Our Board of Directors

Judy Birdsell, PhD

Board Chair
Governance Committee, Chair

Judy is one of the founders of IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health. 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 she 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 has been honored to receive three national awards for her volunteer contributions.

Leslie Ayre-Jaschke, BEd, MSc

Operations Committee, Chair

Leslie is a retired program evaluation consultant with a varied career that also includes teacher, lactation consultant, program coordinator for a Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program, Health Research & Information Officer for the 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, most recently, with two northern Alberta Primary Care Networks.

She brings experience on non-profit boards at the local, provincial and national level. In June she will complete her final term on the Health Quality Council of Alberta’s Patient & Family Advisory Committee, is president of the Friends of the Peace River Municipal Library Society, serves on the MSI Foundation board of directors, and is a public member on the North Zone Primary Care Network Governance Committee. Leslie joined IMAGINE in 2016 as a member of the Steering Committee and is now a board member for the new IMAGINE Citizens society. With Don McLeod, she co-chairs the Operations Committee and led the task group that developed IMAGINE’s Theory of Change model. Leslie joined the Healthcare 101 project at its inception as the HQCA representative on the Task Force, and when that term expired she stayed on as an IMAGINE Citizens representative.

Leslie is short on personal experience with the Alberta healthcare system (thankfully), besides rural primary care and the occasional visit to the emergency department or a specialist. But she is well-connected in her northern community and works to learn from and share the stories she hears about the good, the bad, and the ugly of care sought and care received. She also learns much from her IMAGINE colleagues who bring such a depth of knowledge and passion to the work.

Alana Kitchen

Citizens for Digital Health (C4DH)
Working Group, Co-Chair
Information Systems & Technology Committee, Co-Chair

Alana Kitchen is currently self-employed as a Healthy Building Professional. She provides technical expertise to projects that support the health of the built environment and its occupants. She is a Professional Engineer and a certified WELL™ Professional with the International Well Building Institute. Alana has assumed a variety of roles over her career including Project Manager; Gas Marketing Analyst; Risk System Implementation Consultant and Entrepreneur creating a platform that connects homeowners with renovation professionals. Her most important role has always been as mother to her three sons and as an advocate for her middle son who has a rare type of lymphoma. Her personal interests include running, golfing and biking.

Her recent volunteer experience includes being a member of the IMAGINE Citizens volunteer team and the YWCA’s YWhisper 2020 Task Force. In the past she has been a member of an independent school Parent Advisory Council, Chair the Family Ball Committee (Minerva Foundation) and Board Member of EP Community Association. 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. With the goal of educating citizens and better health outcomes for everyone, her focus has been on supporting IMAGINE’s efforts in citizen engagement through the People Bank initiative, Digital Health, and co-chairing a Citizen focused conference on Digital Health – “Partners in the Power of Information Sharing”.

Kurt Laitner

Information Systems & Technology Committee, Co-Chair
Citizens for Digital Health (C4DH)
Working Group, Co-Chair

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 is helping IMAGINE 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.

Linda Kolewaski

Med Wise, Project Lead

Linda’s career journey started in Medical Labaratory Technology and went on to include 25 years as an Ophthalmic Dispenser before embracing the world of entrepreneurship – building a successful family business in retail.

As an Optician, Linda was a member of the Alberta Provincial Examiners Board and also served as a Director on the Alberta Opticians’ Board. One of the highlights was her contribution to the NAIT creation of an Opticians’ distance delivery training course, a program that gained international status. While in business, Linda served on the Western Canadian Independent Steering Committee for Rona Inc.

Since joining IMAGINE Citizens she has been immersed in contributing to many different facets. She started by organizing contact lists for Healthcare 101, then became an IMAGINE Citizens member on the first module, which led to contributing to and presenting the Healthcare 101 poster at the HQCA summit. Linda continues to sit as an IMAGINE Citizens representative on the second phase of Healthcare 101 (now called iKNOW Healthcare). Her current commitment, – the Med Wise program is a partnership with the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science at the University of Alberta. This program is a peer-led, skill-based educational and behavioral intervention designed for seniors. Linda also represents IMAGINE Citizens as a member of the Chronic Conditions and Diseases Prevention and Management Committee of Alberta Health.

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 IMAGINE Citizens, 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.

Dave Price

Dave Price

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.

Charlie Fischer

Vice Chair
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 IMAGINE Citizens community is deeply saddened by Charlie’s passing. Charlie was vice-chair of IMAGINE’s Board, and his efforts were absolutely critical in the creation and accomplishments of IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health. 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.