Chronic Disease at Work
February 8-9, 2022 | Virtual event
Alison Dantas, chief executive officer, Canadian Chiropractic Association
Alison Dantas is an accomplished association executive with a passion for social change and organizational effectiveness and innovation.
She joined the Canadian Chiropractic Association as chief executive officer in July 2012 following an exemplary advocacy and management career in not-for-profit professional healthcare associations—including positions as the chief executive officer of the Ontario Association of Naturopathic Doctors and the executive director of the Association of Ontario Midwives. She has obtained valuable experience in government (Ombudsman Ontario), social services (Community Social Planning Council of Toronto), community involvement (Peel Rape Crisis Centre) and social housing (Peel Living). Dantas is also the recipient of awards from the Canadian Society of Association Executives and the Peel Institute. The Peel Rape Crisis Centre honoured her with its remarkable woman award for significant contributions toward ending violence against women and children. She was recently honored by the University of Western States with an honorary doctor of laws degree for her work in setting up a national Student Chiropractic Association to help Canadian chiropractic students stay connected to the CCA while they complete their studies and to integrate into the profession seamlessly once they graduate.
Kristy Dickinson, founder and chief executive officer, Chronically Simple
Kristy is a mom to three kids, a wife to a first responder and an entrepreneur. She’s also a rare disease patient. Prior to her diagnosis, Kristy ran a successful staff recruitment firm. Her lift was kept busy meeting with clients, traveling for work, and running a busy household. When Kristy was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome at 37, her life changed in an instant. Following her diagnosis, she closed her firm so that she could manage her health full-time. When she went looking for a solution to manage all of the administrative tasks that accompany life with a chronic illness, nothing existed. Kristy created Chronically Simple to manage her healthcare and with the intention to empower others to do the same.
Dr. Mary Forhan, scientific director-elect, Obesity Canada
Dr. Mary Forhan is an occupational therapist and scientist. For over 20 years, Dr. Forhan has worked as an occupational therapist in acute care, tertiary care and community settings. Dr. Forhan’s clinical experience includes working with clients living with mental health disorders and clients living with chronic health conditions including obesity. In 2013, Dr. Forhan launched the bariatric care and rehabilitation research group with a vision to better understand and address factors that contribute to the disability experience of individuals living with obesity. Such factors are physiological, psychological and can be situated in the built and social environments. She has won a number of awards for innovative occupational therapy practice and contributions to science in the area of obesity and bariatric care. Dr. Forhan is chair and associate professor in the department of occupational science & occupational therapy, Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto and is the scientific director-elect for Obesity Canada.
Richard Jonkers, principal medical science advisor, Medtronic
Marie-Josée (MJ) Lafleur, IBD patient advocate
Marie-Josée (MJ) Lafleur has worked for over 20 years in public policy and program delivery for the government of Canada. Her diagnosis in 2011 of crohn’s disease - one of the primary forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) - as well as IBD-related inflammatory arthritis, led to a massive shift in her professional aspirations. Her experiences navigating the challenges of managing a chronic illness and weekly medical treatments, have propelled her to advocate for IBD patients as well as for better access for and inclusion of persons with disabilities due to chronic illness in the workplace. Drawing on her background in public policy and lived experience as an IBD patient, MJ has most recently partnered with Crohn’s & Colitis Canada on their campaign for patient-centred treatment decisions.
Kate Lee, vice-president of research and patient programs, Crohn’s and Colitis Canada
Rachael Manion, executive director, Canadian Association of Psoriasis Patients and the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance
Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie, professor of medicine and community health sciences, University of Manitoba
Dr. Ruth Ann Marrie is a professor of medicine and community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. She received her undergraduate degree in chemistry (1992) and her medical degree (1996) from Dalhousie University, both with distinction. She completed neurology training at McGill University. This was followed by a fellowship in multiple sclerosis at the Cleveland Clinic, supported by a Sylvia Lawry physician fellowship award from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Subsequently, she obtained a PhD in epidemiology from Case Western Reserve University (2007). Currently she holds the Waugh Family Chair in multiple sclerosis. Her research aims to understand the influence of comorbid factors, such as other chronic diseases, health behaviours, and critical illness on a range of multiple sclerosis (MS)-related health outcomes. Other areas of research interest include etiologic factors for MS, patient-reported outcomes and pediatric MS.
Dr. Deborah McLeod, clinical director, Carepath Inc.
Leanne Mielczarek, executive director, Lupus Canada
Leanne joined Lupus Canada in 2008 and was appointed executive director in 2016. In this role Leanne leads the vision and initiatives of the national office while overseeing operations, revenue development, advocacy and research efforts and industry partnerships in Canada. Leanne is committed to increasing public awareness of lupus and ensuring lupus patients across Canada have access to care. With over 25 years experience in the not-for-profit sector, Leanne’s previous roles as the National Walk coordinator and national manager within the organization illustrates Leanne’s commitment to ensuring those impacted by lupus have a voice.
Andrea Minaker, manager, client & partner engagement, Sun Life
As a manager, client & partner engagement, integrated health solutions (IHS) at Sun Life, Andrea supports the evolution of organizational health consulting best practices and client engagement activities. The IHS team provides strategic consulting to support our clients in achieving their organizational health goals and improving employee health outcomes.
Andrea received her bachelor of science in kinesiology from McMaster University and completed graduate studies in workplace wellness & health promotion. Andrea joined Sun Life in 2017. Prior to the IHS team, she spent several years in disability claims management. Andrea is passionate about workplace culture and its effect on employee health and well-being across all stages of the health continuum.
Dr. Donna Mojdami, clinical research physician, diabetes, Eli Lilly Canada Inc.
Kayla O'Connell, sales support associate, Medtronic
Dr. Ian Patton, director, advocacy and public engagement, Obesity Canada
Dr. Ian Patton is a passionate patient advocate and works as the director of advocacy and public engagement at Obesity Canada. In this role, Patton combines his academic background and training with his personal lived experience to help reach individuals living with obesity across Canada, as well as realizing Obesity Canada's mission of improving the lives of Canadians living with obesity. He obtained a PhD from Western University in kinesiology and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Patton’s research focuses on body mass index, obesity and childhood physical activity. He’s also lived with obesity for the majority of his life and is a post-surgical bariatric patient who now advocates both nationally and globally for improved access to care for individuals living with obesity, as well as for eliminating weight bias and discrimination.
Sue Praught, organizational health consultant, integrated health solutions, Sun Life
Integrated health solutions is a dedicated business area designed to support the workplace health objectives of Canadian organizations. As a consultant, Sue is part of a high performing team who delivers strategic consulting and insights to Sun Life clients with the goal of improving the health of their employees and supporting organizational health and wellness objectives.
Prior to joining Sun Life, Sue worked as a physiotherapist. Sue received her bachelor of science in physiotherapy from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. She has completed the GBA certification of CEBS and has also received the “Certified Excellence Professional for Healthy Workplaces” designation through Excellence Canada.