BC Government: New and renewed appointments made to health authority boards

Jan. 2, 2019

VICTORIA – Leaders in health policy, community and economic development, and from First Nations are among the government’s latest appointees to the province’s health authority boards.

“These new appointees bring a depth of experience from the public and private sectors, local and First Nations government, civil society, labour, health care and research,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Their diversity in background, perspective and expertise, and shared commitment to public service further strengthen our health authority boards, during a pivotal time. The boards are playing a key role in helping government accomplish its goals related to restoring a strong public health-care system, innovation and ensuring the needs of a diverse patient population are understood and met.”

Indigenous representation on the health authority boards is also increasing. Each health authority now has two board members of First Nations background.

“This reflects both the considerable breadth of talent and valuable experience individuals from First Nations bring to the boards, and the need for Indigenous perspectives in health-care decision-making, so services are culturally safe and appropriate,” said Dix.

The appointments, made in conjunction with several board terms expiring, include 14 new board members and 12 reappointments. The new appointments include Dr. Penny Ballem as chair of the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Authority.

“A physician, professor, former deputy minister to health ministers under the prior Liberal government, Dr. Ballem ranks among the foremost figures in public policy and health care in B.C and the country. Other provinces and the federal government alike seek out her policy advice on key issues and initiatives,” added Dix.

“Along with her considerable experience, Dr. Ballem’s tenure at VCH will also benefit from a strong hand off from outgoing chair Kip Woodward. I want to thank Kip for his eight years of leadership and dedication at VCH, and before that as chair of Providence Health. He has played an instrumental role over the past 12 years, especially during times of transition. I am personally thankful and appreciative of his assistance and look forward to working with him in the future on new projects,” said Dix.

In addition to Dr. Ballem’s appointment, Tim Manning’s term as chair of the Provincial Health Services Authority has been extended to 2020.

New members appointed to health authority boards include: Allan Louis and Karen Hamling to Interior Health; Wilfred (Wilf) Adam, Patricia Sterritt and John Kurjata to Northern Health; Marilyn Slett to the Vancouver Coastal Health board; Sandra Harris, Donisa Bernardo and Dr. Kerry Jang to the Provincial Health Services and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Joanne Mills and Manpreet Grewal to Fraser Health; Alana Nast and Fred Pattje to the Island Health board.

In addition to the new board members, the following people have been reappointed: Tammy Tugnum, Dennis Rounsville and Diane Jules as board members for Interior Health; Stephanie Killam as a board member for Northern Health; Howard Harowitz, Allan Baydala and Clifford Fregin as board members for Vancouver Coastal Health; Robert Kiesman, Chief Clarence Louie and Sharon Stromdahl as board members for the Provincial Health Services Authority and the British Columbia Emergency Health Services boards; Robina Thomas as a board member for Island Health.

In addition to VCH board chair Kip Woodward, other outgoing board members include: Patricia Dooley, Interior Health; Markus T. Delves, Fraser Health; Jean Wheeler and Dr. Roger Barnsley, Island Health; Maurice Squires and Benjamin Sander, Northern Health; and Donald Brooks and Joan Rafferty, Provincial Health Services Authority.

“I want to express, on behalf of the health authorities and ministry, a sincere thank you to these departing members for their service and contribution,” said Dix.

Health authority board members help ensure British Columbians receive the best possible care in an efficient, well-managed public health-care system. Boards are responsible for the governance and oversight of health services in the province. They work with health authority leadership to establish the organization’s overall vision and ensure there is appropriate community consultation. Boards also regularly review the organization’s long-term plans, identify significant issues affecting the organization and evaluate results.

Two backgrounders follow.


New appointments to health authority boards

Interior Health

Allan Louis: Allan Louis serves as a councillor of the Okanagan Indian Band, maintaining a focus on ideas and initiatives meant to benefit the membership. He is co-chair of the Aboriginal Education Committee for School District 22, recognizing First Nations interests and challenges with the current education model. In addition, he is an active member of the First Nations Health Council, working together with local, provincial and federal governments to achieve innovative ways of delivering health services to First Nations. Louis is the owner of Maximum One Venture. Previously, he worked as a manager for Vernon Travel Lodge. He has also worked as the security manager for Casino of the Rockies and as a service advisor for Cranbrook Dodge. Louis attended Okanagan College.

Karen Hamling: Karen Hamling served four terms as mayor of Nakusp. Hamling retired after many years at the Arrow Lakes Hospital, most of which were spent as the health records supervisor. She previously owned two businesses and now helps with a forestry contracting business. As an active member in the community, Hamling is currently the treasurer and one of the original directors and founders of the Nakusp and Area Community Foundation, co-ordinator for Music in the Park and a past director with Community Futures of Central Kootenay. She is also involved in community health, the steering committee for the Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) Community Initiatives and Affected Areas funding program and has attended all CBT symposiums. She is also the vice-chair of the Columbia River Treaty Local Governments Committee and was vice-chair of the Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. Hamling received her licensed practical nursing certification and is an accredited health record technician.

Island Health

Alana Nast: Alana Nast is a chartered professional accountant from Victoria. After graduating from the University of Victoria in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in economics, she entered articles with the Office of the Auditor General of B.C. and received her designation in 1988. She worked for national accounting firms in Victoria for 13 years. She is currently a principal with Green Horwood & Co LLP chartered professional accountants, where she continues to operate her accounting practice.

Fred Pattje: Fred Pattje is a retired councillor of the City of Nanaimo. As a councillor, he chaired committees on public safety, city planning, arts and culture, and parks and recreation. He was also an alternate director of the Regional District of Nanaimo. Pattje previously worked for Canadian airlines in various positions including marketing and sales. Active in his community, Pattje is a member of the board of the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music. He is also a founding member of the Departure Bay Neighbourhood Association. Pattje studied arts and sciences at McMaster University.

Northern Health

Wilfred (Wilf) Adam: Wilf Adam was born in Burns Lake, grew up in a small community called Pendleton Bay, and later returned to live in Burns Lake. Adam represented the Lake Babine Nation for over 27 years in different capacities, including serving as Chief for 17 years. He has also been elected six times as Commissioner of the B.C. Treaty Commission. Adam is a co-founder of the Burns Lake Law Centre.

John Kurjata: John Kurjata is a partner at SKK, an accounting firm based in Dawson Creek. Before studying to become a chartered professional accountant, Kurjata owned and managed businesses in the trucking industry. He is currently a director on the Lake View Credit Union board of directors since 2015, and was elected chair in April 2018. He was also a board member of Community Futures Peace Liard for 15 years, including being part of the self-employment and loans committees, and was a past chair. Kurjata was appointed to the Northern Lights College board of governors in 2011, elected vice-chair in 2012 and was elected board chair in 2015.

Patricia Sterritt: Patricia Sterritt is of Tsimshian ancestry, belonging to the Gitga’at Tribe of Hartley Bay. Sterritt served on the Hartley Bay Band council from 1996 to 2005. She was the director of social services for the North Coast Tribal Council for 10 years. Sterritt worked with multicultural organizations committed to serving people, building relationships, establishing communication strategies and creating outreach programs. She was the primary point of contact for the bands with all provincial and federal government agencies and worked with federal department heads, staff and university faculty to develop curriculum for band social workers that resulted in the UVic social work degree program in the North.

Vancouver Coastal Health

Dr. Penny Ballem: Dr. Ballem is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She has had a 35-year career as a health leader and academic clinician in British Columbia. She served as the B.C. deputy minister of health from 2001-06. She also served as the city manager for the City of Vancouver from 2008-15. She has extensive board experience, having served on public sector, non-profit and private sector boards. She has received significant public recognition for her work in medicine and public service, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for Public Service, the 2012 Wallace Wilson Award for leadership, the Marion Powell Award from Women’s College Hospital for leadership in Women’s Health, the Cannell Award from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada for her contributions to leadership in reproductive health and others. She advises governments across Canada on health policy, health systems and health human resources.

Marilyn Slett: Kawazi+ (Marilyn Slett) is a citizen of the Heiltsuk Nation and the elected chief councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council. She is currently serving her third consecutive term as chief councillor, beginning in 2008 and following previous positions as tribal councillor and executive director of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council. She is also currently the president of Coastal First Nations, on the board of directors of the British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, the co-chair of the Wild Salmon Advisory Council to British Columbia, and she has served as the B.C. women’s representative on the Assembly of First Nations Women’s Council.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Donisa Bernardo: Donisa Bernardo recently retired as the financial secretary for the Hospital Employees Union and served on its provincial executive for 20 years. Bernardo sits on a number of committees, including the Municipal Employees’ Pension Committee, which appointed her to the Municipal Pension Board of Trustees in 2014 as primary trustee. Bernardo started her health-care career as a pharmacy technician in 1984.

Sandra Harris: Sandra Harris is a program developer and advisor for social development at the Gitksan Government Commission. Harris is strongly committed to community development and lifelong learning. Born and raised in the Bulkley Valley (Smithers), she belongs to the Wet’suwet’en Nation of the Laksilyu, Little Frog Clan and carries the hereditary name, Wii Esdes. Harris has lived in the Skeena Watershed, in Gitxsan territory for almost 20 years. Harris is also an Indigenous Focusing Complex Trauma practitioner working with health, social and justice frontline workers. This work helps her to share teachings about intergenerational trauma and grief and loss, supporting first responders, suicide prevention and debriefing supports, connecting to Indigenous strengths and resilience.

Dr. Kerry Jang: Dr. Kerry Jang is a professor of psychiatry at UBC, where he teaches in the medical school and conducts research on the causes of mental illness and urban health. He has authored or co-authored over 125 peer review papers, several chapters and three books. In 2008, he was elected to Vancouver City Council and served for a decade before retiring from political life. During his time on council he initiated programs to assist the homeless and mentally ill, including establishing lower-barrier shelters, the Healthy City Strategy, modular housing and local responses to the opioid and overdose crisis.

Fraser Health

Joanne Mills: Joanne Mills is the executive director of the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre in Surrey, the vice-president of the BC Association of Friendship, a sitting member of the Metro Vancouver Homelessness Partnering Strategy Community Advisory Board and co-founder/owner of First Health Solutions. She has been a leader in health and social serving agencies for 19 years, having served as a director in Interior Health supporting Indigenous health. She also led in the development of the Provincial Health Services Authority Indigenous cultural competency training program.

Manpreet Grewal: Manpreet Grewal has been with Abbotsford Community Services since 1989. Her role as director oversees 23 programs that help the community address the needs of individuals with language and cultural barriers and assist thousands of immigrants and refugees integrate into community life each year. She has also worked as a freelance journalist with a master’s degree in political science from the University of Delhi and a diploma in print journalism from the London School of Journalism. Grewal is the vice-president of the Affiliation of Multicultural Societies and Service Agencies of BC board, director for the Social Planning and Research Council of BC board, trustee for the Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation and board director for Prospera Credit Union.


Reappointments to health authority boards

Interior Health

Tammy Tugnum: Tammy Tugnum is the general manager at Cariboo Chevrolet Buick GMC Limited in Williams Lake. She has been working there since 1996. Active in her community, Tugnum is currently the president of Williams Lake Harvest Fair and director of the Cariboo Foundation Hospital Trust. Tugnum has served on the board of directors since April 2014.

Dennis Rounsville: Prior to his retirement, Dennis Rounsville was an executive vice-president and president of the Forest Products Group for Tembec Inc. from 2005-13. Rounsville has served on multiple boards, including the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce and Blue Lake Forest Education Society. He is a member of the Association of BC Forest Professionals, past chair of the Council of Forest Industries and past chair of the Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association. Rounsville holds his bachelor of science in forestry from the University of British Columbia. He completed the executive business management program from the Banff School of Advanced Management. Rounsville has served on the board of directors since April 2014 and is chair of the audit and finance committee.

Diane Jules: Diane Jules has been president of the Sexqeltkemc Ltd. Partnership since 2010. Previously, she served four terms as an elected band councillor for Adams Lake Indian Band and as president of Adams Lake Band Development Corporation. Jules has served as vice-president of the Secwepemc Child and Family Service Board and was an integral part of the First Nations Education Council for School Districts 73 and 83 for almost 10 years. She holds her business certificate from Cariboo College. Jules was appointed to the board of directors in January 2015.

Island Health

Robina Thomas: Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina Thomas) is a member of Lyackson First Nation. Dr. Thomas is an associate professor and holds a faculty position in the school of social work at the University of Victoria. Presently she is the director, Indigenous Academic and Community Engagement. Dr. Thomas has extensive experience in the field of Indigenous studies. Her master’s thesis focused on Kuper Island Residential School and her PhD dissertation focused on Indigenous Women and Leadership. Her research interests include: Indigenous women and children, residential schools, storytelling, community engagement and anti-colonial/anti-racist practices as a way of life. In addition, Robina sits on the Kwumut Lelum child and Family Services Board, a board she has been involved in for the past 10 years. Dr. Thomas brings to the Island Health board her lived experience as an Indigenous woman, along with her passion and commitment to bringing attention to the Aboriginal ways of knowing and being. Dr. Thomas was first appointed to the board of Island Health on Dec. 31, 2012.

Northern Health

Stephanie Killam: Stephanie Killam has lived in Mackenzie since 1972. She and her husband Donald have raised their two children in the community. Killam was the senior secretary at Mackenzie Secondary School from 1979 to her retirement in 2006. Stephanie is committed to the community and the region, promoting initiatives which improve economic, health and educational opportunities. She is well-versed in environmental issues and the balance that is required between those concerns and the economic development and diversification of the community’s future. The depth of her involvement in the community, region and province is exemplified by the many boards and associations of which she has been or is currently a member. Politically, she has been a municipal councillor for nine years and has served as mayor of Mackenzie 2005-14. Killam was appointed to the Northern Health board in March 2015.

Vancouver Coastal Health

Howard Harowitz: Howard Harowitz is the principal of Howard Harowitz Consulting Limited, a management consulting firm. Prior to establishing Howard Harowitz Consulting, Harowitz was partner at Coopers and Lybrand. He was also president of Rainbow Software and Celcom Security Limited. He holds his bachelor of arts in economics and mathematics from the University of British Columbia and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and holds a master of business administration from Stanford University.

Allan Baydala: Allan Baydala was the chief financial officer of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority where he served as a senior executive for more than 10 years. Baydala also has over 20 years of aviation industry experience and knowledge of the health-care sector gained through his past board roles as treasurer, vice-chair and chair of the Delta Hospital Foundation. Baydala has served on various industry boards, including the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, Tourism Richmond, Tourism Vancouver, Council of Tourism Associations of BC and the BC Aviation Council. He is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and was Business in Vancouver’s CFO of the Year, Large Public Companies in 2011. Baydala is a chartered accountant and a graduate of the University of British Columbia.

Clifford Fregin: Born and raised in Prince Rupert, Cliff Fregin is Haida from Old Massett, Haida Gwaii. He has been extensively involved in Aboriginal community economic and business development throughout Canada for over 25 years. During his time as executive director of the Gwaii Trust — a partnership between the Haida Nation and the settlers on Haida Gwaii — Fregin managed a perpetual trust fund valued at over $62 million and oversaw the dispersal of approximately $20 million to socio-economic projects on Haida Gwaii. In December 2002, Fregin was hired by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporation Association as chief operating officer responsible for finance and programs in Ottawa. Since October 2006, Cliff Fregin has led the New Relationship Trust as chief executive officer. In November 2015, Cliff became chairperson of the board of directors for the Haida Enterprise Corporation. He joined the board of Vancouver Coastal Health in March 2016.

Provincial Health Services Authority

Tim Manning: Tim Manning, board chair, is a retired executive of RBC Royal Bank with more than 40 years of experience in the financial services industry. Manning was born in Montreal and graduated from Stanstead College and Bishop’s University. He has been involved in a number of community organizations/boards and is currently a member of the CREC Commercial Fund LP, a governor of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, a member of the board of trustees for the Canadian Athletic Foundation and a member of the BC Chapter Executive for the Institute of Corporate Directors. For his active role in the community, he was awarded the Order of BC in 2017, the Queen Elizabeth ll Diamond Jubilee Medal and the H.E. Miskiman National Leadership Award – Junior Achievement of Canada in 2013, and is a member of the Mississauga Hockey Hall of Fame.

Robert Kiesman: Robert Kiesman is a business owner and corporate lawyer who specialized in mergers and acquisitions for eight years with Stikeman Elliott LLP in Vancouver. Kiesman spent 10 years working as a deep-sea commercial fisherman off the northwest coast of B.C. He is an active part of his community, having served as a member of the Vancouver Airport Authority’s environmental advisory committee and currently serving as board chairman of the Steveston Harbour Authority, which manages Canada’s largest commercial fishing harbour. Kiesman holds his juris doctor from the University of British Columbia, a bachelor of arts in political studies from Trinity Western University and fishing master (class III) certificate from the Canadian Coast Guard.

Chief Clarence Louie: Clarence Louie is Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band and CEO of the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation. He was first elected band Chief in 1985 after completing Native American Studies programs at the Universities of Regina and Lethbridge. Since then, he has been dedicated to creating self-reliance for the band through strong, diversified economic development, while preserving traditions and building on lessons of the past. He is actively involved in many boards, such as the Aboriginal Business Canada Board. Chief Louie was awarded the Aboriginal Business Leader of the Year – All Nations Development Corporation in 1999 and the Council for the Advancement of Native Development Officers Award for Economic Developer of the Year Award in 2000. He was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 2016.

Sharon Stromdahl: Sharon Stromdahl retired from Northern Savings Credit Union in Prince Rupert, where her roles included senior vice-president, chief operating officer and interim president. In her community, Stromdahl served as an advisory member of the Credit Union Solutions Centre, director of the Career Resource Centre and advisory claim member for CUMIS Insurance. She holds a managing sales culture certification from BDS Certification Vancouver, a certificate in business owner development from Newport Marketing School and has studied sales coaching and financial analysis at the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business and business administration at Northwest Community College.


Ministry of Health
250 952-1887 (media line)


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