Meet the HDC Board of Directors

Working together to make HDC a true expression of collective experience and knowledge.

Dr. Shirley Sze, MD, CCFP, FCFP
Chair of the HDC Board of Directors

Dr. Shirley Sze received her MD from the University of Alberta and completed her Family Medicine Residency at Queen’s University. She received her CCFP in 1978 and FCFP in 1984. She practiced full service from 1979 until 2009 when she transitioned into focused care on vascular protection, chronic pain and palliative care.

She has been involved in Continuing Professional Development locally, provincially and nationally. She became interested in the New Zealand Pegasus model of CPD which has demonstrable quality improvement measures and is one of the founding Board members of the Physician Data Collaborative which strives to link community physician EMRs for aggregate data collection for research and quality improvement through CPD. She was also involved in Accreditation of University Faculty of Medicine CPD Departments. (CACME)

She became a Physician Champion for the FPSC (Family Practice Services Committee) PSP (Practice Support Program) in 2007 and assisted in the development and/or roll-out of numerous learning modules. She continues to collaborate with the UBC CPD Department in evolving small group learning modules for PSP. She has presented at local, provincial, national and international conferences on a variety of topics. She is an Assistant Professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine – Department of Family Practice and was the Site Faculty Development lead for the UBC Family Residency Department for the past five years. She has held Board and leadership positions with a number of organizations that include Doctors of BC, Society of General Practice of BC, Physician Data Collaborative, Health Data Coalition, and Thompson Region Division of Family Practice.

Dr. Omesh Syal, MD, CCFP
Interim Vice-Chair of the HDC Board of Directors

Dr. Omesh Syal grew up in Dawson Creek, BC and completed both medical school and family residency at UBC. He began practice in Prince George allowing him to stay close to the north.

Dr. Syal has seen the importance of data collection, interpretation in utilizing this to implement change at the physician level, community level and provincial level. Early in his career, he was taught the importance data collection to help run his practice more efficiently to improve patient care.

Having been elected as Vice-Chair to the Prince George Division of Family Practice, as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Nechako medical clinic, an after-hours clinic for physicians in collaboration with northern health, he has seen firsthand how data can affect change.

Dr. Syal believes the HDC will be a huge driving force to implement change. He would like to contribute and help create change within his community and province.

Dr. Brenna Lynn, PhD
Public Director

Brenna Lynn is the Associate Dean, UBC Continuing Professional Development (UBC CPD) and has been a public member of the Health Data Coalition Board since 2016. Dr. Lynn completed a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Science from UBC, and received a doctoral degree from the University of Oregon. As Associate Dean of CPD, a role she has held since 2014, Dr. Lynn provides strategic leadership and support for the professional development of faculty in their roles as health profession practitioners, ensuring standards of practice are in place and meet national accreditation requirements, as well as collaborating with stakeholders and partners to promote and explore opportunities for continuing professional development. Dr. Lynn is passionate about continuous quality improvement, customized effective CPD, increasing interprofessional CPD opportunities, and keeping on the cusp of innovation in order to improve practice and patient care.

Dr. Samuel Abraham, PhD
Public Director

Dr. Samuel Abraham received his PhD in Genetics from the University of British Columbia.  He joined Inflazyme Pharmaceuticals as a Senior Scientist in 1996, and later became Project Leader for the Transplant Program, as well as Division Leader for Cell and Molecular Biology.  He was with the BC Cancer Agency from 2000 to 2015, serving in a variety of positions, including concurrent appointments as VP Strategic Relationships beginning 2007, Executive Lead, Business and Intellectual Property Development for PHSA beginning in 2010 and Interim VP Research beginning in 2011. Dr. Abraham has served on the boards of the BC Cancer Foundation and the Centre for Drug Research and Development, and currently serves on the boards of Inspire Health, the Institute for Health Systems Transformation and Sustainability, GlycoNet and Vancouver Prostate Centre/PC-TRiADD. During his time with BCCA/PHSA Dr Abraham led the development of a strong intellectual property portfolio, driven by the mandate to improve outcomes for cancer patients in BC and beyond.

Dr. Herb Chang, MD, MCFP

Dr. Herb Chang completed his M.D. at UBC in 1988 and started his full-service family practice in 1993 in Coquitlam. He continues to pursue his passion for mentorship as a Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Medical School and preceptor for medical students and residents. After completing the Leadership and Management Development Program at SFU in 2014, Herb embraced many leadership roles, including Treasurer for the Fraser Northwest Division of Family Practice, member of the FNW Division Primary Care Network physician advisory committee, and Treasurer of the provincial Pathways Patient Referral Association.

Dr. Chang has cultivated his experience blending IT and health care as a member of the Fraser Health Authority IT committee for many years and as a member of the BC Provincial Digital Health Initiative, Portfolio 2 Leadership Team. As an avid proponent of the OSCAR EMR, he has given multiple presentations and peer support sessions throughout the province with the Practice Support Program. He was an early registrant with the Health Data Coalition and a supporter of its expansion within his Division of Family Practice.

Dr. Chang looks forward to this new engaging opportunity to join the Board of the Health Data Coalition, to help physicians and clinics understand and utilize their data to implement practice improvement in a safe, secure and confidential manner to enhance patient care.

Dr. Angela Jennings, MD, CCFP

Dr. Angela Jennings is a family physician who completed her medical degree and residency at the University of Toronto.  She moved to British Columbia and has been practicing longitudinal family medicine in the Richmond community since 2016.  She is co-director of Coppersmith Medical Clinic and has extensive experience with several EMR systems.  She is an active member of the Richmond Division of Family Practice.  

Dr. Jennings has initiated numerous Quality Improvement projects and has utilized HDC Discover to optimize delivery of care.  She has also assisted other physicians with their own Quality Improvement initiatives and is passionate about improving patient care and practice efficiency through the use of technology and data sharing.   

Dr. Julie Nguyen, MD, CCFP

Dr. Julie Nguyen grew up in Montreal and completed both medical school and residency at the University of Montreal. She then moved to Vancouver in 2009 where she practiced at 2 different offices before opening her own practice in East Vancouver.

Dr. Nguyen has been involved with the Vancouver Division of Family Practice as a member of the IT committee, as well as the Practice Support Program. She has led QI initiatives both within her own practice and with other clinics. Dr. Nguyen has a particular interest in IT, multicultural medicine and women’s health. She is excited to join the HDC board and be part of an organization that truly impacts patient care.

Dan Palfrey, MPH, BSc,
Public Director

Dan Palfrey is the Director of Industry Partnerships with the Institute of Health Economics and Board member of the Canadian Association for Population Therapeutics. Following completion of a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Alberta, Dan began his career in the pharmaceutical industry, holding progressive leadership positions in Government Relations, Product Management, and Business Unit management. He then served as a Vice President of Med Access, where he led a team of professionals to work in close collaboration with primary care and specialist physicians to support the adoption and utilization of EMR.

Throughout his career, Dan has led initiatives that apply a robust data-driven approach to improve clinical and health care resource utilization outcomes. He has provided leadership to establish the Alberta Real World Evidence Consortium, an entity focused on best practices in the generation and utilization of data from routine clinical and administrative practice to develop evidence outside of the traditional clinical trial context. He has also established a formal partnership mechanism between the Government of Alberta and research-based organizations in order to identify questions of mutual interest that can be answered by secondary use health data, and a partnership model in order to liberate, link and use anonymized health data to answer research questions. He has also recently established multi-year partnerships between Federal, Provincial and private sector organizations to develop methods and tools to generate ‘decision-grade’ real world evidence from secondary health data sources.

Dan is motivated to support the mission of the Health Data Coalition to improve various aspects of quality, and to inform policy and practice.

Dr. Robert Schertzer, MD, MEd, FRCSC

Dr. Robert Schertzer is a specialist in ophthalmology who has been in glaucoma clinical and academic practice since 1996. He has 15 years’ experience practicing in BC and is based in Vancouver. Dr. Schertzer fully embraces educational technology for continuing professional development and has helped create and foster inter-professional collaborative models of eye care. He was a pioneer in introducing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) into ophthalmology in Canada and was trained as a physician-builder for a large enterprise-wide system in the United States.

Dr. Schertzer has worked with many EMR systems over the past 26 years and even introduced the use of computers into the medical school curriculum at Dalhousie University in the 1980s. He has been active in teaching the benefits of EMR systems to other ophthalmologists since 2005;Dr. Schertzer helped develop co-sponsored curriculum for the Canadian Ophthalmological Society Canadian Medical Association’s Practice Solutions.

While at the Giesel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College (2013–2018), he trained at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice (“TDI”) in clinical microsystems and at Epic University as a physician-builder for the enterprise-wide EMR system. Dr. Schertzer has a deep understanding of technology and appreciates the challenges we face in collaborating to store and retrieve data to improve the quality of health care.

Dr. Richard Welsh, MD, FCFP

Based in Abbotsford, Dr. Richard Welsh started the Ellwood Medical Center, a progressive innovative full-service family practice in 1991. In 2002, Dr. Welsh founded Gateway Healthcare, a 10-physician interdisciplinary clinic where he is currently a family physician and Managing Director. As Dr. Welsh was on the Fraser Health Physician steering committee for Electronic Medical Record (EMR) implementation, Gateway Healthcare became one of the first clinics in Fraser Health to use the Profile EMR.

In 2009, Dr. Welsh partnered with a fellow physician and started AccelEMR Solutions, Inc., a practice optimization company that provides consulting services to clinics and organizations across Canada, equipping them with the tools, training, and consulting services to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of care provided. AccelEMR’s main product is providing smart forms to subscribing clinics on a semiannual basis. The company has also done consulting for Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health, and Velante in New Brunswick. Other projects have included building tools for Profile users for several PSP modules (including Chronic Pain, MSK, and End of Life) and optimizing several local clinics as part of GP4Me.

Dr. Welsh is a member of the Doctors of BC Requisition Committee, the Fraser Health Authority’s Joint ISC-FHA IM/IT Working Group, a clinical Instructor with the UBC Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Family Practice, and provides onsite primary care services at Life Recovery, a residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.

Dr. Lawrence Yang, MD, CCFP

Lawrence is a family doctor in Surrey.  He’s passionate about patient experiences and resource stewardship.  Lawrence is an IHI trained QI Coach and QI advisor. Lawrence is a father of two children and is excited about influencing the health system to become more sustainable for future generations. Lawrence enjoys eating poke bowls, watching UFC matches, and training Brazilian jiujitsu.  Lawrence has a side gig selling Hotwheels cars and retro video games.