External Advisory Council

Our External Advisory Council, created in 2011, provides high-level strategic advice relating to and ensuring the long-term goals and success of our faculty, the School of Public Health.

This senior-level council offers insights, ideas and resources to assist the School in developing strategic initiatives to ensure the provision of unparalleled education for students, and completion of leading-edge and relevant research.


Council’s role is three-fold:


  • Provide advisory counsel regarding new initiatives and long range goals, to more effectively respond to the emerging needs of the public health community
  • Ensure currency of programming and research agendas, providing perspective on expectations of graduates and emerging public health challenges, and offer feedback on existing programs and research


  • Promote the School publicly, through sharing their understanding of the School and its programs and celebrating its achievements.
  • Serve as a communications bridge and “think tank” to connect the School with other sectors of the community and animate a dynamic exchange of ideas so that the School may best contribute to the changing public health agenda.
  • Promote the School through its ambassadorial role, actively opening new avenues of community engagement, collaboration, research and knowledge translation.
  • Develop good relations between the School and the larger community and relate the priorities and concerns of that community to the School.
  • Position the School with external stakeholders to influence policy and decision making.


  • Aid the School in its efforts to secure the resources required to be globally competitive in attracting and retaining excellent staff and students.

External Members

  • Michael Dan
    President, Gemini Power Corporation and Regulus Investments, Inc.
    Toronto, Ontario

    Michael Dan is a former neurosurgeon and one of Ontario’s most generous philanthropists.

    Together with his brother, Aubrey, he once co-owned the largest privately-held hydroelectric power company in Ontario, Beaver Power Corporation.  Following the sale of Beaver Power to Brookfield Power in 2006, Michael became involved in a number of First Nations economic development projects.  In 2014, Michael and his wife, Amira, made a $10 million gift to the University of Toronto to establish the first privately-endowed institute for Indigenous Health research in the world.

    Internationally, he continues to support the University of Haifa and the work of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish.

    Among his many honours are the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Haifa.  Michael is also a member of the Order of Ontario.

  • Janet Davidson
    Chair, Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Health Information
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Janet Davidson was deputy minister of health of Alberta from 2013-2015. She was appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Institute of Health Information in 2016. She has over 30 years of health-care experience in the government, voluntary and hospital/community sectors in several Canadian jurisdictions.

    Ms. Davidson has served as official administrator of Alberta Health Services; Canadian executive and industry specialist with KPMG’s Global Healthcare Practice; and president and chief executive of Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga, the largest community academic hospital in the country.

    She has also worked internationally in humanitarian relief and development. She served for 10 years with the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Geneva, first as a vice-president (Americas) and then as vice-chair of the Standing Commission, its highest deliberative body.

    Ms. Davidson trained as a nurse at Toronto East General Hospital. She received a BScN from the University of Windsor and a master of health services administration degree from the University of Alberta. She is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors’ Education program and the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health’s Global Health Leadership program.

    Among her many honours are an honorary doctor of laws from the University of Windsor and officer of the Order of Canada. She has been named twice to both Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women and Canada’s Top 25 Most Influential Women.

    Ms. Davidson has served on the board of the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, and as chair of the Ontario Hospital Association.
  • Martin Garber-Conrad

    Chief Executive Officer, Edmonton Community Foundation
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Martin Garber-Conrad has served as CEO of the Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) since 2005.  He is responsible for new ECF initiatives including the Social Enterprise Fund and the Edmonton and Area Land Trust.  ECF serves as a steward of gifts made to better the Edmonton community, giving grants to charitable agencies (including projects in the arts, education, health, social services and the environment).  ECF is funded by Edmontonians for Edmontonians, with assets of approximately $500 million.

    Garber-Conrad is co-chair of CUP-Community University Partnership for the Study of Children, Youth and Families, sits on the steering committees for several collaborative programs in social and community services and has an Adjunct appointment at Faculty of Extension.

  • Karen Grimsrud

    Chief Medical Officer of Health, Alberta Health
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Dr. Karen Grimsrud graduated from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta in 1978 and completed her public health training at the University of Toronto in 1983. 

    She served for a number of years in Alberta’s public health system, holding the position of Deputy Medical Officer of Health with the Edmonton Board of Health and the Deputy Provincial Health Officer, Alberta Health. From 2009 - 2016, Dr. Grimsrud worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    In April, 2016, Dr. Grimsrud was appointed as Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health with Alberta Health.

    Her major areas of interest and responsibility have been in the areas of immunization, communicable disease control, public health emergency preparedness, chronic disease prevention and evidence-based public health methodology and guideline development.

  • Stephen Hodgins
    Senior Technical Advisor to Saving Newborn Lives, Save the Children
    Washington, DC

    Stephen Hodgins is senior technical advisor to the Saving Newborn Lives program with Save the Children.

    He has extensive global health experience, having served as technical director of the USAID-funded Maternal Child Health Integrated Program and project director for the Nepal Family Health Program, and as Johns Hopkins University Child Survival Fellow in Zambia. He was director of Public Health for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services in northern Québec from 1991 to 1997.

    He received his MD and MSc in epidemiology from McGill, and doctor of public health from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He is an adjunct professor with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

    Dr. Hodgins is committed to achieving population-level improvement in health and effective public health practice.
  • Penny Lightfoot

    Executive Director of Public Health Surveillance and Infrastructure; Alberta Health Services
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Penny Lightfoot served as executive director of the Public Health Surveillance and Infrastructure team in Alberta Health Services until January 2015. This collaborative team provides information that generates action focused on improving health outcomes.

    Ms. Lightfoot's experience spans over 30 years, including clinical practice, research and policy development. Guiding her activities is the belief that knowledge strategically developed and shared changes environments and challenges the circumstances that perpetuate health inequity.

    Ms. Lightfoot served the School of Public Health as chair of the School of Public Health Alumni Chapter until June 2015, and is currently an adjunct professor and member of the Faculty Evaluation Committee. In 2013, she was honored with the Alumni Centenary Award for Voluntary Service to the University of Alberta.

  • Roger Palmer

    President, LEAD Consulting Ltd.
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Roger Palmer was integral in the development and launch of the School of Public Health as a faculty in 2006.  He then served as interim dean before returning to the Alberta School of Business. He is now president of LEAD Consulting Ltd.

    Dr. Palmer’s career includes time as a teacher, school administrator, assistant deputy minister for Student Programs and national director of the School Achievement Indicator Program. He was appointed deputy minister of Alberta Education in 1998.  

    Dr. Palmer was the first deputy minister of Alberta Innovation and Science. His career with the provincial government also includes deputy minister of Environment, president of the Clean Air Strategic Alliance and deputy minister of Alberta Health and Wellness.

  • Robyn Tamblyn

    Scientific Director, Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Health Services and Policy Research
    Montréal, Quebec

    Robyn Tamblyn is Scientific Director of the Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

    Dr. Tamblyn is a James McGill Professor, a medical scientist at the McGill University Health Centre Research Institute and Scientific Director of the Clinical and Health Informatics Research Group.

    Her ground-breaking research has elucidated important relationships between health professional training, licensure and practice that have guided Canadian and international credentialing policies. Her work on prescription drug use, its determinants, and computerized interventions to improve drug safety have been recognized internationally. She is a recipient of the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation Knowledge Translation award as well as the 2014 John P Hubbard award from the National Board of Medical Examiners for her contribution to the assessment of professional competency and educational program development.

    Dr. Tamblyn received her BScN and MSc from McMaster University and her PhD in Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Occupational Health from McGill University

Internal Members

  • Faith Davis

    Professor and Vice-Dean
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Faith Davis returned to her home province in 2012 from the University of Illinois at Chicago to serve as chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. Dr. Davis was appointed vice-dean in August, 2013, with responsibilities in the faculty affairs, education and research portfolios.

    She holds three master’s degrees from Harvard: MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, MSc in epidemiology, and MPH in occupational and environmental health from the School of Public Health. Dr. Davis obtained her PhD in chronic disease epidemiology from Yale.

    In her research, Dr. Davis aims to understand factors that influence the occurrence and survival of cancer. Her work focuses on rare cancers (including brain tumors and ovarian cancers) and environmental exposures, including ionizing radiation. This includes characterizing radiogenic cancer risks associated with low dose and low dose rate environmental exposures. Her scientific renown is reflected in her having served as president of the American College of Epidemiology and a member of the Science Advisory Board Radiation Advisory Committee of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Despite her heavy administrative duties, she continues her research into environmental radiation exposure in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. In recognition of her contribution she was awarded honorary professorship by the Urals Research Centre for Radiation Medicine of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation in 2012.

  • Donna Richardson

    Director, Marketing and Alumni Relations
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Donna Richardson is the director of marketing and alumni relations in the School of Public Health. Ms. Richardson is responsible for directing, managing and coordinating campaign planning, strategy development, image enhancement, and market research and evaluation for the School. As a member of the senior management team, she provides leadership, analyses and solutions to support and advance the goals of the School.

    Prior to joining the University of Alberta in 1999, Ms. Richardson worked at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology for 19 years. There, she was a member of the academic staff and taught in the Marketing Management program. Later, she served as communications specialist, providing strategic advice to programs across the institution.

    Ms. Richardson earned a bachelor of commerce degree, as well as a master of educational administration degree from the University of Alberta. In 2007, she was given the University of Alberta Administrative Professional Recognition Award for her commitment and contributions.
  • Kue Young

    Professor and Dean
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Kue Young has been dean of the School of Public Health since August, 2013. He has previously been TransCanada Chair in Aboriginal Health at the University of Toronto, and head of the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

    A public-health physician (MD, McGill; MSc, Toronto) and biological anthropologist (DPhil, Oxford), he has worked as a primary care physician, health administrator and academic researcher in indigenous communities in northern Canada and other circumpolar regions.

    Dr. Young's major research interests focus on the prevention of emerging chronic diseases, and more recently, health system improvement in the North. He has published seven books, including the textbook Population Health: Concepts and Methods (Oxford University Press; 1998, 2005). His research has been recognized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Senior Investigator award, induction as a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2009, and member of the Order of Canada in 2010.

    Dr. Young has a strong interest in international health. He was a CUSO cooperant in Tanzania, and served as a consultant in overseas assignments for the Canadian International Development Agency and the Canadian Public Health Association. He was World Health Organization Travelling Fellow and has also investigated Aboriginal health conditions in Arctic Russia and among Amazonian Indians in Brazil. In 2009, he was appointed co-chair of the Human Health Expert Group of the Arctic Council.