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MHA panelists reflect on how to bring equity, diversity, inclusion and well-being to onself, the team and the system

MHA alumni, faculty, current and incoming students of the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program hosted its first in-person Leadership Dialogue event in over three years. 

The annual event was on June 17th, 2022 at UBC Robson Square, home to the MHA program where in-person classes are held. The Dialogue event was established in 2018 as part of the SPHA 564 Leadership and Management Skills course, aimed at preparing students to understand and reflect on the numerous and complex aspects of leadership, specifically in a health care setting. 

Moderated by VCH Regional Director and MHA alum Jennifer Duff panelists Leslie Bonshor (Vice President of Indigenous Health, VCH Tzeachten First Nation) and Dr. Anthon Meyer (Physician, Ft. St. James, B.C. and founder of Amdocs) offered personal and professional insights on what leadership looks like and what approaches they have in building inclusive teams.

In her second year as moderator, Duff reflects on the importance of the event in bringing together community leaders to influence positive changes in the health system.

“The dialogue event creates a forum to hear about opportunities, successes, mistakes, failures in leadership from our panelists.  Our panelists discussed their experiences and responsibility to build diverse teams and hire the best professionals that best fits the mandate and need of the role.  The dialogue matters, because it’s meant to create a forum to ask, listen and receive the real and lived experience of leaders in our health system.  And, in turn, support future health care leaders, MHA alumni and prospective students to apply their leadership to driving system improvement and change.”

“Leaders should listen”


Relaying her career from bank teller to now VP of Indigenous Health at VCH Bonshor explained her shift from a career in consumer lending to building structures, systems and purposeful funding for Indigenous communities. Bonshor acknowledges her Indigenous upbringing and values in her leadership approach with an emphasis on listening, learning and discovering opportunities from mistakes. With an approach to leadership and decision-making from an Indigenous lens, Bonshor encouraged MHA students to be well informed about how systems are funded and the opportunities therein.  

Centred on patients’ care and compassion, Dr. Meyer explained the need for change from position-based conversations to interest-based conversations and the importance of building non-hierarchical and inclusive team structures. Having practiced medicine in a rural community for over 32 years, his experience in working with vulnerable populations has shaped his approaches in leadership. By conducting a “self-check” before every meeting, he continues to base his decisions on the “human factor” and in ensuring all decisions are meaningful and intentional. 

The event closed with an awards ceremony honouring graduating MHA students. The awards were adjudicated based on academic excellence and leadership capacity for improving planning, organization, management or governance in healthcare.  

2021-2022 MHA Graduating Award Recipients:

  • Robert Wood Johnson Award – Nicole Didiuk 
  • W.J. Lyle Memorial Scholarship – Kevin Peter 
  • R.E. McDermit Memorial Prize – Mary Hein 
  • Lloyd F. Detwiller Prize in Health Administration Scholarship – Kathy Sheng 
  • Excellence in Health Administration – Elaine Law 
  • Excellence in Health Administration – Susan Rodger 

Bringing this in person event back after three years, it was a great night to honour all the healthcare workers who have been working tirelessly through the pandemic and reflect on how leaders influence positive change in society.