Better at Home Reference Group

The Better at Home Provincial Reference Group acts as a consultative body to the Better at Home program, managed by the United Way of the Lower Mainland (UWLM) and funded by the government of British Columbia (BC).

The Reference Group comprises of a group of experts, advocates and community partners that provide input on the projects, evaluation and strategic direction of the Better at Home Program and services in BC.

The members of the UWLM Better at Home Provincial Reference Group are:

Barb MacLean, Executive Director

Family Caregivers of British Columbia

As Executive Director of Family Caregivers of British Columbia, Barb deeply understands the range of issues affecting family caregivers, seniors and the challenges we are facing in our health system as our population ages. Barb has a Masters in Leadership and over 30 years” experience in the nonprofit sector. She sits on a number of community and advisory boards and enjoys traveling with her family.

David Cheperdak, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

Broadmead Care, Victoria

David has 28 years of experience in working for community-based, social and health services sectors. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Broadmead Care Society in Victoria, BC. He is committed to strengthening the health services and nonprofit sectors in his board leadership and civic engagements. David has two Bachelor degrees in Physical Education and Social Development and a Master?s degree in Public Administration.

Kendal Alston
Manager, Community Supports, Ministry of Health

Kendal Alston is the Manager of Community Supports at the BC Ministry of Health. In her role, Kendal oversees multiple files under the umbrella of Home and Community Care. Kendal is responsible for Assisted Living, Home Support, Better at Home, Adult Day Programs, and Respite. Most of Kendal`s career has been spent working at the Ministry of Health, focusing predominantly on policy related to services for seniors and vulnerable adults. Kendal holds a Bachelor of Arts in Recreation and Health Education, a Master of Arts in Kinesiology, and she is about to start her journey towards completing a Master of Business Administration.

Heather Cowie, Provincial Coordinator, Dementia-Friendly Communities 

Alzheimer Society of B.C

Heather Cowie is the Provincial Coordinator for Dementia-Friendly Communities at the Alzheimer Society B.C. Heather has her Masters of Arts degree in Gerontology from Simon Fraser University where she studied aging and the built environment. She has been involved in numerous programs and projects related to the well-being of older adults and is thrilled to be bringing attention to making communities better for people living with dementia by leading B.C.’s Dementia-Friendly Communities initiative.

Dr. Joanie Sims-Gould, Assistant Professor

UBC, Centre for Hip Health and Mobility (CHHM)

Dr. Sims-Gould is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Practice at UBC. She is a Canadian Institutes of Health Research New Investigator and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. Joanie has diverse research interests in the experiences of marginalized frail older adults, and delivery of home/community based health care. Joanie has a strong commitment to knowledge mobilization and translation through research and practice. She provides expertise in the development of cross-sectoral partnerships, community-based research and knowledge dissemination.

Jodi Mucha, Executive Director  

BC Healthy Communities Society

Jodi Mucha has served as the Executive Director of BC Healthy Communities for the past 12 years and holds a Masters in Environment and Management, and over 20 years of community development experience working both at the local and international level. She provides expertise in multi-sectoral collaboration and partnerships, systems thinking, the healthy communities approach and practical approaches to understanding the links between the determinants of health. Her strong relationship with her grandmother is a driving force for her work with seniors’ and seniors related issues.

Lori McLeod, Executive Director 

Greater Victoria Eldercare Foundation

Lori McLeod is the Executive Director for the Eldercare Foundation since 2000. Previously, Lori spent 10 years in television managing community relations, promotions and marketing.  As a collaborative leader and partnership builder in the seniors sector for the past 17 years, Lori’s vision and stewardship have grown the Foundation’s footprint and established Eldercare’s successful Embrace Aging initiative.  Lori believes strongly in promoting the valuable work of the community-based seniors sector and connecting people to resources to help them Be Well, Be Secure, Be Connected, Be Enriched: the 4 pillars of Embrace Aging.

Marcy Cohen, Policy Advocate

Raising the Profile Project (RPP)

Marcy has over 35 years of experience working as a health and social policy researcher and educator. She has published over 30 articles focusing on health care reform and workforce equity and has been  involved in social justice work as a professional and volunteer for most of her adult life. Now retired, Marcy is increasingly interested in supporting resiliency in older adults. She is a volunteer advocate for several organizations and initiatives in the social, health and government sectors. Marcy co-leads the Raising the Profile Project.

MJ Colquhoun, Labour Advocate


MJ Colquhoun began her career as a Community Health Worker (CHW), gaining valuable experience working directly with a client base that overlaps to a large extent seniors served by Better at Home. She worked as a Scheduler for home support for approximately 21 years. MJ is a long-time labour advocate through her work with BCGEU. She began as a shop steward and is now the Chairperson of Local 804, representing CHWs in the Fraser Valley. MJ sits on Component 8 Executive.

Rebecca Tunnacliffe, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)

BC Recreation and Parks Association

As an association executive for over 25 years, Rebecca has experienced and harnessed the power of collaborative partnerships to elicit change within and across organizations. Further, she has applied inspirational leadership in her roles currently as CEO of BCRPA, Physiotherapy Association of BC and University Women’s Club of Vancouver in the past 18 years. In her role at BCRPA, Rebecca leads the organization to be a catalyst for enriching the lives of people and communities across BC through the power of recreation and parks. Rebecca’s expertise in executive leadership are in strategic planning and implementation, partnership development, promotions and brand building, member and staff engagement, and government and stakeholder relations.

Stephanie Williams, General Manager

Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST)

Stephanie’s passion for sustainable transportation has inspired her work at Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (BEST) for almost seven years. From previously managing Bicycle Valet to currently leading the organization, she is currently coordinating the New Horizons project to improve senior’s transportation in Metro Vancouver. Stephanie studied Human Geography and is completing her MA in Community Development.

Tim Rowe, Former Executive Lead

Northern Health Authority

Tim’s health services career spanned over 40 years covering acute care, residential care, home care and community and population health services. Prior to his retirement, Tim was Executive Lead for the Northern Health Authority and was instrumental in health care and services integration and regionalization in Northern BC. He is particularly interested in community engagement and development of rural and remote communities.

Frances Grunberg MSW RSW-Bio
Instructor, Langara College

Frances has 44 years’ experience working on child, youth, women and family issues in British Columbia as a practitioner, consultant, advocate and educator. She has experience in policy analysis, program development and management, of direct service delivery, clinical intervention and treatment, with a specialization in child protection and child abuse, sexual abuse and neglect issues. She has experience working in both government and nongovernmental sectors. She is experienced in curriculum development, education and public speaking in the field of Social Work and interdisciplinary education.

Doni Eve
Senior Manager, Healthy Aging, for the Population and Public Health Division of the BC Ministry of Health

Doni Eve is Senior Manager, Healthy Aging, for the Population and Public Health Division of the BC Ministry of Health. She has worked to support active aging for older people in B.C. since 2002. She led development of information and tools to help older people in their efforts to age actively, including the popular “Healthy Eating for seniors” handbook and the Aging Well tools and workshops to motivate people to plan for healthy aging. She was at the forefront of supporting age-friendly communities since the World Health Organization (WHO) study in 2006 and led the Age-friendly B.C. initiative for several years. She has a Bachelor of Journalism (Hon) degree from Carleton University and a Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-profit Marketing from Centre for Excellence for Public Sector Marketing/Sprott School of Business.

Stephen D’Souza
Executive Director, Burnaby Community Services

Stephen D’Souza has been the Executive Director of Burnaby Community Services and Burnaby Meals on Wheels since 2005 and also became the E.D. for Burnaby Seniors Outreach in 2016. He leads the strategic and daily operations of these three local charitable societies with a focus on supporting families living in poverty and seniors experiencing isolation.
Stephen has spent decades working collaboratively with local and regional partners to design innovative solutions to reducing poverty and isolation. He is the Co-Chairperson for the BC Poverty Reduction Coalition, a member of the BC Minister’s Advisory Forum on Poverty Reduction, and is a lead partner in the Allies in Aging project.

Stephen completed an Executive Program in Social Entrepreneurialism from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University in 2016 and the United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Public Policy Institute in 2011. He is also a guest lecturer at Simon Fraser University for Health Promotion in Practice: in the Canadian Context (Master of Public Health program, Faculty of Health Sciences) and the Health Change Lab (a partnership between RADIUS Social Innovation Lab, The Beedie School of Business and Faculty of Health Sciences).

Dr. Eman Hassan
Director of Public Health Initiatives at the BC Centre for Palliative Care

Dr. Eman Hassan is the Director of Public Health Initiatives at the BC Centre for Palliative Care, where she is leading its Compassionate Communities Initiative, Seed Grant Program and Advance Care Initiative. Eman is the author of the Centre’s White Paper titled: “The Public Health Approach to Palliative Care”. In this paper, she describes the different public health palliative care models including the Compassionate Communities’ model and presents the international experiences with these models.

Eman has more than 15 years of experience leading population health initiatives and program evaluation in BC and abroad. In addition to her medical degree, Eman holds a Master of Public Health from UBC and completed a two-year Fellowship – awarded by CIHR – in Health Services Research and Evaluation. Eman published in leading medical journals and received notable awards from academic and professional institutions for her research which contributed to improvement in community health.

Dr. Khairun Jivani
Cancer Control Director for BC and Yukon, at the Canadian Cancer Society

Dr. Khairun Jivani is the Cancer Control Director for BC and Yukon, at the Canadian Cancer Society. She is currently responsible for overseeing a diverse portfolio, including programs on prevention, advocacy and support for clients with cancer. The support includes lodges, oncology camps and peer support programs. Over the span of her career, Dr. Jivani has worked in various senior management roles across multiple industries and services including, health care, insurance, communications, research and consulting.

She has successfully led and managed various programs for public sector (e.g. ICBC Corporate Planning, Road Safety, BC Injury Unit, BC Ministry of Health, Public Health Agency of Canada) private sectors (UniLever Ltd., Squirrel Systems) and NGOs (e.g. CCS, Preventable, Aga Khan Foundation), both within and outside health care industry, locally and internationally. She specializes in establishing public-private partnerships and has worked with multiple stakeholders in diverse work environments. Dr. Jivani, is also a recognized dental surgeon, with a Masters in Public Health and a MBA from Simon Fraser University, in BC.

Sherry Baker
Executive Director, BC Association of Community Response Networks

Sherry Baker has owned and operated a private consulting and counselling practice since 1990. She was hired as the Executive Director of the BC Association of Community Response Networks in July 2010.Sherry has sat on, and chaired many provincial, regional and local boards over the years. Sherry was elected to City Council in Chilliwack in the 1980’s where she served for 6 years. She completed six years as a public member on each if the Board of Registration for Social Workers and on the College of Occupational Therapists of BC.

She is the past Chair of the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support and past chair of the South Fraser Family Court and Youth Justice Committee, as well as a founding Board Member of the Minerva Foundation for BC Women and a founding member of the United Community Services Coop (now Realize Strategies).
Sherry has been a Rotarian since 1992. She currently sits on the Township of Langley’s Seniors Advisory Committee and chairs the board of Encompass Support Services Society. She was the Executive Director of Ishtar Transition Housing Society from 1995-2006.

From the United Way Healthy Aging team:

Olivier Musafiri, Administrative Support

Olivier provides administrative support to United Way’s Healthy Aging department. He has worked as Program Manager with United Nations in Africa and Community Centre in Toronto, Olivier has been working with University of British Columbia in various capacities including research and teaching assistantship for project management course before joining the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute as Research and Program Analyst.Olivier is passionate about knowledge sharing and strategies that brings a smile and hope to the most in need in our community. Olivier holds various degrees in Business, Project Management, Strategies, and  Monitoring and Evaluation from Europe, Africa and North America. He is an avid researcher ,analyst and strategist within community impact and sustainability. In his spare time, Olivier enjoys playing music instruments with his family.

Camille J. Hannah, Program & Operations Coordinator, Healthy Aging

Camille has worked with the provincial Better at Home program since its inception in 2012 and recently taken on the role of Program & Operations Coordinator for United Way’s Healthy Aging department. She coordinates local program capacity building, provincial projects, communications and implementation of best practices. Previously, she was a project manager and trainer for Courthouse Technologies. She has an academic and professional background in Communications, Project Management and Business Management. She is a lifelong learner and believes in human wellness. She loves spending time with her family, including her cat.

Bobbi Symes
Program & Operations Coordinator

Bobbi Symes, has 20 years of experience in research and program coordination specializing in the areas of population health, injury prevention and older adults. In particular, over the past 6 years Bobbi has focused much of her research and program coordination in the area of fall and injury prevention in older adults. Bobbi has a Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies focusing on principles of adult education and community development. Bobbi has two kids and is heavily involved in the world of competitive gymnastics and acrobatics guided under the influence of her 15 year old daughter. Bobbi was the 2017 Gymnastics BC Volunteer of the year and was just awarded the 2018 Sports BC Presidential award recognizing dedication and commitment of volunteerism to artistic gymnastics.

Kahir Lalji, Provincial Director, Healthy Aging 

Kahir is the Provincial Director for Healthy Aging at the United Way of the Lower Mainland. The seniors’ portfolio has grown exponentially under his strategic leadership of the Better at Home and Active Aging provincial seniors’ programs. He has extensive experience in social services with a specialization in community and healthy living for older adults, health promotion, holistic quality of life and immigrant older adults. His expertise includes executive leadership in and beyond Canada, policy development, program delivery and evaluation. Kahir holds several degrees and certificates in Gerontology, Leadership and Management. His work is inspired by his lived and professional experience to create and sustain livable communities for seniors.