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PHSA Executive

PHSA’s executive team is a group of experienced and innovative leaders in management and administration, health care, education and research.

Dr. David W. Byres

President & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. David Byres has over 25 years of experience in the health sector, most recently as the Associate Deputy Minister, Clinical Leadership for the B.C. Ministry of Health. He has held responsibility across a number of divisions in the Ministry including Primary Care, Pharmaceutical, Lab and Blood Services, Specialized Services, Population and Public Health, Health Sector Workforce and Beneficiary Services, and the Office of Indigenous Health.

Previously, David served as the Executive Vice President for Providence Health Care and later as the Chief Nurse Executive for the Ministry of Health. His health career began in community mental health and as a registered nurse in medicine, mental health, community, and emergency settings.

David is actively involved in research and is currently a co-principal investigator examining a health equity intervention framework to promote the provision of equity oriented care for Indigenous people in B.C.’s emergency departments.

David holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Bachelor and Masters of Science degree in Nursing. He is an Adjunct Professor with the School of Nursing at UBC and Adjunct Assistant Professor with the School of Nursing at the University of Victoria. He is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders, recipient of the Dean's Medal of Distinction from the UBC Faculty of Applied Science and was recently inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing.

Dr. Leanne Heppell

Interim Executive Vice President, BC Emergency Health Services & Chief Ambulance Officer

Dr. Leanne Heppell joined PHSA in July 2021 on an interim basis, from her position with Providence Health Care as Chief Operating Officer Acute Care & Chief of Professional Practice & Nursing in April 2015. Prior to this role, Leanne was the Vice President, Patient Safety and Innovation; and Chief of Professional Practice and Nursing. 

Leanne brings to her role over 20 years of senior leadership experience, including with Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and the BC Ambulance Service. She is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Victoria. Leanne graduated from UBC as a clinical nurse specialist in the Masters in nursing program, and completed a Masters in Leadership from Royal Roads University in 2003. She is also an academic supervisor of leadership studies at Royal Roads University. Leanne is a values leader with a focus on putting patients and families first. Leanne completed a Doctorate of Business Administration in 2016.

Dr. Maureen O'Donnell

Executive Vice President, Provincial Clinical Policy, Planning & Partnerships

Dr. Maureen O’Donnell

Dr. Maureen O’Donnell is responsible for provincial clinical policy, innovation and research. Her portfolio leads collaborative work to create and execute on system-wide strategies. These apply clinical excellence, data and analytics, discovery and technology to solve challenging and complex issues, act on opportunities for innovation and, with input from patients, care providers and researchers, seek to enact evidence-based improvement in health and health-care across B.C. 

Maureen is an experienced health care leader, clinician and academic. She is a subspecialist pediatrician with a Master of Science in clinical epidemiology and is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia. She has served as chair for a number of national and international boards and national executive committees. She supports her clinical sub-specialty area of pediatrics through her participation with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada on the examination committee. As well, she currently serves on the Board of Directors for Children’s Healthcare Canada where she is immediate past chair and on the Board of Directors the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).  

Ron Quirk

Executive Vice President, Digital Information Services & Innovation

Ron QuirkRon Quirk is responsible for Information Management/ Information Technology Services, Clinical Systems Transformation (CST) and Digital Strategy for PHSA, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care. His teams support digital projects and innovation, working in close partnership with the Office of Virtual Health.

Ron is a leader in health care technology, with 30 years in progressively senior roles within the PHSA IMITS team, including Chief Information Officer and as the current director of the CST project. He brings extensive knowledge and a thorough understanding of our clinical systems and business environments within the province's health authorities. Ron has also worked extensively on evolving provincial eHealth initiatives such as the Provincial Lab Information System and Provincial Diagnostic Imaging Viewer.

Scott MacNair

Executive Vice President, Business Operations

Scott MacNair is responsible for leading business operations within PHSA, with a focus on enhancing value across the provincial health care system. His portfolio includes Supply Chain, Integrated Protection Services, Facilities Management, Provincial Laboratory Medicine Services, as well as Lower Mainland accountability for Diagnostic Imaging Services, Pharmacy and Biomedical Engineering.

Scott has diverse experience in the private sector. Starting in 2008, Scott worked with Stryker Canada, a leading medical technology company. He assumed increasingly senior leadership roles in commercial sales, marketing, contracting, tendering and pricing, operational and commercial performance and financial performance, and in 2016 he took on the role as president. 

Earlier in his career, Scott spent 13 years leading teams in the areas of business development, sales and marketing with Boston Scientific and Xerox. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology and has completed the executive leadership program at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.

Susan Wannamaker

Executive Vice President, Clinical Service Delivery

Susan WannamakerSusan Wannamaker leads clinical delivery programs that support direct patient and client care, including BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, BC Cancer, BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre.

Susan has held diverse executive roles in her 40-year career in health care, including clinical background as a nurse, operational experience in running hospitals, leading significant transformation initiatives and 20 years in leadership roles at Vancouver Coastal Health. Susan has been "hands on" at virtually every level of the B.C. health care system; as a result, she has a deep understanding of how different roles and professions work together, and appreciates how important relationships within and across health authorities are to achieving lasting, positive outcomes.

Most recently, she was president of BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. Prior to that, she was senior vice president at Joseph Brant Hospital in Burlington, Ontario, responsible for all hospital operations and ensuring operational readiness for a new hospital expansion.

Alexandra (Lexie) Flatt

Vice President, Pandemic Response and Chief Data Governance & Analytics Officer

In her role as Vice President, Pandemic Response, Lexie Flatt oversees PHSA’s ongoing organizational pandemic response to COVID-19 and liaises with the Pandemic Response Department at the Ministry of Health, while collaborating with colleagues in similar roles with B.C.’s other health authorities. Lexie ensures PHSA maintains a timely, focused response to pandemic planning needs while maintaining capacity for business continuity across all other health care programs and services.

Lexie also holds the position of Chief Data Governance & Analytics Officer, supporting PHSA to make “data informed” decisions that support the needs of both patients and care providers.

With 25 years’ experience leading complex projects related to analytics, decision support, performance evaluation, funding and reporting in B.C. and Ontario, Lexie will is well versed in leading organizations through strategy, operations and policy development. Her hands-on experience is supplemented with a strong academic background, including an MBA and advanced statistical and research, business, and finance training.

Donna Wilson

Vice President, People & Culture

Donna Wilson

In her role, Donna Wilson is focused on the health and wellbeing of PHSA’s employees and strengthening the organizational culture. She also leads PHSA’s work on equity, diversity and inclusion. 

Prior to joining the health sector in B.C., Donna was Senior Vice President, People, Community and Strategy at LifeLabs, Canada’s largest private laboratory. Donna has held various executive roles in financial services, professional sport events and insurance services since 2001. A highlight of her career was delivering the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver and Whistler as the Executive Vice President, Workforce & Sustainability as part of the Vancouver Olympic Organizing Committee. Donna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Simon Fraser University and an Executive Management Certificate from Queens University, and is a Chartered Director (McMaster University). Donna presently sits as a Director on the BCIT Foundation Board and is Chair of the Human Resources Committee for the College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia.

Joe Gallagher, Kwunuhmen

Vice President, Indigenous Health and Cultural Safety

In this new executive role, Joe Gallagher will guide the further development and evolution of PHSA’s Indigenous Health and Cultural Safety strategy, lead the delivery of cultural safety and humility education, and support PHSA’s Indigenous Health and Human Resources Plan. 
Joe is Coast Salish from the Tla'amin First Nation and has already made extraordinary contributions to B.C.’s health-care system over the course of his career. Joe was the founding chief executive officer of the First Nations Health Authority, the first and only health authority of its kind in Canada, and served as CEO from 2009-2019. Prior to this role, Joe held senior leadership roles at a number of governmental and First Nations organizations, working in areas including health care, community development, economic development and intergovernmental affairs. 

In the last year, Joe has provided executive-level consulting support to B.C. health regulatory colleges and other institutions as they work to address Indigenous-specific racism and achieve cultural safety and humility in health-care settings. 

Kendra McPherson

Vice President, Clinical Improvement & Transformation 

Kendra McPhersonKendra McPherson leads clinical improvement and transformation, which includes the Office of Virtual Health, Health Improvement Networks and PHSA’s coordinating role in primary care. Through the Transformation Leadership Office, Kendra is focused on where PHSA is going from a system perspective, driving our executive leaders to meet milestones and deliver on outcomes critical to the transformation of PHSA and the B.C. health care system overall. 

Kendra has led and managed a number of large, system-wide transformation initiatives provincially, across Canada, and in the United States. Through these experiences, she has developed a deep understanding of issues impacting the continuum of care, as well as insights into what it takes to achieve and sustain strong gains in efficiency, patient care, and clinical outcomes. Kendra holds a Bachelor of Arts in Family and Nutritional Sciences from the University of British Columbia, a Master of Healthcare Administration from Seton Hall University and numerous professional certifications. 

Laurie Dawkins

Vice President, Communications & Stakeholder Engagement

Laurie Dawkins is responsible for internal and external communications across all PHSA portfolios; including media relations, social media, brand, content services and web strategy.

Laurie has more than 25 years’ experience in the communications industry, and holds the international professional designations of Accredited Business Communicator and Strategic Communications Management Professional. In 2017, she was named a Master Communicator of Canada by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC)– Canada. Laurie is an active member of IABC locally, nationally and internationally, a frequent mentor to new communicators, and she holds more than 26 industry awards and honours for her professional work and volunteerism. 

Prior to joining PHSA in November 2018, Laurie served for 17 years with Vancouver Coastal Health in increasingly senior roles, including interim vice president, communications, public affairs & community engagement. Before that, she was privileged to work with organizations like the University of British Columbia, Industry Canada and Placer Dome Mining, among others.

Michael Lord

Vice President, Finance & Chief Financial Officer

Michael Lord provides strategic financial leadership to PHSA and its many robust programs and services and holds executive responsibility for financial strategy, management and reporting as well as employee records and benefits, payroll, timekeeping and scheduling.

Michael has over 20 years of senior leadership experience in the areas of finance, service delivery and policy development. His career includes several years in the BC Public Service, serving with the ministries of Health, Finance, and Social Development & Poverty Reduction. More recently, in Saskatchewan, Michael led the development of provincial accessibility legislation and played a significant role in shaping the future of community housing.

Michael holds a degree in Economics and Political Science, has a Chartered Professional Accountant designation, and is finishing a Certificate in Conflict Resolution and Negotiation.

Dr. Natasha Prodan-Bhalla 

Vice President, Professional Practice, Quality & Safety, and Chief Nursing Executive

Dr. Natasha Prodan-Bhalla is responsible for providing strategic leadership to nursing and allied health professionals across PHSA, for leading the development of a quality framework that includes patient engagement and experience, the PHSA policy office, accreditation, and ethics and spiritual care. Natasha also serves in an advisory capacity as the Provincial Chief Nursing Officer with the B.C. Ministry of Health. 

Prior to this role, Natasha was the Collaborative Practice Leader for Nurse Practitioners with PHSA and still works as a Nurse Practitioner at BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre one day a week in the Heart Program for Women and the Access Clinic. Natasha completed her Doctorate in Nursing Practice from the University of Colorado, holds a Master of Nursing, Adult Nurse Practitioner degree from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario. Natasha also holds a post masters Family Nurse Practitioner certificate from the University of Massachusetts, is a North American Menopause Practitioner, and holds a Cardiovascular Nursing Certification from the Canadian Nursing Association. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the Canadian Academy of Nursing. She is an adjunct professor in the Schools of Nursing at the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria. She was a founding board member of the Nurses and Nurse Practitioners of BC and is the current co-chair of the National Principle Nurses Advisors Task Force. 

Dr. Patrick O’Connor

Interim Vice President, Medical & Academic Affairs 

Dr. Patrick O’Connor is responsible for medical affairs, physician compensation and engagement. He also leads quality and safety for medical staff, including physicians and nurse practitioners, the BC Medical Quality Initiative, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), and oversight for PHSA’s new Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee. 

Patrick has over a decade of experience in senior executive medical leadership at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) where he led Quality and Safety, Medical Affairs, Physician Compensation and the Patient Care Quality Office. Patrick is currently the medical executive lead for the Clinical and Systems Transformation (CST) project across PHSA, VCH and Providence Health Care—a major transformative initiative for all caregivers and patients who will have ready access to health records and data.

Patrick is a Dalhousie Medical School graduate who interned in B.C. and earned his FRCP in anesthesiology at McGill University. He practiced at Vancouver General Hospital until his retirement from clinical medicine, and he remains a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Dr. Réka Gustafson

Vice President, Public Health & Wellness and Deputy Provincial Health Officer

Dr. Réka Gustafson leads the integration of population and public health promotion, planning and prevention across PHSA’s clinical programs. In addition, she provides leadership to the BC Centre for Disease Control. As Deputy Provincial Health Officer, she is responsible for the delegated functions, duties and activities carried out under the Public Health Act.

Réka completed her Master of Science, Master of Health Science and MD degrees at the University of British Columbia. She holds a fellowship in Public Health and Preventative Medicine and certification in Family Medicine. Before her current position, she practiced public health as a Medical Health Officer in Vancouver Coastal Health for over fifteen years.  

Zulie Sachedina

General Counsel & Chief Legal Officer

Zulie Sachedina is responsible for overseeing the Legal, Risk, Privacy, the Patient Care Quality and the Technology Development offices at PHSA. 

Zulie has devoted more than 30 years to public service as a leader, lawyer and human rights advocate. She acquired her Masters in Health Administration and her law degree from the University of Toronto and her LL.M in Global Health Law and Governance from Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC and the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. She is an Adjunct Professor and teaches Health Law at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and is a Technical Advisor for the Global Health Diplomacy Program at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Zulie is an active community volunteer and serves as a Governor of the Law Foundation of British Columbia, an organization with the legislative mandate to fund access to justice initiatives, support law reform and public legal education. As Chair of the Ismaili International Conciliation and Arbitration Board, she leads this global dispute resolution organization, which provides mediation services in 19 jurisdictions across the world.

SOURCE: PHSA Executive ( )
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