Judy Birdsell, C.M.
Judy is one of the founders of Imagine Citizens Network. She has always had a deep commitment to patient perspectives in health, as demonstrated by more than thirty years volunteering in leadership positions with several national non-profits. Her passion for this cause was further fueled by a series of events surrounding her sister’s death in 2006. Her personal consciousness having been raised by these events, her family and her have experienced many other situations that have reinforced the absolute necessity of citizens (who are sometimes patients) being much more knowledgeable and engaged in their own healthcare journey (and that of their communities). Professionally, she has a background in policy and strategy consulting, mainly in the field of health research policy. Previous volunteer roles have included President of Canadian Cancer Society; Board Chair, Stem Cell Network; Board Chair, Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative; Member, CIHR Stem Cell Oversight Committee; Board Member, Health Quality Council of Alberta and Board Chair, MCF Housing for Seniors. She is a Patient Safety Champion (Canada) and was deeply honoured to be named to the Order of Canada in 2020.C.M.
Dr. Rajbir Bhatti
Dr. Rajbir Singh Bhatti is an Associate Professor in the Department of Supply Chain Management at Mount Royal University in Calgary and brings 21 years of experience in teaching and research in supply chain management and active liaison with industry. His expertise spreads across supply chain management, logistics, multi-criteria decision-making (MCDM) tools, analytical modelling, quality systems’ certification, and most recently in deploying Machine Learning models to solve SC problems.
As a professional and community leader, Raj is a Director (Academic) of the Calgary Logistics Council and a Member of the Strategic Advisory Committee, Good Movement Strategy Project (City of Calgary). He has worked collaboratively on projects provincially and nationally (with Supply Chain Canada). In addition, he has experience working in intellectual property and technology commercialization activities. And, as a member of a visible minority, he is sensitive to the issues of diversity and understands the health care needs of those coming from diverse backgrounds. A continuous and life-long learner, Rajbir is invested in learning newer ways to bring patient-centric health care to our communities.
Leslie Ayre-Jaschke, BEd, MSc
Leslie is a retired program evaluation consultant with a varied career as a teacher, lactation consultant, prenatal nutrition program coordinator, Health Research & Information Officer (former Peace Health Region), and newsletter editor for SEARCH Canada.
As a program evaluator, she worked with non-profit groups on projects in tobacco reduction, youth engagement, HIV/AIDS, rural development, and with two northern Alberta Primary Care Networks.
Leslie has over forty years’ experience on non-profit boards at the local, provincial, and national level and besides ICN, is president of the Friends of the Peace River Municipal Library Society, serves on the MSI Foundation board, and is a public member on the AHS North Zone Primary Care Network Governance Committee. In 2019, she completed her final term on the Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Patient & Family Advisory Committee.
Alana Kitchen is currently self-employed as a Healthy Building Consultant. She has a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from Queen’s University, is a Professional Engineer and a certified WELL™ Professional with the International Well Building Institute. Alana has assumed a variety of Engineering related positions over her career. Her most important role is being a mother to her three sons and an advocate for her middle son who has a rare type of lymphoma.
Personal experiences in the health care system as an advocate for family members have inspired Alana to dedicate her volunteer energy to ensuring citizens have a voice in shaping the health care system. Her focus is on supporting ICN’s efforts in digital health and co-chairing a citizen focused conference on Digital Health – “Partners in the Power of Information Sharing”. She is also chairing the Finance Committee and supporting ICN’s internal operations and technology.
Linda’s 40 year’ career has taken her from training in Medical Lab Technology, to the world of ophthalmics where she served as a Director on the Alberta Provincial Ophthalmic Board, managed several optometric offices, and was involved with ophthalmic course management and as a student advisor.
Her family relocated to Cold Lake, became entrepreneurs and built a successful retail business. In late 2015 when her husband was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma, they began an arduous cancer journey which happily ended with her husband in remission.
Linda has been involved with the Imagine Citizens Network for over three years. In addition to being a Board Director, she leads the Med Wise program, a co-partnering initiative with the University of Alberta’s Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Studies, and is involved with the iKnow Health program, Finance Committee, and Revenue Development Committee among others.
Dr. Robert Bear
Bob Bear is a resident of Canmore, Alberta. He is a retired physician (Nephrologist) and a past Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and, subsequently, the University of Alberta. He also served on the Senior Management Teams of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the former Capital Health Authority in Edmonton. Latterly, he has engaged in healthcare consulting projects across Canada and in the United States and Caribbean.
The advancement of person-centred care (PCC) practices, particularly for persons with chronic diseases, has been one of Bob’s long-time professional passions, and he has welcomed opportunities to speak to the nature of PCC and how best to achieve it as a visiting Professor at Universities in Canada and beyond, in scientific and online publications and through invited lectures.
Bob was an inside Director on the Boards of both St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto and the former Capital Health Authority in Edmonton and has also served on a number of non-profit boards. Imagine Citizens Network is an organization he much admires, and he appreciates the opportunity of working with other Board Members to advance its Vision and Mission.
Dennis P. Niebergal
Dennis is an experienced senior executive, corporate officer, board director and entrepreneur with a proven record of success in establishing and/or governing business operations. Dennis was previously the President and CEO of CLINICARE Corporation, specializing in electronic medical records, electronic health records and practice management applications for physician group practices in Canada and USA. He has a special expertise in the healthcare information technology sector and this position involved collaborating with many healthcare, regional, provincial and national Government organizations. Dennis is certified member with the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) and have many years of board experience with non-profit and for profit organizations. Dennis is also internationally recognized as a subject matter expert. He is currently retained as part time expert evaluator for Alberta Innovates (AI) and also retained as part time expert evaluator for the European Commission (EC) “Horizon2020 – Societal challenge Health, demographic change and wellbeing”
Sandi Kossey CHE, MHA, BScPT is a Certified Health Executive and has led national and international initiatives and partnerships with governments, health system leaders, clinicians, researchers, patients, and families to improve the quality and safety of healthcare for all.
Drawing from her compassionate nature as a healthcare provider, Sandi has championed partnering with patients and families for healthcare improvement and is regarded as an expert on the subject, in Canada and around the world. She has enabled citizen participation in healthcare policy and public education initiatives and established the WHO Collaborating Centre in Patient Safety and Patient Engagement in 2017.
Sandi was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Health Quality Council of Alberta in 2018 and serves as a Board liaison with the Patient and Family Advisory Committee. She also serves on the Board of the Northern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.
Former Board Members
Annamarie A. Fuchs
Annamarie Fuchs is an independent healthcare consultant with 30 years of experience in healthcare. She spent 11 years as a Registered Nurse before taking on local and regional leadership roles, project management, governance, strategic planning, policy, and program development. In 2009 she started her own consulting practice. Since then she has provided support to numerous provincial and federal organizations.
In 2016 Annamarie completed two terms as a member and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Health Quality Council of Alberta. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Alberta Blue Cross and serving her second term. At ICN, she was co-chair of the Finance Committee of the Board of Directors, co-chair of the October 2019 forum ‘Partners in the Power of Information Sharing’, and a founding co-lead for the “Citizens for Digital Health (C4DH)” Initiative. Annamarie brought passion, enthusiasm, and a diverse perspective and experience regarding the health care landscape in Alberta, blending her former clinical nursing practice with strategy, policy, governance, clinical informatics, business development, project management and program development experience to support decision making in Alberta. She is a passionate patient advocate, a career mentor for young women, a former community leader, and an artist.
Kurt Laitner has been an independent consultant in information technology, systems and management for the past 20 years. Kurt has experience working with networked organizations having been a designer and advisor of Open Value Networks. Most recently Kurt has been focused on IT strategy, planning and developing IT roadmaps for organizations doing digital transformations ensuring that people, process and technology are all in place to support successful initiatives.
Kurt has spent years working in the health care domain. This work has given him a good understanding of the complex issues in health care and the inability of the system to solve them. Kurt was helping ICN support its work with appropriate technology and information systems through the Information Systems and Technology Committee, and to understand and promote citizens interests relating to the use of technology in health care through the Citizens for Digital Health working group.
David Price was born and raised as part of a mixed farming family in the area near Acme, Alberta. He is one of the founders of what has now grown into the Sunterra Group of Companies. He has been active as a member of a number of different local, provincial and national organizations, primarily associated with agriculture and the production and processing of food, and policies associated with trade and economics in this sector. He also has been a member of the Board of Governors of the Olds College, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Golden Hills School Division. He says though, that his family is most important, and they miss Greg, who died prematurely as the result of multiple failures and gaps in Alberta’s medical treatment system.
Dave and his family are working to encourage everyone to more prepared for partnering in care and to support work improvements at all levels. They share their thoughts and experiences on the healthcare system through their Health Arrows website and more recently established a not-for-profit organization Greg’s Wings Projects. The first project developed by Greg’s Wings is the Falling Through the Cracks film.
The Price family received the Medal of Honor from the Alberta Medical Association and the Patient Champion award from the Canadian Patient Safety Institute for their work since Greg’s death.
Dave is also a member of the Canadian Medical Association’s Patient Voice.
David Ramsey, MBA, CMC
David Ramsey is a health care executive with over twenty years’ experience in a variety of settings both here in Canada and within the United Kingdom’s National Health Services. He has also had a successful 19 year career in management consulting having worked in large global companies, and more recently in 2013 established his own consulting and coaching company called Ramseyhouse Consulting.
David holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) as well as a Post Graduate Certificate in Organizational Consulting, both obtained from the University of Durham in the UK. He is an accredited Executive Coach and a Certified Management Consultant. He has obtained 80 hours of required training for Qualified Mediator status via the Alternative Dispute Resolution Institute of Alberta and is now seeking pro bono clients (two) to complete his qualification requirements. David has extensive experience related to strategy development, organizational design, partnership development and leadership coaching. He has led large clinical services in acute hospital settings, worked extensively with community/social care organizations and is currently the Executive Director of Edmonton Oliver Primary Care Network (PCN), where he reports directly to the PCN Board of Directors.
He is described as being visionary, innovative and one who wants to challenge the status quo to bring about positive change. He has previous Board experience from his time serving as a Director with the Northern Alberta Chapter of the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders from 2010 to 2013 and as Chair of the South West UK Branch of the Institute of Healthcare Managers for 2007 to 2008.
From his experiences as a leader, career and patient within health systems, he believes that with improvements to process, the system can be better. It requires will, desire and belief that change can happen and it doesn’t always require money. Just getting people to think and engage differently is key.
Alexis is a communications and public relations professional with over a decade of experience planning and delivering communication strategies in fast-paced, complex, health care environments. She is passionate about helping organizations strategically communicate with their audiences to influence change. Most recently, Alexis completed a three-month contract with the Alberta Medical Association leading a project team and supporting physicians in their grassroots advocacy efforts to encourage government to resume negotiations.
Alexis decided to join ICN after her youngest son ended up (quite unexpectedly) in the NICU after he was born. During that time, Alexis and her husband worked very closely with the physicians and nurses to manage their son’s health. This experience reminded her of the importance of building a health care system that views patients as partners.
Finance and Resource Development Committee, Chair
Charlie had extensive leadership experience in both the energy sector and the voluntary sector. He retired as President and CEO of Nexen in 2008. His previous work in the energy sector included senior roles with Bow Valley Industries, TransCanada Pipelines, Encor Energy Corporation Inc. Since then he has served on the boards of Pure Technologies Ltd., Enbridge Inc., Enbridge Income Fund, the Climate Change and Emission Management Corporation (CCEMC) and Alberta Innovates – Energy and Environment Solutions. He was very active in the voluntary sector, with current roles including Chair of the Hull Child and Family Foundation, Chair of the Honorary Patrons’ Council for the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, Chair of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and Vice-Chair of the Canada West Foundation.
The ICN community is deeply saddened by Charlie’s passing. Charlie was vice-chair of our Board, and his efforts were absolutely critical in the creation and accomplishments of the Imagine Citizens Network. Our launch in 2015 was catalyzed by Charlie as a result of his personal and family experiences in healthcare and his long-standing relationship with the University of Calgary and the Cumming School of Medicine. Charlie was a tireless advocate for the things he believed in. He gained profile and influence in the oil and gas sector and used that credibility to build awareness and support for initiatives that would make a difference, often for people without power or privilege. His focus and actions were centered around building a better community for all. We will miss him dearly but are so thankful we had the benefit of his leadership and passion.