Health Care Forum 2023 Presented by Pacific Blue Cross

Tuesday, October 17, 2023
8:30 AM
Add to Calendar
Schedule:Registration & Breakfast: 8:30 - 9:00 a.m. PT
Program: 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. PT

Submit Your Questions

We want you to be part of the discussion. To participate, go to and use the password #HEALTHEQUITY

Sponsor Resources

The 2023 Blue Cross Small Business Benefits Study surveyed over 2,000 Canadian small business decision-makers and employees to compare views between those with and without health benefit plans. Since “health is wealth,” nearly half (48%) of small business employees in British Columbia would rather have health benefits over a raise, indicating the high value placed on benefits by British Columbians.

LifeLabs is Canada’s leading provider of laboratory diagnostic information and digital health connectivity systems, enabling patients and healthcare practitioners to diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent disease. We are a committed innovator in supporting Canadians to live healthier lives, operating Canada’s first commercial genetics lab, and the country’s largest online patient portal, with more than 5 million Canadians receiving their results online. Learn more at

Health equity seeks to reduce inequalities and to increase access to opportunities and conditions conducive to health for all. As British Columbians are diverse, so are their health needs. If you are a business leader or advisor interested in improving workplace health and wellbeing, this event is for you. Join us for an inspirational keynote, with health and wellbeing experts, that will share the challenges and opportunities towards a healthy workplace where employees want to work, stay and play.



Dr. James Makokis + Anthony Johnson

Dr. James Makokis
Two Spirit Doctor
LGBTQ2S+, Indigenous Diversity & Inclusion Expert

Anthony Johnson
LGBTQ2S+, Two-Spirit and Diversity Expert



Anthony Johnson and Dr. James Makokis shattered conventional norms as the first-ever Two-Spirit team on the Amazing Race Canada. Their inspiring journey brought critical issues of gender, sexuality, and First Nations experiences to the national spotlight. Demonstrating tenacity, resilience, and indomitable spirit, they triumphed in Season 7, setting a ground-breaking precedent for diverse representation in popular media.

While they may seem inseparable, each brings a unique perspective, a distinct skill set, and a wealth of lived experiences that have shaped them into the advocates they are today. Their intertwined journeys as individuals, as a Two-Spirit couple, and as part of the rich tapestry of their peoples' history, have fueled their work in service and in advocacy. Their focus lies in raising awareness about the challenges faced by First Nation and LGBTQ2S+ communities, and the need for equity, accessibility and a restoration of the Treaty relationship.

Session 1

Challenges to Health Equity

Health inequity refers to health inequalities that are unfair or unjust and modifiable. There are a broad range of personal, social, economic and environmental factors that determine individual and population health. In this session, we will discuss the determinants of health that come with access to health services, gender, culture, race and racism.


Paul Adams   Amanda Alexander  Shirley Weir   Dr. Nel Wieman   Rob Chiarello

Paul Adams, Executive Director, BC Rural Health Network
Amanda Alexander, Chief Health Equity Officer, YMCA BC
Shirley Weir, Founder, Menopause Chicks
Dr. Nel Wieman, Acting Chief Medical Officer, First Nations Health Authority
Moderator: Rob Chiarello, Senior Vice President, People and Culture, Pacific Blue Cross

Session 2

Opportunities in Health Equity

Health equity is the absence of unfair systems and policies that cause health inequalities. In this session, learn how businesses are using a diverse, equitable and inclusive approach to health and wellbeing to recruit, engage and retain your most valuable resource – your people.


Melissa Carruthers  >Hanif Karim  Elliot Stone  Erica Zarkovich  Nadeem Rajabali  

Melissa Carruthers, Canadian Life and Health Insurance Transformation Leader, Deloitte
Hanif Karim, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, BC Nurses' Union
Elliot Stone, Head of Product, Ayogo and President and Cofounder, ALAViDA
Erica Zarkovich, Senior Vice President, Government Markets, LifeLabs
Moderator: Nadeem Rajabali, Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer, Pacific Blue Cross

Title Sponsor:

Supporting Sponsor:

Preferred Venue Partner:

Preferred Media Partner: