Speaker Biographies

Speaker Biographies

Fiona Menzies

Dr. Fiona Menzies is the division head for Geriatric Medicine at St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. She completed medical school at the University of Toronto and Internal Medicine residency there before her fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at McMaster University. She is the site lead for the LTC+ outreach program, facilitating Geriatric and Internal Medicine consultations to long-term care homes and is the director of senior’s health at the St. Joe’s site for Unity Health Toronto. Currently, Fiona is a student in the Master of Health Science in Bioethics program is offered by the Department of Public Health Sciences in collaboration with the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. In addition to being a geriatrician, Fiona enjoys rowing and running.

Mary Oko

Mary Oko is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CA) with extensive experience in both the private and not-for-profit sectors. A caregiver for over 20 years, Mary has helped to support many members of her family during their health journey, including her Mom, Wanda Oko who is a resident of Copernicus Lodge long-term care in Toronto, ON. Passionate about her community and giving back, Mary volunteers extensively and is currently the Chair of Family Council at Copernicus Lodge representing the 200 families who have loved ones living in long-term care. Mary has held senior roles supporting charities and not-for-profit groups such as Association of Women in Finance (BC Chapter), Canadian Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Society, Copernicus Lodge Foundation, Federal Liberal Party of Canada, Humewood House, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Red Cross, United Way and Westcoast Family Resources Society. She is an avid traveler, lover of the arts while enjoying bicycling, hiking and skiing.

Sandi Parker

Sandi Parker is currently a Team Leader of Investigations with the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee. Prior to her Team Leader position, Sandi was an Investigator with the OPGT for eight years where she conducted many intensive and complex investigations in order to help protect incapable citizens of Ontario who were suffering, or at risk of suffering, serious harm. She has considerable experience conducting complex investigations and assisting individuals navigate less intrusive resolutions. She also brings her knowledge and experience from her time with the OPGT’s Property Guardianship Services and her previous policy work at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services.

Philippa Geddie

Philippa Geddie was called to the bar in 2010 and acted as counsel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and as an associate in a litigation boutique before joining the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee in 2011. As a senior counsel for the Public Guardian and Trustee’s Guardianship Investigations Unit, Philippa advocates for persons with diminished capacity who have been placed at serious risk by financial exploitation, fraud, medical abuse, neglect, or the negligence of third parties. As counsel for the Guardianship Services Department, Philippa provides a full range of legal services to the individuals for whom the Public Guardian and Trustee acts as guardian of property, in areas ranging from personal injury to family law. In addition, she acts on behalf of the Public Guardian and Trustee in drafting reports under Rule 7 of the Rules of Civil Procedure on the merits of proposed settlements involving parties under a disability. She has spoken before numerous institutions and agencies, from the Ontario Police College to representatives of the Osaka High Court, on navigating legal situations when diminished capacity is an issue.

Sharon Strauss

Sharon E. Straus is a geriatrician and clinical epidemiologist who trained at the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford. She is the Director of the Knowledge Translation Program and Physician-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital and Professor in Department of Medicine, University of Toronto. She holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Translation and Quality of Care and has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed publications and 3 textbooks in evidence-based medicine, knowledge translation and mentorship. Since 2015, she has consistently been in the top 1% of highly cited clinical researchers as per Web of Science and has an H-index of 103. She has held more than $60 million in peer-reviewed research grants as a principal investigator. She has received national awards for mentorship, research and education.

André Picard

André Picard is one of Canada’s top health & public policy observers and commentators. He has been a part of The Globe and Mail team since 1987, where he is a health reporter and columnist. He is also the author of five bestselling books. Picard is an eight-time nominee for the National Newspaper Awards, Canada’s top journalism prize, and past winner of the prestigious Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism.

He was named Canada’s first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association, as a “Champion of Mental Health” by the Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health, and received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, for his dedication to improving healthcare.

A graduate of the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, André has received honorary doctorates from six universities, including UBC and the University of Toronto. He is a seasoned communicator who employs a conversational style to reach his audience. Additionally, he enlivens his research and commentary with personal stories to provide context for his audience. Fluently bilingual, André will enlighten and pique a sense of curiosity of audience members from all educational backgrounds. Behind the placid exterior lies an inquisitive, perceptive and industrious scribe for whom the work only begins with the official story.

The University of British Columbia recently announced André Picard as one of the Asper Visiting Professors at the School of Journalism, Writing, and Media for the 2020-2021 academic year, winter session. In 2020, Picard was awarded The Owen Adams Award of Honour. This award is the highest CMA award available to a non-physician.

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