AI/IHE Health Policy Speaker Series

2017 |2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

The Institute of Health Economics joined with Alberta Innovates (formerly known as Alberta Innovates-Health Solutions) in 2013 to create a new forum to bring stakeholders together to discuss health policy. The AI/IHE Health Policy Speaker Series features perspectives from leaders in the health system across the spectrum of health evidence, policy, and practice.



2017 Speakers

Dr. Des Gorman, Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland; Executive Chairman of Health Workforce New Zealand

September 26, 2017 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Health workforce planning for uncertainty.

Des Gorman Profile Pic Conventional approaches to health care workforce planning are notoriously unreliable. In part, this is due to the uncertainty of the future health milieu. An approach to health care workforce planning that accommodates this uncertainty is not only possible but can also generate intelligence on which planning and consequent development can be reliably based.

Professor Des Gorman is a Professor of Medicine and Associate Dean, of the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. From 2005 to 2010 inclusive, he was the Head of the School of Medicine of that university.

He has a BSc, MBChB and MD degrees from the University of Auckland, as well as a PhD from the University of Sydney. The two doctorates were awarded for in-vivo research into brain injuries. Professor Gorman’s primary interests are: health system design and funding, health workforce planning and development; and, from a clinical perspective, brain injury, diving medicine, occupational medicine and toxicology. He has more than 250 publications.

He is a member of the Board of Directors of the New Zealand Accident Compensation and Rehabilitation Corporation and is the Executive Chairman of Health Workforce New Zealand - as well as being a member of the Capital Investment Committee of the Ministry of Health. He was a member of the Government’s welfare working group, whose report led to a reform of the New Zealand welfare system. Professor Gorman is currently overseeing or is involved in health reforms in a number of different jurisdictions.

He has served in both the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy. During his service in the former, he trained as both a submariner and as a diver.


2016 Speakers

Ken Spears, Canadian Country Director and Regional Vice President of Boston Scientific; member of MEDEC’s Board of Directors

December 14, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Canada’s health care at the crossroads. How Canada can use technology to become an exporter of solutions to health care’s most pressing challenges.

Ken Spears Profile Pic Ken Spears is the Canadian Country Director and Regional Vice President of Boston Scientific. He began his medical device career in 1991 with Abbott Laboratories and joined Boston Scientific Canada in 2004 as Director of Cardiology.

In 2005, Ken was promoted to Canadian Country Director of Boston Scientific. He currently serves on the MEDEC Board of Directors and recently joined the EXCITE Management Board of Directors.

Ken is an active health system advocate focused on improving patient outcomes, health system value for money and the evidence-based adoption of innovative health technology.


Dr. Naveen Rao, MD, FACP; Lead, Merck for Mothers, Merck & Co., Inc

December 1, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Public-private partnerships are essential to addressing today’s global health challenges: Bringing government, industry, and non-governmental organizations together to address the world’s pressing health problems.

Dr. Naveen Rao leads Merck for Mothers, Merck’s 10-year, $500 million initiative to reduce maternal mortality around the world. In this capacity, Dr. Rao is responsible for leveraging the company’s science and business expertise to accelerate progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals and advancing Merck & Co., Inc. mission to improve and save lives.

Dr. Rao has held numerous leadership positions at Merck & Co., Inc. and was previously Head of Medical Affairs for Merck's Asia-Pacific region and Managing Director of Merck’s subsidiary in India.

Dr. Rao is Board Certified in Internal Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians. He was Associate Director of the Department of Medicine at Beekman Downtown Hospital and practiced Internal Medicine in New York City for 10 years prior to joining Merck in 1993.

Dr. Rao is a member of the Board of Overseers of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, member of the Board of Directors of GBC Health and Chairs the Maternal Health Pillar of the MDG Health Alliance, an effort supporting UN agencies to improve the health of women and children.


Omar Ishrak, Chairman and CEO, Medtronic

July 19, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Observations on Value-Based Health Care

Developing partnership models which will contribute to and thrive in value-based healthcare systems, with the goal of reducing healthcare costs and improving patient outcomes.

Omar Ishrak has served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Medtronic since June 2011. Medtronic is the world’s leading medical technology company, with more than $27 billion in annual revenue, and operations reaching more than 155 countries worldwide. Medtronic offers technologies, solutions and therapies to treat a wide range of medical conditions, including cardiac and vascular diseases, respiratory, neurological and spinal conditions, diabetes, and more. The Medtronic Mission is to alleviate pain, restore health, and extend life for millions of people around the world.

Since joining Medtronic, Omar has focused the company on three core strategies of Therapy Innovation, Economic Value and Globalization. These three strategies form the basis for Medtronic’s efforts to partner with its customers to drive high quality patient outcomes, expand patient access to healthcare, and lower costs in health care systems around the world. In 2014, Omar engineered the acquisition of Covidien, a $10 billion global manufacturer of surgical products and supplies. The acquisition of Covidien was the largest medical technology acquisition in the history of the industry.

Omar joined Medtronic from General Electric Company, where he spent 16 years, most recently as President and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems, a $12 billion division of GE Healthcare, with a broad portfolio of diagnostic, imaging, patient monitoring and life support systems. Omar also served as an Officer and a Senior Vice President of GE.

Earlier in his career, Omar amassed 13 years of technology development and business management experience, holding leadership positions at Diasonics/Vingmed, and various product development and engineering positions at Philips Ultrasound.

He grew up in Bangladesh, earned a Bachelor of Science Degree and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of London, King's College.

Omar is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Asia Society, the leading educational organization dedicated to promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among peoples, leaders and institutions of Asia and the United States in a global context.


Sir Paul Nurse, Director and Chief Executive, The Francis Crick Institute

May 5, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Founding a new Biomedical Research Institute.

Paul Nurse is a geneticist and cell biologist who has worked out, using yeast as a model organism, how the eukaryotic cell cycle is controlled and how cell shape and cell dimensions are determined. His major work has been on the cyclin dependent protein kinases and how they regulate the cell cycle. He is President of the Royal Society and Director of the Francis Crick Institute in London and has served as Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK and President of Rockefeller University (New York City) 2003-2011. In 2001 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine and has received the Albert Lasker Award, the Gairdner Award and the Royal Society’s Royal and Copley Medals. Sir Paul was knighted in 1999 and received the Legion d’honneur in 2003.

The Francis Crick Institute is a consortium of six of the UK’s most successful scientific and academic organisations, including the Medical Research Council, Cancer Research UK, the Wellcome Trust, University College London, Imperial College London and King’s College London. Sir Paul, as Director and Chief Executive, is responsible for implementing its scientific vision and research strategy.


Dr. Eric Meslin, President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies.

April 5, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

On Sharing Data in a Data-Focused World: Navigating Ethical Issues and the Policy Environment to Promote Health.

Countless opportunities arise for enhancing health from the growing capacity to collect and share health information from a variety of sources for a number of uses. The creation of electronic health records provide hospitals with the opportunity to reduce risk and improve outcomes; and to empower patients with the opportunity to take more responsibility for their health. Similarly, the collection and use of data (digital and biological) at a system level offer public health benefits, coordination of care, and research platforms for adding to the store of knowledge. These benefits do not come without risks, however, some of which can be mitigated by good policy, and others require more creative approaches. This talk will discuss some ways to anticipate and address the challenges arising from health data collection and sharing.

Eric. M Meslin is President and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies. He joined the Council in February, 2016, bringing with him more than 25 years of experience in science policy in both University and government settings.

Born in Canada, Dr. Meslin received his BA from York University, and his MA and PhD from Georgetown University in Washington D.C. both in philosophy/bioethics and science policy. he has been an advisor to domestic and international organizations including the World Health Organization and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and sat on committees of the Institute of Medicine (now National Academy of Medicine), the National Institutes of Health, and the Board of Directors of Genome Canada. In 2015 he was appointed Vice-Chair of the UK Biobank Ethics and Governance Council.


Dr. Murray Ross, Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.

January 22, 2016 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

We’ve got the data; now what? The roles of governance, performance metrics, and attribution in supporting secondary use of electronic health records to drive quality improvement.

Murray Ross is Vice President, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and leads the Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy in Oakland, California. Kaiser Permanente is the largest private integrated health care delivery system in the U.S., serving over 10 million people in eight states and Washington, D.C. The Institute seeks to shape public policy and private practice by sharing experience from Kaiser Permanente's operations through publications, expert roundtables, and conferences.

Dr. Ross speaks frequently to domestic and international audiences on a wide range of health care topics and serves on a number of academic and non-profit boards. His current work focuses on how American health care can make better use of new medical technologies and how public policy can support better alignment of clinical and financial decision-making to improve health and the quality and affordability of health care. He also has a long-standing interest in improving communications in health care, both between patients and providers and also between knowledge producers and policy influencers.


2015 Speakers

Dr. Makoto Suematsu, President, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development

November 23, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

AMED: Mission and challenge

Dr. Makoto Suematsu is the President of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development. Dr. Makoto Suematsu's role as President is to fast track medical R&D in Japan to improve the quality of life for people. To this end, his challenge is to tackle obstacles in previous funding systems.

Dr. Suematsu is also the leader of the Japan Science and Technology Agency, ERATO, Suematsu Gas Biology Project in which he discovered several intriguing gas-responsive receptors in mammals. Prior to this, he was the Dean of the School of Medicine at Keio University in Tokyo from October 2007 to March 2015.


Carolyn Gullery, Canterbury and West Coast District Health Boards, New Zealand

June 8, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

The Canterbury Health System Transformation Journey

Carolyn Gullery currently works for the Canterbury DHB as General Manager of Planning, Funding, and Decision Support. She advises health systems in UK and Australia on system integration, funding models, alliancing, and the use of data to drive change in health care delivery. Her focus has always been to develop new models that support an integrated health system response, organized around the needs of the person and the population, in a way that ultimately reduces demand on the whole system. She has almost 30 years of experience in public sector and private health sector roles that includes working as Chief Executive of New Zealand's largest primary health organization.


Professor Lap-Chee Tsui, Professor Emeritus, University of Toronto

March 27, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

A Journey from Genomic Science to Health Solutions

Born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong, Professor Tsui received his bachelors’ degrees from the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in 1979. He joined the Department of Genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in 1983, where his work led to the identification of the defective gene that causes Cystic Fibrosis. He has 300 peer-reviewed scientific publications and 65 invited book chapters. Dr. Tsui was most recently the Vice-Chancellor and President of The University of Hong Kong (September 2002 – March 2014).

He maintains close ties with the Canadian genomics community as Emeritus University Professor, University of Toronto, and Adjunct Scientist, Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute.

Dr. Tsui is the recipient of many national and international prizes, is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences USA and a Laureate of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He received the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario.

This event was free in honor of the late Dr. Cy Frank (1949-2015), President and CEO of AIHS


Dr. Reinhard Busse, Department Head for Health Care Management, Technische Universität Berlin

January 26, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Healthcare reform in times of constraint: experiences from Europe

Dr. Reinhard Busse is professor and department head for health care management in the Faculty of Economics and Management at Technische Universität Berlin. He is also the Deputy Director and Head of the Berlin Hub of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. His research focuses on methods and contents of comparative health system analysis. He is also an expert in health services research including cost-effectiveness analyses, health targets, and health technology assessment (HTA). His department collaborates with the WHO Centre for Health System Research and Management.


2014 Speakers

Professors John Gabbay and Andrée le May, University of Southampton.

October 21, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Introducing evidence-based innovations into healthcare systems: lessons from a series of UK studies

Professors John Gabbay, FFPH, and Andrée le May, RN PhD, have collaborated since 2000 using rigorous ethnographic and action research methods to understand and improve the way that research-based knowledge is used in the every-day practice of healthcare.

John's long career spans medicine, history and philosophy of science, public health, HTA, and NHS management research. Since the mid-1980s Andrée has been a senior academic nurse researching and teaching evidence-based practice, the dissemination and implementation of research, and communities of practice.


Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England

June 10, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Against the odds: the creation of NIHR and the impact on front line health workers

Dame Sally is the Chief Medical Officer for England and her role is to guide government decisions on all matters of public health, including such issues as superbugs, drug trials and obesity. She developed the National Institute for Health Research in 2006 with a budget of £1 billion. A hematologist by training, her research interests focus on sickle cell disease. Dame Sally was named a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to medicine in 2009. This year she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.


Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, President of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences

March 14, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Quality, Safety and Value in Health Care

Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is the 2013 Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research winner and the President of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He served as Provost of Harvard University and Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health. He has devoted most of his academic career to the fields of health policy and medical decision-making.


Neil D. Fraser, President of Medtronic of Canada Limited

January 14, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Driving Canadian Medical Technology Innovation

In 2013, Mr. Fraser became an Advisory Board Member for the Life Sciences Division of the National Research Council Canada. He is also Chair of the Ivey International Centre for Health Innovation Advisory Council, an executive board member of MEDEC, and co-chair of the Centre for the Advancement of Health Innovations at the Conference Board of Canada.


Question and Answer Series:


2013 Speakers

Dr. Paul Corrigan

December 10, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Some early outcomes from People Powered Health in England, Engaging people in co-production of health care

As part of the Health Policy Speaker Series the Institute of Health Economics and Alberta Innovates with support from KPMG, proudly present: Dr. Paul Corrigan.

Professor Paul Corrigan served as Prime Minister Tony Blair's senior health policy advisor for six years starting in 2005. He was instrumental in developing all the major themes of NHS reform not only in terms of policy levers but also in developing capacity throughout the NHS to use those levers. Between June 2007 and March 2009 he was the director of strategy and commissioning at the London Strategic Health Authority.


Simon Denegri, Chair of INVOLVE and National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research

October 16, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Going Public: Engaging the Public in Health Research and Innovation

Simon Denegri is Chair of INVOLVE - the national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research, funded by the UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) - and NIHR’s National Director for Public Participation and Engagement in Research. He blogs about the public and health research at


Honourable Fred Horne, Minister of Health

May 24, 2013 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Alberta’s Direction for a Sustainable Health System

For the first lecture in the series, IHE and AI invited the Honourable Fred Horne, Minister of Health, to address current and future challenges for health care providers and decision-makers.

Fred Horne was elected to his second term as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for Edmonton-Rutherford on April 23, 2012. On May 8, 2012, Mr. Horne was appointed as Minister of Health. He had served as Minister of Health and Wellness since October 2011. He also served as a member of the Cabinet Policy Committee on Public Health & Safety and the Treasury Board. He was also a member of the Standing Committee on Health. Prior to serving with the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, Mr. Horne worked as a health policy consultant for over 25 years, serving various government bodies and regional health authorities in addition to the public, private and not-for-profit sectors.