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Conferences & lectures

In search of resilience in health care

Can digital innovation and entrepreneurship offer solutions?

Date & time
Thursday, March 30, 2023
12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.


Wheel chair accessible


Not too long ago, Canada’s health care system was the envy of the world. With a single-payer system, world-class research and training, cutting-edge technologies, and availability and accessibility of care, we were doing much better than the rest of the world.

Then, something shifted. The system started crumbling due to high demand, an aging population, inflated health care costs, a shortage of hospital staff, physicians, and specialists, and a highly siloed approach to health care information and services. Institutions that were set up later to break through the barriers of the legacy health care system also achieved little success.

The pandemic brought wellness, health, and medicine into stark focus across the globe. As a result, the health care field has taken center stage as the sector that could help the world conquer COVID, but it also challenged the system’s resilience and capacity.

While the health care challenge is a particularly complex one, entrepreneurship can provide disruptive systemic solutions for sustainable impact within the system. In addition, there have been several attempts to use IT and digital technologies to create an efficient, resilient, and high-quality health care system in many aspects.

As a continuation of the Researcher-Practitioners Exchange Series hosted by the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship & Family Business, our distinguished panelists will explore how entrepreneurship and digital innovation can contribute to the health care system by providing solutions for different stakeholders. They will also discuss current challenges and possible trends that can be expected in the future.


  • Barb Marcolin, PhD
    Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, UBC
  • Amir Farzam
    Healthcare Serial Entrepreneur, CEO of Montmed Inc.
  • Timothy Kavanagh, EMBA 19
    Director of Professional Services, B. Braun Medical Inc.


Suchit Ahuja, Graduate Program Director, MSc. Business Analytics and Technology Management, John Molson School of Business


11:45 a.m. Doors open

12 – 1 p.m. Panel discussion and audience Q&A

1 – 1:30 p.m. Networking and light lunch

About the speakers

Barb Marcolin, PhD

Associate Professor, Faculty of Management, Univerity of British Columbia

Barb Marcolin joined the Faculty of Management at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan campus in 2012, having taught systems perspectives for 17 years at the University of Calgary, and the Richard Ivey School of Business, Western University, Ontario.

From 2003 to 2010, Marcolin practiced IT research in high tech entrepreneurial companies in Saint John, New Brunswick, as Research Director and Privacy Officer managing technology research and IP/patents.

Her research interests focus on both the individual-level use and business-level technology value. She studies user competence, web interactivity, fast features, outsourcing, partnering, participatory requirements, user experience, user-centered technology design, academic-industry partnerships, user expectations, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) and Partial Least Squares (PLS) research methods and effective use of technology.

Specific interests include entrepreneurial technology where rapid technology requirements co-discovered with users shape technological advances into new startups or new software services and product lines.

Specific to the healthcare sector, her work includes running three technical and evidence-based behavioural outcomes research pilots for web-based technology, successfully defining the business health and wellness technical capabilities, features, and functions for an organizational wellness program application. Marcolin also held a visiting position in Hong Kong.

Amir Farzam

Healthcare Serial Entrepreneur, CEO of Montmed Inc.

Amir is CEO and Founder of Montmed Inc., a company dedicated to bridging the gap between science and behavior in diabetes care to deliver better outcomes while reducing the cognitive burden associated with living with diabetes.

Amir has worked in the last 15 years as an entrepreneur in diabetes medical device commercialization as well as not-for-profit diabetes education. His expertise is developing company strategy while leading all operational tactics and building business models anchored in innovation.

Prior to Montmed, Amir co-founded and led Farir Teb, an Iran-based medical device company, which became the market leader of diabetes devices in Iran over a period of 5 years. He also co-founded and sat on the board of directors of Gabric Diabetes Education Association, which became the best practice of diabetes education in MENA, member of IDF (International Diabetes Federation) and recognized by WHO. Amir is driven by the complexity of diabetes management, a combination of science and consumer behaviour.

Amir holds a BSc in electrical and telecom engineering and an MBA degree.

Timothy Kavanagh, EMBA 19

Director of Professional Services, B. Braun Medical Inc.

After graduating from McGill University in 2005 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Timothy practiced bedside care for 6 years in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Timothy then joined the medical device industry with B. Braun medical.

After graduating from Concordia’s John Molson School of Business with an EMBA in 2019, he was promoted to Director of Professional services where he now leads the implementation and integration of new technology into healthcare settings across the country, leading a team of Project Managers, Biomedical Engineers, IT specialists and trainers to continuously push for better results in the health care market.

Suchit Ahuja, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Supply Chain and Business Technology Management, John Molson School of Business

Graduate Program Director, Master of Science (MSc) in Business Analytics and Technology Management

Suchit Ahuja has recently been named the Graduate Program Director for the Master of Science (MSc) in Business Analytics and Technology Management, a new program within John Molson’s arsenal of research-based graduate business programs, which is set to launch in Fall 2022.

Suchit holds a PhD in Management Information Systems from the Stephen J.R. Smith School of Business at Queen’s University and an MSc in Information Technology from Purdue University.

His research focuses on digital strategy and innovation, digital platforms and ecosystems, frugal digital innovation, societal impacts of digital innovation, and community-based innovation. Suchit has worked with small and medium enterprises and startups in India, the United States, and Canada, and his research is funded by federal and provincial agencies such as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC).

Suchit is published in journals including Kindai Management Review, Journal of Community Informatics, and a forthcoming article in the Information Systems Journal, as well as for a number of book chapters on innovation and digitalization. He has also presented at conferences such as the International Conference on Information Systems, the Americas Conference on Information Systems, Academy of Management, R&D Management, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Association for Computing Machinery, and the International Conference on Information Resources Management. Suchit has served on prestigious committees such as the Standards Council of Canada and is a member of the board of advisors of BizSkills Academy, an education-focused startup in Ontario.

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