International experts focus on recovery in Alberta

Press Release

Feb 22, 2023

The Recovery Expert Advisory Panel will help shape Alberta’s evidence-based approach to addiction and mental health care.

The Alberta model of building recovery-oriented systems of care is anchored in evidence-based research and best practices from around the world. To advise on further building out Alberta’s recovery-oriented systems of care for addiction and mental health, Alberta’s government has appointed a panel of leading, world-class experts.

The panel will provide ongoing advice on best practices, research and innovation, policy and standards development, as well as informing evaluation and outcomes reporting.

“Alberta is leading the country in recovery-oriented care. We’re proud to bring together some of the most highly respected experts in North America to provide insight and advice as we further develop our recovery-oriented system of care and help support more Albertans in their pursuit of recovery.”

Nicholas Milliken, Minister of Mental Health and Addiction

“I look forward to working with my fellow panel members to support Alberta in its recovery-focused approach to treating addiction and mental health challenges. The Alberta model is not only making a difference in the lives and health outcomes of the people in this province – it’s helping to bring recovery to the forefront of health policy discussions in Canada and beyond.”

Dr. Keith Humphreys, professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University

“Evidence-based treatment is key to helping people recover from addiction and mental health challenges. Alberta’s recovery-oriented systems of care are informed by established research and focused on delivering measurable outcomes so that every Albertan is supported in their pursuit of recovery.”

Dr. Nathaniel Day, medical director, addiction, Provincial Addiction and Mental Health and Correctional Health Services Portfolio

“Recovery is about resilience, and Alberta has been working to increase access to effective and culturally appropriate systems of care for people struggling with addiction. I’m pleased to lend my perspective and knowledge to build on this momentum and help more people, families and entire communities.”

Charles Weaselhead, chancellor, University of Lethbridge and former Blood Tribe chief and Treaty 7 grand chief

The Recovery Expert Advisory panel is made up of 16 experts from diverse fields of expertise, including frontline specialists, researchers, physicians, Indigenous leaders, policy experts and other respected leaders. The group of experts appointed to support Alberta’s government in building recovery oriented systems of care includes leading voices from Stanford University and Harvard Medical School, in addition to local leaders from the Universities of Calgary, Lethbridge, and Alberta.

Panel members

  • Dr. Keith Humphreys (chair), professor of psychiatry and behavioural sciences, Stanford University
  • Dr. Nathaniel Day (vice-chair), medical director, addiction, Provincial Addiction and Mental Health and Correctional Health Services Portfolio
  • Charles Weaselhead (vice-chair), chancellor, University of Lethbridge and former Blood Tribe chief and Treaty 7 grand chief
  • Dr. Ray Baker, physician, Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine
  • Dr. Victoria Burns, associate professor, faculty of social work, University of Calgary
  • Dr. Charl Els, senior medical advisor, Physician Health Monitoring Program, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta
  • Blair Gibbs, public policy consultant
  • Dr. John Kelly, professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine, Harvard Medical School
  • Dr. Anna Lembke, professor and chief, Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic, Stanford University
  • Billy Morin, former grand chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations
  • Dr. Johanna O’Flaherty, psychologist, author, speaker and crisis manager
  • Kelly J. Ogle, CEO, Canadian Global Affairs Institute
  • The Honourable Bonnie L. Rawlins, KC, former justice, Alberta Court of King’s Bench
  • Dr. Julian Somers, distinguished professor, Simon Fraser University
  • Tom Stamatakis, president, Canadian Police Association
  • Dr. Rob Tanguay, psychiatrist and chief medical officer, The Newly Institute

Alberta’s government is continuing to build a recovery-oriented system of care, where everyone struggling with addiction and mental health challenges is supported in their pursuit of recovery. This includes adding more than 570 new publicly funded treatment and recovery beds capable of treating more than 10,000 Albertans, eliminating fees for addiction treatment, launching the Digital Overdose Response System (DORS) app to help prevent overdose deaths, and expanding access to opioid agonist treatment medication. For more information, visit

Quick facts

  • The Recovery Expert Advisory Panel will provide ongoing advice for a period of one year, with the possibility of extension.
  • The panel’s mandate is to provide advice on innovative and best practices for recovery-oriented systems of care as well as inform policy and standards.
  • The panel will build on Toward an Alberta model of wellness, which provides recommendations to further strengthen recovery-oriented systems of care in Alberta.
  • Alberta spends more than $1 billion annually on addiction and mental health care and supports, including prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery.
  • Any Albertan struggling with addiction can contact 211 Alberta to connect with local services and virtual supports. 211 is free, confidential and available 24-7.
  • The Virtual Opioid Dependency Program provides same-day access to addiction medicine physicians and life-saving medications to Albertans across the province. Albertans can call 1-844-383-7688 seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

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