About Us

Board of Directors

Francis Garwe

Chief Executive Officer

Francis is a systems leader with expertise in health care sector leading strategic clinical expansion and integration, system design medical inter-professional teams’ and sustainable partnership builder. He is a leader in strategic change enablement and integration. He has successfully led the development of integrated full clinical service delivery model throughout the Durham region urban catchment service areas and multi-faceted partnership agreements with universities and several community services organizations to provide seamless services for patients/clients across sectors.
Outside his role as the Chief Executive Officer, Francis has extensive boardroom expertise having served on several public and not-for-profit Organizations. He currently is on the Board of Governors for Ontario Tech University and ZimCan Health Board.
He is a recipient of a few awards and certifications including the Honorary Ambassador Award from Dallas Baptist University in 2002 and 2006 and the United States Achievement Award for outstanding Academic Achievement from United States Achievement Academy. Francis also held the positions as the VIP Protocol Advisor for the 2015 Prince George BC, Canada Winter games and was a Torch Bearer for the 2010 Olympics.
He received a Masters’ in organizational management with specialization in Health Care Management (M.A.O.M-HCM) and a Bachelor of Sciences (B.Sc.-MIS) both from Dallas Baptist University in Dallas Texas USA, as well as a Certified Court Appointed Mediator in Texas USA. Francis is ProSci certified practitioner in Change Management, Certified Coaching Out Of The Box Practitioner and a dedicated servant leader committed to empowering organizations, teams and community to achieve their fullest potential.

Alison Markham

Alison Claire Markham


Alison was born and raised in Zimbabwe. She is very excited to have an opportunity to return to there and work in the social determinants of health. She helps with the logistics of the team trips and has led sewing programs, installed a playground and worked on a couple of simple building projects. Alison is married to Ray, mother to 2 daughters and is a co- founder of ZimCan Heath Society.

Dr. Ray John Markham


Dr. Markham has worked in rural family practice for over 20 years. He has had a remarkably diverse and productive medical career that has taken him across the globe. Born in Zimbabwe and trained in South Africa. He married his wife in 1990 “for me, the best partnership ever and a core foundation for everything else”. Dr. Markham first immigrated to Canada in 1992, where he practiced for three years in rural Newfoundland. In 1995, he began a seven-year career in General Practice with the British Army in the UK completing his General practice Vocational Training and his Membership into the Royal College of General practitioners. During that time, he was awarded the Sydney Herbert Medal and Prize for achievement in post-graduate medical officer training, and the Queen Mother Prize for GP vocational training.
In 2002, Dr. Markham returned to Canada and settled with his family in Valemount, British Columbia. He has been practicing family medicine there ever since in both clinic and emergency-room settings. He has been heavily involved in a variety of community health outreach and educational initiatives, leading the local transition to an electronic medical record system, being involved in establishing the Northern Interior Rural Division of Family Practice as one of its founding directors, and sitting on a number of regional and provincial committees. In 2009, Dr. Markham was awarded the Order of British Columbia for “steadfastly, unwaveringly, and intentionally serving the community of Valemount, despite the many challenges faced by rural medical caregivers.”
Dr. Markham was appointed as Medical Director for UBC Rural Continuing Professional Development in June of 2013. His excited to be a part of this team, together they help support and facilitate leaders in medical education to help improve the health of Rural British Columbians.
In 2014 together with his wife Alison Markham and Mr Francis Garwe, Dr Markham led the first annual trip connecting Canadian Zimbabwe health care providers with the intent of capacity building on both sides. The stated goal is linking multiple communities looking for synergies and growth opportunities.
Dr Markham has stated that he intends to practice rural family medicine for the rest of his career. It is clear that Dr. Markham is passionate about rural medicine in British Columbia, although his commitment to isolated or underserved populations transcends BC’s borders – taking him from Zimbabwe to Haiti, Kenya and even to Antarctica.

Dr. Gurdeep Parhar


Dr. Gurdeep Parhar is a Clinical Professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine and previously served as Associate Head and Acting Co-Head of the UBC Department of Family Practice, as well as Associate Dean and Executive Associate Dean of the UBC Faculty of Medicine. 

Dr. Parhar’s clinical practice focuses on immigrants, refugees, workers’ health and patients with severe disabilities.  His teaching in undergraduate and postgraduate programs includes: professionalism, equity, cultural safety, psychosocial aspects of healthcare, and medical disability.  He is currently the principal investigator on educational innovation grants employing interprofessional models to address issues important to underserved populations, particularly Indigenous peoples, immigrants, refugees and those belonging to lower socio-economic communities.


  • 2020 Canadian Medical Association (CMA) Dr. William Marsden National Award for Professionalism and Medical Ethics
  • 2015 Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC) May Cohen Equity, Diversity and Gender National Award
  • 2012 University of Calgary Alumnus of Distinction Award.
  • 2011 UBC Killam Teaching Prize which is the university’s most prestigious teaching award.
  • 2010 BC College of Family Physicians’ Teacher of the Year Award


Mary Stewart


My name is Mary Stewart and I am happy to share a little about myself and what brought me to be a member of the ZimCanHealth Board.

I was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. As a child my family moved to various communities in BC but then came to settle in Valemount where my parents still live. I have 2 brothers and one sister who are all married with families of their own. My son and his wife are organic farmers in Alberta, lucky for me as I love to garden! I am a widow and live in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. I love to travel and learn with and from others, I consider myself a life long learner!

I have been working with children and families in community for close to 40 years. I started working in early learning environments, worked as a child and youth care worker and then found my passion for working with children with disabilities or exceptionalities. I worked for the Infant Development Program of BC for many years working locally as well as provincially. I became a mentor and trainer for programs across Northern BC and across the Province. I have a particular interest in the experiences of families in rural and remote communities and respecting and building on the strengths that are already in the lives and community. I am also very committed to understanding the experiences and teachings of Canada’s First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.

It was through this work with the Infant Development Program of BC that I met Alison and Ray Markham and we discovered our shared vision and hope to work with children in Zimbabwe.

I currently am the Associate Chair in Community Studies at Norquest College in Edmonton and teach in ELCC and Disability Studies. I am also a sessional instructor at the University of British Columbia in Early Childhood Education and Educational Psychology and Special Education.

Dr. Clive Ward-Able


Pharmaceutical Executive and Consultant

Dr Clive Ward-Able is a physician and a pharmacist who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 27 years with 20 of those at the Executive level. He has worked in large and small pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in Canada, US, UK, Switzerland and South Africa in the departments of R&D, Medical, Marketing and Sales. His experience relates mostly to the Medical aspect of therapeutic drug commercialization and has been involved with the launch of over 15 products in multiple therapeutic areas.

He is the President of Clintell, Inc., a Medical consulting company to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

He is currently a member of the Board of Directors for Clinical Trials Ontario.