Recovery Expert Advisory Panel

Members helped shape Alberta’s evidence-based approach to addiction and mental health care.

Status: Completed
Who is listening: Ministry of Mental Health and Addiction

Overview

The Recovery Expert Advisory Panel provided advice to strengthen and inform Alberta’s recovery-oriented systems of care for addiction and mental health.

A recovery-oriented system of care is a coordinated network of personalized, community-based services for people at risk of or experiencing addiction and mental health challenges. It provides access to a full continuum of services and supports, from prevention and intervention to treatment and recovery.

The panel's work ensures we continue to build a recovery-oriented system of care that provides effective, compassionate care for Albertans seeking recovery from addiction and mental health challenges.

Panel mandate

The Recovery Expert Advisory Panel provided advice to the Minister of Mental Health and Addiction on:

  • best practices
  • research and innovation
  • policy and standards development
  • evaluation and outcomes reporting

The panel was dissolved in 2024.

Panel members

The panel was made up of 14 experts from diverse fields, including frontline specialists, researchers, physicians, Indigenous leaders, policy experts and other respected leaders:

Dr. Nathaniel Day (Vice chair)

Dr. Nathaniel Day is the medical director of addiction, mental health and correctional health services with Alberta Health Services. He is an addiction medicine specialist and helped implement and expand Alberta’s award-winning Virtual Opioid Dependency Program. Dr. Day also served on the Minister’s Opioid Emergency Response Commission.

Chief Charles Weaselhead (Vice chair)

Taatsiikiipoyii Charles Weaselhead, Chancellor at the University of Lethbridge, is the former Chief of the Blood Tribe and the former Treaty 7 Grand Chief. He is a board member and vice-chair with the Blood Tribe Department of Health and continues to advance many health and wellness initiatives to improve the health care and recovery outcomes of Indigenous peoples. 

Dr. Ray Baker

Dr. Ray Baker is a former addiction and family medicine physician currently serving as a medical educator and recovery management consultant after retiring from clinical practice. Dr. Baker designed and instituted the first comprehensive addiction medicine curriculum at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine. In 2022, he received the lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Victoria Burns

Dr. Victoria Burns is an associate professor at the University of Calgary, registered social worker and a person in long-term recovery. Her research focuses on homelessness, stigma, disability, addiction and recovery. Dr. Burns is also the founder and director of Recovery on Campus Alberta, an Alberta-wide peer-driven community that supports faculty, staff and students in their recovery.

Dr. Charl Els

Dr. Charl Els works full-time as assistant registrar (Continuing Competence) at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. He is also a clinical professor in the department of psychiatry and the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre, University of Alberta. Dr. Els is the principal author of several systematic reviews on opioids and workplace drug testing, as well as the national Canadian position statement on cannabis in safety-sensitive workplaces.

Blair Gibbs

Blair Gibbs is a respected policy advisor specializing in criminal justice innovation and police reform, as well as the implications of drug regulation and legalization. He previously served as special advisor to the British Prime Minister, a senior policy advisor to the U.K.’s justice minister, and was also the policing advisor to the Mayor of London.

Dr. John Kelly 

Dr. John Kelly is a professor of psychiatry in addiction medicine at Harvard Medical School and the founder and director of the Recovery Research Institute at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he also serves as the associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine and the program director of the Addiction Recovery Management Service. He has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, reviews, chapters and books in the field of addiction medicine.

Dr. Anna Lembke

Dr. Lembke is currently serving as a professor and medical director of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. She is also program director of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Fellowship and chief of the Stanford Addiction Medicine Dual Diagnosis Clinic. Dr. Lembke is a widely published researcher and bestselling author of 'Drug Dealer, MD, How Doctors Were Duped, Patients Got Hooked', 'Why It’s So Hard to Stop' and 'Dopamine Nation: Finding Balance in the Age of Indulgence'.

Chief William (Billy) Morin

Billy Morin is the former Chief of Enoch Cree Nation, serving 3 consecutive terms as the youngest chief in Enoch’s modern history. He also served as Grand Chief of the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations. As Chief, Billy partnered with several wellness operators to build a recovery-oriented system of care strategy for Enoch Cree Nation. Chief Morin is currently a managing director at Axxcelus Capital and volunteers on the board of the Alberta Cancer Foundation.

Dr. Johanna O'Flaherty

Dr. Johanna O’Flaherty is a psychologist, an expert in crisis management, and a renowned expert in the field of trauma, addiction and recovery. She is the former CEO of Central Recovery Treatment and vice president of Treatment Services at the Betty Ford Center. Dr. O’Flaherty presents globally on the subject of healing ancestral trauma and addiction. She works with airline employees and first responders, teaching, preparing, and assisting in the aftermath of disasters.

Kelly J. Ogle

Kelly J. Ogle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. Ogle is a serial entrepreneur, scholar, and published author and has served on the boards of several companies and not-for-profits. He holds the ICD.D designation from the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Dr. Julian Somers

Dr. Julian Somers is a clinical psychologist whose work addresses harm reduction and recovery from addiction. He has led large studies investigating ways of helping people who experience addiction, mental illness and homelessness. He has created advanced information systems for public health surveillance and to evaluate the effectiveness of policies and services.

Tom Stamatakis

Tom Stamatakis has served with the Vancouver Police Department for 31 years and is an officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces in Canada. He has been on the Canadian Police Association Board of Directors since 2003, serving as president since 2011. Stamatakis serves on several federal and provincial advisory boards and committees.

Dr. Rob Tanguay

Dr. Rob Tanguay is a psychiatrist who completed 2 fellowships, one in Addiction Medicine and Pain Medicine. He is a clinical assistant professor with the departments of Psychiatry and Surgery at the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and the chief medical officer at The Newly Institute.

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