On February 29, 2016 the British Columbia Academic Health Science Network Society (BC AHSN) was established as an independent, provincial society. BC AHSN is also responsible for governance and oversight for the BC SUPPORT Unit, in accordance with the Unit’s business plan.
When BC AHSN was first established, a five-person interim board was formed to oversee start-up activities for the BC SUPPORT Unit and to make recommendations for a permanent structure for BC AHSN. In September 2016, a permanent board structure was submitted to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as required for the BC SUPPORT Unit.
Dr. Charles Jago, Chair
Charles Jago completed his doctoral studies at Cambridge University and has held academic appointments in three Canadian universities over forty years. As a university administrator, he was Principal of Huron University College at Western University from 1987-95 and President of the University of Northern BC from 1995-2006 and 2008-2009. As a historian, his area of specialization was Early Modern Spain.
Currently, Charles is Chair of the Boards of the Northern Health Authority, and the Sinclar Group – Forest Products Ltd. He also serves on the Boards of Canfor Pulp Products Inc. and the Canada West Foundation.
Charles received both the Queen’s Silver and Diamond Jubilee Medals and was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2006 in recognition of his distinguished academic career and of his role in the creation of the Northern Medical Program in British Columbia. In 2013 he was named to the Order of British Columbia.
Dr. Brendan Byrne
A physician by vocation and an entrepreneur by profession, Brendan Byrne has spent more than 25 years exploring how digital health can transform information into better health outcomes. He is passionate about the role of entrepreneurs play in innovating our healthcare system.
Currently serving as Chief Innovation Officer for TELUS Health, Brendan is also the co-founder of FIRSTEP Innovations Inc., which has partnered with TELUS to create immersive experiences and dialogue between innovators at the edge and enterprise leaders. Prior to joining TELUS Health, Brendan founded Wolf Medical Systems, which at the time of its acquisition by TELUS in 2012 had become the largest cloud-based electronic medical record (EMR) provider in Canada.
Brendan continues to practice medicine and has most recently launched a wellness practice focused on leveraging the latest personalized medicine technologies and digital health tools to shape foundational behaviors of diet, exercise, sleep and mindfulness.
Brendan has a degree in Neurobiology from Yale University and is a graduate of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine.
Ms. Robin Ciceri
Robin Ciceri is the President of The Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia. Robin joined the Council in 2010 after a career in the BC government where she held a number of leadership positions including Deputy Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development and CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council. Prior to this, Robin was Deputy Minister of Human Resources and Deputy Minister of Small Business and Revenue. Her experience also includes senior positions in intergovernmental relations, economic development, and health.
Robin currently serves on the Boards of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the BC Council for International Education and LifeSciences British Columbia. She was formerly on the boards of the BC Innovation Council, the Immigrant Employment Council of BC and the Commonwealth of Learning. Robin also serves on the Presidents’ Group providing advice to the Minister of Social Development and Innovation. Robin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree, a Professional Certificate in Secondary Education, and a Master’s of Public Administration.
Ms. Delia Cooper
Delia Cooper has a long history of service in representing the patient perspective within health care, research and health education. She has led or participated in numerous local, provincial and national initiatives, bringing her insight and personal experience with arthritis to enrich the work of the Arthritis Society, the BC Ministry of Health, the Canadian Arthritis Network, the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee, the Consumer Advisory Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Cochrane Collaboration.
Delia has been an active member of the Patient Voices Network in BC since 2010 and has provided a patient perspective on the care of people with chronic conditions for the Chronic Disease Management Shared Care Advisory Group with Providence Health Care in Vancouver Coastal Health. She has also been a member of Fraser Health Authority’s Patient Advisory Council since 2012.
Delia has received numerous awards for her volunteer work including the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal and most recently the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council’s Leadership in Advancing the Patient Voice Award (2017).
An educator by profession, Delia has a Master’s degree from the University of Oregon in 1994 with a focus on Leadership and the Impact of Special Needs Students in the Classroom.
Dr. Heather Davidson
Heather Davidson has worked with the provincial government since 1991. She has worked in a variety of roles within the Ministry of Health and has also worked in housing policy with the Ministry of Housing and Constructive Standards and income and disability assistance with the Ministry of Social Development. She has been an assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Health since 2010.
Her current responsibilities include legislation, inter-governmental relations, research, external partnerships and innovation.
Heather holds a PhD in Psychology (Adult Development and Aging) from the University of Victoria.
Greg D’Avignon is the President and CEO of the Business Council of BC (BCBC). BCBC is a policy and advocacy organization comprising the province’s leading businesses in every sector of the provincial economy and BC’s post-secondary institutions, which collectively employ 25 per cent of the province’s labour force.
A fourth generation British Columbian, for 25 years Greg has held senior private and public sectors leadership positions including serving the Prime Minister of Canada, and the federal Ministers of National Defence and Justice.
Greg is the immediate past-Chair of the BC Cancer Foundation and former Chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. He is a current member of the Board of the YMCA of Greater Vancouver and the Premier’s Aboriginal Business Investment Council. In 2013, Greg received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.
Dr. Dermot Kelleher
Dermot Kelleher brings significant experience and is recognized internationally for innovation in academic health leadership and administration, clinical care, research and education.
Dermot joined UBC in 2015 as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. Prior to his appointment at UBC, he served as Vice-President Health and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, where he also held a concurrent appointment as Dean of the Lee Kong Chian Medical School in Singapore until 2014. Dermot has also served as Head of the School of Medicine and Vice Provost for Medical Affairs at Trinity College, Dublin.
Dermot graduated from medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1978, going on to specialize in gastroenterology. Author of 300 publications and 14 patents, his research examines the immune response to many of the leading causes of gastrointestinal infectious disease worldwide. Over the years he has received many prestigious awards including a Fogarty Scholarship at the University of California San Diego, Wellcome Senior Fellow in Clinical Science, and most recently the Conway Medal from the Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.
With a strong commitment to innovation and collaboration, Dermot has worked to found several companies supporting both translational developments in biomedical science and fostering collaboration in biomedical research in both Dublin and London. He also served as President of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine until moving to British Columbia.
Mr. Richard Rees
Richard Rees was president and CEO of Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia from December 2013 to March 2017, having served as CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of BC since 1999. Prior to that he was CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon for nine years.
Richard chairs the national Council of Chief Executives for the Canadian CPA profession, and has had extensive involvement in the profession’s certification education, professional development, and international professional recognition programs.
A graduate of the London School of Economics, Richard has been widely recognized for his professional leadership, including a national Top 40 Under 40 Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the CA profession. He is also active in the community, currently serving as a director and finance and audit chair of PROOF, a biomarker development program based at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Ms. Tamara Vrooman
Tamara Vrooman is president and chief executive officer of Vancity, Canada’s largest community credit union. Under Tamara’s leadership, Vancity has gained international recognition for its values-based banking model. Vancity was the first Canadian financial institution invited to join the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, an independent network of the world’s leading sustainable banks and banking cooperatives.
Prior to joining Vancity, Tamara served as Deputy Minister of Finance for the Province of British Columbia and as Secretary to the Treasury Board and CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council.
Tamara pursued post-secondary education at the University of Victoria, earning a Master of Arts in History in 1994 and a Bachelor of Arts with honours in 1991. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Technology from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2013.
Dr. Martin Schechter
Martin Schechter is a Professor in, and previously the Founding Director of, the School of Population and Public Health in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Martin received training in mathematics (PhD), medicine (MD) and epidemiology (MSc), and combines interests in clinical epidemiology and health services research with HIV and addiction research. He is a founder and former National Director (1993-2014) of the CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network, a national network of investigators and research facilities aimed at conducting trials of HIV therapies, preventions and vaccines. He was also a founder of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and the Centre of Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences at St. Paul’s Hospital. Martin now serves as Chief Scientific Officer of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.
Martin is the author of more than 360 peer-reviewed publications and has been the recipient of approximately $96 million in competitive grants as Principal Investigator. He has been awarded the Order of British Columbia (1994), a tier I Canada Research Chair in HIV/AIDS and Population Health (2001-2022), the Science Council of British Columbia Gold Medal (2002), and Fellowship in both the Royal Society of Canada (2004) and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2005).