Dean's Advisory Board

The Dean’s Advisory Board (the board) for the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry provides the Dean advice, guidance, and direction on major issues of strategic importance. The board helps build strong and engaging relationships with stakeholder groups across our community, and fosters opportunities for innovation and commercialization. The board supports an entrepreneurial focus within the Faculty and the achievement of academic excellence in research and education, ultimately resulting in positive health impacts and outcomes for Albertans.

Specific board responsibilities

  • advise the Faculty on major strategic issues
  • advocate for the Faculty’s programs and program needs
  • provide guidance regarding innovation and commercialization
  • suggest strategies for and facilitate relationship-building with the community
  • assist in the celebration and promotion of Faculty successes

Composition of the board

The board is comprised of eight to 10 people, with two co-chairs appointed by the Dean. The Dean and co-chairs will nominate other members, who serve a three-year renewable term. Members are community leaders with an interest in medicine, health care, biomedical science and public service, as well as innovation and commercialization. The board meets quarterly, or as required.

Current board members

Dean Brenda Hemmelgarn, MD, PhD, ICD.D — Dean and professor, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Dr. Hemmelgarn joined the University of Alberta as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry on Jan. 1, 2020. Previously, she was a professor in the Department of Medicine and head of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She has more than 35 years of experience in health care, including as a practising nurse, physician, researcher, academic and administrator. Dr. Hemmelgarn is the past board vice-chair of Alberta Health Services. She is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Co-chair Jim Brown, ’71 BSc — President, Sherrick Management
Mr. Brown graduated from the University of Alberta in 1971 with a bachelor’s in civil engineering. Mr. Brown is the founder and president of Sherrick Management (est. 1976), developer and project manager for numerous land-development projects primarily in Edmonton and Calgary. Mr. Brown is past chair and current trustee (since 2011) with the University Hospital Foundation, and co-chair of the Brain Centre Campaign. He is a director of the Galleria Foundation and member of the Urban Development Institute (UDI), Urban Land Institute (ULI), and APEGA.
Co-chair Catherine Roozen, ’77 BCom, CM, AOE, LLD — Director and executive chair of Cathton Investments Ltd, director of the Allard Foundation
Following graduation from the University of Alberta in 1977 with a bachelor of commerce degree, Ms. Roozen worked with the North West Trust Company until 1981 in branch operations and as vice-president of investments. In 1981, Ms. Roozen joined Cathton Investments Ltd, a private investment company with interests in banking, broadcasting, ranching and real estate development. Currently, Ms. Roozen is a director and secretary of the Allard Foundation Ltd., chair and director of Cathton Investments Ltd. and a director of Melcor Developments Ltd and EPCOR Utilities. She holds the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Alberta Centennial Medal. She has been honoured with the MacEwan University Distinguished Citizen Award and recognized as a Global Television Edmonton Woman of Vision, and received an honorary doctor of law degree from the University of Alberta. In 2013 Ms. Roozen was awarded the Alberta Order of Excellence and in 2015 the Order of Canada.
Dr. Chris Eagle, MD, MBA, RCPSC (Anesthesiology) — Board chair, Alberta Cancer Foundation; Professor emeritus, University of Calgary; Adjunct professor, University of Alberta
Former president and CEO of Alberta Health Services and board chair of Calgary Health Trust, Dr. Eagle is an advocate for health-care change. Dr. Eagle was trained as a cardiac anesthesiologist, and served as professor and head of the Department of Anaesthesia at the University of Calgary, and chief examiner and chair of the Specialty Committee in Anesthesia at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Dr. Dianne Kipnes, CM, PhD, MSW, LLD(Hon)
Dr. Kipnes is a retired clinical psychologist who for the last 30 years has been involved in contributions to the arts, health and education. A serious encounter with cancer and its aftermath in the early 2000s led to her renewed interest in cancer research. She was instrumental in the establishment of the Lymphatic Disorders Chair and Salutaris, a treatment clinic for lymphedema. She currently sits on the board of the Alberta Cancer Foundation and is co-chair of the Dianne and Irving Kipnes Foundation. She is a PhD graduate of the Fielding Institute, a Member of the Order of Canada and holds an honorary doctorate of laws from the University of Alberta.
Chief Billy Morin — Chief, Enoch Cree Nation, Grand Chief, Treaty Six Nations (2020)
Chief Billy Morin Nahtokitopi (Sacred Rider), elected as the youngest Chief in Enoch Cree Nation’s modern history in 2015, served three consecutive terms leading one of Alberta’s most progressive Indigenous Communities. He helped to champion a resurgence in Nehiyaw Cree language, culture and identity in Enoch; symbolized by his nation reclaiming its traditional Cree name Maskekosihk (Land of Medicines); as the land of Enoch has many traditional indigenous medicines. As Chief, he worked to close gaps in community health by building a relationship with the provincial health system. In 2019 a MOU was signed, setting the foundation for a new relationship in culmination with Enoch success in the RFP to build the first orthopedic surgical center owned by a First Nation in Canada on First Nation land, a project rooted in the 'Land of Medicines' name. Chief Billy’s tenure was defined by true Reconcili-Action inside and outside his home First Nation. Billy's time as Chief culminated with his appointment as Grand Chief of the 17 First Nations of the Confederacy of Treaty Six in 2020; a position responsible to be the voice for a population of nearly 80,000 First Nations people in the region.
Janice Rennie, ’79 BCom, FCA, FCPA, F.ICD
Ms. Rennie’s business background includes both executive positions in large organizations and overseeing her own investment firm. She was senior vice-president of human resources and organizational effectiveness at EPCOR. Ms. Rennie has also held key executive positions with Princeton Developments. Ms. Rennie has extensive board and audit committee experience and currently serves on the boards of Major Drilling Group International Inc, Methanex Corporation and West Fraser Timber Co Ltd, and is chair of the EPCOR Utilities Inc board. She previously served on the boards of WestJet Airlines, Teck Resources, and Greystone Capital Management. Ms. Rennie’s experience in the not-for-profit sector includes serving as chair of the audit committee of the Province of Alberta; the inaugural boards of the Accounting Education Foundation of Alberta and the Edmonton Community Foundation; and the Business Advisory Council of the University of Alberta School of Business. She is a fellow of the Alberta Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Institute of Corporate Directors.
Justin Riemer, BA, MA — CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta
Mr. Riemer leads a team dedicated to advancing innovations that are reducing Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions and diversifying its economy. He has earned a reputation for skillfully navigating Canada’s innovation system, building relationships inside and outside of Alberta, and developing a strong network in support of innovation and economic development. For more than 25 years, he has achieved results in regional economic development, industry expansion, investment attraction and innovation. Before joining ERA, he led the Alberta Region of Prairies Economic Development Canada in the federal government to support economic development across the province. Prior to that, he held several senior positions focused on innovation and investment attraction at the Government of Alberta and Alberta Health Services.
Janet Riopel, ICD.D — President & CEO, TREYL Communications Inc.
Ms. Riopel has deep roots in our community and considerable experience in managing complex, multi-stakeholder projects. Through a diverse career path, she honed her skills and experience in the land development industry, with other adventures including working with the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s Governor General, CAREERS, EPCOR and Port Alberta. Janet is a director on the boards of Melcor Developments, Nearctic Property Group and Invest Alberta Corporation. Past service includes the boards of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, Compassion House, MacEwan University, NAIT and United Way. She was honoured with both the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and Golden Jubilee Medals, has twice been named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People and was a Global TV Woman of Vision. Ms. Riopel has received UDI’s Merit Award and the City of Edmonton’s Outstanding Service Award. She is a member of the International Women’s Forum and the Institute of Corporate Directors. Janet is a lifelong Edmontonian with two children and four amazing grandchildren.
Andrea Robertson, BN, MSc — President and CEO, STARS
Ms. Robertson has been president and CEO of STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) Air Ambulance, a helicopter ambulance service providing critical care services to patients in Western Canada, since 2011. Prior to STARS, Ms. Robertson spent nearly 30 years in a variety of health-care leadership roles, including as vice-president and senior vice-president at Alberta Health Services. She is currently a member of the board of directors for CP Railway and for the Calgary Airport Authority and was named a Women's Executive Network (WXN) Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 winner in 2014. She has completed executive fellowships at Wharton University and Ivey Business School, as well as an executive leadership program at Harvard University.
Brian Vaasjo, MBA — President and CEO, Capital Power
Mr. Vaasjo possesses over 40 years of industry experience including president and CEO of Capital Power. He was executive vice-president of EPCOR and president of EPCOR's Energy Division. At EPCOR, he was responsible for regional power generation, water operations, and the growth of EPCOR’s competitive power and water businesses across North America, as well as corporate development and acquisitions. He spent 19 years with the Enbridge Group of Companies, where he played a substantial role in acquisitions, corporate development, and public offerings. Mr. Vaasjo was president of Capital Power Income LP from September 2005 until July 2009 and chairman of the board of its general partner from July 2009 to November 2011. Mr. Vaasjo is a member of the Financial Executives Institute of Canada, served on the University of Alberta School of Business Advisory Council and is serving on the Board of Alberta Health Services. He was chairman of the board of the United Way Alberta Capital Region, and the Alberta Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society (STARS). He served on the boards of the Alberta Society of Management Accountants and the Citadel Theatre. He is a fellow of the Society of Management Accountants.
Sheila Weatherill, BSc, BScN — Consultant, Weatherill & Associates
Ms. Weatherill is a corporate director and former senior health administrator with experience in organizational growth and the execution of large projects. Throughout her career she demonstrated skill in leading complex organizations, fostering partnerships, and has a proven track record in innovation. Ms. Weatherill is the former president and CEO of the Capital Health Authority, and served as the federal independent investigator of the 2008 listeriosis outbreak. Ms. Weatherill is the past EPCOR vice-chair of the board of directors, chair of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee, and director at Shaw Communications. She has broad community experience and knowledge of the health-care system.