Okanagan Edge and Kelowna Chamber of Commerce are partnering to showcase some of the region’s most exciting entrepreneurs through the “Top 40 Under 40” program.
Sponsored by BDO, the “Top 40 Under 40” recognizes high-achieving professionals in our community and showcases their accomplishments. This marks the eighth year the chamber has conducted a “Top 40” showcase. Honourees will be featured throughout the year on Okanagan Edge.
Charlene Ronquillo is an experienced registered nurse and currently an assistant professor at UBC Okanagan with a research program focused on health equity and health technologies.
Ronquillo’s nursing, professional and research training has taken her from McGill University, through UBC, Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Authorities, University of the West of England, University of Exeter in the U.K., Ryerson University and now to UBCO.
In the short time she has been in the Central Okanagan, she’s already forged partnerships focused on health technology innovations with colleagues at Interior Health Authority and researchers with a focus on rural health equity. The Rural Health Equity through Social Enterprise and Technology Systems (RHE-SETS) is funded by the UBCO Eminence Program. In the coming years her close collaboration with these groups will bring to the Central Okanagan cutting edge research to support the development of inclusive technologies and innovations to serve the unique needs of the Central Okanagan and rural communities in the Interior and support the routine inclusion of equity in the development of artificial intelligence technologies in the region.
Her growth as a leader continues to develop, informed by her professional and academic experiences as she takes on more leadership roles. Her role as a nurse research facilitator for the Fraser Health Authority from 2011 to 2013 was her first substantial leadership role. There she was responsible for promoting nursing research skill building and facilitating knowledge translation, targeting more than 8,000 nurses in the health region. This experience provided invaluable information about the nature of leadership, the importance of proactivity and relationship building, as well as awareness of contexts and structural factors at play.
Ronquillo’s diverse academic training has further strengthened her leadership skills and enabled her to step into influential leadership roles. She has founded two internationally influential groups: the International Medical Informatics Association Student and Emerging Professionals group, which she currently chairs, and the Nursing and AI Leadership Collaborative. The influence of these groups is evidenced by invitations to spearhead important events and efforts.
Ronquillo is ensuring the work and research she is conducting in the Central Okanagan and Interior are done in meaningful partnership with key stakeholders. As she is new to the region, she focuses first on connecting with health authority stakeholders. This is helpful, as future work will increasingly involve connections with communities. Ronquillo looks forward to identifying and working towards shared goals with community members and continued advocacy for the routine inclusion of equity in the development of health technologies.
She holds a PhD from UBC. Her special interest group was awarded the IMIA Working Group of the Year Award in 2019 and 2020 when she was vice-chair. She was also invited to co-lead the development of the position statement on AI in nursing for the International Council of Nurses, which is the global voice for nursing.
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