Board of Directors

Dr. Elinor Wilson

Board Chair

Dr. Elinor Wilson has worked in the academic and public sectors, and at the international, national and provincial levels. She has published extensively on a variety of public health issues including women’s health.

Wilson served most recently as president of Assisted Human Reproduction, a federal regulatory agency established to promote health, safety, dignity and rights for Canadians who use or are born of assisted human reproduction technologies. Previously, she served as CEO of the Canadian Public Health Association, where she was responsible for managing an operating program and project budget of more than $15 million and for building relationships with stakeholders in the public, private, and non-governmental sectors.

Wilson holds a PhD in administration management from Walden University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a Master of Health Sciences degree from McMaster University. Her numerous professional activities include membership of the Institute of Population and Public Health Advisory Board at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She was formerly vice-president of the World Heart Federation, president of the Inter-American Heart Foundation, and chair of the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century.

Mary Ackenhusen

Mary holds the appointment of  Senior Executive in Residence and lead for the Partnerships and Innovation Division at the British Columbia Ministry of Health.   This exciting new role  is focused on health innovation and aligns with Mary’s long-standing commitment to system transformation.

Mary has had an impact on the health sector in British Columbia for close to 20 years. Most recently, she was the President and CEO of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) from 2014-2020.  Mary joined VCH in 2007 as a Chief Operating Officer and prior to that she served on the Fraser Health Authority’s leadership team for seven years.

Throughout her career with the Health Authorities, Mary has pursued her passion for transforming the way care is delivered in order to ensure BC has a high quality healthcare system that is sustainable in the face of growing demand and constrained resources. This focus includes her leadership of the OneVCH employee engagement initiative that is committed to empowering and engaging staff and physicians across VCH. In 2019, Glassdoor, one of the world’s largest employee recruitment sites, named Mary as one of Canada’s top 25 CEOs based on employee reviews.

As CEO of VCH, she encouraged a focus on innovation and discoveries that improve patient health, transform health systems, and directly impact health and economic outcomes. Her longstanding interest in virtual care enabled health providers to continue delivering care to patients and clients across VCH during the recent weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s Master of Business Administration program and the West Virginia University’s Industrial Engineering program.

Robin Ciceri

Robin Ciceri is vice-president of external relations at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

In this role, Ciceri leads UBC’s communications, campus and community planning, government relations, and broad-based engagement with communities. She also supports the university in accomplishing the vision and goals and commitments as set out in the strategic plan: Shaping UBC’s Next Century.

Before joining UBC, Ciceri was the president of The Research Universities’ Council of British Columbia, where she was responsible for strategic advice, system leadership and advocating on behalf of the presidents of BC’s research universities. Previous to this, Ciceri held a number of BC government leadership positions including deputy minister of advanced education and labour market development, deputy minister of human resources, deputy minister of small business and revenue, and CEO of the Public Sector Employers’ Council Secretariat.

Ciceri currently serves on the boards of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, BC Academic Health Science Network, LifeSciences BC, Digital Technology Supercluster, and UBC Properties Trust.

 

Jack Falk

Secretary-Treasurer

Jack Falk was most recently the vice-president of finance and operations at the University of Victoria (UVic) before retiring in 2006.

While at UVic, Falk was responsible for budget and planning, finance, human resources and labour relations, computing, student services, capital projects and physical plant, and audit and risk management. Some of his significant contributions include the introduction of a new budget and planning system, the proposal of a major five-year capital plan, and being part of UVic's team that established the joint UVic-UBC medical school initiative.

Prior to UVic, Falk was vice-president of administration and finance at Okanagan University College, where he was involved in the purchase and building of a new campus, which is now the core of UBC Okanagan. Falk has been an active board member with numerous organizations, including BCNET, Heritage Reality, Neptune Canada, Vancouver Island Technology Park, and UVic’s Foundation. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration.

Dr. Roslyn Kunin

Board Past Chair

Dr. Roslyn Kunin is one of those rare economists who can make the often difficult subject of economics understandable and even interesting.

She was educated in Quebec and Ontario, finishing her studies with a PhD in economics from the University of British Columbia. The University of Victoria has granted her the degree of Honorary Doctor of Laws. The Institute of Corporate Directors has granted her the ICD.D designation.

Kunin is the past chair of the Haida Enterprise Corporation and has served the community in many positions including chair of WorkSafe BC, chair of the Vancouver Stock Exchange, director of the Business Development Bank of Canada, director of the Canada West Foundation, governor of the University of British Columbia, and chair of the Vancouver Crisis Centre.

She is a member of the Order of Canada and has been awarded the Crystal Ball Award by the Association of Professional Economists, the Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA, and a Canada 125 medal for service to Canada.

Dr. John O’Neil

Professor of Global and Indigenous Health at Simon Fraser University

Dr. John O’Neil is a Professor of Global and Indigenous Health and former Dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University, as well as a Fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. O’Neil received his PhD in Medical Anthropology from The University of California in 1983.

Dr. O'Neil was awarded a Senior Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, recognizing his contributions in the field of community-based participatory approaches to health systems research with Indigenous communities. He is currently working with the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia on research projects designed to restore health equity to First Nations communities. He is also working in Vietnam to scale up maternal and child health services, as well as primary mental health services in rural and remote communities. This work has involved building partnerships with NGOs and CBOs to deliver health programs to vulnerable communities.

Dr. Geoffrey Payne

Vice Chair

Dr. Geoffrey Payne is vice-president of research at the University of Northern BC (UNBC) and a professor in the field of vascular physiology.

Payne came to UNBC in June 2004 as founding faculty of the medical school following a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology and John B. Pierce Laboratory. He holds a PhD from Memorial University of Newfoundland in the field of cardiovascular and renal physiology.

Payne has a biomedical research program looking at understanding how the normal mechanisms that regulate blood flow within the microcirculation of various vascular beds are impacted by inflammation and inflammation-associated diseases. In addition, he has collaborations which focus on the translation of foundational science to clinical application.

Dr. Gregory Taylor

Dr. Gregory Taylor is the former chief public health officer of Canada. A public health and preventive medicine specialist, he has a long-standing commitment to advancing the public health agenda to benefit all Canadians.

Taylor has a strong blend of senior level leadership expertise and broad medical experience. Over two decades he has held a series of progressively senior positions with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada working on a variety of national public health issues and providing authoritative public health advice to the Minister of Health, the Government of Canada, and all Canadians.

Taylor holds a Doctorate of Medicine from Dalhousie University, with specialization in public health and preventive medicine. He maintains his connection with the University of Ottawa as adjunct professor in the School of Epidemiology, Public Health, and Preventive Medicine and serves on a number of boards, including the Champlain Local Health Integration Network.

Joe Thompson

Joe Thompson has 35 years of experience with the BC Public Service including seven years with the Office of the Auditor General.

The majority of his time was spent in the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, serving as chief financial officer as well as executive financial officer / assistant deputy minister, overseeing $2 billion in funding for 25 public post-secondary institutions. He has also served on the board for the Architectural Institute for BC among other project boards.

A retired accountant, Thompson is married with two (adult) children and enjoys travelling, golfing and gardening. 

Dr. Sally Thorne

Dr. Sally Thorne is an academic nursing leader with a program of research in the fields of psychosocial cancer care and health care communication at the University of British Columbia's School of Nursing, where she is a professor and associate dean of applied science.

Her research and writing have focused attention on the human experience of seeking and obtaining appropriate care in the Canadian context. She has also been active in developing and refining qualitative methods for application to the inquiries of applied health professions and to knowledge transfer within an evidence-based care context. In her academic role, she teaches graduate courses in the philosophy of science, and serves as editor-in-chief of the scholarly journal Nursing Inquiry, as well as associate editor and editorial board member for several other journals in her field. She brings to the Foundation extensive non-profit board experience, including the BC Cancer Agency, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.