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Western Health Summit

2015 Event

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2014 Event

The 2014 Western Health Summit rallied together health care professionals and industry leaders to discuss concerns around the sustainability of our health care system and the action that Canadians want to see. The event provided delegates with new perspectives and strategies to help take on this task. Discussions focused on four areas where there is the most opportunity for change, and where action now can deliver real results: sustainability of the system, including funding health care and how money is spent; innovation; primary care reform; and wellness and prevention.

The event also featured the Conference Board’s latest research on health care economics, transformation, innovation, and workplace wellness. The eclectic mix of expert speakers discussed solutions to the issues, including primary care reform and wellness and prevention innovation.

Featured Speakers from the 2014 event

Jennifer Carson

Jennifer Carson
Chief Executive Officer
Alberta School Employee Benefit Plan

Dr. Martin Dawes

Dr. Martin Dawes
Head, Department of Family Practice
The University of British Columbia

Jill de Grood

Jill A. de Grood
W21C – University of Calgary

Dr. Arun Garg

Dr. Arun K. Garg
Program Medical Director, Laboratory Medicine and Pathology
Institute for Health System Transformation and Sustainability, Fraser Health Authority

Dr. Herbert Emery

Dr. Herbert Emery
Professor and Program Director, Health Policy
University of Calgary

Michael Emery

Michael Emery
Director, Health System Strategies West
Medtronic of Canada Ltd.

Jon Fairest

Jon Fairest
President and Chief Executive Officer
Sanofi Canada

Paul Gallant

Paul W. Gallant
President and Specialist Advisor
Gallant HealthWorks and Associates

Dr. Tobias Gelber

Dr. Tobias Gelber
President, AMA Section of Rural Medicine and Rural Physician
Associate Clinic, Pincher Creek

Rev. Amy Greene

Rev. Amy E. Greene
Director, Spiritual Care
Cleveland Clinic

Jane Groenewegen

Jane Groenewegen
Member of the Legislative Assembly
Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly

Glen Hodgson

Glen Hodgson
Senior Vice-President and Chief Economist
The Conference Board of Canada

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti

Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti
Professor, University of Alberta and
President, Canadian Medical Association

Daris Klemmer

Daris Klemmer
Advocacy Chair
Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta

Coco Lefoka

Coco Lefoka
Manager, Public Affairs
British Columbia Pharmacy Association

Dr. Richard Lewanczuk

Dr. Richard Lewanczuk
Senior Medical Director, Primary Health Care
Alberta Health Services

Hugh MacLeod

Hugh B. MacLeod
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Patient Safety Institute

Alfred Moses

Alfred Moses
Member of the Legislative Assembly
Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly

Dr. Debbie Samsom

Dr. Debbie Samsom
Back in Motion Rehab Inc.

Dr. Dilip Soman

Dr. Dilip Soman
Corus Chair in Communications Strategy, Senior Fellow, Desautels Center for Integrative Thinking
and Professor of Marketing, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

Jeff Sumner

Jeff Sumner
Vice-President of Innovation, Clinical Affairs and Business Development

Bill Tholl

Bill G. Tholl
President and Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Healthcare Association and Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations

Cynthia Watson

Cynthia L. Watson
Canadian Academy for Healthier Generations

Norman Yakeleya

Norman Yakeleya
Member of the Legislative Assembly
Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly

Dr. Jennifer Zelmer

Dr. Jennifer Zelmer
Executive Vice-President
Canada Health Infoway

The Wrap-Up Poem

John BrewerAs program developer and Chair of the event, it was John Brewer’s responsibility to introduce the sessions, foster discussion among the speakers and attendees, and ensure that the conference is a memorable one for all participants. The chair must also summarize the presentations upon completion; and while a few main themes and talking points might suffice at your typical event, John has developed a reputation for presenting abridged versions of each event through the magic of poetry. By inserting case study examples, top lessons, and even jokes from the speakers into his verse, John wowed an already pleased crowd with the exceptional poem below. Enjoy!

We gathered here in the West of this great nation
to talk of health care sustainability and transformation

We heard the financial case for change is clear
but how do we get to there from here

Government budgets are under stress
it looks like we’re going to be changing under duress

The population is aging fast
the system we have just cannot last

Productivity is growing but only slowly
in international standings Canada is lowly

Or kids are stuck in inactivity
is it any wonder we face an epidemic of obesity

So now’s not the time for timid ideas
set bold targets, overcome your fears

Poverty is the biggest driver of health
can’t we decide to get rid of it—we have the wealth

Smoking, inactivity, easting poorly
cost 50% of the budget—end of story

But I think at the heart there’s a serious tension
so bear with me now as I struggle with comprehension

There’s a health care system we have to sustain
but the problems we face need more than “maintain”

But we can’t just trash it—it’s saving lives
it’s one of the reasons this country thrives

We need to change the system from bottom to top
we have to start soon and can’t afford to stop

We even heard that disease is our addiction
has the system we built to cure become itself the affliction

And we heard form the North West Territories the damage addiction can do
you don’t want that happening to you now do you?

So what have I learned over this day or two
Well here are five things I’d like to share with you


We are not speeding our money in the smartest way
acute disease, hospitals—the problems and solutions of yesterday

But we know an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
you know that in your core—you know it for sure


We need to put the patient at the centre of all we do
but also someone has to take care of you

You have responsibility for your own well being
but so does your employer—is that what you are seeing?

Health care workers are running out of gas
this more for less then even more just cannot last


Primary care is where we should focus
for evidence based change not hocus locus

Primary care is the patients home
but it will be transformed by the genome

You can get yours for a few thousand on line
but will it really tell us who’s going to be sick, who fine?

So will the phone then your doctor replace
it’ll be face to screen not face to face

Genomics will change the game
put simply healthcare will never be the same


We make a lot of health decisions every day
as many as 1000 the experts say

But deciding is something we don’t do well
left to ourselves we’ll decide ourselves to hell

Perhaps we need a push a pull or a nudge
we need to find new ways to change behaviour—to get people to budge


We need more and better innovation
we can find it here and in other nations

We need a culture where we can fail
not where failure is the final nail

In the coffin that is your career
so learn from your failures—that’s really really clear

And now I’d like to share this list
If we stop doing these things they won’t be missed

There’s ego, silos, and us v them
sugar, inactivity and luditism

We need to stop practicing and start keeping score
end complacency, introspection, fear and so much more

To conclude, Sitting is the new smoking
yes that’s the truth i am not joking

So here then is a simple task
stand up now get off your……..

We began with economics but we end with emotion
just let me then please leave you with last one notion

And if I could I would shout this from the top of the highest steeple
it’s the system that’s the problem, not the people

So please from now make this your mission
make change now—don’t ask permission

Image of the cover of the 2013 Health Summit agenda


We’d like to thank our generous sponsors for their contribution to this event.

Sanofi logo

Dr. Roger's Prize logo

Medtronic logo

LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services logo

Marketing Partners

The Alberta Health Industry Association logo

British Columbia Pharmacy Association logo

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health logo

Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists logo

Canadian Coalition for Green Health Care logo

Canadian College of Health Leaders logo

Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement logo

Canadian Healthcare Technology Magazine logo

Canadian Psychological Association logo

Canadian Public Health Association logo

Canadian Society of Physician Executives logo

Gallant Healthworks logo

Health information Management Association of Alberta  logo

Health Quality Council of Alberta logo

Healthy Minds Canada logo

Human Resources Institute of Alberta logo

Certified Human Resources Professional logo logo

Wellness Alberta logo

The Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC)

Social Media

Twitter @CBoC_Events


“Very good conference with great ideas and information!”

“Excellent combination of precise and general information from mostly terrific speakers. Glad to hear provocative ideas for such an informed audience to react to.”

“Overall very satisfied with the content and discussion. Well done.”

“Speakers were well prepared, presented clearly and insightfully”

“Thank you for the amazing bank of speakers and providing me new ideas to build on innovative H.C. solutions.”


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