Program Chair

Afsaneh Alavi, MD, MSc, FRCPC is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the University of Toronto. She completed her residency in dermatology in 1998 in Iran, and in 2011 in Toronto, Canada. She also completed a 2-year fellowship in Wound Healing and a Master of Science in Community Health at the University of Toronto. She is the Director of the Wound Healing Fellowship and is running a sub-specialty HS and PG clinic at Women’s College Hospital. Her research interests include wound healing, hidradenitis suppurativa, and medical dermatology. She has received multiple awards including the Practitioner of the Year Award from the Canadian Dermatology Association in 2017, and recently the Hidradenitis Suppurativa Award in recognition of her work in HS (2019).

Keynote Speakers

Tina S. Alster, MD is the founding director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and is a clinical professor of dermatology at Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, DC as well as consulting associate of dermatology at Duke University. She received her B.S. and M.D. degrees with highest honors from Duke University and completed her dermatology residency at Yale University. Dr. Alster is a world-recognized leader in dermatologic laser surgery and is credited with having written the first textbook on cosmetic laser surgery. She has since published hundreds of articles and 7 additional textbooks on the subject. Dr. Alster has held and maintains leadership and board positions in numerous professional and national organizations including the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS), American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS), Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS), among others. She has served as a consultant to several skin care and device companies, including Lancôme and La Mer. Her commitment to teaching and mentoring others is evident in the hundreds of physicians she has trained in her career as well as her establishment of scholarship endowments for women pursuing careers in medicine at Duke University and, more recently, a cosmetic dermatology resident education fund at Yale University.

Dr. Alster has received numerous accolades by her peers including the prestigious ASLMS Leon Goldman Lectureship Award (2001), American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) Presidential Citation Award (2017), Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) Mentorship (2009) and Legacy (2014) Awards, ASLMS Leadership, Mentorship & Public Advocacy for Women in Medical Science Award (2018), Dermatology Foundation Practitioner of the Year Award (2019), and ASDS Samuel Stegman Award for Distinguished Service (2019). She has been a Castle Connolly Top Doctor in America for each of the past 19 years. In addition to serving as an expert on TV and radio, she has been acknowledged in America’s Top Doctors, Town & Country’s Best Cosmetic Surgeons, America’s Elite 1000, Allure’s Influencer of the Year, Elle Genius Awards andWashingtonian’s Best Doctorsand is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 1 percent of physicians in dermatology in US News & World Report.

Jean D. A. Carruthers MD, FRCSC, F.R.C. (Ophthalmology) is Clinical Professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she specializes in facial cosmetic injectable, energy based devices and surgery.  Dr. Carruthers received her medical degree from the University of British Columbia in 1971 and completed her Ophthalmology residency at the Institute of Ophthalmology and Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, UK, in 1977. She completed her post-residency studies in Ophthalmology at the University of British Columbia and the University of California in San Francisco in 1982. She is a Diplomate of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery and a Fellow of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.  She has been invited to give many presentations worldwide on topics in cosmetic surgery and has so far authored 369 peer reviewed scientific articles and book chapters and authored and edited 9 textbooks with her dermatologist husband Dr Alastair Carruthers.

With A. Carruthers she pioneered the cosmetic use of botulinum A exotoxin and has remained at the forefront of research and teaching about this procedure and the use of cosmetic soft tissue fillers. Together they have participated in numerous international research trials studying these new agents. She has been President of the British Columbia Society of Eye Physicians and Surgeons, the Canadian Laser Aesthetic Surgery Society and the Foundation of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery.   Dr. Carruthers has been honored by being invited to join the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, the American Dermatological Association and  Women in Dermatology, Women in Ophthalmology and to be an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Dermatology, the American Society for Dermatologic  Surgery, and the American Dermatologic Society. She has received many awards, including the Eugene Van Scott Award and Philip Frost Lecture by the American Academy of Dermatology (2012, with A. Carruthers); Henry Baylis Cosmetic Surgery Lecture and Award from the American Society for Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 2013; the Leadership and Innovation Award from The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) (2014, with A. Carruthers); the ASDS Presidential Awards (2012, 2014 and 2015); the highly prestigious Samuel J Stegman Award by the ASDS (2016), the first nondermatologist to be so honored. She has been profiled in numerous publications including Best Doctors in Canada, New York Times, Allure, Time, Newsweek and Vogue.  She has also been featured on the television program 20/20 as well as many others. She is past Chair of the Industry Advisory Council and current Chair of the Member Giving Committee of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.

Program Speakers

Jennifer Beecker, MD, CCFP(EM), FRCPC, FAAD, DABD is a Staff Dermatologist at The Ottawa Hospital and Assistant Professor at The University of Ottawa. She is a Royal College and American Board of Dermatology certified dermatologist, trained and certified in 3 medical specialties: Dermatology, Emergency Medicine and Family Medicine. Her interests include medical dermatology, in-patient hospital dermatology, research, and pigmented lesions.

Dr. Beecker is the Research Director for the Division of Dermatology at The Ottawa Hospital.  She is the National Chair and Spokesperson for the Canadian Dermatology Association’s Sun Awareness Program, and Secretary of the CDA Board of Directors. Dr. Beecker trains medical residents and students and is a member of the Executive Committee for the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Dermatology Examination.

Maha Dutil, MD, FRCPC is a dermatologist in private practice. She received her medical degree and completed dermatology residency at the University of Toronto. She completed a Masters of Education in 2006.She is assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Dermatology at the University of Toronto where she has served as co-director of the undergraduate dermatology program at the U of T medical school, and director of the Continuing Education in the Division of Dermatology. She is the President of the Toronto Dermatological Society and president of TWEAD (Toronto Women’s Education Association for Dermatologists) and the chair of the Women’s Dermatology Symposium which focuses on education related to women’s dermatologic health and disease.

Patrick Fleming, MD, FRCPC is a certified dermatologist with clinical interests in psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, & complex medical dermatology. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto where he teaches medical students and residents. He completed residency at the University of Toronto where he was Chief Dermatology Resident. He holds a master’s degree in Community Health and a Graduate Certificate in Medical Education. He completed the Global Clinical Scholars program in Advanced Epidemiology & Clinical Trials at Harvard Medical School. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, & the Canadian Dermatology Association. He has held national research funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and Canadian Dermatology Foundation. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery & Board of Governors for the Canadian Dermatology Foundation. Dr. Fleming’s research background includes systematic reviews and he is an investigator for dermatology clinical trials.

Nick Kindler is Co-Founder of Talk Boutique and an Executive Speaker Coach. A keynote speaker, communication coach, and eternal entrepreneur, Nick is passionate about innovation and communication. A former actor, teacher, and comedian, for more than a decade Nick was the founding partner, creative director, and speaker coach at engine communication + events. In 2013, Nick opened his own coaching practice Kindler & Company, focusing on developing the communication and speaking skills of leaders, entrepreneurs, scientists and academics. He then joined TEDx Toronto as a coach, eventually taking on the role of Director of Programming. In 2015, Nick co-founded Talk Boutique, a speaker development, speaker representation, and event curation company, spending much of his time helping leaders communicate their innovation so it’s understood, shared, and embraced by the world.

Nick is also the Head of Programming for SingularityU Canada, a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. Having played a key role in bringing Singularity University to Canada with the creation of the SingularityU Canada Summit, Nick is now a member of the Canadian executive team curating faculty and developing unique programs.

Sandra Landolt, MD, FRCPC (Dermatology and Internal Medicine) is a community based Medical Dermatologist in Thornhill, Ontario. She obtained her Medical Degree (Meds 8T6) as well as completed her Internal Medicine and Dermatology residencies at the University of Toronto. Her interests in Dermatology include Complex Medical Dermatology, Women’s Issues and Wound Care. She is one of the Founding Members and the current President of CWIM (Canadian Women in Medicine) as well as the Chair of their Mentorship initiative. In addition, she has maintained a role in Physician Advocacy including a Social Media presence and an ongoing Supporting Role in the Ontario Medical Association. Dr. Landolt has always valued balance in her life and in her spare time is a multimedia artist, food aficionado and mother of two yellow labrador retrievers, two rescue cats and an aspiring young film maker.

Monica Li, MD, FRCPC is a double board-certified cosmetic and medical dermatologist in both Canada and the United States, and a Clinical Instructor in the Department of Dermatology & Skin Science at the University of British Columbia. She practices in Vancouver and Surrey, B.C. Dr. Li is fellowship trained in laser and cosmetic dermatology and has a special practice and research interest in ethnic skin, acne, rosacea, injectables and laser medicine. Dr. Li is an active committee member of the Canadian Dermatology Association, American Academy of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery and Women’s Dermatologic Society.

Dr. Li has published more 15 peer-reviewed articles and has been an invited lecturer at various international conferences including the World Congress of Dermatology, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery annual meeting and American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting. She is an avid contributor to the press and has been featured in Chatelaine magazine, The Kit/Toronto Star, Huff Post, Global News, Yahoo Canada, CBC Life and Flare magazine.

Ilka Lowensteyn, PhD is a Medical Scientist at McGill University and Director of Clinical Research at the McGill Comprehensive Health Improvement Program. After graduating with a doctoral degree in Exercise Physiology from the University of Miami, Dr. Lowensteyn completed an NHRDP post-doctoral fellowship at McGill University. Her major research interests include studying the impact of online health promotion programs for health care professionals, military personnel, veterans and patients. Other research interests include evaluating the benefits of exercise for preventing and treating cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.

Boluwaji Ogunyemi, BSc, MD, FRCPC, FAAD is a Medical Dermatologist and Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Memorial University.  Dr. Ogunyemi been published in several scientific and mainstream outlets including The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, CBC, and Huffington Post. He is a Canadian Medical Association Ambassador, a Director of the Skin Research Group of Canada, on the Steering Committee of Dermatology for Non-Dermatologists, a TEDx Speaker and 2108 Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons Convocation Speaker. Last year, Dr. Ogunyemi was awarded the Memorial University Horizon Award and the Western University’s Young Alumni Award for exceptional achievement for Alumni under age 35.

Kerri Purdy, MD, FRCPC graduated with an honour’s degree in Neuroscience and a medical degree from Dalhousie University. Dr. Purdy completed training in internal medicine as well as dermatology. She holds certification from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in both. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University and is the dermatology residency program director. She has a medical dermatology practice in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Purdy is a member of the Atlantic Provinces Dermatology Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, past co-chair of the DRIVE committee, the CDA Education Committee, the CDA Practice Management Symposium planning committee, the CDA Conference planning committee and a former member of the CDA Membership and Awards Committee. She is a member of the dermatology working group at the Royal college of physicians and surgeons and is on the specialty committee as the Dalhousie residency program director. In 2017 Dr. Purdy was elected as the CDA Vice President and in June 2019 begins her term as CDA President.

Michele Ramien, MDCM, FRCPC, DABD Pediatric Dermatology is a hospital-based academic dermatologist at the University of Calgary. Since completing a fellowship in Pediatric Dermatology in 2014, Dr. Ramien has maintained both pediatric and general dermatology practices. She is active in teaching for residents, in particular in the DRIVE program, and in research, where she leads projects on severe cutaneous reactions and eczema education in children. She volunteers as a co-chair on the board of directors for Camp Liberté and an associate editor for the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery.

Jason Rivers, MD, FRCPC is a Clinical Professor of dermatology and a past program director of the dermatology residency training program at the University of British Columbia. Currently, he practices medical and cosmetic dermatology at Pacific Derm in Vancouver, BC. Dr. Rivers was one of the principal investigators of the first national study on sun protection habits of Canadians. He presented a report on the findings to the House of Commons Hearing Committee on the Environment (effects of ozone depletion on human skin) and was involved in a forum to create the UV Index. He is a lead investigator on a range of clinical research studies. Dr. Rivers’ experience in aesthetic medicine spans almost 30 years and he continues to enjoy participating in major medical conferences as an invited speaker on a spectrum of medical and cosmetic dermatology topics. The combination of his academic, clinical, and research endeavours have culminated in over 170 publications.

Dr. Rivers is a past National Director and current Regional Director of the Canadian Dermatology Association’s (CDA) Sun Awareness and Skin Cancer Prevention Program. For 10 years, he was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Cutaneous Medicine and Surgery. He is the past president of the Canadian Society for Dermatologic Surgery, current President of the Acne and Rosacea Society of Canada, and in-coming President of the CDA.

Dr. Sally Safa, DDS is a board-certified Periodontist, alumnus of the University of Toronto and a clinical instructor at U of T. She maintains a private practice in North York where she enjoys all aspects of Periodontal care. Sally is also a passionate advocate of wellness for dentists and healthcare providers. Healthcare providers are engaged in a profession that  is stressful and often it is challenging to find a balance that allows for personal contentment and professional gratification. Dr. Safa’s passion is to connect with healthcare providers to help them identify signs of stress and burnout and to share her knowledge of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) as a tool to balance their personal and professional lives, to stay in their profession and enjoy it.

Andrea Sampson is Co-Founder of Talk Boutique and an Executive Speaker Coach. Andrea is a former Strategist and Consultant and has spent over 25 years working in marketing and advertising, presenting and developing strategies for Fortune 100 companies. With a natural talent for developing compelling stories and persuasive content, Andrea is sought after in assisting teams and executives develop their presentations or pitches. Four years ago, Andrea’s passion for ideas led her to TEDx Toronto where she volunteered initially as a Speaker Coach, then as the Director of Programming in 2015 and the Conference Co-Chair in 2016. This voluntary role was instrumental in the creation of Talk Boutique, a speaker management, development and representation company. Andrea was the Co-Director of the 2017 Singularity University Canada Summit.

Sandy Skotnicki, MD, FRCPC is the Medical Director of Bay Dermatology Centre in Toronto, Ontario, a full-scale clinic that is involved in both medical and cosmetic dermatology. She is an active researcher and educator, teaching at the University of Toronto and continues to publish on Allergy and Disease in addition to responsibilities at the clinic.