The top ten Women in Digital Health in 2018


“For me, leadership in digital health is not about the glitzy gadgets or latest trends, but rather how we can harness the power of technology in tangible ways to positively impact the care and lives of people.” – Shirlee Sharkey, CEO, SE Health, Women Leaders in Digital Health 2017


Elsie Amoako

Mommy Monitor


Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Elsie Amoako, Founder and CEO, Mommy Monitor


“As a non-technical founder, Elsie has used her understanding of racialized women’s experience pre/postnatal and health outcomes to support the design of the Mommy Monitor app and the use of predictive analysis to support our ability to reduce adverse health outcomes.”

– Efrah Yousuf, Project Coordinator, Mommy Monitor


Elsie is the Founder of Mommy Monitor, a social enterprise mandated towards reducing health inequities in maternal health for women, specifically racialized women. Mommy Monitor includes an app, maternal mentors (peer mentor/patient navigator), birth justice workshops, research, a working group and an annual conference.


Creating technology that can be culturally competent and responsive to the needs of black women and their families was a challenge. What was needed was increased social support, education and engagement. In order to effectively engage users, Elsie began to build a team to develop a curriculum and train facilitators to provide birth justice workshops throughout Ontario. As Mommy Monitor has grown, Elsie Amoako has shown great confidence, strength and knowledge. Her hard work and commitment to supporting parents to improve their pregnancy experiences and outcomes continues to demonstrate her drive and ability to overcome challenges and be recognized as a leader in this field in such a short period of time.

Melissa Brooks

Canadian Armed Forces


Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Lieutenant Colonel Melissa Brooks, Canadian Armed Forces


“Lieutenant Colonel Brooks has realized that digital interoperable standards-based systems will greatly increase the speed at which veterans can receive entitled health services and benefits. Melissa is a true ambassador for leveraging digital health and she recognises the absolute necessity of digital as part of public service reform.”

– Paul Chittick, Senior Advisor Digital Health, Government of Canada


Lieutenant Colonel Melissa Brooks is an incredibly talented professional who clearly sees the potential of digital technology and is recognized as the central figure in several activities to ensure digital supports the delivery of safe, high-quality health care to the members of the military. Interoperability with NATO partners, including the United States and the United Kingdom, is critical to the health supports to CAF members serving around the globe. This last year Melissa represented Canada on the international development of the Medical Information and Coordination System (MEDICS), a new system to support medical planning and management. MEDICS is critical to Canada and will facilitate the exchange of information with national and multinational medical organizations. Due to unlimited liability, the military must have a better understanding of the overall health of its workforce than any other organization in Canada. This level of complexity coupled with extensive interoperability requirements made the development of a digital health strategy extremely complex. Lieutenant Colonel Brooks, recognized as the expert in digital health, was given the challenging responsibility of developing a new digital health roadmap. Melissa was credited with authoring a new digital strategy that defined the role digital technology will play in addressing the challenges faced by the organization.

Barbara Collins

Humber River Hospital


Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Barbara Collins, President and CEO, Humber River Hospital


“Ms. Collins bold and innovative vision for digital health inspires staff, physicians and volunteers, and has attracted new talent interested in being a part of this journey.”

– Carol Hatcher, Vice President Clinical Programs, Humber River Hospital


Humber River Hospital needed a strategy for managing rapidly increasing patient volume by becoming more efficient while still ensuring every patient received the highest quality care.


President and CEO Barbara Collins’ vision was to take the most recent advancements in technologies in other sectors, and operationalize them in healthcare to respond to this challenge with innovation and leadership. This led to the development and implementation of Humber River Hospital’s Command Centre, a first in Canada and second in the world. This groundbreaking achievement has created 23 additional acute inpatient beds through efficiency, using artificial intelligence and predictive analytics, and has drawn many leaders nationally and internationally to learn from this approach, shaping the future of healthcare. A fully digital hospital and the Command Centre are examples of some innovative technologies that have been implemented at Humber through Barb’s leadership. Many other technologies are being introduced or are planned, including Pepper, a friendly robot that welcomes visitors and supports children by accompanying them to the operating room, reducing fear and anxiety.

Dr. Margaret Kennedy



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Dr. Margaret Kennedy, Chief Nursing Informatics Officer, Gevity


“As a clinician and certified health informatics expert, Dr. Kennedy is recognized for her deep understanding and expertise in the health care sector and clinical disciplines, strategic leadership and health system analysis, and in organizational change management in complex health projects and healthcare transformation.”

– Peggy White, Project Director C-HOBIC & Past President of the Canadian Nursing Informatics Association


In her role as Chief Nursing Informatics Officer at Gevity, Dr. Kennedy serves as a Clinical Change Manager and a Senior Advisor in large, complex, politically charged, transformation projects involving interprofessional stakeholders across Canada and internationally. She leads the design of large stakeholder engagements, environmental scans and literature reviews to support deep analysis of healthcare. Dr. Kennedy has provided senior clinical research leadership to the World Health Organization on eHealth and health transformation in the Western Pacific Region.


Dr. Kennedy is currently working with the Tonga Ministry of Health on an initiative that will improve the quality and access of data to support timely decision-making, reduce the administrative burden on healthcare, and improve the health outcomes of the people of Tonga. In this role she provides senior level change management expertise to the Ministry.


She recently completed a five-year strategic plan for The Holland Bloorview  Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. This involved detailing a new vision of health services and innovation in care delivery for children, including mapping the client journey and provided facilitation activities to support the upcoming MEDITECH upgrade.



Dr. Carolyn McGregor



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Dr. Carolyn McGregor, Research Excellence Chair in Health Informatics, University of Ontario Institute of Technology


“Professor McGregor is a true example of Gandhi’s recommendation to ‘be the change you wish to see in this world’.She an inspirational and dedicated individual who is changing the status of NICUS for the well-being of those individuals.”

– Khyati Vyas, Research Assistant, MHSc. (Health Informatics), UOIT


Professor McGregor’s Artemis project is a big data analytics platform that enables complex artificial intelligence based analysis to run in real-time and retrospectively to support clinical practice and research for multiple patients in multiple hospitals analysing data for multiple conditions.


Live deployment of Artemis within the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at Southlake Regional Health Centre and McMaster Children’s Hospital involved extensive consultations with many divisions of each healthcare facility, as well as UOIT, ORION, Compute Ontario, the Centre for Advanced Computing (CAC), Queen’s University, True Process and IBM


The Artemis Cloud infrastructrure is streaming data live from the medical devices attached to neonatal infants at a 68 bedspaces across the two hospitals. Analytics on that data is running in real time on an Artemis Cloud instance for each hospital at CAC. The amount of data from each infant is equivalent to 1000 tweets a second. Dr McGregor is now leading a further deployment in two hospitals in Western Australia in partnership with the Western Australian Department of Health.

Penny Rae



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Penny Rae, Chief Information Officer, Alberta Health Services


“Penny has never lost sight of the fact that providing safe and quality patient care is the ultimate final goal. Her ability to leverage strong relationships and build and fortify coalitions, has been instrumental in creating a culture of trust and transparency.”

– Sean Chilton, VP Health Professions & Practice, Administration, Alberta Health Services


A highly visible leader who has built strong partnerships internally and externally. Penny’s role in providing leadership for the development of a provincial CIS is recognized across North America and is regularly contacted to provide support and advice to organizations working on large scale projects. She is recognized as a critical partner at the government level working collaboratively on the development of a provincial eHealth vision.


Penny makes a compelling case for change, setting high expectations for commitment and performance while holding herself personally accountable for results. In her role as CIO (as well as other executive roles), Penny focuses on building strong positive relationships and ensuring a culture of trust and transparency.

Mary Slade



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Mary Slade, Director, eHealth Clinical Programs, Newfoundland and Labrador Centre for Health Information


“Countless times Mary has been credited by her staff as a leader who is willing to go the extra mile for her team. Much of Mary’s success can be attributed to  not only her technical ability (which she has in spades) but also her ability to navigate the human component of her work and the work of others.”

– Stephen Clark, President and CEO (Acting), NLCHI


Implementation of the successful Provincial Pharmacy Network is largely thanks to Mary’s determination, her ability to develop and maintain successful working relationships, and her vision of what the network could do for the healthcare system.


Mary guided stakeholders in the pharmacy community from complete resistance to change champions—the Newfoundland and Labrador Pharmacy Board made it a standard of practice to connect.


Building on this success, she led her team and key stakeholders to successfully connect 130 community pharmacies (meeting the Pharmacy Board’s 18-month deadline), making NL one of the few jurisdictions that has a provincial DIS (Drug Information Systems) with all community pharmacies connected. During this time she guided her team through the unique challenges that each pharmacy chain represented, putting in many long hours and extensive travel while keeping strategic focus and preventing program fatigue. Mary is now is using her consensus- building skills to lead the newly launched provincial Telepathology program as well as Prescription Monitoring Program.

Joanne Templeton



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Joanne Templeton, Senior Managing Partner, Gevity


“The climb to the top can be tough going for anyone. But there are particular obstacles for women that can make the journey toward positions of power and influence especially challenging. Joanne has overcome many obstacles, and she does so with grace and dignity. Joanne’s core values, commitment to family, and her immense desire to advance the digital health industry is truly inspirational.” 

– Anushka Premji Osman, Executive Managing Partner, Gevity


In January 2017, Gevity partnered with IBM Canada to configure and deploy all modules of the Panorama Public Health application in Nova Scotia over a 23-month period. As other jurisdictions have rolled out much less functionality over a longer period of time, this schedule was determined to be very aggressive with many potential points of failure. Due to the size and complexity of the project, a large international project team was formed to ensure that subject matter expertise for all components of the deployment was available.


As Project Manager, Joanne led the team to the successful deployment of the Inventory Management and Immunization modules of Panorama, each distinct business areas with different requirements, configuration, integration points and users. The project is on track for the deployment of the remaining functionality (Communicable Disease Investigations and Outbreak Management) within the original schedule. Joanne rose to the challenge of delivering three go-lives within an 18-month period, leading a large multi-disciplinary project team, and managing client and vendor expectations. Her ability to effectively manage the hurdles that come with complex system implementations has allowed her to become an integral and trusted part of project leadership.

Haidee Thanda

Hacking Health Ottawa


Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018
Haidee Thanda, Founder and co-lead (volunteer), Hacking Health Ottawa


“Haidee is also a caregiver and understands health innovation from both the professional IT/design and patient perspectives. It is reflected in her inclusiveness and collaborative approach to leadership.  The patient’s perspective is real and integrated when you experience it in your family.”

– Isabelle Vézina, Executive Director, Hacking Health Foundation


Hacking Health is an international non-for-profit organization born in Canada that catalyses collaboration by helping key stakeholders build innovative and meaningful solutions to healthcare challenges. It operates in 12 cities in Canada and has 53 chapters across the world on five continents. Haidee launched the Hacking Health Ottawa chapter while working full-time and built it into a robust entity that serves the healthcare community in Ottawa.


Haidee built a volunteer team, and strong institutional and private partnerships to help healthcare professionals, patients, technologists, designers, researchers and entrepreneurs to work together to solve tangible frontline problems.


From January to May 2018, Hacking Health Ottawa organized the Second Edition of the Health Innovation Program (HIP613) for collaborative and interdisciplinary experimentation, a series of cafés, conferences, workshops and a weekend hackathon. All these events bring the healthcare and technology ecosystems together to connect, brainstorm and build creative solutions.

Susan Anderson



Women Leaders in Digital Health 2018 – Honorary
Susan Anderson, Managing Director, Canada, Orion Health


“Susan is influential as an organizational educator, mentor and thinker, and is instrumental in developing the annual “Digital Health Day” at Queen’s Park in Toronto. As a member of the steering committee, she engages with Ontario’s Health Minister and many other health advocates and constituents.”

– Karen Ewing, Senior Marketing Director, Orion Health


Susan has more than 20 years of healthcare informatics experience. Before joining Orion Health, she was Assistant Deputy Minister and CIO for the Health Information Technology and Systems Division at Alberta Health. At Alberta Health, she played a pivotal role in transforming the province’s healthcare system, today it is one of the most digitally connected systems in North America. She was at the forefront of Alberta’s Electronic Health Record Implementation and helped to steer the expansion of the EHR. Susan has also worked with private healthcare companies to reduce operating costs, has aided in Canada Health Infoway initiatives, and has furthered the adoption and innovation of eHealth within clinical practices across the country.


In addition to her role with Orion Health, Susan has received professional recognition in her leadership roles with Digital Health Canada. She recently celebrated four years as Director of Digital Health Canada’s Board in Spring 2018 and was also selected to serve on the distinguished Digital Health Canada Chief Advisory Committee. Additionally, Susan is a trusted speaker and is often selected to present at conferences around the country.

Women Leaders


Launched in 2017 by Digital Health Canada, the annual Women Leaders in Digital Health Award recognizes those female visionaries who are harnessing the power of IT to transform Canadian health and healthcare. The award is unique among power lists and award programs in that it recognizes women at any stage of their career progressions and is inclusive of all women of influence no matter where they might be in the health IT field.


The award is open to all females working in the Canadian digital health community. Each year, ten new Women Leaders in Digital Health are selected for recognition by an adjudication committee of industry peers. Nomination criteria: The nominee’s efforts have made a significant contribution to move the Canadian HI/telehealth agenda forward; The nominee’s leadership and influence is recognized within his/her jurisdiction or, more broadly, often at the national level; The nominee’s leadership and influence has made a significant contribution to or strongly impacted health outcomes or health system improvements; The contribution is a result of the nominee’s dedication and promotion of activities, involvement with organizational change, or transformation through the use of technology. Also requires sound operational strength including the qualities of enterprise, confidence, and credibility, effective organizational communication, and broad influence.