose mission was to establish health transformation within Indigenous health systems, led politically by Indigenous leadership representing more than 150 First Nations across three provinces. Each Indigenous political organization who participated in the Alliance has since established their own health transformation projects using IHA approaches and strategies. Alika is the medical lead for the North Zone Indigenous Health Program (Alberta Health Services) and continues to practice as an Anesthesiologist in Northern Alberta. He is a member of the council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the board of HealthCareCAN, and is immediate past-president of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.

Read feature story Alika Lafontaine

Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie

Kelvin Kenneth Ogilvie is a former president of Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and is retired from the Senate of Canada. An expert in biotechnology, bio-organic chemistry and genetic engineering, he has made significant contributions in the development of synthetic large RNA molecules, an automated process for the manufacture of DNA and is the inventor of the drug Gancilovir. His work has been foundational in the development of new drugs previously beyond the reach of science and in the improvement in the lives of people with weakened immunity. Dr. Ogilvie has served on numerous national and international organizations, including the Atomic Energy Control Board, the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee, the National Advisory Board for Science and Technology and the Canadian eBusiness Initiative. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1991 and was the Manning Principal Award winner in 1992. He was inducted into the Canadian Science & Engineering Hall of Fame in 2011.

Gigi Osler

Gigi Osler is Head of the Section of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at St. Boniface Hospital and assistant professor with the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Manitoba.

A recognized advocate for physician health, Dr. Osler co-chaired the 2015 Canadian Conference on Physician Health and served as Chair of the Physician Health and Wellness Committee for Doctors Manitoba. In 2017, she was awarded the committee’s Health or Safety Promotion award in recognition of her efforts to develop and implement programs to support the health and well-being of doctors.

Dr. Osler volunteers with Canadians Helping Kids in Vietnam, and for several years, has helped train ENT surgeons in Africa.

Dr. Osler is the current president-elect of the CMA and will begin her mandate as president on August 22, 2018. In the lead up to her presidency, Dr. Osler has appeared in front of parliamentary committees and delivered keynote addresses at national and international gatherings.

Kevin Pottie

Kevin Pottie is an associate professor and practising physician at the Departments of Family Medicine and Epidemiology & Community Medicine, and a scientist at the Bruyère Research Institute (University of Ottawa). He has led evidence-based method publications in health equity, deprescribing and multi-stakeholder engagement. He is currently leading the development of both the Canadian evidence-based guidelines for homeless and vulnerably housed persons, and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s migrant health guidelines. In 2016, he won article of the year for his CMAJ guidelines: Caring for a Syrian Refugee Family. He has published more than 110 peer review papers and chapters, including as an editor on the Canadian Paediatric Society’s online resource: Caring for Kids New to Canada. He has worked in the field with Doctors Without Borders and the World Health Organization in the Republic of Georgia, Bolivia, Panama, Lebanon, Benin, and the Republic of the Congo.

Peter W. Vaughan

Peter W. Vaughan was the deputy minister of health and wellness in Nova Scotia when he consolidated nine health authorities, redesigned and modernized the health ministry, and introduced the first province-wide digital personal health record in Canada. And he did this while containing health care spending to near zero growth. A results-driven social entrepreneur, Vaughan advocates digital innovation to improve access to health services. He has been a CEO and medical director of a regional health authority, CEO of the Canadian Medical Association, president of WebMD Canada and a flight surgeon. His international medical experience spans jurisdictions in Canada, the United States, Central America and Europe, and he served as the Colonel Commandant of the Royal Canadian Medical Services during the war in Afghanistan (2001-2010). He is currently Board Chair at Canada Health Infoway.