SPOR National Steering Committee

The National Steering Committee for SPOR consists of two Co-Chairs, plus representation reflecting the breadth of experience and expertise required to effectively address the Strategy's mandate. Members include leaders from health research funders, universities, health care organizations, clinical research, health charities, industry, federal and provincial/territorial governments, and citizens.

Co-Chair – Dr. Robert S. Bell
Deputy Minister
Health and Long-Term Care
Government of Ontario
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Robert Bell was appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, effective June 2, 2014. Prior to this role, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of University Health Network for nine years. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer at Princess Margaret Hospital and Chair of both Cancer Care Ontario’s Clinical Council and the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

Dr. Bell received his Doctor of Medicine from McGill University and a Master of Science from the University of Toronto. He also completed a Fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University. Dr. Bell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons and an Honourary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh.

An internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon, health care executive, clinician-scientist, and educator, Dr. Bell brings more than 30 years of health care experience to his current role.

Co-Chair – Dr. Michael Strong
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Michael Strong was appointed President of CIHR, effective October 1, 2018. Prior to joining CIHR, Dr. Strong was Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a Distinguished University Professor at Western University. From 2000 to 2010, he served as the Chief of Neurology and Co-Chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the London Health Sciences Centre and Western University. He has also served as Co-chair of the Canadian ALS Research Consortium and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the ALS Society of Canada.

Dr. Strong's clinical research has focused on understanding the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He is particularly interested in the occurrence of non-motor manifestations of the disease including the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional syndromes associated with ALS. His lab has focused on defining the role of alterations in tau protein metabolism in the frontotemporal syndromes of ALS and, increasingly, in traumatic brain injury.

Dr. Strong has published over 185 peer-reviewed articles and 29 chapters, edited four textbooks, and been invited to give over 160 lectures on ALS research, throughout Canada and around the world. He is a recipient of both the Sheila Essey Award and the Forbes Norris Award, the only Canadian to have received both awards for ALS research. He was also awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, in 2012, for his contributions to ALS research and care.

Dr. Strong earned his degree in medicine at Queen's University, undertook neurology training at Western University, and completed postgraduate studies at the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Mr. Bruce Cooper
Deputy Minister
Department of Health and Social Services
Government of Northwest Territories
Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Bruce Cooper was appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services for the Government of the Northwest Territories in October 2017. He began his public service career in 1990 in Newfoundland and Labrador in the area of social work, and moved on to serve in senior level positions of Deputy Minister of Children, Seniors and Social Development; Deputy Minister of Health and Community Services; and Deputy Minister of the Human Resources Secretariat with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mr. Cooper has a solid track record of conceptualizing and leading successful and innovative change within complex organizations by building and collaborating with high performance teams. He demonstrates a continued commitment to excellence in public service by maintaining a clear focus on outcomes that lead to improving health and social services and the policies that form a foundation for service delivery.

Mr. Cooper holds both a bachelor and master’s degree of social work from Memorial University and has training in labour relations through Queens University. Over his career, Mr. Cooper has been involved as a volunteer in the governance of a variety of voluntary and not for profit organizations.

Dr. Heather Davidson
Assistant Deputy Minister, Partnerships and Innovation Division
Ministry of Health
Government of British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia

Dr. Davidson holds a PhD in Psychology (Adult Development and Aging) from the University of Victoria, British Columbia.  She has worked for the BC government since 1991 in a series of progressively senior positions, mostly in the Ministry of Health. She is currently Assistant Deputy Minister of the Partnerships and Innovation Division with responsibilities for research & innovation, legislation and intergovernmental relations. She was an early advocate for evidence-based policy and decision making and has maintained strong linkages with the research community throughout her government career. She sits on the Board(s) of the Academic Health Science Network, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and the Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability and is a member of the Medical Services Commission.

Mr. Michael Green
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canada Health Infoway
Toronto, Ontario

Mr. Green has an international reputation and proven track record of transforming health care through the use of digital health.

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Canada Health Infoway, he works with Infoway’s jurisdictional partners and other key stakeholders to accelerate the development and adoption of digital health in Canada, which will provide clinicians and patients with information they need to support safer care decisions and a more modern and sustainable health care system for all Canadians.

Prior to his role at Infoway, Mr. Green was President and CEO, Americas Region with Agfa Healthcare Inc. In this capacity, he led the transformation of radiology from film to digital in many jurisdictions across Canada and globally, making him an early visionary in the way digital health solutions can help make public health systems more sustainable and improve the patient experience.

Mr. Green has strong leadership and communications skills; he is a strategic thinker with a proven track record of bringing the best international research and innovation to Canada to advance the digital health agenda, create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Mr. Green has a diploma in Medical Laboratory Sciences from the London Metropolitan University and spent his early career working at King’s College Hospital in the UK. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his contribution to the Canadian Health IT industry. He is a member of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) Health Board of Directors and served as Board Chair from 2009-2012.

Dr. Antoine Groulx, MD, MSc, FCMF
Director, Integrated Primary Care Services
Ministry of Health and Social Services, Quebec
Québec, Québec

Antoine Groux has been a family physician since 2004 and has been practicing electic medicine in a rural area for more than 10 years. During and after his studies, he was the president of many union medical associations and occupied different functions of establishing medico-administrative organizations. He was also president of the Collège des médecins du Québec. Full time clinical professor at the Laval university, Since 2013, he is the director of the Integrated Primary Care Services at the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services while maintaining some clinical and pedagogical activities. Associate professor of Laval University, he has always found mentorship and teaching of great importance. Since 2013, he has been the director of the Integrated Primary Care Services branch of the Québec Ministry of Health and Social Services while maintaining some clinical and pedagogical activities. His department supports the Primary Care Reform in the hopes of increasing access to excellent, nearby medical care and services.

Dr. Paul C. Hébert
Physician-in-Chief, Centre Hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM)
Senior Scientist, Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montreal (CRCHUM)
Full Professor, Department of Medicine, Université de Montréal
Montreal, Québec

Dr. Paul C. Hébert is a Senior Scientist at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal (CRCHUM) and currently Full Professor in the Department of Medicine of the Université de Montréal. He is also Physician-in-Chief at the Centre hospitalier de l'Université de Montréal (CHUM). Prior to this, he was a Critical Care Physician at The Ottawa Hospital and a Senior Scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI). He also held the rank of Full Professor in the Department of Medicine (Critical Care) at the University of Ottawa, with cross-appointments to the Departments of Anesthesiology, Surgery as well as Epidemiology and Community Medicine.

During his 18 years on Faculty at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Hébert established the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the General Campus of The Ottawa Hospital and the University of Ottawa Centre for Transfusion Research. In his role as Vice-Chair of Research from 2003 to 2007, he was responsible for the overall strategic direction of research for the University's Department of Medicine. From 2007 to 2011, Dr. Hébert served as Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ). Concurrently, from 2008 to 2010, he acted as strategic lead and first Executive Director of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Dr. Hébert has served as Principal and/or Co-Investigator of 48 externally funded, peer-reviewed research projects (with a combined grant value in excess of $33 million) and has close to 250 peer-reviewed scientific publications to his name. Based on his many accomplishments, Dr. Hébert was elected to Fellowship in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in June 2010.

Dr. Bev Holmes
Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
Vancouver, British Columbia

As President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Bev is focused on the funding, production and uptake of health research and health care-related evidence in British Columbia.

Her leadership and commitment to integrating these areas is evident in her work at MSFHR, as co-chair of the National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organizations (NAPHRO) and a Friends of CIHR Board member, her lead role in developing the BC SUPPORT Unit, and serving as executive lead during the establishment of the BC Academic Health Science Network.

Since joining MSFHR in 2010, Bev has supported the Foundation through a period of organizational redesign and program expansion, and helped establish MSFHR’s reputation as a leader in knowledge translation. Under her leadership, the Foundation has launched a new suite of funding programs that focus on developing, retaining, and recruiting the talented people whose research improves the health of British Columbians, addresses health system priorities, creates jobs and adds to the knowledge economy.

Bev is an active and respected member of the health research community and is regularly called upon to publish and present internationally on health research funding, and how best to support the translation of research evidence into policy and practice.

Bev’s roles prior to MSFHR include health communications and knowledge translation consultant, researcher, writer and communications director. Bev received her MA and PhD from SFU's School of Communication and holds adjunct appointments at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health and SFU's Faculty of Health Sciences. Her research interests include knowledge translation, discourse analysis, health communication, risk communication, and public involvement in health research.

Mr. Simon Kennedy

Simon Kennedy was named Deputy Minister of Health effective January 21, 2015.

Previously, he served as the Deputy Minister of International Trade and Canada's G-20 Sherpa. He oversaw the Trade Portfolio through one of the most productive periods in the history of Canadian trade negotiations. During his tenure, negotiations were successfully concluded on the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. Negotiations were also concluded on the Canada-South Korea Free Trade Agreement, Canada's first free trade agreement in Asia, and the treaty brought into force.

Prior to his assignment at International Trade, Mr. Kennedy served as the Senior Associate Deputy Minister at Industry Canada from September 2010 to November 2012. One of his key responsibilities was to administer Canada's foreign investment review regime. For almost a year during this period, Mr. Kennedy was also the Prime Minister's representative on the Canada-U.S. Beyond the Border Working Group. In this role, he led the negotiation with the White House of the Canada-U.S. Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, announced by the Prime Minister and President Obama in December 2011.

Mr. Kennedy began his career with the public service in 1990, serving in a variety of progressively senior roles at Transport Canada, the Canadian Coast Guard, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He also held several senior positions at the Privy Council Office, the department supporting the Prime Minister, in the 1990s and 2000s. These most recently included two deputy-level appointments: Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Operations (2008-2010) and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet for Plans and Consultation (2007-2008).

Mr. Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University and a Master of Science in Communications Management from Syracuse University. He is a graduate of INSEAD's Advanced Management Programme. Mr. Kennedy also holds an ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors

Ms. Anne Lyddiatt
National Trainer
Patient Partners in Arthritis Program
Ingersoll, Ontario

Ms. Anne Lyddiatt worked as a nurse primarily in the areas of administration, education and community health until a diagnosis of inflammatory arthritis necessitated leaving the work force. Once her disease was under control she became active in volunteer activities.

Over 20 years ago, Ms. Lyddiatt joined a volunteer program, Patient Partners in Arthritis. In this program, she was trained in basic clinical musculoskeletal examination skills to a level enabling her to lead educational sessions with medical students, residents and health care professionals within the medical school curriculum and CME (continuing medical education) events. Her involvement in the program evolved and, for the past fifteen years, Anne has been the national trainer for the program. Twelve Canadian medical schools include the program in their curriculum, so her duties also involve maintaining standardization of the program and ensuring resources and training are up to date.

Anne has served on and continues to serve on various groups and boards to help in the development and implementation of new knowledge at both the patient and professional level. She is involved in several volunteer activities including Cochrane, OMERACT, CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis and the Arthritis Alliance of Canada.

Mr. Tom Maston
Deputy Minister of Health
Government of New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick

Tom Maston, CPA, CA, CHE, was appointed Deputy Minister of New Brunswick's Department of Health in February 2014. Previously, he had been the Assistant Deputy Minister of the department's Corporate Services Branch. He has seventeen years of experience as a Vice President with New Brunswick's regional health authorities.

Mr. Maston is a Chartered Accountant and has several years of experience in the private sector.He is also a Certified Health Executive through the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Dr. W. Robert McMaster
Vice-President Research, Vancouver Coastal Health
Executive Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. Robert McMaster received a Bachelor and Master of Science from the University of British Columbia UBC) that was followed by a D.Phil. from the University of Oxford. His research interests are in the areas of molecular immunology, parasitology and transplant immunology. He is co-lead on a multi-million initiative "Biomarkers in Transplantation" with funding from Genome Canada/Genome BC and the Prevention of Organ Failure (PROOF) Centre of Excellence.

He is actively involved with national and international granting agencies including the World Health Organization, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research where he serves as the Scientific Officer for the Microbiology and Infectious Diseases Peer Review Grant Committee, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, having served as Chair of the Research Advisory Council.

Dr. McMaster is a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and was Head of the Department, from 2000 to 2010. He also served as Director of the Immunity and Infection Research Centre at the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI), and Director of Transplant Immunology for British Columbia Transplant. He recently was appointed as Executive Director, VCHRI, and Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine, UBC.

Dr. Brian Postl
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Dr. Brian Postl's five-year term as Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba began in July 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Manitoba. He received his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1976 and the Royal College Fellowship in Community Medicine and in Pediatrics in 1981 and 1982, respectively. He was the founding president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), a position he held for ten years.

Dr. Postl has served as head of Pediatrics and Child Health and of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. He has also served as director of the J.A. Hildes Northern Medical Unit and Division of Community and Northern Medicine, and as director of the Faculty of Medicine's community medical residency program.

His research, published works and professional involvement focus on Aboriginal child health, circumpolar health and human resource planning. His contributions in these areas, combined with his experience as a visiting pediatrician to communities in northern Manitoba and Nunavut, contributed to him earning the Canadian Association of Pediatric Health Centre's Child Health Award of Distinction in 2006 and the Inter-Provincial Association on Native Employment's Champion of Aboriginal Employment award in 2007. Dr. Postl serves on a number of committees and boards of provincial and national associations, foundations, institutes and other organizations.

Mr. Marcel Saulnier
Director General, Policy Coordination and Planning Directorate
Strategic Policy Branch
Health Canada

Marcel Saulnier is the Director General of the Policy Coordination and Planning Directorate, Strategic Policy Branch at Health Canada. His career has included policy leadership positions at the Canadian Medical Association, the Prime Minister's Office, Finance Canada, the National Forum on Health and Health and Welfare Canada. Marcel has a master's degree in Economics from the University of Montreal. He has wide-ranging interests in public policy, has written on a number of health policy topics and is a longstanding member of the Board of the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research. Marcel grew up in an Acadian community in south-west Nova Scotia and resides in Ottawa with his wife and three children.

Mr. Yves Savoie
President & Chief Executive Officer
MS Society of Canada
Toronto, Ontario

Yves Savoie joined Heart & Stroke as Chief Executive Officer, Canada, in April 2017. He is a fierce advocate for a health system that is genuinely patient-centred. Yves is deeply knowledgeable about the unique role health charities fulfill, working closely with research communities and governments, to enable Canadians to live healthy lives and to live well with chronic disease and disabilities.

During the last decade, Yves led the MS Society of Canada. Among many accomplishments as President & CEO, he steered a significant renewal initiative to create a more unified organization, reducing expenses through shared services, engaging people with MS actively in the society's research programs, and pressing governments for better support for caregivers and people living with disabilities.

A bilingual native of New Brunswick, Yves brings a depth of fundraising experience to Heart & Stroke, especially in the major gift arena. He is passionate about opportunities to build new streams of revenue and to harness the potential of the digital revolution.

Yves holds a master’s degree in management from McGill University’s McGill-McConnell Program for National Voluntary Sector Leaders. He also has an MBA from Concordia University, and a BA in international relations from the University of Toronto. Earlier in his academic life he attended the Lester B. Pearson College of the Pacific.

Yves is deeply committed to active learning and to collaborative leadership. He is also actively involved in the community and currently serves as a member of Imagine Canada's standards program and of the national steering committee of the federal government's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), dedicated to the integration of research into care.

Dr. Joe V. Selby
Executive Director
Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
Washington, DC

After obtaining his MD Degree from Northwestern, Dr. Selby moved to Northern California for internship and a family medicine residency and eventually an MPH at UC Berkeley. His fellowship project concerned Behavioral Factors in Cardiovascular Disease. He stayed in the bay area at Kaiser Permanente for 27 years, including 13 as Director of Research supervising up to 50 investigators and 500 staff members. He has had academic appointments at UC Berkeley, UCSF and Stanford. He has authored more than 200 peer reviewed articles on far ranging topics such as quality measurement and improvement, primary care delivery, colorectal cancer screening and many studies that could be classified under the heading of “comparative effectiveness” – largely in the areas of diabetes, HTN and cardiovascular disease. He has received honors from the Public Health Service, the American Epidemiological Society, Kaiser Permanente and in 2009 he was elected into the Institute of Medicine. In July 2011 Dr. Selby became the first Executive Director of the Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI). PCORI’s mandate is to improve the quality and relevance of the evidence available in order to help patients, caregivers, employers, insurers and policy makers make informed healthcare decisions.

Dr. Bonnie Stevens
Professor, Faculties of Nursing and Medicine, University of Toronto
Signy Hildur Eaton Chair in Paediatric Nursing Research, Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Bonnie Stevens (RN, PhD) is a Professor in the Lawrence S Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and the Signy Hildur Eaton Chair in Paediatric Nursing Research, Associate Chief Nursing Research and a Senior Scientist in the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is also the Director of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, the Co-Director of the Pain Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Stevens held a Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and the Premier's Research Excellence Award from the Ontario Ministry of Energy, Science and Technology. She has received the Mary Ellen Jeans Lectureship Award from the Canadian Pain Society, the Mayday Pain & Society Fellowship, and the American Pain Society's Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children's Pain Relief. Her research is focused on the assessment and management of pain in infants and children, the evaluation of pediatric health services delivery models, and the effectiveness of knowledge translation strategies. She is currently the PI of the CIHR Team in Children's Pain.

Dr. Stevens has over 200 published papers and abstracts and is the co-editor of the 2007 book "Pain in Neonates and Infants" (Elsevier) and the upcoming "Oxford Textbook of Pain in Children".

Mr. Allan Stordy
President & Chief Executive Officer
Arete Human Resources Inc.
Calgary, Alberta

Allan Stordy, President & CEO of Arete® HR Inc., is a recognized leader and innovator in the employee and business assistance program industry. His commitment to excellence and strong belief that the workplace should not be the cause of employee health or performance issues, led him to found his respected company in 2009.

Under his leadership, Arete improves the well-being of Canadians by proving excellent bilingual assistance services to businesses, associations, organizations and individuals across Canada.

Allan’s interest in total health and advocacy for health research began when he developed a chronic disease that severely impacted his life. He is a founding Board Member and past Chair of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA). Allan served on the Advisory Board for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute for Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) from 2007-2014. He is currently a member of IMHA’s Research Ambassadors and is also a member of the CIHR National Steering Committee for the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR). He is a current Board Member for the AARC Adolescent Recovery Centre and is a member of the advisory council to Alberta’s SPOR Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit Patient Platform. Allan’s interest in public service is also reflected in a 2016 partnership with CTV Two to produce a series of public service videos focussing on raising mental health awareness.

As a result of Allan’s solid belief in evidence-based research initiatives, Arete is recognized a Canadian leader in contributing to the body of knowledge on the effectiveness and value of Employee Assistance Programs.

Active in many initiatives ranging from secondment to the Calgary Olympics Organizing Committee, and technical official at world cup events and the Olympics, to coaching minor league hockey, Allan strongly believes a commitment to community is both a duty and privilege.

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