Short biographies for this year's keynote and plenary speakers:

Dr. Diego Garcia


An International Medical Graduate trained in Emergency Medicine and Public Health. His previous positions include coordinating and improving public health programs delivery across rural jurisdictions in Venezuela; disease surveillance and immunizations officer for the World Health Organization in Angola; and, currently working as the Public Health Coordinator for the Assembly of First Nations in Ottawa. Throughout his career Dr. Garcia has gained a deep understanding of the issues and challenges involved in health service delivery to remote and indigenous populations.


Anita Kothari

1) One of my interests is in public health systems research, defined as a field of study that examines the organization, financing, and delivery of public health services within communities, and the impact of these services on public health. Currently our research team is examining the implementation of new public health policies (in the areas of chronic disease prevention & sexually transmitted infection prevention) in Ontario and BC. In another study we are exploring the processes and effectiveness of public health inter-organizational networks in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

2) Much of my research focuses on understanding how research and knowledge are used by clinicians, managers and policymakers. I also test interventions to support the uptake of research and knowledge for improved health decision-making. One research project in this area involves understanding how explicit and tacit knowledge are used during program planning, and then determining whether knowledge management tools can support this process.


Dr. Kwame McKenzie

Dr. McKenzie is a psychiatrist, researcher, policy advisor and broadcaster. 

He has worked in the field of the causes of mental health problems and multi-cultural mental health for 20 years and has published over 100 articles and 4 books.

His work spans basic science and applied policy research with experience in Europe, the Caribbean, UK and US. 

Dr. McKenzie is the Director of the Canada Institutes of Health Research Social Aetiology of Mental Illness Training Centre, Senior Scientist of Social Equity and Health Research, Deputy Director of the Schizophrenia Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. He is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto and sits on the Service System Advisory Committee of the Mental Health Commission of Canada.


Dr. Jeff Reading

Dr. Reading earned his PhD in Community Health Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. As an Indigenous scholar of Mohawk ancestry, understanding and improving the state of the health of Aboriginal people in Canada has been a lifelong pursuit. For more than two decades, he has dedicated his time to enhancing knowledge and comprehension of the importance of Indigenous health issues in Canada and abroad.

As an epidemiologist, Dr. Reading's research has brought attention to such critical issues as disease prevention, tobacco use and misuse, the importance of safe drinking water, accessibility to health care, and diabetes among Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Dr. Reading served as the inaugural Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Aboriginal Peoples' Health (CIHR-IAPH) from 2000-2008.

Currently, Dr. Reading is the Director of the Centre for Aboriginal Health Research based at the University of Victoria where Dr. Reading is a full professor in the School of Public Health and Social Policy and a faculty associate with the Indigenous Governance Program.


Liz Rykert

Liz Rykert began her career as a social worker with a focus on community development. She has worked in early childhood health promotion and as community advocate for income inequality. She was co-founder of the health promotion listserv Click4hp.

Currently she is working with health systems such as University Health Network in Toronto and community health settings to include behaviour and human interaction as part of larger systems change. Often the purpose of the work is to reduce the spread of hospital acquired infections and address other areas of patient safety. Liz was member of the team for the Canadian research project on Positive Deviance and is a faculty member for the Canadian Patient Safety - Stop Infections Now Collaborative. Liz is a student of complexity science and a big believer in the power of networks. Liz has a knack for uncovering new ideas and bringing them to life for the benefit of everyone.

Liz Rykert
President and Founder: Meta Strategies


Kim Scott

Ms. Scott is founder and principal investigator of Kishk Anaquot Health Research (KAHR), an independent Indigenous owned and operated consulting firm specializing in strategic planning, program design, performance measurement, partnership development and environmental sustainability. KAHR has had the privilege of working with a varied client base of universities, government departments, professional associations, international and non-governmental organizations, school boards, health centres and communities.

Her career spans a broad spectrum of activity related to public health, international and community development, governance, children and families. Ms. Scott holds a Master of Science from the University of Waterloo, is a lifelong student of traditional medicine, currently sits on the Audit Committee of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and is a member of the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative. In 2011, she reduced her carbon footprint (http://myfootprint.org) by over thirty percent and is on a quest to live as though there is only one earth. 


Summer Institute 2012 Bilingual Facilitator

Ginette Thomas


Ginette Thomas is a consultant living in Ottawa, working
in the area of health policy. She has vast experience in the
analysis and development of national Aboriginal health
policies, and more recently was part of the teams that
established the CIHR Institute for Aboriginal Peoples'
Health (IAPH) and the National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health (NCCAH).

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