The HDRN Canada Executive Committee (the “Executive”) provides scientific and management oversight and responsibility for HDRN Canada, including for the initiatives developed through the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) grant. The Executive provides leadership and ensures excellence across HDRN Canada, focusing on priorities recommended by the HDRN Canada Board of Directors.
Membership consists of a subset of the HDRN Canada’s Leads Team, with representation from Principal Applicants to the CIHR grant to develop the SPOR CDP, as well as additional members whose working groups or perspectives are not otherwise represented (for example, public engagement).
Kimberlyn McGrail, Scientific Director
Kimberlyn McGrail is a Professor in the UBC School of Population and Public Health and Centre for Health Services and Policy Research, Director of Research for UBC Health, and Scientific Director of Population Data BC and Health Data Research Network Canada. Her research interests are quantitative policy evaluation and all aspects of population data science. Kim is Deputy Editor of the International Journal of Population Data Science, the 2009-10 Commonwealth Fund Harkness Associate in Health Care Policy and Practice, 2016 recipient of the Cortlandt JG Mackenzie Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and 2017 recipient of a UBC award for Excellence in Clinical or Applied Research. She was part of the Expert Advisory Group for the pan-Canadian Health Data Strategy and is currently a member of the Global Partnership for AI as part of the Data Governance Working Group.
Alan Katz is the Director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. He is a practicing family physician whose research interests include quality in primary care, Indigenous Health and the social determinants of health. “HDRN Canada represents an opportunity to exploit the unique natural experiment that Canada’s distributed health care system governance model presents. As the remaining provinces and territories develop administrative data centers and research capacity, we need to develop the capacity to learn from each other using the latest research methods and tools. My wife and I immigrated to Canada because of the Healthcare system. I am passionate about the potential this represents for addressing the needs of Canadians.”
Brent Diverty is the Vice President of the Programs Division at the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). In this role, he oversees CIHI’s extensive data holdings, which span the continuum of health care services and contain related financial, pharmaceutical and workforce data. He also has executive responsibility for CIHI’s strategic data initiatives, including work and partnerships to advance new data acquisitions, linkages, improving access and health system use of data as well as CIHI’s strategy for advanced analytics.
Since 2014, Catherine has served as Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador SUPPORT Unit (NL SUPPORT), funded through CIHR’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) initiative. In this role, she is responsible for strategic development, budgetary and staff management, performance monitoring, patient engagement, and training and capacity development for the SUPPORT Unit and its associated programs, Quality of Care NL and the Centre for Analytics, Informatics and Research. Throughout her time with NL SUPPORT, Catherine has gained significant experience in patient and public engagement in research, and understands the significant added value that patients and the public can bring to research.
Frank Gavin, chair of HDRN’s Public Advisory Council, has been involved in health care and health research, mainly as a volunteer, for over 25 years. In 1995 he joined the Family Advisory Committee to The Hospital for Sick Children, chairing it from 1997 to 2001. In 2002 Frank founded and then for six years chaired the Canadian Family Advisory Network (CFAN), which links family councils at paediatric centres across Canada. From 2011 to 2017 he was a public member of The Canadian Drug Expert Committee at The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). He directed the Citizen Engagement Program for CHILD-BRIGHT, the national CIHR research network focused on children with brain-based developmental disabilities, from 2016 to 2021. He now serves on the board of The Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research and the inaugural Patient Advisory Committee of The Society for Medical Decision-Making. In 2017 he received the Best Patient Reviewer Award from the BMJ. For nearly 30 years Frank taught English at Centennial College in Toronto.
Pr Jean-François Ethier is a clinician-scientist and associate professor in the Department of Medicine of the Université de Sherbrooke and the Sherbrooke University Health Center. He is also the codirector of the Groupe de recherche interdisciplinaire en informatique de la santé (GRIIS.ca). He has extensive collaborations in Europe and is an associate researcher at the INSERM UMRS 1138 in Paris. He received his medical training from McGill University where he graduated MD CM in 2006 and completed his residency in internal medicine in 2011. He subsequently completed a Master STS (public health) and a PhD in health informatics in Paris at Paris IV (Université Pierre-Marie Curie). His research duties include the direction of the Data Access Group of the Quebec SPOR Support Unit.
Jennifer Walker is a Haudenosaunee member of Six Nations of the Grand River with a Ph.D. in Community Health Services (Epidemiology) from the University of Calgary. She is an Associate Professor at McMaster University in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, & Impact. Dr. Walker’s work focuses largely on Indigenous community-engaged health research using large health services databases through her work as a Core Scientist and Indigenous Health Lead at ICES in Ontario and through the Health Data Research Network Canada. Dr. Walker has an active research community-engaged research program in aging and dementia. She is the co-lead of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration and Aging’s (CCNA) Team 18 – Issues in Dementia Care for Indigenous Populations and the lead for the Indigenous Cognitive Health Program. She has also led the validation of the Canadian Indigenous Cognitive Assessment tool and the implementation of the tool in Anishinabek communities of Northern Ontario.
Michael Schull is CEO and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, and a Senior Scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute. His research focuses on health service utilization, quality of care, health system integration and patient outcomes, and the evaluation of health policy. Under his leadership, ICES has expanded the types of data available for researchers, created a virtual platform where researchers outside ICES can access and analyze linked datasets, launched a health artificial intelligence data and analysis platform, and engaged the public in the work of ICES to ensure it remains aligned with public values. Dr. Schull leads the participation of ICES in a pan-Canadian initiative to build a national health and social data platform. He practices as an Emergency Medicine specialist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.
Dr. Nathan Nickel is the Director of the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy, an Associate Professor of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Co-Director of the Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre, and Scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Dr. Nickel is an applied population health scientist who uses whole-population administrative data to conduct health and social policy research. Nickel’s research program uses a cross-disciplinary, team-science approach, partnering with scientists, community, and government policy- and decision-makers to generate actionable evidence to improve population health and well-being. His work examines parent-child health and mental health outcomes within the contexts of the social and structural determinants. Much of his research is done in partnership with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit organizations in Manitoba.
Ted McDonald is a Professor of Economics at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. He holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Commerce in Economics from the University of Melbourne. He is the founding Director of the NB Institute for Research, Data and Training, New Brunswick’s only provincial research data centre hosting administrative data. He is also the New Brunswick lead for the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit, the Chair of the Canadian Research Data Centre Network Academic Council and the Academic Director of the Statistics Canada NB-RDC. His main areas of research include the health status and health services use of immigrants, rural residents, minority groups and other subpopulations, the socioeconomic and demographic determinants of cancer, and population migration and retention.