Board Members

Sandra Holdsworth
Gravenhurst, Ontario

I’ve been a patient advocate for organ & tissue donation for over 25 years, however, I became a Patient Partner in 2016 in my role as Patient Partner co lead with the Canadian Donation Transplant Research Program (CDTRP).

As I developed my skills and gathered more lived experiences within the healthcare system as a whole I started to partner with; Health Standards Organization, Clinical Trials Ontario, Muskoka and Area Ontario Health Team, RISE CoP Meeting Planning Committee and most recently with the Ontario Minister of Health PFAC.

Some of the other work I have been involved in includes health system transformation as part of my local Ontario Health Team and regional and provincial tables. 

Maxime Lê
Ottawa, Ontario

Maxime Lê has been a patient advisor at The Ottawa Hospital since 2017. He joined PAN in 2018 hoping to expand his passion for patient engagement and connect with other patient leaders across Canada. Inspired by the work of his board colleagues and the knowledge and experience of fellow PAN members, he joined the Board of Directors with a focus on spearheading PAN’s communications efforts.

Maxime has been involved in a variety of patient-related activities, including the launch of Canada’s 4th OR Black Box, a technology in the operating room which increases patient safety. Otherwise, his other activities as a patient advisor include improving medical and surgical nursing orientation curricula for new nurses from a patient perspective, informing communications on a research project related to universal definition of mesenchymal stem cells, and a project on exploring opioid alternatives during surgeries.

Professionally Maxime is a health and science communications consultant and has worked in federal and municipal public health. Currently, Maxime is (virtually) attending Yale School of Public Health. He holds a Master of Arts in Communication, specializing in Science, Society and Policy from the University of Ottawa since 2021, and an Honours Bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences since 2018. 

Amy Ma
Montreal, Quebec

Amy Ma is currently a patient / citizen advisor with Choosing Wisely Canada. She is actively involved in Empowering the patient / citizen voice across Canada with organizations such as the Patient Advisory Network, L’Appui Montreal (caregiver advocacy), and Nourish (environmental nutrition).

Amy’s journey in health system advocacy began when she joined the Family Advisory group at her local children’s hospital, as she had one child who had two surgeries before the age of two. Since then, she got involved during the hospital’s accreditation process, lobbied for lower hospital parking rates, and even got people with disabilities involved in a city-wide mass casualty simulation.

Ongoing projects include co-designing a brochure with Indigenous communities that regularly go to Montreal for care and exploring the impact of digital health on equity. Amy has an interest in maternal mental health, accessibility, and health equity.

Alies Maybee

Toronto, Ontario

Since 2011, Alies has brought her patient, caregiver, and technology background to her commitment as a patient partner. At her local hospital, Alies was a founding co-chair of the Community Engagement Council. She collaborates at the provincial, regional, and local levels with a focus on digital health and is on several  advisory committees at the federal level.

Her second focus is on patient engagement (PE) practices. She has developed and implemented an innovative PE framework and is currently experimenting with a novel way to hear from diverse perspectives on health equity.

In the research area, Alies has been a patient partner on more than ten research projects, has led peer research into being a patient partner in research and delivered workshops on partnering with patients. She has evaluated hundreds of grant applications on a research management committee.

She is one of 12 co-founders of the Patient Advisors Network (PAN).

Annette McKinnon
Toronto, Ontario

Since retirement 10 years ago Annette has been a patient partner. Rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s Syndrome taught her strategies for dealing with chronic disease she wanted to share with others. 

A blog called Rheutired and Twitter (@anetto) led to active involvement in patient and research issues.

She is a patient partner on several research teams and has been a grant reviewer for CIHR and The Arthritis Society. She has been a Health Mentor for the Interdisciplinary Education Program of the University of Toronto for the past 10 years and was a 2014 MedX ePatient Scholar. 

Donna Rubenstein
Bedford, Nova Scotia

Donna serves as a member of various groups committed to empowering patient and community partnerships in all aspects of healthcare. She is passionate about the transformative value of the patient and community voice. Some current activities include the Patient Partner Council for the Maritime SPOR Support Unit, NS PFA Webinar Series Planning Team, and various Nova Scotia Virtual Care projects. She is a volunteer leader of a self-help management program for people living with chronic conditions and is Chair of Lake City Works, a social enterprise supporting people living with mental illness.

Donna’s views are shaped by personal experience as a patient and caregiver and a career in energy working both on the ground in remote areas and at the corporate level. She believes PAN’s focus on patient communities and peer to peer support, with membership across Canada, is critical to mobilizing and accelerating change and improving the healthcare experience for all Canadians.

Susan Palijan
Guelph, Ontario

Susan is a caregiver, researcher, and lifelong learner. She is passionate about caregiver engagement and well-being, and has been a Patient and Family Advisor since 2015. Since 2020, Susan has been active in local, provincial and national organizations that promote the inclusion of patient and caregiver partners in the healthcare system. This includes Halton Healthcare’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC), the Ontario Minister of Health’s PFAC, Connected Care Halton Ontario Health Team’s PFAC, the Ontario Caregiver Organization and Home and Community Support Services Ontario.

Susan has over 15 years of research, evaluation and strategic policy experience in the education, health, and social services sectors. This primarily includes senior advisory roles in the provincial government and regional/municipal government. She is currently a part-time PhD student in a health systems research program at the University of Toronto. Her research focus is on the experiences and well-being of family caregivers of relatives with mental health and substance use disorders along the care journey.

Susan joined the PAN Board in January 2023.