Patient, Family & Public Advisory Council

Nova Scotia Health Authority is committed to engaging Nova Scotians in establishing priorities, ensuring that the decisions of Nova Scotia Health Authority are informed by their voice. We engage with Nova Scotians to create a healthier future and are grounded in a culture of patient, family and community-centered service. This approach fosters respectful, compassionate, culturally appropriate, and competent service that is responsive to the needs, values, beliefs and preferences of patients, families and communities. 

Our Patient, Family & Public Advisory Council was formed in the fall of 2016 to advise senior leaders, health care providers, staff and physicians on policies, practices, planning and delivery of patient and family-centered care.  It is a place to ensure patients, families and communities are meaningful partners at all levels of service planning, allowing their perspectives to be heard and thoroughly considered in decision making. 

Learn how you can become a Patient, Family & Advisory Council member here

Volunteer members include:

Debi Fitzpatrick (Co-Chair), Falmouth

Debi Fitzpatrick is an artist who has worked in sales and management. Her experience supporting numerous family members navigate the health care system adds a unique lens to the Patient, Family, and Public Advisory Council. An active member in her community, Debi is passionate about making things better for patients and their family.

Marcie Shwery-Stanley, Sydney

Marcie Shwery-Stanley, BA, MBA, worked for 26 years at Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation as a Communications Officer, and is now retired. Marcie is a woman with a disability and her 37 years of advocacy work with regard to women and disability issues is extensive. It has included serving on: the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, Marine Atlantic’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Persons with Disabilities Partnership Association for the C. B. Regional Municipality and Victoria County, and past Co-Chair of the CBRM Human Rights Affirmative Action Committee. Presently, she is Chair of the Society for the Improvement of Accessible Transportation, a member of Nova Scotia Dept. of Justice’s Accessibility Advisory Board and the Horizon Achievement Centre. She has been recognized for her work by Marine Atlantic for her contribution to its Accessibility Advisory Committee; by the Canadian Paraplegic Association with its Excellence Award; and by PANNS with the Mel Hebb Award, to name a few. Marcie is a strong believer in person-centered care and has been a care giver to her mother and also a care receiver in various models of homecare in Canada and the United States.

Ron Williams (Co-Chair), Sydney

Ron Williams brings decades of experience in management to the Patient, Family, and Public Advisory Council. He has extensive volunteer experience as a board member for numerous organization including the Canadian Health Association, the Health Association of NS and the Lumen Institute, where he served as the National Chair. A past board member of the Cape Breton District Health Authority, Ron brings his same patient-centric focus to this role.

Wayne Rhyno

Wayne Rhyno hails from the Central Zone and brings his experience as a patient and caregiver to the Council. He has battled his own health issues and has assisted other family members in their health care journeys. He wanted to be a part of changing some issues with our system and it would give him great satisfaction to give back. He spent 25 years as a volunteer fire fighter and first responder and continues to volunteer for many opportunities in his community.

Eric Jackson

Eric Jackson resides in the Northern Zone with his family. Having navigated the system with a child who had a serious health condition, he came to the Council wanting to give back to a system that helped his family so much. Working in a managerial role, he is skilled in meeting facilitation, conflict resolution and interpersonal relationships. He has a wide range of volunteer experiences and hopes his experiences and skills can make a difference.

Jack Smith

Jack Smith comes to us from the Western Zone and brings his family experience with many facets of the health care system. He wants to give back and learn about Nova Scotia Health and how the organization works. Retired from the air force, he has held many high-level professional and volunteer roles and is skilled in interpersonal relationships.

Carla Lewis

Carla Lewis lives in the Western Zone and brings a blend of experience and skills from her professional and personal life. Her experience supporting a family member through their journey at home, with home care and long term care provided valuable insights into the strengths and challenges of the system. She has a passion for people to succeed and grow in life and her work life had her leading people through change.

Matthew Lutton

Matthew Lutton lives with his family in the Northern Zone and brings his recent experience with the healthcare system and a strong desire to give back and help others. He works as a social worker and is skilled in conflict management and interpersonal relationships. He has lived in the Middle East and comes to the Council with previous volunteer opportunity experience.