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Strategic Advisory Board

The O’Brien Institute for Public Health Strategic Advisory Board has been established to help the Institute define strategies for achieving positive health impacts for Albertans, while also achieving academic excellence at national and international levels.  The Board will be advisory to the Institute’s leadership and its Executive Committee.

Terms of Reference

Current Members

Chris Seasons - CHAIR

Chris Seasons, Senior Advisor & Director of ARC Financial Corp., provides leadership support for the ARC executive team in the areas of strategy and risk management, as well as investment decision-making. He brings over 30 years of operating experience covering all facets of the Canadian upstream oil and gas industry. Chris is a member of ARC’s Investment and Strategy committees. He currently represents ARC on the board of Longshore Resources Ltd.

Prior to joining ARC in February 2015, Chris was President of Devon Canada Corp., a 200,000 bbl/d company with diverse assets in the WCSB for 10 years. His experience also includes working for a large multi-national, both domestically and internationally, and a junior Calgary based exploration and acquisition company. He obtained his Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemical Engineering (1982) from Queen’s University and is a professional engineer registered in Alberta. He was a former Chairman of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) and a member of the Oilsands CEO Council, as well as chairing numerous other committees. He is a current director and past Chair of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, and a former director of the United Way of Calgary and Area and former Co-Chair of the Calgary United Way campaign.

Dr. Francois Belanger

Dr. Francois Belanger is the Acting Vice President, Quality and Chief Medical Officer for Alberta Health Services and member of the executive leadership team. His current role is to help oversee the integration and coordination of a complex health delivery model for the province through seven accountability functions: Provincial Clinical Support Services, CancerControl Alberta, Quality & Healthcare Improvement, Strategic Clinical Networks, Clinical Informatics and Clinical Information Systems, Medical Affairs and maintaining effective partnerships with academic institutions and other physician led organizations.

A key mandate of the Quality and CMO position is to maintain a strong emphasis on the importance of quality and patient safety, engagement, leadership development and relationships between the medical staff and the health care system.

Prior to assuming this interim role, Dr. Belanger was the Vice President and Medical Director, Central and Southern Alberta and the Medical Director, Calgary Zone. He has also held several medical leadership positions in AHS and the former Calgary Health Region. These include Senior Vice-President and Zone Medical Director for the Calgary Zone (AHS); Acting Executive Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer of AHS; Zone Medical Director, Calgary Zone, (AHS); and the Calgary Health Region/University of Calgary interim and deputy department head of Pediatrics. He continues to practice as a Pediatric Emergency Physician at the Alberta Children's Hospital and South Health Campus in Calgary.

Originally from Ottawa, Dr. Belanger obtained his medical degree from the University of Ottawa. His post-graduate work in Pediatrics was done at the University of Alberta and McGill University. He completed his fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine at McGill University. Dr. Belanger continues to be active in resident education, maintaining his status as a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Calgary.

Dr. Belanger has assumed active roles in national organizations. He was the President of the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) from 2002-04 and chaired the Specialty Committee, Paediatric Emergency Medicine, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada from 2006 to 2012.

Dr. Belanger is a patient-focused senior health executive who is recognized for his commitment in building quality and safety cultures, and realizing whole system performance and transformation. He is a collaborator-builder noted for his “bottom up” approach, and developing strong ties with clinicians, academic medicine, and other community stakeholders for meeting patient needs, and accomplishing high level organizational goals. He is an enthusiastic strategic and operational medical leader who moves teams towards implementing creative solutions and attaining greater system functioning and patient outcomes.

Dr. Belanger lives in the Foothills close to Calgary, Alberta. He is an avid cyclist and likes to travel and spend time with his family

  Dr. Ron Bridges

Dr. Ron Bridges is a graduate of the Faculty of Medicine, University of
Calgary (1981). He completed postgraduate family medicine training at
McMaster University (1983) and specialty training in Internal Medicine and
Gastroenterology at the University of Calgary (1989). He maintains
membership in the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG),
American Gastroenterological Association, Alberta Society of
Gastroenterology, Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver,
American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, Canadian Society of
Physician Executives, Alberta Medical Association, Canadian Medical
Association and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (RCPSC).

Dr. Bridges has held several significant professional positions including
President of the Alberta Society of Gastroenterology, Chair of the CAG
Education Committee, Chair of the RCPSC Gastroenterology Examination
Committee, President of the CAG, Head Division of Gastroenterology at the
University of Calgary, and Associate Chief Medical Officer for the Calgary
Health Region. He was also instrumental in developing the Forzani and
MacPhail Colon Cancer Screening Centre that opened in Calgary in 2008.

Dr. Bridges is presently Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean
(Faculty Affairs), Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is currently a member of the: President’s Council, Canadian Digestive Health Foundation; Past President’s Council, CAG; Strategic Advisory Boards for the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta and the O’Brien Institute for Public


  Lauchlan Currie

Lauchlan Currie is Co-CEO and Director of ARC Financial Corp., responsible for ARC's investment activities where he leads our team responsible for managing existing fund investments and identifying and developing new investment opportunities. He is a member of ARC’s Executive, Investment and Strategy committees. Lauchlan currently represents ARC on the board of Aspenleaf Energy Limited, Capio Energy Inc. and Tangle Creek Energy Ltd.. 

Lauchlan’s education includes an M.B.A. from Queen’s University and a B.Sc. in Geology from the University of Calgary, and a designated P.Geol. in Alberta. He is a Member of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health Strategic Advisory Board and Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of The Calgary Highlanders.

Lauchlan was Chairman of the Board of the Glenbow Museum, former Oil & Gas Section Chairman of the United Way, past Fundraiser of the Year for the Calgary Homeless Foundation, former member of the 2012 Advisory Council of The Calgary Stampede and past Director of the Southern Alberta Land Trust Society.

Jack Davis

Jack Davis is the Chairman of CEO.Mobile Inc, a company that advises CEOs and corporations on leadership and strategy 

From 1999 to 2008, Jack served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Calgary Health Region. Prior to this role, Jack was responsible for the Alberta Public Service as Deputy Minister of Executive Council with several years of previous experience as a deputy minister in various government departments including Solicitor General, Municipal Affairs and Housing, Aboriginal Affairs, Transportation and Utilities and Health.

Jack graduated from the University of Regina with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy (Hons.) and a Masters of Arts in Psychology, and is accredited as a Chartered Psychologist in Alberta. Jack currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of the Pure North Foundation and is on the Boards of Directors of Teranet Inc., CBI Health Group, Lifelabs Inc and the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships. In addition Jack is Chair of the Advisory Council for the O'Brien Bachelor of Health Science Program and is a member of the Advisory Councils of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the O'Brien Institute for Public Health, all of which are associated with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary.

Jack has previously served on the boards of the Alberta Social Housing Corporation, Alberta Energy and Utilities Advisory Board, Scripps Foundation for Medicine and Science, Mount Royal University, Banff Centre and the Sinneave Family Foundation.

  Peter de Jong 

Born and raised in Calgary, Peter grew up in a household where hard work was encouraged. This continues today as hard work is what best defines him, whether it be as an accomplished amateur wrestler, representing Canada in two Junior World Championships, or working up north in the Oil and Gas industry to help fund his education. This attitude continued when Peter began his career with RBC Dominion Securities in 2005. Under the tutelage of an experienced Vice President, Peter earned the right to succeed him in the management of his client assets.

Peter's strongest support comes from his family at home. Married in 2006, Peter and his wife, Tina, met in college. Peter credits much of his success to the foundation of support he receives from her. Peter and Tina are the proud parents of their young toddler son Ryker.

Proud of his accomplishments in Calgary, Peter feels that it is important to give back to a community that has provided him with so many opportunities. Peter and Tina's charities of choice include the United Way of Calgary and Cochrane Humane Society.

  Dr. Chris Eagle 

Dr. Chris Eagle is now a retired Professor at the University of Calgary (maintaining an adjunct appointment in the Department of Community Health Sciences) and holds adjunct professorships at the Universities of Alberta, Victoria, and Royal Roads. He is an acknowledged leader in health care.

Dr. Eagle twice graduated from the University of Calgary (BScHons 1973, MD 1977) and holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. He specialized in cardiac anesthesiology. In 1991, he was appointed professor and head of the Department of Anesthesia at the University of Calgary. He has published more than 70 articles and has made many addresses to various professional societies, many in the area of health care quality and safety. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (1981), Diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiologists (1982), and Honorary Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthesia (1995).

Dr. Eagle has had an extensive career in health care administration. He served as President and CEO of Alberta Health Services. He was also President and COO of the Calgary Health Region. He served as Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Medical Education at the University of Calgary. He is past-Chair of the Specialty Committee of Anesthesia, former Chief Examiner and Examiner in Anesthesia for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Dr. Eagle has served as a Board member on a number of health organizations. He was on the inaugural Board for the Health Quality Council of Alberta and served on the Board of the Canadian Institute of Health Information.

Dr. Tom Feasby

Dr. Tom Feasby received his MD degree from the University of Manitoba, trained in Neurology at the University of Western Ontario, completed a research fellowship at the Institute of Neurology in London, UK, and trained in health services research at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California and UCLA.  

He founded Canada’s leading stroke program in Calgary, and the Calgary Neuromuscular and ALS Clinics. As the head from 1992-2002, he built the Department of Clinical Neurosciences in Calgary into the leading department in Canada.  

His early research focused on the pathophysiology and treatment of nerve diseases, especially Guillain-Barré Syndrome. His current research is in health services, specifically the quality, appropriateness and overuse of medical interventions. His research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He has published over 100 scientific research papers as well as op-ed articles in leading Canadian newspapers.  

He was Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Capital Health in Edmonton and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Alberta from 2003-07. He served as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary from 2007-2012. He currently serves on the Boards of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. In 2014, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Western University and in 2015 received the Medal for Distinguished Service from the Alberta Medical Association.

  Kevin Hall

Kevin Hall is Canadian Managing Partner of AltoPartners / Bluestone Leadership Services and Global Leader of AltoPartners Natural Resources Practice Group. Kevin is responsible for the Canadian board and executive recruitment, and leadership services consulting practices.

Kevin graduated from the University of the West of England and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is a Canadian Certified Management Consultant and an alumnus of Bearing Point, Ernst & Young and KPMG. Kevin has also held senior executive level financial and operating positions with Alberta and Toronto based publicly traded and privately held companies.

Kevin has been active in the Alberta business community for over thirty years having served on various Boards of Directors and Special Committees including: The Canadian Hostelling Association, The Calgary Foundation, Trout Unlimited Canada and the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre.  Kevin currently serves on the: Strategic Advisory Board, Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary; YouthLink Police Interpretive Centre Board and the STAT Healthcare Corporation Board.


Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn 

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn is Head of the Community Health Sciences Department at the University of Calgary since October 1, 2014. She obtained a PhD in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from McGill University, with an MD from McMaster University and subspecialty training in nephrology from the University of Calgary. Dr. Hemmelgarn is a Professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences and Medicine at the University of Calgary. 

Dr. Hemmelgarn’s research interests are in the study of chronic medical conditions including chronic kidney disease, diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease, as well as health services research aimed at improving management of these chronic conditions. Dr. Hemmelgarn holds provincial and national operating grants, and is the recipient of the Roy and Vi Baay Chair in Kidney Research. She is also actively involved in Clinical Practice Guideline development both nationally through the Canadian Society of Nephrology and internationally through KDIGO, and has over 350 peer-reviewed publications.


Jay Mehr

Jay Mehr was named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Shaw Communications in December 2013. He currently leads day-to-day operations, technology & networks operations, supply chain, Consumer and Business strategy, continuous improvement and transformational initiatives which serve almost 8 million Canadians.

He has held a number of operational leadership roles over his 18 years at Shaw, including Senior Vice President, Operations; Group Vice President, Operations, Shaw Cable; Vice President, Operations as well as Regional Manager roles in BC and Ontario.

He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta. He is also Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for Contemporary Calgary.

Dr. Jon Meddings

Dr. Jon Meddings has a long and accomplished history with the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. He began his first term as Dean of the school in July 2012 having served as Vice Dean since 2009, and previously as Interim Vice-President (Research) of the University of Calgary (2010), head of the Division of Gastroenterology, and as a professor in the Department of Medicine, while continuing to be an active member of the medical community. He also served as Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta from 2004 to 2009.

After receiving his BMSc and MD from the University of Alberta, Dr. Meddings completed his internship in Dunedin, New Zealand at Wakari Hospital, his residency in Edmonton at the University of Alberta Hospital, and two fellowships in Dallas at the University of Texas Health Science Centre. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1983 and was inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2010.

He has been honoured with several awards and distinctions for his research innovations in celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease and bowel permeability. He is dedicated to excellence in research and education, and improving patient care in Calgary and beyond.

Gail O'Brien

Born in Montreal, and with a Bachelors Degree in English and Fine Arts from McGill University, Gail moved to Calgary with her husband David and 3 children in 1978. Her career in fashion spanned the next 25 years including 10 years as General Manager of Holt Renfrew Calgary.

During that time Gail began her deep commitment to community involvement serving on the boards of both the Y.W.C.A Board of Calgary, and as Vice-Chair of the Glenbow Museum. Since her retirement, she has devoted herself full time to the Not-for-Profit sector focusing largely on Women, Medicine and the Arts in organizations across Canada. 

In 2005, the O’Brien Centre for the Bachelor of Health Sciences became a reality thanks to a foundational gift from Gail and David O’Brien and in 2014, a second major gift from the O’Briens named the O’Brien Institute of Public Health at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.

Gail’s broad commitment to the NFP Sector has and continues to include many Board Governance roles. Current commitments include: The Hospital for Sick Children Board of Trustees and Foundation Board of Directors; Co-Chair, Council for Canadian American Relations; Trustee of the National Arts Centre; Director of Business for the Arts; Chair of the Dean’s Advisory Board of the Cumming School of Medicine; Chair of the Southern Alberta Cancer Institute Advisory Board; and member of other Institute Advisory Boards at the CSM including the O’Brien Centre for the BHSc and the O'Brien Institute for Public Health Past Board commitments include Chair of the National Arts Centre Foundation and Trustee of the Ontario Science Centre. 

Gail received the Women of Distinction Award for Business and Entrepreneurs in the year 2000. In 2010, Gail received an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Calgary as well as the Eric Harvey Award from the Glenbow Museum. In September 2011, Gail received the Alberta Medical Association Award of Honor (for a non medical person) for her contribution to Health Quality in Alberta. 

Gail is married to David O’Brien. They have 3 children and 10 grandchildren all residing in Toronto.

Denise Perret

Denise Perret joined Alberta Health as the Assistant Deputy Minister of Strategic Planning and Policy Development in January 2015. Denise has over 25 years of experience in public law, policy development and management. Her legal career has largely involved the provision of corporate counsel services. She worked for the City of St. Albert as City Solicitor and Director of Corporate Services and served as in-house counsel for the Appeals Commission for Alberta Workers’ Compensation. In 2005, Denise joined Alberta Health and Wellness as a member of the Legislative and Legal Services (LLS) team and went on to become the LLS Director and a member of the Alberta Health executive. In 2012, Denise became Assistant Deputy Minister in Justice and Solicitor General, and then Deputy Chief of Policy Coordination Office.

Prior to coming to the Alberta Public Service, Denise held several policy positions in the Saskatchewan Public Service, including: Manager of Policy and Programs; Employment Development Agency; Special Assistant to the Deputy Minister; Economic Development and Trade; and Policy Analyst for the Ministry of Finance. Throughout her career she has worked with and provided analytical, strategic and legal advice at an executive leadership level.

Denise has a Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of Alberta and a Master of Public Administration Degree from Queen’s University.

Robert (Bob) Sartor

With an Executive MBA in International Business from Columbia University and a C.P.A. designation, Bob’s business achievements have notably utilized his qualifications as an Insolvency specialist. To his credit, during his tenure in the most senior executive roles, he is credited with improving the fortunes of several multi-million dollar organizations.

Bob has more than 35 years of business acumen in the areas of the food wholesale, pulp paper processing, sports retail and franchisee operations. An accomplished leader, for 16 years he led the Forzani Group to success before brokering the $770 million sale of FGL to Canadian Tire.

As of 2012, Bob assumed the role of President and CEO of Big Rock Brewery. His current objective is to inspire innovation and grow market share bringing premium Big Rock craft brews to all who enjoy the best beers.

Bob is a ‘business dynamo’, but as leisure time permits, he is an avid sportsman enjoying mountaineering, windsurfing, paddle-boarding, skiing (alpine and cross-country), sailing, trekking and cycling. Bob and Andrea have been happily married for 35 years. Together they have three adult children, all of whom are successful professionals in their own right.

John Sproule

John Sproule is the Senior Policy Director for the Institute of Health Economics (IHE), a position he has held since 2007. He is currently on secondment to the Deputy Ministers Office in Alberta Health. Prior to joining the IHE he served as Vice-President of Strategic Planning and Community Engagement with Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and worked with Merck Frosst Canada Ltd in health and industry policy planning (including a secondment with Merck Sharpe & Dohme Australia).

Mr. Sproule worked with Government of Alberta as Director of the Office of the Deputy Minister of Health, from 1987 to 1998 leading and supporting a number of significant policy and legislative changes in the Alberta health system.

He has served on many federal/provincial committees in health and as a Board member with a number of health policy academic associations including Canadian Health Economics Research Association, Canadian Association for Population Therapeutics and the inaugural board of the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research. He has served on the Board for Health Technology Assessment International (which the IHE hosts the secretariat for) and was past-Chair of the Health Care Working Group for PNWER (the Pacific Northwest Economic Region), a US/Canada statutory body focused on public/private leadership on a wide variety of public policy issues.

Dr. Marcello Tonelli

Dr. Marcello Tonelli is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Faculty of Medicine (1995), and completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Western Ontario (1998), Dalhousie University (2002) and the Harvard School of Public Health (2002). He spent 12 years with the University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine as a professor in the faculties of medicine and public health sciences, and a staff nephrologist at the University of Alberta Hospital. He joined the University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine in 2014, taking on the role of Senior Associate Dean (Health Research) and Associate Vice-President (Health Research), Nephrologist and Professor Department of Medicine.

Dr. Tonelli’s primary research focus is improving the care of people with chronic kidney disease and other chronic health conditions. He has partnered with regional, provincial and national decision-making bodies to inform clinical practice and impact health policy in this area. He is currently a co-lead for the Alberta-based Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration, chair of the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care, and an Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions Population Health Scholar.

Dr. Tonelli was the recipient of the 2013 United States National Kidney Foundation Medal for Distinguished Service and the Kidney Foundation of Canada’s 2013 Medal for Research Excellence for changing nephrology practice in Canada and beyond. Along with the two other team co-leads, he received a Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Award from the CIHR-CMAJ in 2013 for his work with the Interdisciplinary Chronic Disease Collaboration. He was elected a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2012 and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 2014.

Janelle Wakaruk

Janelle Wakaruk is Director of Development, Fund Development in the
Cumming School of Medicine, where an important part of her portfolio is
the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. Janelle has worked in both
communications and fund development for over 14 years, and specializes
in: major and principal gifts fundraising, strategic planning and relationship
building with the goal of creating a sustainable funding environment for
Cumming School of Medicine research priorities. She is most proud of her
work in strategically building strong relationships with community,
volunteers and donors. In addition to her fundraising role at the University
of Calgary, Janelle volunteers her time and expertise to various boards and organizations.

Dr. Gerald Zamponi

Dr. Gerald Zamponi is an internationally recognized expert on the biophysics, molecular biology, modulation, and pharmacology of ion channels and their role in nervous system function. His research focuses on exploring how these channels contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain. His goal is to develop strategies to regulate ion channel function for therapeutic intervention.

Dr. Zamponi’s scientific work has garnered dozens of national and international awards. He has also authored more than 230 papers in top tier scientific journals and has been invited to present at over 200 scientific conferences around the world. In addition, his research on ion channel therapeutics has resulted in numerous patents.

Dr. Zamponi served as Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and is currently the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neurobiology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Zamponi previously served as Research Director at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

Past members 


Miin  Alikhan
Denise Perret


Derek Evans
Linda Mattern 
Verna Yiu


Chip Doig
Barb Giba