The Best Medicines Coalition’s Board of Directors is comprised of representatives of the coalition’s member organizations. Board members share a common passion for improving pharmaceutical care for Canadian patients and ensuring the patient voice is heard in health policy discussion. They all serve as volunteers on the Board of Directors.
John Adams, Chair – John Adams was elected as Chair of the Board of Directors in 2017 and served as a Board member since 2015 and Treasurer since 2016. He has an adult son with PKU, a rare genetic disorder, and is the President, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Canadian PKU and Allied Disorders. He is also the volunteer co-chair of the Disability Tax Fairness Alliance, which focuses on ensuring the fair administration of the disability tax credit by the Canada Revenue Agency. John is a senior fellow of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and is a published author on a range of policy issues including newborn screening for specific inherited conditions, as well as principles of good governance applied to health technology assessment. In addition, he is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Organization of Rare Disorders. John is a seasoned management consultant and has worked as a Globe and Mail reporter, chief of staff to an Ontario Cabinet Minister, and was elected to Toronto City Council three times.
Diana Ermel – Diana Ermel was elected Treasurer on the Best Medicines Coalition Board of Directors in 2017 and has been a Board member since 2015, representing the Canadian Breast Cancer Network, where she is on its Board of Directors and a past President. A breast cancer survivor, Diana brings extensive health services experience having worked in nursing education and in volunteer roles with numerous cancer-related organizations. She is a founding member of Saskatchewan Breast Cancer Connect, was a long-standing member of the Canadian Cancer Action Network and served on the Board of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance as a patient representative and is a member of the Health Canada Scientific Advisory Committee on Oncology Therapies. Her activities with these organizations have been informed by her vision of a future where people affected by cancer have the information and support they need, when they need it, as well as ease of access to all services and programs needed throughout the cancer continuum. Diana has been involved with the research funding process through her engagement as a community reviewer on scientific peer review panels for the NCIC, CIHR and U.S. Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Project. As a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council of the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research, she co-presents their Patient Oriented Research modules to researcher and patient groups.
Wendy Gerhart – Wendy was elected to the Board of Directors in 2021. She is the Executive Director of BMC member organization Migraine Canada, a nationally registered not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of all Canadians living with migraine and other headache disorders. Migraine Canada joined the BMC in 2021 and was formed in 2018. Wendy is a strong believer in the power coalitions have in bringing communities together to create change — strength in voice and support.
Following a lengthy career in the pharmaceutical industry in stakeholder engagement and market access, Wendy has spent the last several years working with a number of diverse patient organizations in senior management roles shaping public policy, building strategic partnerships among stakeholders to improve the health outcomes of Canadians and maximizing operational growth and capacity. Her experiences working with the NFP sector and in the pharmaceutical industry gives her a unique perspective of the reimbursement environment, issues in care and landscape from diverse perspectives. Wendy looks forward, as a board member, to bringing her skills, knowledge and experience to support the BMC in achieving its business objectives.
Michel Long – Michel Long represents the Canadian Hemophilia Society where he has been the National Program Manager since 2007 and has been involved in the Best Medicines Coalition on behalf of CHS since 2012. As program manager, Michel overseas the planning and implementation of the CHS national healthcare programs and activities related to Inherited Bleeding Disorders in Canada including advocacy work covering other rare blood disorders, HIV and hepatitis C. He is also responsible for the international partnerships of the CHS which are done in cooperation with the World Federation of Hemophilia. He also coordinates the CHS research grants/fellowships/scholarships programs that reach out to Canadian investigators seeking support for basic science, clinical and psychosocial research in the area of Inherited Bleeding Disorders. Michel has over thirty-five years of management experience with not-for-profit organizations of which 18 years were spent working with an international development organization which involved project / program conception, development, management, and evaluation in partnership with developing countries around the world. The remaining seventeen years were spent in management functions with not-for-profit community-based organizations. The last twelve years have been with the CHS. He has solid knowledge of non-profit governance and has trained and mentored organizations on good governance. Michel is committed to supporting BMC in achieving its mission and goals by sharing his knowledge and experience.
Kim Steele – Kim was elected to the Best Medicines Coalition Board of Directors in 2020 and she represents member organization Cystic Fibrosis Canada. An inspiring and dynamic government and community engagement specialist, Kim has twenty years of cross-sectoral, pan-Canadian experience in co-creating public policy and strategic partnerships among charities, corporations, and governments that improve the health and well-being of Canadians. She has demonstrated success in energizing, empowering, and engaging community-based champions in collaborative ways with meaningful impact.
A Peter Lougheed Scholar, Kim has worked in successive government and stakeholder relations roles at some of Canada’s leading health charities and non-profit organizations, including the Multiple Sclerosis Society and Innovative Medicines Canada. She joined Cystic Fibrosis Canada as Director, Government and Community Relations in January 2017. Since that time, she has worked with the CF community to improve CF care and access to CF medicines across Canada, including access to transformational therapies that are changing the trajectory of the disease, and, most importantly, the lives of Canadians who live with it.