Dr. Verna Yiu is one of Canada’s most respected healthcare leaders. She led the country’s largest provincewide health care system that protects and improves the quality of life for 4.4 million Albertans from 2016-2022 and for 2 of those years, helped to oversee Alberta’s health response to the pandemic.
In her tenure in AHS, Dr. Yiu was able to build trust and confidence not only with Albertans but internally with the 100K+ employees of the organization. Under her leadership, AHS was named as one of the Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 4 consecutive years along with other employer awards including Best Diversity Employer, Best Employer for Young People, and Alberta’s Top 70 Employer. Other accomplishments include optimizing integration of care within the province, so much so as to receive acknowledgement from the International Society of Integrated Care that AHS was in the top 5 most integrated systems in the world. Dr. Yiu always promoted quality of care knowing that improving quality results in reduced healthcare costs. As the longest service President/CEO of AHS, operational best practices was a key strategy for improving efficiencies, such that growth expenditure for AHS reduced by more than 50% while still maintaining quality and safety of care; she led and received the support from government to launch the largest rollout of a clinical information system in Canada called Connect Care that will transform how care is delivered for Albertans (which remains on time and on budget if not for COVID19), and from end of 2019 to 2022, Dr. Yiu led AHS in its response to one of the worse public health crisis we will ever know in our lifetime.
Dr. Yiu has spent more than 2 decades in leadership roles, spanning from leadership roles in academia at the University of Alberta including being the first female interim dean of the faculty of medicine and dentistry at the U of A to that within AHS. She is known to embrace a servant leadership motto where ensuring the success of others inevitably leads to everyone’s success.
Dr. Yiu has won numerous awards including most recently 2023 President’s Citation award from the U of A’s Graduate Student Association, the 2022 Physician of the Year Award from the Edmonton Zone Medial Association, and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal in 2022 in recognition of significant service. She was also ranked second on the Medical Post’s 2021 Power list of physicians in Canada, behind only Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer.
A professor of Pediatrics in the division of pediatric nephrology at the U of A, Dr. Yiu is an alumni of both University of Alberta and Harvard University. In 2022, she was appointed Provost and VP Academic (Interim) at the University of Alberta. In the past year, she led the development of the U of A’s 10 year University Strategic Plan: SHAPE; co-led the creation of a new activity budget model; as well as advancing EDI and student experiences at the university. She is currently the vice chair for board of directors of the Canadian Institute of Health Information. She also continues to work on the front lines, providing care to young patients and their families at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.