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Keeping our children, youth and adults with type 1 diabetes healthy until a cure is found.

Non-profit organizations rely on strong leadership to drive change and achieve their mission. The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre is led by a volunteer board of directors - comprised of a diverse group with varied expertise - who provide leadership and guide the organization on behalf of its membership.

Photograph of Serge Babin
Serge Babin

Serge has been on the Board since 2006, and has been Chair since 2012. He decided to get involved when his son was diagnosed in 2005. “I have experienced first hand the tremendous work and support that the staff provides to patients and their families and wanted to ensure others can benefit like we did!” Over the last 5 years, Serge has helped build a succession plan for the Centre’s Leadership, facilitated the creation of the 2019-2024 5-year strategic plan and is currently leading the launch of a new building campaign. Serge was a senior executive in the telecom Industry for over 25 years prior to his semi-retirement in 2014. He is now the Managing Partner/Founder of LPSB Consulting Inc., providing consulting services to several companies in the Canadian Telecoms/Media and Technology Industry. Serge holds an MBA from the Smith School of Business (Queen's University) and an Honours degree of Applied Science and Engineering from the University of Toronto. He and his wife, Josée, enjoy donating their time to various charities in the community when they are not travelling; as well as spending time with their grandson and golden retriever Macy.

Photo of Carol Stevenson

Carol Stevenson

Carol joined the Centre’s Board in 2016, following her son’s diagnosis at the age of eight.  She is a Senior Organizational Development Specialist at Scarborough Health Network and brings over 15 years experience in training, leadership development, employee relations, change management and organizational effectiveness.  As the Chair of the Best Centre’s Human Resources Committee, Carol collaborates on policies, tools and programs to support the Centre’s staff and achievement of the Centre’s strategic plan. Carol holds a Bachelor of Education degree from University of New Brunswick, completed graduate studies at Carleton University and received her Honours degree from University of Ottawa.  She has also pursued human resources studies at Durham College and leadership studies at MIT.  “When I speak with type 1 parents and patients from throughout Canada and the States, I’m consistently reminded that the Best Centre is unique and special.  I give of my time and knowledge because I’m grateful for the care my son receives and am comforted that he will continue to receive care at the Centre throughout his teenage years and into adulthood.”

Photograph of Mike Grass.
Michael Grass

Mike has been an active and dedicated supporter and volunteer for The Centre since 1989, when it was founded by his mother. He is a longstanding member on the Board of Directors. Mike possesses a deep belief in the mission of The Centre and brings to the Board his knowledge and skills in business operations with over 20 years of corporate management experience. Mike is a proud recipient of The Best Centre’s Marjorie Davies Volunteer Award and can often be found maintaining the landscaping and property of our Centre with care, passion and pride.

Photograph of Alan Curry
Alan Curry

Alan has been on the Board since 2015; prior to this he was on the Board of Camp Quality Canada for 5 years. He was the Chief Operating Officer at HSBC Financial, before his retirement. He now does consulting work for major banks. Alan and his wife Susan have four grandchildren and enjoy golf, travel and keeping fit! Interestingly, Alan holds a karate brown belt. The Best Centre is of particular relevance to Alan as his granddaughter was diagnosed when she was only 18 months old.

Photograph of Colum Savage
Colum Savage

Colum has 15 years of experience in retail banking for one of Canada’s major banks. Recently, he has been involved in the design and implementation of several large change management initiatives across the country. Colum holds a BSc Honours degree in Pure & Applied Mathematics from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has been a Director on our Board since 2018. His connection to the Best Centre is his son Liam who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2013. Colum knows first-hand the invaluable support provided to patients at the Best Centre, which inspired him to get more involved as a way to help sustain this same level of care for many other families. Colum is an avid soccer fan and can regularly be seen around the soccer fields in Whitby coaching his son’s team. He and his wife, Shannon, have two wonderful children, Liam and Sophie, who keep their parents busy trying to keep up with their synchronized swimming, hockey and soccer schedules!

Photograph of Ian Robertson
Ian Robertson

Ian joined the board in 2017, wanting to give back and help raise awareness for type 1 diabetes. Ian has a personal connection to the centre and knows how instrumental they are to the families in need of their care and support.  At the age of 5, Ian’s eldest of 3 daughters was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. This wasn’t his first experience with the center as his older brother was also diagnosed as a teenager. Ian lives in Brooklin and when he’s not running his daughters around to their activities or events he’s at his Architectural firm based out of Vaughan, Ian Robertson Design Inc. Ian has a strong passion for design and specializes in luxury custom home design and low rise production homes. He has been lucky enough to be able to pursue his dreams over the past 20 years with his business. This has provided him the opportunity to give back to his community; he is involved in several different boards and charities donating time and resources.  In Ian’s free time he enjoys staying active by playing hockey and golfing, Ian is also an avid traveller and is always planning the next holiday with his girls to explore the world.

Photograph of Hala Shamaa

Hala Shamaa

Photograph of Marlene - Registered Nurse and Founder


RN, Founder, Director 

Hala has entered her fourth year in the Human Health Science program at Ontario Tech University and recently joined the Board last month in July. She strives to bring a different perspective to the Board as a patient living with T1D. She was diagnosed with T1D back in 2014 and is grateful for her experiences with the staff and clinicians at The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre. Since then, she has become very passionate about raising diabetes awareness and collaborated with The Best Centre through a club she created at Ontario Tech University to arrange two giveaway prizes. Hala founded the OTU Diabetes Awareness Club at Ontario Tech University to help raise diabetes awareness and empower students that are living with diabetes. Hala also volunteers with The Best Centre and recently designed the online evaluation survey for the 9th Annual State-of-the-Art Management of Type 1 Diabetes in Adults Conference. She aspires to become a pediatrician that specializes in diagnosing and treating children with T1D.

An RN for 50+ years and recipient of the prestigious Frederick G. Banting Award,  Marlene established The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre in 1989. The name also stands for “Best Education and Support Team”, often referred to as "The Best Centre”. She is a true 'SHE-RO' for the diabetes community!


Andrew McDonald



Christa Hruska


Christa joined the Board in 2024, after experiencing first-hand the meaningful work of the Centre following her youngest son's diagnosis at age eight. Christa is thankful for the Best Centre's team-based approach to T1D care and the goals of education and empowerment for patients. She started out volunteering by sharing her story and lived experience at events, contributing to various projects and participating in the Best Centre's strategic planning working group. Christa has a Master of Health Science, Community Health and Epidemiology degree from the University of Toronto and has worked in corporate areas of multi-site hospitals in her 20+ year career in healthcare, including strategy, decision support, quality, project management, and health equity. She also received her Certified Health Executive designation from the Canadian College of Health Leaders and has a Prosci Change Management certification. 


Dr. Jeremy Gilbert
Medical Advisor - Adults

Dr. Gilbert completed his medical degree, internal medicine training and endocrinology residency at the University of Toronto. He is an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

He is the former program director for adult endocrinology and metabolism at the University of Toronto and is currently the section chair for endocrinology and metabolism at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

He has authored a chapter in the 2013 and 2018 Diabetes Canada Guidelines and was a member of the steering committee of the 2018 Diabetes Canada Guidelines and current Diabetes Canada Guidelines. He is on the executive and is a national editor for the Canadian Journal of Diabetes.

He is a passionate teacher and his academic interest in undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing medical education in diabetes and endocrinology. He has received numerous awards for outstanding teaching including the 2021 Educator of the Year Award by The Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Photograph of Dr. Valerie Lewis
Dr. Valerie Lewis
Medical Advisor - Paediatric

Dr. Lewis has been actively involved with The Charles H. Best Diabetes Centre since 1996. She initiated multidisciplinary paediatric clinics at the centre and helped expand its mandate beyond paediatrics to include people of all ages living with type 1 diabetes. She is proud to serve on the Best Centre’s Board of Directors as their paediatric and clinical programs’ medical advisor. She has been part of the centre’s Conference Planning Committee since its inception in 2012. Dr. Lewis also has a busy paediatric consultation practice in Ajax and is a member of the Lakeridge Health Network medical staff. She earned her BSc. in Life Sciences from Queen’s University, her medical degree from the University of Toronto and completed her paediatric fellowship training at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.


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