Wendy Nelson – Founder and Project Lead

Wendy is Senior Fellow with the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto and an experienced executive in the health and social service sectors, possessing an established track record leading positive organizational and health systems change.

Change and transformation requires leaders who are curious about the unknown, have empathy and possess equal amounts of courage and common sense. Wendy brings these qualities to her work with students, teams and organizations that want to facilitate change and transformation.

Vernissage Health © – a dialogue series between emerging and experienced health care leaders – is the intellectual creation and an innovative leadership development initiative Wendy is currently leading on behalf of IHPME.  Offered to over 40 high potential graduate students since its inception in 2017, the dialogue series has also been offered by community health organizations to support and develop front line managers develop leadership mindsets to effect system change.  For more information about Vernissage Health ©, please visit https://ihpme.utoronto.ca/research/research-centres-initiatives/vernissage-health/ .

With graduate degrees in management from both University of Toronto (1983) and McGill University (2014), Wendy is committed to incorporating contemporary ideas and available evidence to assist leaders facilitate positive, sustainable change within complex systems. Her graduate research at McGill focused on the critical success factors for large scale health system transformation – recent international efforts, emerging evidence, and implications for Ontario.

At University of Toronto, Wendy served as preceptor, Adjunct Professor and President of the Alumni Association for the Department of Health Administration where she was recipient of the President’s Achievement Award in 1999.  Wendy recently received the University of Toronto’s Arbor Award in 2018 for her outstanding service within IHPME.

Wendy is one of a handful of Canadian graduates of the Leadership Academy offered through Parker Palmer’s Centre for Courage and Renewal in Washington (2014).

Wendy has served as a senior executive in a broad range of settings in the public and private sector including North York General Hospital, Trillium Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, and the Ontario Public Service. For eight years, Wendy served as President and CEO of Rx Canada, a private company serving community based retail pharmacies in all provinces.


Dr. Michael Anderson – Project Co-Lead IHPME SeriesProfile of Michael Anderson

Michael is part of Toronto’s urban Indigenous community. He is Mohawk/English with family roots in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory.  While practicing surgical oncology in the Simcoe-Muskoka Regional Cancer Program, where he served as Cancer Care Ontario’s (CCO) Regional Surgical Oncology Lead, he developed an interest in palliative and end-of-life care. Currently, his clinical work involves community-based palliative care in Toronto. As a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto he examines death and dying as it pertains to urban Indigenous people. He is a senior research team member at the Waakebiness-Bryce Institute of Indigenous Health at U of T and his research interests include Indigenous epistemologies and research methodologies, community engagement, approaches to dialogue, and Indigenous conceptualizations of death and dying. He also serves as the head of the medical advisory board for an emerging healthcare technology company in addition to advising on local and national palliative care initiatives.




Dr. Isser Dubinsky – Project Co-Lead IHPME/Rotman Series Profile of Isser Dubinsky

Isser served as an Associate Director of Hay Group Health Care Consulting from 2004-2016.  Prior to that time, he served as Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University Health Network and Chief of Emergency Medicine at North York General Hospital, one of Canada’s busiest emergency departments.  During his tenure as Chief of Emergency Medicine, Isser served on the Medical Advisory Committees, Board and Hospital Executives at both hospitals.

Dr. Dubinsky is an honours graduate from U of T’s medical program (1975). Following graduation from medical school he had a range of experiences from performing mission work in rural hospitals in Africa to working in small community hospitals in Canada.

Dr. Dubinsky is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at University of Toronto and a Senior Fellow at IHPME.  In the Faculty of Medicine, he served as the theme coordinator for the “Leader” theme from 2015-2018 as well as supporting the development and implementation of the M.Sc. SLI program – a program offering undergraduate medical students an opportunity to complete a Master’s degree in Health System Leadership and Innovation along with their medical degree.

He has also delivered a number of educational sessions to under- and postgraduate medical trainees focused on physician leadership development. At IHPME, he provides mentorship to several Masters and Doctoral students. One component of this activity has been his participation in the Vernissage Health program in 2018, serving as an “experienced leader”.

He has published more than thirty articles in scientific literature, served as an editor of two textbooks on emergency medicine, lectured around the world and has served as a visiting professor in the United States, Malaysia, Israel, and Japan.  He is the past winner of many awards for excellence in teaching, including the prestigious PAIRO award.

Dr. Blake Poland – Project Co-Lead

Blake Poland is an Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, Director of the Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Community Development (cdcp.ca), co-lead of the Healthier Cities &
Communities hub 
(http://www.HealthierCitiesCommunities.com), co-director of the WHO Collaborating Centre in Health Promotion, and former interim director of the Transformative Learning Centre at OISE. His areas of
specialization include community resilience, transformative social change, qualitative and dialogical methods, the settings  approach in
health promotion, ecological determinants of health, social 
movements, community development as an arena of
practice for health and social care professionals, and the relationship between inner and outer change. His current and recent research includes the emergence of the Transition movement in Canada, the role of civil society in healthy public policy making (and implementation) on active transportation, and the racialization of the emerging new ‘green economy’ (www.GreenGap.org). Blake teaches courses in generative dialogue, community development in health, and building community resilience.