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SWAHN Secretariat


SWAHN’s Secretariat falls under the oversight of the Network Contributors’ Roundtable.

The purpose of the Secretariat is to facilitate and oversee the implementation of SWAHN’s activities by advancing the Network Contributors’ priorities and timelines, monitoring progress and reporting accomplishments to the Network Contributors’ Roundtable, and providing regular updates to the Network. .

To address its purpose, the Secretariat will:
  1. Set operational strategy based on the priorities established by the Network Contributors;
  2. Liaise with the Network Contributors’ Roundtable through regular reports and by asking for direction and advice;
  3. Liaise with SWAHN’s Project Teams via their value creation stream leads in Interprofessional Collaboration, Knowledge Generation & Translation, and Networking & Engagement;
  4. Lead the development of semi-annual Network Contributors’ Roundtable conferences under the Networking & Engagement Stream;
  5. Identify barriers/challenges, determine priorities, and provide direction/advice regarding deliverables to SWAHN’s Streams and Project Teams, seeking advice from the Network Contributors’ Roundtable where appropriate;
  6. Develop short and long term goals in collaboration with the Network Contributors’ Roundtable and Project Teams which will be specific, measurable, and achievable in one to two years (short term) and three to five years (long term);
  7. Identify appropriate performance measures to monitor progress and performance of the Network and Project Teams;
  8. Review existing and proposed projects on a regular basis to align resources to facilitate the operations of Project Teams, moving suggested projects into and out of “Strategic Opportunities” and establishing “sunsets” for  Project Teams;
  9. Recruit volunteers for SWAHN’s Project Teams and other committees;
  10. Review and monitor the alignment of Network activities to the objectives of the strategic plan;
  11. Manage the annual SWAHN budget as approved by the Network Contributors’ Roundtable;
  12. Oversee funding requests across the Network and provide regular updates to the Network Contributors’ Roundtable;
  13. Oversee communication within and between groups of the Network.
Dr. Gillian Kernaghan (Co-Chair); President & CEO, St Joseph's Health Care London

Dr. Kernaghan was appointed the President and Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph's Health Care London in 2010. St. Joseph’s is a multi-sited academic health care organization serving London and the region.

Dr. Kernaghan’s passion for integrated patient care, leadership and performance excellence has inspired the organization to focus on the vision to “earn complete confidence in the care we provide.”

Prior to assuming this role, she served for 17 years as the Vice President, Medical for various hospitals in London and led the medical staff during complex restructuring in which four hospitals merged to form St. Joseph’s Health Care. Through this restructuring and various program transfers between organizations, the roles of the London hospitals dramatically changed.

In 1984, Gillian joined the medical staff of St. Joseph's, Parkwood Hospital and London Health Sciences Centre as a family physician. She completed her residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1984 upon graduation from University of Western Ontario and was awarded her Fellowship in 2000.

Gillian currently serves on the Ontario Hospital Association Board, and the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario Executive and Council. She served as President of the Canadian Society of Physician Executives for 2010-2012. She is a past Board Member of Canadian Resident Matching Service and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. She has served on numerous regional, provincial and national committees.

She is a frequent speaker at conferences and a certified trainer in Crucial Conversations, Crucial Accountability and Influencer leadership courses.

She has been married for 37 years and is the proud mother of three sons, three daughters-in-law and one little grandson.

Dr. Ken Blanchette (Co-Chair); Associate Vice President, Academic, St. Clair College

Dr. Ken Blanchette is the Chair for the School of Health Sciences at St. Clair College. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Windsor and completed his Doctor of Chiropractic from National Institute of Health Sciences in Chicago Illinois.

Dr. Blanchette practiced in the United States for 12 years, specializing in breach birth complications, epileptic case management and advancing spinal decompression within the region as well as creating an integrated health model between disciplines. In 2010, he joined St. Clair College and was involved in the building of a 32 million dollar state of the art simulation center. Following the completion of the capital project, he has created an opportunity for professional training within our region and internationally for Health Care Disciplines and organizations in gaining continuing education.

Dr. Blanchette is a current member of the board of directors for Hotel Dieu Grace Hospital and the Windsor Essex county Health Unit, as well as the Past Chair for the Heads of Health Sciences for Ontario Colleges.

Dr. Davy Cheng, SWAHN Co-Lead overseeing the Knowledge Generation & Translation Stream; Acting Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

Dr. Davy Cheng currently serves as Acting Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He is a Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine. Prior to his current role as Acting Dean, Dr. Cheng served as the Vice Dean of Faculty Affairs for the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. He is recognized as a world expert in perioperative outcomes and resource utilization in cardiac surgery/anesthesia, critical care medicine, and perioperative evidence-based medicine.

Dr. Cheng served as the Chair/Chief of the Department of Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine (2001-2017) and also as Chair of the Committee of Clinical Chairs (2012-2016). He holds a BSc (Hon) in Biochemistry from the University of Ottawa, an MSc in Biochemistry from Western University, and his MD from the University of Toronto, where he completed his internal medicine internship and anesthesia residency in 1987. Dr. Cheng joined the faculty at the University of Toronto following a Clinical Research Fellowship and a Cardiovascular Anesthesia Fellowship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Prior to joining Western in 2001, he was a Professor and Deputy Chief of Anesthesiology at Toronto General Hospital and he also served as Medical Director of the Cardiovascular Surgery Program for the University Health Network in Toronto.

Dr. Robin Walker, SWAHN Co-Lead overseeing the Interprofessional Collaboration Stream; Integrated Vice President, London Health Sciences Centre & St. Joseph’s Health Care London

Robin Walker is the Integrated Vice President of Medical Affairs and Medical Education for London Health Sciences Centre and St Joseph’s Health Care, London, and Professor of Paediatrics at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry of the University of Western Ontario. He previously held the position of Vice-President Medicine at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Professor of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University. His postgraduate work in pediatrics and neonatal-perinatal medicine was at Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS and he received his FRCPC (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada) in pediatrics in 1977, as well as subsequently the designation FAAP (Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics).

With over 25 years’ experience as a neonatologist, Dr. Walker has worked both within the hospital sector and with non-government organizations. His research has included work on artificial intelligence tools in neonatal medicine and evidence-based approaches in the improvement of the practice of neonatal intensive care; he is currently helping lead a project to develop a comprehensive on-line profile of the health status of Canada’s children and youth.

Dr. Walker has also led initiatives to develop improved engagement and partnership between hospitals and physicians both in Halifax and now in London. Dr. Walker is a past president of the Canadian Paediatric Society and past Chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Education. Outside of his daily work, Dr. Walker has been an active advocate for the health needs of children and youth for over two decades, receiving several awards for his work. He was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in recognition of work advancing the rights of children & youth (“for his commitment to the right of all children to a healthy start in life”).

Dr. David Edwards, Hallman Director and Associate Dean, School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo

David Edwards is the Hallman Director of the School of Pharmacy, University of Waterloo. He received his undergraduate pharmacy degree from the University of Toronto, completed a hospital pharmacy residency at Sunnybrook Medical Centre and graduated from the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the State University of New York at Buffalo where he did postdoctoral research in pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism. He also completed a Master in Public Health (MPH) degree at Wayne State University in Detroit where he was a faculty member, Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and a pharmacist in the area of therapeutic drug monitoring at Detroit Receiving Hospital.

He is the author of more than 90 papers and book chapters related to therapeutic drug monitoring, drug interactions, pharmacokinetics and drug metabolism and is a co-author of the textbook “Evaluating Drug Literature: A Statistical Approach”. Dr. Edwards sits on the Council of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Pharmacists Association, serves as Vice-President of the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy, and is Past-President of the Association of Faculties of Pharmacy of Canada (AFPC).

Mr. Ralph Ganter, CEO, Erie St. Clair LHIN

Ralph Ganter, the CEO for the Erie St. Clair LHIN, has over 30 years of health care experience. Staff know that the reason he comes into work every day is because he believes in what he is doing and strives to make a difference in people’s lives.

Originally trained as a Respiratory Therapist, Ralph’s experience continued to broaden as a Respiratory Therapy Director, a Utilization Manager, a Hospital Consultant, and a Program Manager, Hospitals, for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. With this extensive health care experience, Ralph joined the ESC LHIN team in 2005 and worked as Senior Director, Health System Design and Implementation.

Ralph is a resident of Sarnia, and his education background includes a BA, Masters of Health, and Masters of Business Administration.

The ESC LHIN covers the regions of Chatham-Kent, Sarnia/Lambton, and Windsor/Essex which includes over 636,000 people. The ESC LHIN plans and funds over a billion dollars a year to our region’s health care providers – services from hospitals to Meals on Wheels. The LHIN also delivers and coordinates home and community care.

Mr. Andrew Williams, President & Chief Executive Officer, Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance

Andrew is the President & Chief Executive Officer of the Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance (HPHA), a voluntary alliance of the hospitals in Clinton, St. Marys, Seaforth and Stratford, a position he has held since the organization’s formation in 2003. Throughout his 25+ year career in healthcare leadership, Andrew has had the opportunity to work in and with numerous healthcare organizations locally, and across Canada. His experience spans small, community, teaching and research hospitals, the community sector, regional systems, and private clinics.

He is a passionate advocate for patient and family centred care, and believes our healthcare system should be less about its structures and providers and more about ensuring the individual needs of the patients are met in the safest and most appropriate manner. Andrew holds and Honours Degree in Biology and Masters in Health Services Administration, both from Dalhousie University. He is an active Member of the Canadian College of Healthcare Leaders and the American College of Healthcare Executives and is a Surveyor with Accreditation Canada.