This Year’s Keynote Speakers

Dr. Don Berwick, MD

Founding CEO, Institute for Healthcare Improvement and Former Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, US Federal Agency that serves over 100 million people in America.

Known around the world for his many visionary and famous work in quality improvement initiatives, he is the recipient of many awards including the recognition of “Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire” given by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Era Three in Healthcare Quality

As health care improvement efforts grow, two major theories of what create excellence compete with each other. One is rooted in the deep history of medicine, relying on professionalism and the dedication of individual clinicians. A second, newer, assume that scrutiny, accountability, and incentives are the keys for change. Neither is up to the task of thorough design and redesign that health care needs. This lecture will explore a “third way” to quality, far more deeply grounded in proper science and evidence.

Quality healthcare for every American is still possible.

Don Berwick is the United States’ leading advocate for high-quality healthcare.

He is currently President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement – IHI. From July 2010, to December 2011, Dr. Berwick served as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. For 22 years prior to that, he was the founding CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a nonprofit dedicated to improving healthcare around the world. A pediatrician by background, he has also served on the faculties of the Harvard Medical School and and the Harvard School of Public Health.

Don Berwick sees tremendous unrealized potential in American medicine. Despite our outstanding knowledge base, expert practitioners, and world-class equipment, too many Americans do not have access to safe, high-quality care. Dr. Berwick presents a vision of how, through continual improvement, innovations in healthcare delivery, stronger leadership, and smarter policy, America can forge a system that satisfies our patients, achieves better outcomes, respects our limited resources, and honors our moral imperative to care for the disadvantaged. His focus on improving quality has gained him a reputation as a powerful motivator who can encourage institutions and individuals to do their work better.

Let’s make “best” the new norm.

In 2005, he was appointed “Honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire” by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his work with the British National Health Service. He is the recipient of many awards, including the Ernest A. Codman Award, the American Hospital Association’s Award of Honor, the Heinz award for Public Policy and the Institute of Medicine’s Gustav O. Lienhard Award. He has been named as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians (London) and a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practice. His over 160 articles have appeared in professional journals on such topics as healthcare policy and healthcare quality management. His books include Promising Healthcare: How We Can Rescue Health Care by Improving It, Curing Health Care, and New Rules: Regulation, Markets and the Quality of American Health Care.

Don continues to be one of the top thinkers in healthcare today.

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Sister Mary Jean Ryan

A Nun, a Nurse, a former CEO and Chair of the Board of SSM Health Care, in St. Louis, MO

She is the voice of leadership in healthcare around the world. Named one of the top 25 Most Influential Women in Business and one of America’s most powerful people in the healthcare field, her organization was the first health care organization to win the coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in the United States.

Service Quality in Healthcare

Service quality is more than a kindly act. She will talk about many ways we serve, both in large and small ways, and how that service can heal in the broadest sense body, mind and spirit. No one can afford to miss this thought provoking and next-frontier talk by some one so qualified!

About Sister Mary Jean Ryan

Sr. Mary Jean Ryan, Franciscan Sister of Mary, is Chair of the Board of SSM Health Care (SSMHC), one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the United States, with care delivery sites in Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. SSM includes 18 hospitals, more than 60 outpatient care sites, a pharmacy benefit company, an insurance plan, two nursing homes, comprehensive home care and hospice services, a technology company, and an Accountable Care Organization. SSM has more than 1,300 employed physicians and nearly 30,000 employees. In 2002, SSM Health Care became the first health care recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s premier award for performance excellence and quality achievement.

Prior to becoming Chair of the Board in August of 2011, Sr. Mary Jean served as President/CEO. During her 25-year tenure as President and CEO, Sr. Mary Jean emphasized three key themes: preservation of the earth’s resources; valuing ethnic and gender diversity; and commitment to Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI). She is the author/co-author of two books about SSM’s quality journey, and she has been privileged to share SSM Health Care’s Quality Journey through presentations to many national and international organizations.

Sr. Mary Jean has received numerous honors, including the Juran Medal from the Distinguished Service Award from the American Society for Quality (ASQ), the C. Jackson Grayson Distinguished Quality Pioneer Medal (2009) from APQC, the Distinguished Service Award (2010) which is the highest honor given by the Missouri Hospital Association, the Life and Breath Award from the American Lung Association, the Governor’s Quality Leadership Award in Missouri (twice) and the Award of Honor presented by the American Hospital Association. She has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Business in St. Louis and was named one of the most powerful people in health care by Modern Healthcare Magazine for eight years. Most recently, the Baldrige Foundation named Sr. Mary Jean as the inaugural recipient of the Harry S. Hertz Leadership Award.

She was elected as an Academician to the International Academy for Quality (IAQ) in 2008 and currently is Chair of the Board. She received a Master’s Degree in Hospital and Health Administration from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a nurse and has been a Franciscan Sister of Mary for over 50 years.


Gary Coles

Senior Vice-President, Administration, Group Insurance, Industrial Alliance

Gary Coles is currently Senior Vice-President, Group Administration at iA Financial Group. He is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of the life and disability claims, health and dental claims, call centre and plan administration teams. Based in Toronto, he oversees major service centres in Montreal and in Toronto. He has previously occupied similar roles in iA’s Individual Insurance division as well as Information Technology senior leadership position. Gary is chairman of iA’s Lean Steering Committee in Toronto and is a member of iA’s Digital Strategy team.

Using Lean Methodology for Success in the Digital World

Gary Coles will be presenting a case study with concrete examples of an improvement journey in the operations of the Group Insurance Division of Industrial Alliance Financial Group. The before and the after story will be described in a fascinating manner to show the linking of the results achieved through the use lean methodology and furthermore how it was applied via modern age digital technology and what tangible gains it brought to the clients and the company. A video that will tell the story in a visual way.

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Dr. Anne Snowdon

Professor, Strategy and Entrepreneurship, Academic Chair, World Health Innovation Network (WIN), Odette School of Business

Dr. Anne Snowdon is a professor and Academic Chair of the World Health Innovation Network (WIN), and Scientific Director and CEO of SCAN Health, a Networks of Centres of Excellence International Knowledge Translation Platform located at the University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business.

Dr. Snowdon works to build collaborative partnerships around the globe to advance innovation and scalability of innovation across health systems to strengthen performance, economic value, and sustainability. WIN provides support for innovators and entrepreneurs to successfully bring their discoveries to the Canadian, U.S., and world markets by creating evidence of impact for new products that achieve value for health systems.

Currently, Dr. Snowdon is leading over 10 innovation research initiatives across seven Canadian provinces and five countries that collaborate with government, health professionals, industry, research teams and families. She is a member of the Institute for Health System Innovation of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, and is a Board Member for Alberta Innovates and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

Dr. Snowdon has published more than 140 research articles, papers and cases, has received over $22 million in research funding, holds patents, and has commercialized a highly successful booster seat product for children traveling in vehicles. She holds a PhD in Nursing from the University of Michigan and is a Fulbright Scholar.

Innovation as a Strategy to Strengthen Quality in Health Systems

This presentation will explore the key quality challenges that health systems are currently experiencing locally and globally and discuss current trends in the global health innovation agenda. Challenges and opportunities on how innovation can advance and strengthen quality improvement for global health systems will be discussed.

Previous Congress Invited Speakers

The following is a line-up of all previous keynote speakers at past conferences held so far from 2009 to 2015.

  • Dr. A. V (Val) Feigenbaum, originator of the Total Quality Management (TQM) concept and world-recognized quality guru;
  • Jim Harrington, Past President, ASQ and IAQ and author of 35 books on quality;
  • Masaaki Imai, President & CEO, Kaizen Institute, Japan; guru of lean management;
  • Sister Mary Jean Ryan, Past President and CEO, SSM Healthcare, St Louis, MO, USA, winner if ASQ Juran Medal and current Chair of the Board, International Academy for Quality (IAQ);
  • Tito Conti, Past President, European Organization for Quality and International Academy for Quality, best-selling author and an European quality guru;
  • Jack West, author, ISO standards management expert and noted consultant;
  • Dr. Su Mi Dahlgaard-Park, Professor, Lund University, Sweden;
  • Peter Merrill, author and President, Quest Management Systems, Toronto, Canada;
  • Jim Milway, Former Executive Director, Institute of Competitiveness and Prosperity, University of Toronto, Ontario;
  • Dr. Michael Rachlis, MD; Best-selling author and Canada’s healthcare policy expert;
  • Dr. Jens Dahlgaard, Professor Emeritus, Linkoping University, Sweden and author of 15 books, editor-in-chief, TQM and Business Excellence Journal;
  • Dr. Rick Holley, Distinguished Professor, Food Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada;
  • David McClaskey, President, Pal’s Business Excellence Institute, Kingsport, Tennessee, USA;
  • Nancy Pratt, Senior Vice President, Sharp Healthcare , a winner of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, San Diego, USA;
  • Ron Higgins, President, Wren Consulting Group, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;
  • Jean-Claude Savard, President, Savard Consulting, Montreal, Quebec, Canada;
  • Ken Miller, Founder, Change and Innovation Agency, Kansas City, Missouri;
  • Diane Dalgleish, Assistant Deputy Minister, Alberta Infrastructure, Edmonton, Canada;
  • Lori Schmidt, CEO, Productivity Alberta, Edmonton, Canada;
  • Ed Kane, Assistant Vice President, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.
  • Jim Laurendeau and Kurt Kadatz of the City of Calgary;
  • Art Daniels, Author, lecturer and former civil servant, government of Ontario;
  • Clifford L. Norman, Quality consultant and Founder, Profound Knowledge Products Inc, USA.
  • Susan A. Muenter, Director of Human Resources for the Pewaukee School District
  • Dr. Verna Yiu, MD, VP, Quality and Chief Medical Officer, Alberta Health Services, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Jayne Pope, CEO, Hill Country Memorial Hospital, Fredericksburg, TX
  • Renée Laflamme, Executive vice-president, Industrielle Alliance
  • Suzanne Blanchet, Senior vice-president, Corporate Development Cascades Inc.
  • Pierre Malenfant, General Manager, Steris Canada, Beauport (QC)
  • Johanne Maletto, General Manager, Quebec Quality Organization (MQQ)
  • Alain Ouellette, Executive Director, Automazation, GE Aviation, Bromont, Canada