Governance Structure


The purpose of the Secretariat of the Women’s Heart Health Alliance is to facilitate the growth and development of the initiative into a national leader that increases collaboration and knowledge mobilization dedicated to improving women’s cardiovascular health. The Secretariat is a convening body that provides operational and communications support, knowledge brokering, builds membership engagement, maintains records and coordinates stakeholders.

Working Group Chairs


Dr. Tara Sedlak

Chair, Advocacy Working Group

Tara L. Sedlak, MD, FRCPC
Medical Director, Leslie Diamond Women's Heart Health Clinic
Cardiologist, Vancouver General, and UBC Hospitals
Clinical Associate Professor
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC


Dr. Sharon L.Mulvagh

Chair, Knowledge Translation and Mobilization Working Group

Sharon L. Mulvagh, MD, FRCP(C), FACC, FAHA, FASE 
Emeritus Professor, Mayo Clinic
Professor of Medicine, Dalhousie University
Co-Director, Maritime Heart Center Women's Heart Health Clinic
Division of Cardiology, QEII Health Sciences Center
Halifax, NS


Dr. Beth L.. Abramson

Chair, Training and Education Working Group

Beth L. Abramson MD MSc FRCP FACC

Paul Albrechtsen Professor in Cardiac Prevention and Women's Health
Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto
Director, Cardiac Prevention Centre & Women's CV Health, St. Michael's Hospital
Toronto, ON


Dr. Colleen M Norris

Chair, Health Systems and Policy Working Group

Colleen M Norris, PhD, MSc, BScN, RN- FAHA

Scientific Director, Cardiovascular Health and Stroke Strategic Clinical Network, AHS
Professor Faculty of Nursing,
Adjunct professor - School of Public Health, & Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
University of Alberta
Edmonton AB

Patient Advisory Committee 


Jackie Ratz

Jarmila (Jackie) Ratz, Co-Chair

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Jackie graduated from the University of Manitoba with a honours degree in Political Science and Religion. She worked in the fashion industry as an apparel buyer for close to 20 years before going on long term disability due to heart failure. Early in her journey with heart issues she discovered a passion or advocacy. She believes that knowledge is power and set about to not only help herself but to share her knowledge with others. She believes that with support every heart failure person can impact their care through knowledge and self advocacy. Also recognizing the inconsistency for access to care access the country, she hopes to make an impact on a national scale. She has a specific interest in women’s heart health care.


Karen E. Jacques

Karen E. Jacques, Co-Chair

Kincardine, Ontario

For nearly 30 years Karen E. Jacques’ career, both legal and non-legal, has been concentrated on health, safety and disability issues in a variety of contexts; including training, program management, emergency response, insurance adjudication, and legal guidance. Ms. Jacques’ law practice focused on resolving disputes; through litigation in the court system, advocacy before administrative tribunals, & navigating alternative dispute resolution. Through her decisions as a Tribunal Vice-Chair for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, she clarifies and advances the interpretation of legislation and policy pertaining to health, safety, and medical matters. Ms. Jacques holds a J.D. from Windsor Law, a B.A. in Kinesiology Physical Education & Psychology, a Certificate in Mental health Law, and a Certificate in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies, Boards & Tribunals. Ms. Jacques actively supports non-profit initiatives, having served as General Counsel to a variety of national and community organizations.