President's Message

Message from our President, Board of Directors, Dr. Darren Larsen

As I write this I realize that I have been President of HIMSS Ontario Chapter for three months already, and the world is very different compared to when I took my post.

Looking out at the digital health space I see explosions of activity in Ontario. Virtual care has become the norm with both tech giants and small startups getting attention. Most of us have been working from home for 7 months. We have become accustomed to new ways of talking, networking and learning. Our sales footprint is no longer limited to the geography we can drive or fly to, but has global potential. Governments have gone on a spending spree to keep the economy alive and technology contracts have been awarded quickly to assist with the crisis we find ourselves in. We have seen much more rapid procurements of innovative products into the hands of hospitals, clinicians and patients, to facilitate digitally enabled care delivery. For the most part this has increased access to services at a time when people are scared to see their doctor and did not want to go into a hospital.

This is going to be a fantastic year for HIMSS Ontario. We have a crackerjack Board of Directors supported by four amazing sub-committees. Interest in being on our Board has never been better and I am proud to say that every person who ran in June’s election is still working with us today on one committee or another. I am excited to be surrounded by a combination of seasoned and ambitious new board members who share the same vision and outlook for our Chapter. Please welcome our HIMSS Ontario Chapter FY2020/21 Board of Directors:

Executive Committee:

  • Susan Sepa, Past-President
  • Howard Rosen, President-Elect
  • Cindy Draycott, Treasurer
  • Tyson Roffey, Secretary

Committee Chairs:

  • Justin Saindon, Communications Chair
  • Merv D'souza and Susan Sepa, Education and Events Co-Chairs
  • Sonia Pagliaroli and Joanne Templeton, Membership Co-Chairs
  • Bhavana Patel and Howard Rosen, Partnerships and Sponsorships Co-Chairs

Members-at-Large:

  • Glenn Lanteigne
  • Todd MacCallum
  • Thodoros Topaloglou


Our Chapter has had a renaissance over the past few years and now our focus is on growth. Growth is particularly important as we know that some of our members have migrated to the new BC and Prairies chapters of HIMSS. We also understand that some may not renew their membership as the annual HIMSS Conference in the US was cancelled in March and is not rescheduled again until August of 2021.

So, with this, we focus inward on what our unique value to the health informatics space is. We must collectively answer the tough “WHY?” questions. “Why should I belong to HIMSS ON Chapter?” “How does affiliation help me personally or professionally?” “What does HIMSS and the HIMSS ON Chapter offer that I cannot get elsewhere?”. We are beginning to answer these questions, learning from other associations like ours and other HIMSS Chapters around the world. HIMSS is truly a global organization and what has impressed me most is how readily the leaders within it ante up… their time, their ideas, their enthusiasm… in a shared desire to make us better. We believe in the better together, collaborative approach to advancing healthcare delivery and the digital transformation.

Some highlights for the year include:

  • Our annual Health IT Conference, held virtually, on November 4th and 5th.
  • New offerings for events, education and collaboration with the other Canadian chapters and like-minded professional associations.
  • Continued and expanded partnerships, including our joint mentorship program with ELF, the Emerging Leaders Forum, to connect and foster the development of emerging leaders in health IT.
  • Expanding the breadth and depth of Organizational Affiliates, with a distinctly Canadian flavour that shows why connecting is important.
  • A new 3-year strategic plan with a refreshed vision and set of strategic priorities.

Throughout all this change and turmoil, we want to ensure everyone -- clinicians, students, healthcare administors, IT professionals, policy makers, and executives -- feel welcomed in our midst. We are strong in our diversity. I challenge each of you reading this introduction to find one friend who is not a HIMSS Ontario Chapter member and bring him or her to the table. Get involved in some of our activities, events and volunteer opportunities. Spread the word. Join us on LinkedIn to be part of the conversation. Together we can make a dent in this maddening world. We can fight a pandemic with human-centred technology. We can leave this year stronger and better equipped than when we started.

I am hoping you will join me for this very fast and unexpected ride into 2021! Please reach out to me at any time with your ideas or if you want to get involved.

Darren Larsen, MD, President, HIMSS Ontario Chapter