Short biographies for this year's keynote and plenary speakers:

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François Benoit

François Benoit has been working in the policy research and in communication field for health organizations for more than twenty years. After his Master in Sociology, he was lecturer in health sociology and sociology of the organizations at the Université of Montréal and at the business school at Université of Montreal. More recently he was Director, Health Policy, Research and Special Projects for the Quebec Medical Association. He has been working for the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy since November 2006 and was named Lead for the Centre, in October 2007.

Ivy Lynn Bourgeault

Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, PhD, is a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa.  She is also the Scientific Director of the recently established pan-Ontario Population Health Improvement Research Network and the Ontario Health Human Resource Research Network both housed at the University of Ottawa with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care.  She was recently awarded the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Chair in Health Human Resource Policy which is jointly funded by the federal ministry of Health Canada. 

Dr. Bourgeault has garnered an international reputation for her research on health professions, health policy and women's health. She has published widely in national and international journals and edited volumes on midwifery and maternity care, primary care delivery, advanced practice nursing, qualitative health research methods, and on complementary and alternative medicine. 

Christina Chociolko

Christina Chociolko holds a PhD in Communication from Simon Fraser University, specializing in environmental and health risks, science-policy relations, and Canadian public policy and administration.  She is Network Coordinator at the NCCEH, enthusiastically building and maintaining relationships with practitioners, policymakers, and researchers, to strengthen evidence-based policy and practice in Canada.

Donna Ciliska

Dr. Donna Ciliska is a professor in the School of Nursing at McMaster University. Dr. Ciliska has developed educational materials and led workshops and courses for skill development in evidence-informed practice for all levels of learners. She participated in and led several systematic reviews, and is involved in research related to knowledge translation. Donna has mentored students from the undergraduate to post-doctoral level and has authored several papers and books, and for 12 years was an editor of the journal Evidence-Based Nursing.

Sarah de Leeuw

Sarah de Leeuw, a social-historical geographer and creative writer, is an assistant professor with the Northern Medical Program at UNBC, the Faculty of Medicine at UBC. Her work, both as a geographer in a faculty of medicine and as a creative writer, engages questions of power, place and landscape, colonialism, social justice and marginalization. She is the author of Unmarked: Landscapes Along Highway 16 (2004) and her most recent book, The Geographies of a Lover, is a collection of poetry forthcoming (2012) with NeWest Press. Her essays "Quick-Quick. Slow. Slow." (2009) and "Columbus Burning" (2008) both won CBC Literary Awards for creative non-fiction. Her poetry has appeared in a number of Canadian literary journals, including Fiddlehead, Wascana, and The Claremont Review.

Her academic writing, which is broadly concerned with (post)colonial geographies, Indigenous peoples, and the social determinants of health, appears in venues ranging from The Canadian Family Physician and Children's Geographies, to The Journal of Native Education and The Canadian Geographer. In 2007/2008, prior to moving back to northern British Columbia, she was a Fulbright Fellow with the University of Arizona.

Elsabé du Plessis

Elsabé du Plessis holds the position of Project Manager at the National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) in Winnipeg. Ms. du Plessis began work at the NCCID shortly before completing a Master of Science in Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba in 2007, following undergraduate studies in Psychology. Prior to working in Canada, Ms. du Plessis had been involved in HIV prevention research In Uganda.

François-Pierre Gauvin

François-Pierre Gauvin is a member of the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP). A political scientist by training (Université Laval, Quebec City), he completed in 2008 his doctoral studies in health research methodologies (McMaster University, Hamilton). His work pertains, among other things, to public engagement and evidence-informed decision-making. He is also interested in exploring the potential of deliberative forums to find innovative solutions to collective problems.

Verlé Harrop

Dr. Harrop has an extensive background in applied health research relating to collaborative tool development, participatory needs assessments and evaluations, and the determinants of health.

Currently, Dr. Harrop is Senior Scientist for the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH), one of six centers established and funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada. Dr. Harrop effects the NCCDH's national mandate through a program of knowledge translation, and the identification of evidence gaps around the Determinants of Health.

Prior to joining the NCCDH in 2009, Dr. Harrop was Senior Researcher for New Brunswick's largest Regional Health Authority. She was tasked with developing and implementing a program of applied health research across the institution. Her grass roots campaign focused on translating determinants of health theory into practice and culminated in the highly successful, community-based, participatory needs assessment on Campobello Island. She also led the collaborative design and deployment of a Community Health Centre Evaluation Tool in New Brunswick.

Alan Katz

Alan Katz is an Associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine, where he serves as the Director of Research. He received his medical training at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. He worked in rural Saskatchewan and a community clinic in the core of Winnipeg prior to joining the Department of Family Medicine. He is a past chair of the Health Research Ethics Board in the Faculty of Medicine and is a researcher at the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. His research interests are focused on Primary Care delivery, including quality of care indicators, knowledge translation and disease prevention.

Dean Kriellaars

Dr. Dean Kriellaars started his academic pursuits in the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation Studies, where he undertook undergraduate study of biomechanics and exercise physiology.  He then went on to complete a Master's degree under the supervision of Carol Putnam at Dalhousie University specializing in the study of the control of rapid swinging motions, and the development of three-dimensional motion analysis systems and algorithms. During this time, he established a hardware and software development company for biological signal acquisition and analysis. The company, now known as Isodyne Inc, has developed and commercialized miniature EMG amplifiers, high speed data acquisitions systems, and numerous signal and image analysis software systems.

Dr. Kriellaars is a member of the Spinal Cord Research Centre, as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Physiology. He is a scientist of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health. He was the chair of the M.Sc.(Rehabilitation) program at the University of Manitoba and was an original contributor to the development of the new Ph.D. program in Applied Health Sciences. Dr. Kriellaars has been awarded two major university teaching awards, as well as national and international awards for scientific research and innovation.

Ronald Labonté

Ronald Labonté is Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity at the Institute of Population Health, and Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. His current research interests include globalization as a ‘determinant of determinants', he chaired the Globalization Knowledge Network for the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health; ethics, human rights and global health development; global migration of health workers; revitalization of comprehensive primary health care; global health diplomacy; and globalization and the health of Canadians.

He has over 150 scientific publications and several hundred articles in popular media. His recent books include Globalization and Health: Pathways, Evidence and Policy (Routledge, 2009); Health Promotion: From Community Empowerment to Global Justice (Palgrave Macmillan. 2008); Critical Public Health: A Reader (Routledge. 2007).  Professor Labonté is also outgoing President of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research and has been active public health associations provincially, nationally and internationally.

Timothy Lambert

Timothy Lambert is the Executive Director of Health Protection, BC Ministry of Healthy Living and Sport. The Health Protection branch addresses food safety, source and drinking water, on-site sewerage, air quality, healthy community environments, community care and assisted living residences. Tim holds an adjunct position with University of British Columbia, School of Environmental Health and has two areas of research: the People's Health Commission of Nova Scotia, evaluating the impact of coke and steel production on the residential community adjacent the Sydney Tar Ponds; and, public health ethics, in particular, developing the concept of environmental justice. Tim holds a BSc. in biochemistry from the University of Calgary, an MSc. in environmental science and engineering from the University of Alberta, and a Ph.D. in Public Health Science from the University of Alberta.

Teresa MacInnes

Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C. Teresa came to the film and television industry from a background in social work and psychology. Her keen interest in the human condition led to the formation of the successful Vancouver film company, Starry Night Productions. In 1998 Teresa moved to Halifax, NS to form Sea to Sea Productions with her husband Kent Nason. In the past 20 years Teresa has directed more than a dozen documentaries for television including; NORM (2008), Generation XXL (2007), Hope for the Future (2006), Teaching Peace in a Time of War (2004), Waging Peace: A Year in the Life of Caledonia Junior High (2001), Lost (1999), The Other Side of the Picture (1998) and Under Wraps (1996). These films have aired on television nationally and internationally earning Teresa several Gemini nominations and have garnered top awards at many film festivals including, New York, Yorkton, Columbus, Houston WorldFest, Silver Wave, International Family Film Festival, World Peace Film and Music Awards, Sprockets Film Festival, Atlantic Film Festival, and ViewFinders Film Festival.

Albert Marshall

Albert Marshall resides in Eskasoni First Nation and is a passionate advocate of cross-cultural understandings and healing, and of our human responsibilities to care for all creatures and our Earth Mother. He is the “designated voice” with respect to environmental issues for the Mi'kmaq Elders of Unama'ki – Cape Breton and he sits on various committees that develop and guide collaborative initiatives and understandings in natural resource management or that serve First Nations' governance issues, or that otherwise work towards ethical environmental, social and economic practices. Albert is a well recognized and much sought after speaker locally, nationally, and internationally as a skilled and passionate ambassador for his Mi'kmaq culture and its ‘living knowledge'.

Patricia Martens

Dr Patricia J. Martens BSc, Cert.Ed., MSc, IBCLC, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine's Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She is also the Director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, an internationally acclaimed university-based research centre focusing on population-based health services, public health and population health research.  Dr. Martens has held the position of Scientific Chair of the Canadian Public Health Association's national conference for 2009, and for the upcoming CPHA Centenary Conference for June 2010. 

Dr. Martens has held various research career awards, including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) New Investigator Award (2003-2008) and presently a CIHR/PHAC Applied Public Health Chair (2008-2013).  Patricia has been invited to speak at over 200 presentations nationally and internationally, and has published over 100 articles, books and abstracts.

Val Morrison

Val Morrison is a research officer with the National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy where she works on projects pertaining to the public policy influencing practices of community organizations, wicked problems, and health inequalities.  She is also a regular part-time faculty member in the department of sociology and anthropology at Concordia University where she has notably taught Political Sociology, Social Problems, and Canadian Society.

Louise Potvin

Louise Potvin has a Ph.D. in Community Health and is a professor in the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, is a researcher with GRIS (an interdisciplinary health research group) and is Chair of the community health approaches and inequities (Chaire Approches communautaires et inégalités de santé, CACIS) (CHSRF, CIHR) CACIS and GRIS at the University of Montreal. Since 2001, as Chair of the community health approaches and inequities (CHSRF and CIHR), Ms. Potvin has directed an interdisciplinary research program that aims to explore, both imperically and theoretically, the area of social health through research issues that mainly relate to the implementation and results of intersectoral programs for residents of underprivileged neighbourhoods in Montreal and by bringing community networks and public institutions together (public health, education, municipalities).

Over the past ten years, her work has been focused on studying the role and practice of assessment in the area of health promotion. This work is central to her research program. Since 1994, she has published several articles and book chapters on this issue. In them, she analyzes current practices of assessing health promotion. She maintains that the medical assessment model of epidemiology, which rests on experimental or quasi-experimental estimates, is not necessarily the most appropriate method of studying health promotion programs.

Charlotte Reading

Dr. Charlotte Reading is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy, Faculty of Human and Social Development (University of Victoria). Dr. Reading has conducted research and published in the areas of Aboriginal health, Aboriginal HIV/AIDS, social determinants of health, cultural competence, cancer among Aboriginal peoples, care-giving, Aboriginal ethics and research capacity building as well as the sexual and reproductive health of Aboriginal women. Dr. Reading is the Chair of the CIHR-Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health - Aboriginal Health Research Network Secretariat, Co-Chair of the CIHR-Institute of Infection and Immunity - Community-Based HIV Research Steering Committee, and a member of the Advisory Committee to the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Karen Rideout

Karen completed undergraduate degrees in music theory and applied human nutrition before earning her MSc from the School of Environmental Health at the University of British Columbia. She currently works as a Knowledge Translation Scientist at the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, where she applies scientific evidence to help inform the work of public health policy makers and practitioners across Canada. She is also completing her PhD in Land and Food Systems at UBC. Her dissertation research examines distancing in the food systems of India and Canada and the role of activists and policy makers in shaping diet and food culture. She is interested in international food and nutrition security; agriculture, food and nutrition policy; the food industry; and the intersection between food systems, the environment, and health. She also works as a researcher/consultant on numerous projects relating to food security and health policy.

Melanie Rock

Melanie joined the University of Calgary faculty in 2003, following doctoral studies in medical anthropology (at McGill University) and postdoctoral studies focused on health promotion in the context of social inequalities (at the Université de Montréal). Her primary appointment is with the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Additional affiliations include the Faculty of Social Work and the Department of Anthropology at the University of Calgary, as well as the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en santé at the Université de Montréal. Melanie currently holds a standard research grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), a Population Health Investigator award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR), and a New Investigator in Cultural and Societal Dimensions of Health award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Research Interests: Cultural patterning of health knowledges, population as a cultural concept, social stratification, social studies of science, food studies, diabetes mellitus, prion diseases, human-animal interactions as a window into human health.

Jason Scott Robert

Dr. Jason Scott Robert is the Franca Oreffice Dean's Distinguished Professor in the Life Sciences and the Lincoln Associate Professor of Ethics in Biotechnology and Medicine in Arizona State University's School of Life Sciences. His research and teachings focus on the intersection of bioethics and the philosophy of science. With the support of the National Science Foundation and the James S. McDonnell Foundation, Dr. Robert is currently studying translational research in neuroscience and the normative debates revolving around how neuroscientists justify experiments with non-human animals to learn something about humans. Also interested in population and public health ethics and the social determinants of health, Dr. Robert is the Director of the Bioethics, Policy and Law Program in the Center for Biology and Society at ASU, and serves as Associate Editor for public health ethics of the Canadian Journal of Public Health.

Conrad Sauvé

Conrad Sauvé is Secretary General and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Red Cross. He joined the Society in 1999 as General Manager of the Quebec Zone and served nationally as Acting Chief Priorities Officer. He also served as National Director of Fund Development and Marketing for four years.

Mr. Sauvé has participated in missions to assess Canadian Red Cross projects and initiatives in Nicaragua and Honduras following Hurricane Mitch; Mozambique following severe flooding; Haiti for relief operations following Hurricane Jeanne; and Indonesia, as part of reconstruction efforts in areas hit by the tsunami of 2004.

In Canada, he oversaw Quebec's contribution to the Balkan Refugee Assistance program in 1999 and operations to welcome Canadian nationals returning from Lebanon in 2006. For more than 15 years, Mr. Sauvé served as Director of Expansion and Community Development at the YMCA of Greater Montreal. He served on the Board of Directors of the Régie régionale de la santé et des services sociaux de Montréal-Centre for seven years, including five years as President. He is currently a board member of St Mary's Hospital Centre, Montreal and has served on numerous committees, associations and executive boards.

Mona Shum

Ms. Shum completed her undergraduate degree in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University and went on to complete her graduate degree in Occupational Hygiene at the University of British Columbia.  She started her career working as an industrial hygienist for Shell Canada in Alberta and then went on to spend the bulk of her career as a scientific consultant for an engineering and environmental consulting firm in California. In that consulting role, she managed several large scale environmental projects involving cellular telephones, mould in indoor environments, and antimicrobial resistance.  On a regular basis, she synthesized and translated pertinent scientific information for her clients.  She recently became the manager for the National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health and is excited to use some of her project management and content expertise in this new role.

Dawn Smith

Dr. Dawn Smith is Assistant Professor and Loyer DaSilva Research Chair in Public Health Nursing (2009-2014).  She holds an Ontario Ministry of Health Mid-Career Nursing Research Award and is collaborator/co-investigator with: the CIHR funded Pan Canadian Population Health Intervention Research Network and the uOttawa-McGill Anishnabe Kekendazone Network Environments for Aboriginal Health Research; a research associate with the Ontario Population Health Improvement Research Network, and co-investigator with the Ontario Training Center in Health Services and Policy Research. Dr Smith has received peer reviewed funding, as principal investigator and co-PI, to conduct research on improving knowledge and capacity for safe and responsive preventive health care for members of marginalized populations. Her research and activities are based on critical socio-ecological theory, and use strengths-based stakeholder engagement and intervention science to better understand and take action to promote socially just systems, policies, programs and relationships. Her teaching has included a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses focused on intervention design and evaluation community health in nursing and interdisciplinary education programs.

Graham Starmer


Born and raised in southern England, Graham Starmer went straight from school into the Thames Valley Region police force, later transferring to the Regional Crimes Squad for Southern England. He emigrated to Canada in 1969 and joined the Bank of Nova Scotia as an accountant, later the assistant branch manager, of a branch in Toronto.

Mr. Starmer returned to police work in 1970 when he joined the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. While working for the RCMP's Security Service, he was responsible for counter-intelligence national programs in Ottawa as well as counter-terrorism work in Edmonton and Winnipeg. In 1984 he was transferred by the RCMP into the newly-formed Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). Mr. Starmer resigned from CSIS in 1994 to take a position as an investigator with the Ombudsman's office in Winnipeg.

He was selected by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce in January, 1998 to be its new President. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce serves as the umbrella organization for 74 chambers of commerce throughout the province, with a total of about 9,000 members, as well as 250 Corporate members.

Shirley Tagalik

Shirley received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Lakehead University and a Bachelor of Education degree in both elementary and secondary education in 1975 and 1976.  She received her Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from McGill University in 1998. Her research was in the area of heritage language loss and loss of quality of language amongst Inuit in her community of Arviat. Shirley has been a teacher and administrator in Arviat schools for 23 years and then worked with Nunavut Education as the Manager of Curriculum and School Services from1999-2008. She has been actively involved at the community level in establishing early childhood education programs, elementary secondary and post-secondary education programs. In addition, Shirley has been active with the community health committee since 2002.

Shirley has written much of the new philosophical Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit foundational documents for Nunavut Education and the Aulajaaqtut health curriculum for secondary students. Her current work focuses on the articulation of Inuit worldview within social development policy and practices. Currently, Shirley is most active on the Arviat Health Committee, is a Research Director of the Mental Health Task Force for the Centre of Excellence for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs and operates Inukpaujaq Consulting, an education and health consulting agency.

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