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.

Debbie MacLachlan, Director of Home and Community Care

Ministry of Health, B.C.

Debbie McLachlan is the Director of Home and Community Care with the Seniors Services Branch. Over the last 8 years in public service, Debbie has held several positions as Director of various Ministerial departments. Debbie has an extensive academic background in Nursing with a Leadership focus and Education. During her 24-year health care career, she has developed in seniors health, professional education and patient centered practice.

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.

Steve Sxwithul’txw (Swee-thult), Penelakut Tribe, Senior Advisory for Cultural Safety and Indigenous Employment 

Ministry of Health

Steve Sxwithul’txw (Swee-thult), is a member of the Penelakut Tribe. Steve was raised in Duncan, BC on Vancouver Island. He has defied the odds in his own success, as a former residential school student at the Kuper Island Residential School in 1970. Steve works full time with the BC Ministry of Health as the Advisor for Cultural Safety and Indigenous Employment. Concurrently, he works in television, producing and hosting shows seen on the Aboriginal Peoples Network (APTN). As a determined Indigenous leader  who is passionate about creating positive change, he is committed to social, economic and environmental issues that protect the lands and resources of Indigenous peoples and build our collective strength.

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.

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.

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.

Bobbi Symes, Programs and 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