fbpx

Staff

The Asthma Canada Team
Vanessa Foran

Vanessa Foran

President & CEO

Vanessa Foran provides more than 20 years’ experience as an NGO leader working with patient groups such as the Canadian Diabetes Association Pediatric Oncology Group of Ontario and Parkinson Canada. She also led a Canadian health coalition – Neurological Health Charities Canada, participated in numerous advocacy initiatives working with the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness, the Canadian Caregiver Coalition, Best-Medicines Coalition and Chaired the Health Charities Coalition of Canada’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. Her eldest daughter has lived with asthma from a very young age, providing Vanessa with direct experience and a passion to improve the lives of Canadians affected by this chronic disease.

 

Zhen Liu

Zhen Liu

Manager, Operations & Administration

Zhen has over 10 years of experience working in the non-profit sector. She has a strong belief in the positive impact that charities make on children, youth, families and community members across Canada. She joined Asthma Canada as she wanted to empower individuals affected by asthma, provide them with the opportunity to engage in meaningful programs and access resources that would improve their overall health and well-being.

 

Michael Duchesne

Michael Duchesne

Development & Communications Specialist

Michael has a background in professional writing and communications, with a passion for telling stories that inspire people to take action. Having lived with asthma since childhood, he understands the importance of forwarding Asthma Canada’s mission and stopping asthma attacks from claiming lives.

 

Kristin Valois

Kristin Valois

Manager, Communications, Programs and Public Engagement

Kristin is an experienced communcations professional who is driven to develop materials that educate, inform and inspire. After spending over a decade in client services, she understands the importance of connecting with community to truly understand their needs. She’s passionate about empowering the asthma community to live their lives to the fullest.

 

Jenna Reynolds

Jenna Reynolds

Director, Programs & Services (currently on maternity leave)

Jenna comes from a diverse background in international development before beginning her work in health and patient-centred care at Asthma Canada. Growing up in a family where everyone had asthma, she learned the importance of education and good asthma control early on and believes strongly in self-advocacy and supportive empowerment.

 

Mehnaz Rahman

Mehnaz Rahman

Manager, Communications & Public Affairs (currently on maternity leave)

Mehnaz has a background in non-profit communications, with eclectic experience in arts based organizations as well as social enterprises. As someone who has lived with asthma since she was a child, she brings a passion to help improve the lives of Canadians with asthma and raise awareness about this chronic disease.

 

Board of Directors

Providing Strategic Direction
Vibhas Bapat

Vibhas Bapat

Chair

Vibhas is the current Chair of the Board. Vibhas is a technology marketing consultant with over 25 years experience in sales and marketing, marketing communications, writing and consulting. Working with a variety of businesses from large publicly traded multi-national companies to local startups, Vibhas continues to work and consult with some of Canada’s most interesting and exciting organizations, including Asthma Canada. Moving to Toronto after completing university in Atlantic Canada, his asthma returned in adulthood and along with his two children with asthma, he is acutely aware of how challenging it can be to live with this disease. He is proud to volunteer with Asthma Canada to further their efforts in research, advocacy, education and support.

 

Kristi MacKenzie

Kristi MacKenzie

Vice-Chair

Kristi MacKenzie is the Director of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant (HNHB) Regional Cancer Program (RCP) based with the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre (JHCC) and Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS). She has her Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, and Masters of Health Administration from the University of British Columbia. She also completed the Certified Health Executive Program with the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Throughout her career, Kristi has been recognized for her abilities to engage with partners and oversee the implementation of regional health systems strategies. She is a health promotion advocate with a passion to enhance community health and equitable access to care.

 

Dr. Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Susan Waserman, MSc, MD, FRCPC

Secretary & Chairperson Medical and Scientific Commitee

Dr. Waserman obtained her MSc and medical degree from McGill University in Montreal. She specialized in Internal Medicine, followed by subspecialty training in Allergy/Clinical Immunology. She then completed a fellowship in Pulmonary Immunology at the Meakins Christie Laboratories at McGill University. She is currently a Professor of Medicine, in the Division of Allergy/Clinical Immunology at McMaster University in Hamilton. She is the Director of the Adverse Reactions Clinic at the Firestone Institute of Respiratory Health, St Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. She is the past President of the Ontario and Canadian Societies of Allergy and Clinical Immunology where activities included CME for physicians, allied health professionals and the community, as well as practice guidelines in areas such as anaphylaxis, rhinitis and immunotherapy.
Karen Slezak

Karen Slezak

Treasurer

Karen’s vast knowledge allows her to work with clients on most topics pertaining to their finances, including tax minimization, real estate, tax planning, charitable-gift planning, corporate and partnership restructurings, effective use of family trusts and planning relating to estates, succession and insurance. Both of Karen’s children struggled with asthma and she volunteers with Asthma Canada because she supports its initiatives to help families understand and control this disease.

 

John Healy

John Healy

Director

John is past Chair of the Board, a position he held from 2016-2020. John is also an integral part of “Team Asthma”. He is a senior lawyer in Toronto, and has – with the exception of when he lived in NY teaching law – been a resident of Toronto. He has a Bachelors Degree (Honours) as well as his J.D./LL.B from the University of Western Ontario, and is currently completing a Masters of Law at the University of London (England). John is very passionate about his role on the Board because like millions of other Canadians, he also has asthma—which was diagnosed later in life.

 

Dag Enhorning

Dag Enhorning

Director

Dag Enhorning is the President of Siltech Corporation, a manufacturer of specialty silicones. Prior to joining Siltech, Dag worked as a CPA in the Calgary office of Ernst & Young, specializing in US and Canadian personal tax. Dag lives in Toronto with his two children and enjoys golf, biking and family vacations. Dag’s interest in Asthma Canada stems from his father’s extensive research to help premature babies that are afflicted with Respiratory Distress Syndrome survive and his subsequent research to find a cure for asthma.

 

Firdos Somji

Firdos Somji

Director

Firdos is an accomplished global financial services executive & change champion with expertise in driving value through M&A integrations, business transformations, customer experience management, organizational design & efficiency. He previously served as SVP International Banking at Scotiabank, from which he retired following a distinguished career of over 40 years. Firdos is a Fellow of the Institute of Canadian Bankers, holds an MBA & ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors. Firdos was diagnosed with asthma in his teens and has been able to control it through an effective management program. He would like to see a future without asthma! 

 

Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee

Meet Our Certified Respiratory Educators