Advisory Council

Meet the members of our advisory council below.

Committee members were nominated and chosen for the diversity in skill and expertise and to ensure representation of the Unit’s four stakeholder groups: patients, health care providers, researchers and health system decision makers. Consideration was also made to encourage uniform geographic representation across British Columbia. With the formation of the Advisory Committee, the Interim Governing Council’s advisory responsibilities have concluded.


Lynn Stevenson (chair)

Advisory Council Chair Lynn Stevenson

Lynn is an experienced senior health care executive and until May 2018 was the Associate Deputy Minister of Health responsible for health services delivery in a wide variety of programs including primary and community care, acute care, mental health, senior’s health, research and innovation, workforce planning, regulation and practice.  Lynn also held senior executive positions in Island Health, Fraser Health and the BC Cancer Agency.  A registered nurse by profession, she has a PhD in organizational change, leadership and practice.  In addition, she holds a fellowship with the Canadian College of Health leaders (FCCHL) and is a certified board director (ICD-D) with the Institute of Corporate Directors

Ellen Chesney

Ellen Chesney is Chief Administrative Officer for the Provincial Health Services (PHSA), where she works with the PHSA board, programs and research institutes to advance PHSA’s integrated academic health science mandate of care, research and education.   She chairs the Health Research Council of BC, comprising the senior research leaders of BC’s health authorities, research-intensive universities, and major funders. Ellen also co-chairs the HealthCareCAN VP Research Sub-committee and is a board director of Research Canada. Ellen holds an MBA from the UBC Sauder School of Business, and a Bachelor of Journalism, High Honours, from Carleton University, and is a graduate of the Queen's Executive Development Program.

Dr. Greg Haljan

Dr. Greg Haljan is the Regional Medical Director for Research in Fraser Health and Critical Care Department head at Surrey Memorial Hospital.  He furthers the strategic planning for the development of medical research in Fraser Health and promotion of research opportunities/research support for Fraser Health physician investigators. Dr. Haljan coordinates medical research development in collaboration with universities, research institutes and health authorities.  He has significant expertise in developing and implementing new evidence-informed models of care for critically ill patients, engagement of multidisciplinary healthcare team members, and has completed additional training in physician leadership and health economics at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

Bev Holmes

As President & CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Bev is focused on the funding, production and uptake of health research and health care-related evidence in British Columbia (BC), Canada. Since joining MSFHR in 2010, Bev has supported the Foundation through a period of organizational redesign, established MSFHR as a leader in knowledge translation, and supported the launch of a new suite of funding programs focused on developing, retaining, and recruiting BC health research talent. An active and respected member of the health research community, Bev’s research interests include knowledge translation, discourse analysis, health communication, risk communication, and public involvement in health research.

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox is the Scientific Director Hotıì ts’eeda (The Northwest Territories SPOR SUPPORT Unit) and is responsible for its overall scientific and administrative direction.  She is the author of numerous academic books and articles, including Finding Dahshaa: Self Government, Social Suffering and Aboriginal Policy in Canada (UBC Press, 2009), a standard text in Indigenous Studies programs at many Canadian universities.  Stephanie has worked for Indigenous peoples’ organizations across the NWT on Treaty negotiations and implementation. She is an Adjunct Professor at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration and sits on a variety of boards.

Martha MacLeod

Martha MacLeod is Professor in both the School of Nursing and the School of Health Sciences at the University of Northern British Columbia and is currently the Northern Health – UNBC Knowledge Mobilization Research Chair. She co-leads UNBC’s Health Research Institute and is active in the BC SUPPORT Unit Northern Centre. Martha teaches in the areas of leadership and moving knowledge into practice. She studies the nature of everyday experience and practice, and how patient and family-centred services and professional practice may be developed or hindered within health care organizations, particularly those in rural, remote and northern settings.  She is currently exploring patient-oriented approaches to implementation science and knowledge translation.

Alison McLean

Alison’s background is in Health Systems research— specifically around equitable access to high-quality prenatal care in Canada and the United States. Alison has extensive experience working with vulnerable populations and diverse groups of people, both here in North America and internationally.

As an emerging leader in decolonizing research and healthcare practice, Alison is committed to working towards transformative, anti-racist, justice-oriented policy and programming for all.

Alison has also been a patient partner on SPOR projects through the Peer Models Network as well as a Consultant around BIPOC engagement in the Health Economics Systems Modelling methods cluster since 2018.

“I feel extremely privileged to be joining the BC SUPPORT Unit Advisory Council. I hope to be a good representative of my ancestors, and the many communities that I represent who have shaped who I am today. I am a refugee, wife, mother, Black woman and community advocate”, says Alison.

Megan O’Reilly

Megan is a nursing student at Vancouver Island University and previously completed a degree in Rural Pre-Medicine at Selkirk College. In addition to being a patient partner on the BC SUPPORT Unit’s Patient Council, Megan is also a member of the Patient Voices Network’ Oversight and Advisory Committee.

Megan has a passion for bettering the healthcare system in rural communities and works with a Rural Citizens Perspective Group to achieve this. She also volunteers her time as a rural e-Mentor with Rural Education Action Plan and the University of British Columbia and has previously been a peer health mentor in Vancouver Island high schools.

“My goal of joining the council is to help address and break down barriers that prevent rural communities from being able to fully participate in patient-oriented research. By joining the council, I hope to gain insight into diverse ways patient-oriented research can be conducted and bring those ideas to my practice as a future nurse”, says Megan.

David Ostrow

David was the Founding Medical Director of the BC Transplant Society / Vancouver General Hospital’s (VGH) Lung Transplant Program and was active in co-founding the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic.  He was VP of Clinical Services from 1997-2001 at VGH and was Chief Information Officer for the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) from 2001-2003. He was VP, Medical and Clinical Innovation for VCH from 2003-2009. He was the President and CEO of VCH from 2009, until retiring in 2014. He acted as interim CEO for Fraser Health from June-October 2014.  He is active in Medical Education at UBC having retired in 2016 from a practice in Pulmonary Diseases at VGH’s Lung Center.  He continues to consult on matters of health policy and economics, technology and genomics.

Bernie Pauly

Bernie Pauly is a registered nurse, nurse educator and research scientist at the University of Victoria and the Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research.  Her research focuses on equity-oriented interventions to reduce the harms of substance.  Her passion is working with patients, public and communities to improve health and wellbeing through community engaged and patient oriented research.  When not doing research, she can be found spending time with her family who all share a passion for cycling.

Anni Rychtera

Anni is a nurse practitioner, natural health practitioner, and college educator.  She participated extensively in a variety of committees and groups related to health care in BC, including the Ministry of Health, Association of Registered Nurses of BC, University of Victoria, Lymphoma Society, and Vernon Jubilee Hospital.  Her lived experience with chronic nerve pain (after a sports injury and delayed surgery), and as a cancer survivor and thriver, taught her the importance of being an informed patient and an equal partner in health care decision making.  Anni had early career experience in clinical research, with an interest for more involvement in research now.

Swapnil Shah

Swapnil worked within the health care industry as a software engineer for several years. After navigating the health care system for conditions like diabetes and gout, he become a patient partner with the BC SUPPORT Unit Fraser Center. He is also a patient partner with the South Asian Health Research Collaborative (SAHRC), where they partner with the South Asian community to build engagement in health research.  They have collaborated with Fraser Health, BC SUPPORT Unit, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia and University of Fraser Valley to conduct a 10-minute survey to help identify health issues that are important to the community.

Anne-Marie Visockas

Anne-Marie Visockas joined Interior Health in February 2017 as Vice President – Health Systems Planning, Mental Health & Substance Use (MHSU), and Residential Services. In January 2019, her portfolio changed to VP, Planning and Research. Her current portfolio includes Health System Planning, Strategic Information Management / Analytics, Health System Evaluation, Research, and Primary and Community Care Planning.  Anne-Marie has significant experience translating her academic background into practical application, combined with doctoral and post-doctoral work on primary and community care.

Martin Wright

Most of Martin's two decades of experience in the BC Public Service have been spent leading analytics teams focussed on influencing organizational strategy and operations and, ultimately, client outcomes.  Martin joined the Ministry of Health from the Ministry of Children and Family Development where he led a team recognized nationally for excellence in analytics in the social sector. He has also previously worked in similar roles in the Ministry of Health and the Premier's Office.  He has an M.Sc. in Economics from the University of Wales, Cardiff, UK. In his spare time, Martin enjoys rowing, soccer and spending time with his family.

Minnie Downey (ex-officio)

Minnie is the Executive Director of the BC SUPPORT Unit where she provides both strategic and operational leadership and oversees the implementation of the Unit’s business plan.

Danielle Lavallee (ex-officio)

Dr. Danielle Lavallee is the Scientific Director for the BC AHSN and has a key role in the senior leadership of BC AHSN, working with all operational units and supported networks. She brings expertise in patient and stakeholder engagement to the Network through her work with the Comparative Effectiveness Research Translation Network (, which supports active patient and stakeholder engagement in research and quality improvement initiatives. Her research focuses on advancing methods to incorporate the patient perspective into both clinical care and research activities through the capture of patient-reported outcomes and active patient involvement in research conduct. Danielle is also a Research Associate Professor and health services researcher in the Department of Surgery at the University of Washington. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from the University of Kansas and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Kelly Moran (ex-officio)

Kelly Moran is the Director of Operations for the BC SUPPORT Unit and his primary role is to provide leadership to support delivery of services through funding partners, the Hub and regional centres.  Kelly is part of the Unit Management team, he reports to Minnie Downey, Executive Director.   Hub leads reporting to the Kelly are Patient Engagement, Project Management, Performance Management and Evaluation, and Knowledge Translation.

Victoria Schuckel (ex-officio)

Victoria Schuckel is Executive Director, Research and Innovation (R&I), at the BC Ministry of Health (MoH).  She is the MOH Project Lead for the BC SPOR SUPPORT Unit and for the Academic Health Science Network. The R&I branch supports MoH collaboration with external research units and funders, manages the Ministry’s health technology review process and works on a range of initiatives involving other ministries and stakeholders who have academic, social policy and economic development and interests health research. She is currently providing leadership to a series of research projects meant to support the successful implementation of primary and community care transformation.