The Team

Dr. Patrick Parfrey

Co-Chair, Health Accord NL
Chair, Quality Health Care Committee 

Patrick Parfrey is a clinical epidemiologist and John Lewis Paton Distinguished University Professor at Memorial University. He is the Leader of Quality of Care NL/Choosing Wisely NL, a program funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Patient Oriented Research initiative, with matched funding from the Government of NL. This program has studied how well health care interventions are used and the quality of health system performance in the province. In addition to this work he has an international reputation for patient related research in kidney disease and in genetic disease.

He is an officer of the Order of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

His extra-curricular activities include coaching and management of rugby in the province and in Canada.

Sister Elizabeth Davis

Co-Chair, Health Accord NL
Chair, Social Determinants of Health Committee 

Elizabeth Davis is presently Congregational Leader of the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland and Labrador. She is the Chair of the Board of Directors of The Gathering Place and a member of the Board of St. Patrick’s Mercy Home. She has been a high school teacher in Newfoundland, Administrator of St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital in St. John’s, and President/CEO of the Health Care Corporation of St. John’s (now Eastern Health). She has been a member of the Medical Council of Canada, the National Board of Medical Examiners (USA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Trudeau Foundation and Dalhousie University’s Management Program for Physicians. She holds a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Toronto. She is on part-time faculty for Old Testament studies at Queen’s College, Memorial University, St. John’s, NL.

Dr. Sean Connors

Chair, Hospital Services Committee 

Dr. Sean Connors, a cardiologist practicing in St John’s, NL, is the Clinical Chief of the Cardiac Care Program with Eastern Health and an associate professor of medicine with Memorial University, where he completed his medical school training and internal medicine specialty. As a Rhodes Scholar, he attended the University of Oxford, England completing a doctorate in cardiac physiology, followed by a fellowship in cardiology at the University of Toronto and a subspecialty in cardiac electrophysiology at the University of Oklahoma and the Ottawa Heart Institute.

In 1999, Dr. Connors returned to Newfoundland and Labrador where he established the cardiac electrophysiology program within Eastern Health. His research interests include health care innovation and the genetics of sudden cardiac death. This research has led to the discovery and patenting of a novel gene for heart disease with international implications for the treatment and diagnosis of inherited heart disease. The Governor General of Canada recognized Dr. Connors in May 2018 with a national award for innovation.

Dr. Shanda Slipp

Chair, Community Care Committee

Dr. Shanda Slipp is a community family physician in Corner Brook, where she has been practicing since 2016. After completing her medical degree and Family Medicine residency training at Memorial University, she worked in St. John’s, Twillingate, and in the Family Medicine departments of the University of Calgary and Queen’s University, before moving back to Newfoundland in 2015. She has been the Chair of the Long Range Family Practice Network since 2017, working on collaborative projects with local family physicians and the regional health authority. She is a cabinet member of the Western Stream FM residency program and was the recipient of the Dr. Yong Kee Jeon Award for 2019 from the Memorial University Discipline of Family Medicine.

Joan Marie Aylward

Chair, Aging Population Committee 

Joan Marie Aylward has served on the National Seniors Council since September 2018. She was appointed Vice Chair of the NL Labour Relations Board in March, 2018 for a five year term.

Passionate about working with seniors, Ms. Aylward recently completed a six year position as the Executive Director of St. Patrick’s Mercy Home – a role that further strengthened her competencies in strategic planning and understanding of the ethical issues surrounding care of seniors.

Ms. Aylward has served as Provincial Minister of numerous government portfolios, including Health and Community Services, Minister Responsible for Seniors, Municipal and Provincial Affairs, Human Resources and Employment, and Finance and Treasury Board. During her tenure, Ms. Aylward served on both Social and Economic Policy Committees of government and was a developing member of the Province’s Strategic Social Plan.

Ms. Aylward has served on numerous boards and committees, including Oxfam Canada and the Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation.

Ms. Aylward began her career as a clinical intensive care nurse before working as a Nurse Educator. She was elected President of the Provincial Nurses Union, a position she held for six years. Ms. Aylward completed the Institute of Corporate Director’s Education Program (ICD.D) in 2006.

Paul Preston

Chair, Digital Technology Committee 

Paul Preston is CEO of techNL (formerly NATI), where he and his team work to develop and grow the province’s technology and innovation sector. This includes driving the mandate of Bounce, a med-tech accelerator for the province, as well as multi-year digitalization initiatives that aim to help other sectors of the economy become tech-enabled, increasing their competitiveness. Paul was previously the Director of Science, Technology and Innovation at The Conference Board of Canada in Ottawa, the largest think tank in Canada, where he led a diverse team that delivered advice to industry, academia and governments. He has travelled extensively to understand how different jurisdictions drive their innovation systems, has presented to leaders in places such as Israel, Silicon Valley, New York, and Boston, and has been called as an Expert Witness to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology. Paul also worked in finance, providing services to help technology companies grow and compete internationally, and was Director of Business Development with Plato Group/Camouflage Software in both St. John’s and Ottawa. He is active on numerous Task Force groups, Advisory Boards, and Committees, focusing on improving performance through technology and innovation.