Dr. Samina Raza Abidi is Professor of Medical Informatics, Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University, Halifax. She holds a PhD in Health Informatics, Masters in Information Technology, and is a physician holding a MD. S he has been involved with digital health academics, innovation, advocacy and mentorship for over 15 years. She is the co-director of the NICHE (kNowledge Intensive Computing for Healthcare Enterprises) research group, and her research program is titled “Digital Lifetime Healthcare” that involves investigations in health knowledge management using AI methods for clinical decision support, patient empowerment and health information systems.
She is the recipient of the Women Leadership award by Digital Health Canada, Best paper awards, Steven Huesing Award by COACH, Canada Graduate Scholarship – Doctoral Award and is the Member of the College of Reviewers (CIHR).

She has successfully blended her medical training with digital health to lead the design and development of multiple innovative point-of-care and point-of-need digital health solutions for clinical decision support targeting chronic disease management, virtual care by remote patient monitoring, patient empowerment through digital therapeutics and behaviour modification plans, public health by addressing psychosocial determinants of health and risk factors for chronic diseases. As an researcher and innovator, her digital health works have been presented both within Canada and globally. She is experienced in digital transformation activities in the healthcare space, and is globally involved in digital health adoption activities at the academic, technical, advocacy and policy making levels. She is an experienced digital health academic, innovator and practitioner.

Why do you want to join the Digital Health Canada Board of Directors at this point in your career?

For over 15 years, as a digital health academic, researcher and practitioner I have blended my medical training with digital health knowledge to build digital health capacity and develop innovative digital health solutions for the Canadian health system. From an academic and mentorship perspective, I have engaged, trained, mentored and promoted students to become successful digital health practitioners and these students upon graduation are now contributing to the Canadian health system. From an research and innovative perspective, I have demonstrated to health professionals and decision makers the art-of-the-possible with regards to the impact of digital health solutions to address a variety of health care challenges. Now, at this point in my career, my motivation is to bring my digital health expertise and experience to further advance the Canadian digital health vision by working with Digital Health Canada.

The Canadian healthcare system demands a well-trained and academically sound digital health workforce to ensure its digital transformation; this demands focusing at the grassroots–i.e. academic programming and engagement of students in digital health programs because current digital health students are our future digital health workforce. We need to invest in training the next generation of our digital health workforce to lead the digital transformation in healthcare. As such, I believe that Digital Health Canada’s board should have an academic and scientific researcher at the table who can provide the academic and scientific viewpoint in developing the right resources and services for digital health students, early career practitioners, junior researchers and emerging entrepreneurs. I want to ensure that there is an experienced academic voice within the board that understands the evolving needs of students and scientific researchers, given the dynamically changing digital health landscape, to help Digital Health Canada strategically respond to meet these needs and opportunities. Being an academic and researcher, I will serve the Digital Health members as the interface between industry, healthcare organizations and academic institutions, thereby helping Digital Health Canada to develop digital health curriculum, skill-specific certifications, industry engagement and internships, community networking, product evaluation methodologies, research and innovation opportunities. As an academic, I am a strong proponent of EDI and practice EDI principles in recruitment and training, and as such I will like to bring an EDI lens to Digital Health Canada’s programs, outreach and member engagement.

As an innovator who is familiar with the lifecycle of digital health innovation, from the bench to the bedside, I am passionate about generating resources to help move the dial on digital health innovation in Canada. We are witnessing the emergence of disruptive technologies (such as artificial intelligence, digital twins, cloud computing, robotics, smart homes, digital therapeutics, etc.)—we need to ask the question that how can we incorporate these technologies within the Canadian digital health eco-system to improve our healthcare system. Given my expertise and experience with intelligent technologies in healthcare, my motivation for joining the board is to help formulate programs that can help digital health students, practitioners and healthcare organizations embrace these technologies.

I strongly believe that to be both competitive at a global level, Canada needs to develop digital health innovation and transformation programs. Digital Health Canada can serve as the vehicle to both develop and deliver such programs at the national level, especially in collaboration with academic institutions. I believe that working as a board member of Digital Health Canada, I will get the opportunity to use my experiences to formulate digital health training and innovation programs, and help Digital Health Canada work closely with healthcare institutions, government organizations (such as Health Canada, CIHR) and industry to develop a viable and vibrant digital health training and innovation eco-system in Canada.

As a Board Director of Digital Health Canada, I bring my passion, energy, vision, expertise and experience to promote digital health training and innovation, and help formulate a Canadian innovation based digital health agenda.

How does your experience align with the Digital Health Canada strategic plan and mandate?

My digital health experience and expertise as a practitioner, educator, researcher, mentor, advocate and innovator is directly aligned with Digital Health Canada’s strategic mandate to (a) empower members with tools and relationships to enable digital healthcare, (b) support and advance equity, diversity, and inclusion within the communities being served, and (c) position Digital Health Canada as a knowledge authority and driver of innovation in the digital health industry.

With respect to Digital Health Canada strategic priorities, as a digital health academic and researcher for over 15 years I have practical experience as follows:
(a) Empowering individuals to enable digitally supported healthcare is the main aspect of my academic program. For over 15 years, through my academic teaching and mentorship I have trained over 500 students in the field of digital health/health informatics. I have developed digital health curriculum at the undergraduate, graduate and certification levels; these curriculum are based on the needs of the healthcare system and include the development of skills, application of tools and learning of core knowledge suitable to enables digital healthcare.

(b) Promoting EDI in digital health particularly through the engagement of women in digital health through multiple strategies, such as reaching out to women students in the fields of information technology and medicine to inform them about digital health, illustrating through talks and one-on-one meeting how digital health intersects with their parent field and how they can have a successful career in digital health and impact the Canadian healthcare system. As Director of the Research in Medicine program, I introduced digital health research opportunities to medical students and many students develop digital health specializations. I have implemented EDI principles at the level of study design, study participants, data analysis and team composition. The members of my digital health research group are trained on validated EDI programs and as such I have promoted EDI practices in digital health research and training; (b) With regards to the mandate of knowledge generation and driving innovation, I have a profound track record of research and innovation

(c) Driving innovation in digital health is the main focus of my research program where I have (i) developed innovative digital health solutions and demonstrated their utility to health practitioners. I am a problem-solver who uses knowledge of digital health technologies to address healthcare challenges, (ii) bridged the gap between issues and solutions, and have established concrete functional connections between digital health researchers and the Canadian healthcare system; (iii) generated new digital health knowledge that has led to innovative solutions for digital therapeutics, precision medicine, personalized health, clinical decision support, patient empowerment and lifetime health and virtual care. I have published over 150 peer reviewed digital health research articles demonstrating innovative digital health solutions at various national and international conferences and forums; (iv) enabled pragmatic innovation in Digital Health through the use of user-centered, participatory and agile methodologies for designing digital health applications that meet specific healthcare needs and can be incorporated within the clinical workflows; (v) advocated the utility and effectiveness of digital health to healthcare practitioners and decision makers; and (vi) given talks advocating the role of digital health in terms of the vision of personalized, preventive and proactive healthcare in a digitally enabled healthcare setting.

What unique skills, perspectives and contributions would you bring to the Digital Health Canada Board?

As a digital health educator, mentor, innovator and hands-on practitioner, I offer the unique blending of academia, scientific discovery, applied solution development, capacity building and digital transformation skills. In my career, I have leveraged my medical background to understand healthcare needs from both healthcare practitioners and patient perspectives to develop innovative digital health solutions for personalized healthcare services targeting both healthcare practitioners and patients. My work has centered on the incorporating digital health for both disease prevention and health promotion by including both clinical parameters and also psychosocial determinants of health. Given technological advances it is now possible to analyze and integrate (a) large volumes of multi-modal (psychosocial determinants of health, lifestyle behaviours, genomic, environmental, administrative and clinical) data, and (b) large evidence-based knowledge resources, which brings to relief transformational opportunities to (i) predict the onset of chronic diseases in populations, (ii) remotely monitor and guide patients with regards to their therapeutic targets, (iii) modify harmful behaviours, (iv) evidence-base clinical decision support, (v) drug discovery and (vi) remote patient monitoring for virtual care. It is my intent to help develop pathways, program and resources for Canadian digital health students and professionals to get involved with these exciting trends and embrace the future of healthcare–I am involved in many of the above trends and therefore will like to make them accessible to Digital Health Canada’s members.

Given my background, I believe that I will contribute as (a) interface between health informatics educational institutions and industry to formulate targeted capacity building programs that are delivered by Digital Health Canada–i.e. help Digital Health Canada respond at the grassroots level to the needs and demands of the healthcare system and industry; (b) mentor to early-career professionals and early-stage digital health entrepreneurs by establishing a knowledge exchange forum; (c) demonstrator of digital health innovations; (d) champion of EDI principles within the digital health eco-system; and (e) promoter of Digital Health Canada at international digital health forums.

Do you or have or have you ever had any direct patient care experience (clinical)?


What segments within the Digital Health Canada community do you feel you will best represent?
  • Emerging Professionals
  • Clinicians
  • IM/IT Practitioners
  • Academic & Research
  • Healthcare Institutions
  • National eHealth Organizations
  • Digital Health Entrepreneurs
With which Digital Health Canada committees, task groups or activities have you volunteered in past five years?

I have worked with digital health academic alliances and capacity building initiatives. In line with Digital Health Canada’s mission. my main contribution can be characterized as the promotion of digital health, training and mentoring of health informatics professionals and demonstration of digital health innovations in the healthcare system, and implementation of digital health solutions in the Canadian healthcare system.

What other board appointments or relevant leadership experiences have you had in the past five years?
  1. Professor of Medical Informatics,
  2. Director of the Research in Medicine,
  3. Interim Head, Department of Community Health, and Epidemiology, Dalhousie University,
  4. Co-Director of NICHE Research Group, Dalhousie University
  5. Local Chair of 22nd International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Medicine (AIME 2022), Halifax,
  6. Interim Director, Health Informatics Program,
  7. Graduate Coordinator, Department of Community health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University,
  8. Committee members for a wide range of digital health innovation and policy committees
Why do you feel Digital Health Canada members should vote for you?

I believe that Digital Health Canada’s members should consider voting for me because I bring a practical blend of clinical knowledge, physician experience and digital health skills, as such I have a practical understanding of how digital health can transform the Canadian healthcare system at the clinical and operational level. I bring to the board an established track record of contributions to digital health through (a) training of our digital health work force and capacity building, (b) academic-government-industry partnerships, (c) engagement with the broader academic, healthcare professionals and digital health communities, and (d) demonstration of digital health research and innovation highlighting state-of-the-art digital health applications.

I am passionate about EDI and will like to further implement EDI principles within Digital Health Canada, making digital health opportunities and resources accessible to all. Being recognized as Women Leader in Digital Health, I am passionate of supporting and promoting women to be future digital health leaders in Canada.

I believe that Digital Health Canada’s members should vote for me because my all-encompassing experience of digital health innovations from the bench to the bedside as this will be instrumental in moving the dial on digital health innovation within the Canadian healthcare system. Over 15 years, I have worked as an academic, researcher, strategic thinker and system developers. By being a board member, I will have the opportunity to utilize my rich experience to advocate Digital Health Canada to launch new themes and programs for health informatics trainees, emerging professionals, entrepreneurs, and system developers to embrace emerging computing technologies targeting health data analytics, precision medicine, clinical decision support, patient empowerment and virtual care.

I am asking the vote of my colleagues at Digital Health Canada to serve the Canadian digital health community in the following ways:
(1) Be the academic representative for the Canadian digital health student body and academic institutions. I have the experience to better engage and support students in their career development and to mentor them to become emerging digital health professionals. In this role, I will be able to further streamline and strengthen the ties between digital health industry and digital health educational programs, to train a workforce that is ready to enter the workforce with minimal on-boarding and in-house training.
(2) Promote EDI principles in the planning and programming of Digital Health Canada’s services, opportunities, training, engagement and professional recognitions.
(3) Promote research and innovation opportunities so that students and emerging professionals can be involved in digital transformation through the development innovative digital health ideas, services and products.
(4) Establish targeted mentorship and skill development programs to mentor and promote young digital health entrepreneurs so that they can bring their ideas and innovations to fruition.
(5) Establish consultations with Health Canada to better align Digital Health Canada’s membership with Health Canada’s priorities.
(6) Engage the Canadian public’s role in the digital health agenda by showcasing the utility of consumer health informatics. With my research study background, I can serve as a resource person for consumer health application design, evaluation and certification.

In closing, I will bring to the Board of Digital Health Canada extensive experience of academic training and mentoring for capacity building, national and international digital health research and innovation, advocacy and EDI principles. I bring a unique set of academic and research-driven knowledge, skills, and experience that will help further enhance the contributions of Digital Health Canada to the Canadian healthcare system.

Do you currently hold the Certified Professional in Healthcare Information and Management Systems-Canada (CPHIMS-CA) credential?


Educational background


  1. PhD (Health Informatics), Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
  2. MSc (Information Technology), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia
  3. Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), MBBS, General Medicine, University of Karachi, Pakistan


  1. Associate Professor (Full-time), Department of Community health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, May 2017-Ongoing
  2. Associate Professor (Cross-Appointment), Health Informatics/Master of Digital Innovation Program, Faculty of Computer Science, Dalhousie University May. 2017-Ongoing
  3. Graduate Coordinator (Full-Time), Department of Community health and Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Jul. 2023-Ongoing
  4. Associate Scientist (Part-time), Medicine, Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU), Feb. 2020-Ongoing
  5. Interim Head, Department of Community Health, and Epidemiology (Full-time), Jan.-Jun. 2022
  6. Interim Director, Health Informatics Program (Full-time), Sep. 2018 – Jul. 2019
  7. Assistant Professor (Cross-appointment), Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, Jan. 2015 – Jun. 2018
  8. Assistant Professor (Full-time), Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, July. 2012 – May. 2017