Meaningful collaboration with patients and families doesn’t mean that we are always “right”. It means taking what we think and what our healthcare partners think and coming up with something that works for everyone.

—Pam Dawson


Community Spotlight

Each month, we profile a special member of our community: a student, alumni, faculty member, or partner. Check out this month’s inspiring story below.

Pam Dawson

Patient Advisor


Role/partnership with CHA Learning:

Patient/Public Reviewer for the CHA Learning’s Canadian Patient Safety Program

Social Media: LinkedIn
Location: Kelowna, British Columbia

Pam’s Background and Work

Since retirement in 2017 I have volunteered with the Patient Voice Network (PVN) here in British Columbia. Through PVN I have been actively involved as a Patient/Public advisor on numerous committees with my local health authority as well as provincially. I currently sit as the Public Co-Chair of the Person and Family-Centred Care Steering Committee, an advisor on the Physician Leadership Program, an advisor on the Physician Quality Improvement (PQI) Steering committee and participant in cohort training and quality improvement projects.

I have worked primarily within the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement portfolio providing patient/public insight in the development of health policies and processes to ensure that the patient/family voice is always being heard.

I had the opportunity to work with CHA Learning in reviewing the content for the Canadian Patient Safety Program in order to look at it from a person-centered lens. I appreciated the importance that CHA Learning placed on inclusion. They were so willing to collaborate on how inclusion could be woven throughout the content and it became more than an opening statement or introduction. I enjoyed the opportunity to learn and collaborate and share knowledge but most of all to be part of what I see as a trend towards embracing patients and families as partners in healthcare.

Pam’s Story

Throughout my career I was involved in IT/software development for various companies including the Royal Bank of Canada and ADP Canada.   I was part of the early evolution that began to understand the value of including the perspective of the end user in software design. It begins with collaboration to understand the problem from all perspectives (including the user) before the solution is developed.

My interest in healthcare began with frustration with a system that didn’t seem to understand what I, as a patient, wanted or needed.   The question in my mind was “Why doesn’t someone ask me? “

From that I saw parallels as an end user of software and the patients and families who are the receivers of health care.   I believe that meaningful engagement of patients and families working together with healthcare providers is the only way that we can begin to create a system that works for the benefit of all – including those within the system itself.

There is no “us” and “them” there is only “we” together.

A little More About Pam Dawson

What are some of your favourite hobbies outside of work/professional development?

I live in the beautiful Okanagan with my husband and 2 elderly shelties. I love to golf, bike ride and taste a little of the local wine!


Who do you admire in healthcare and why?

There is no one person – for me, it is all of the wonderful healthcare professionals that I have the privilege of working with. Their commitment to going beyond their day-to-day job to look for opportunities to make the system better gives me hope that, working together, we can make a difference.


What type of professional development or continuous learning have you done recently and how do you make room for continuing to learn while working/leading/living?

I am fortunate that, as a volunteer, I have opportunities to take training in quality improvement and patient safety courses. I also attend conferences such as the Quality Forums and Institute for Health Improvement (IHI). These experiences give me insights into what is happening in healthcare and help me become more knowledgeable about the challenges and opportunities. Even though I am retired, I make time for these opportunities because one should never stop learning new things.


Canadian Patient Safety Program

Pam Dawson was a Patient/Public Reviewer for the CHA Learning’s Canadian Patient Safety Program. The Canadian Patient Safety Progam is Canada’s only comprehensive, flexible online learning program for patient safety professionals. This exclusive CHA Learning program was developed after extensive national stakeholder consultation and in partnership with subject matter experts and patient family partners across Canada. To learn more about the Canadian Patient Safety Program, click the button below.


Canadian Patient Safety Program