Advocates

Our advocates have the skills and training to help support and navigate our clients through the healthcare system. Passionate, professional and empathetic are just one of the many skills we look for in our advocates. Open Arms is dependent on the work that our advocacy team brings forth to the organization and larger community. Simply click on the name or picture of our advocates to get to know them better.

Farwa Naqvi

Angelica Martin

Zach Hong

Sarah Wilson

Farwa Naqvi

Farwa Naqvi

Advocacy Committee Chair

Farwa joined Open Arms in early 2014, and is currently the Advocacy Committee Chair, and an active Patient Advocate. As a University student deeply interested in health and medicine, Farwa brings passion and grassroots-level involvement with Open Arms through her relationship to advocates and clients.

Farwa believes in leading by example, and working with patients to seek clear answers to their concerns when navigating what can often be a very complex and confusing system. Her passion for medical processes and systems led her to advocacy, where she has applied her skills to a wide variety of cases.

Farwa believes that clients and patients should be navigated through to positive and fair outcomes in regards to their health. Her goal is to help all those seeking assistance from Open Arms to have a positive experience.

Angelica Martin

Angelica Martin

Patient Advocate 

Angelica Martin began working with Open Arms as a Patient Advocate in January 2015, and has since transitioned to the Board, as Media Director.

Angelica is a graduate of the University of Calgary’s Bachelor of Health Sciences program, with a concentration in Health and Society. She has published and collaborated on a number of articles, gaining great insight on the many challenges we face in the delivery and quality of healthcare in Canada, and remote communities. Since then, she has been passionate about improving access, timeliness and delivery of health services with an emphasis on learning from community-based research and the experiences of a wide variety of sources.

Angelica wants to work with Open Arms to create a strong doctor-patient relationship by empowering the community through health promotion and health self-advocacy. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, she encourages realistic solutions encompassing awareness and complete consideration of the various challenges to a particular aim. She engages patients in taking on an active role in managing their health, and educating them as responsible consumers of health-related information.

Zach Hong

Zach Hong

Patient Advocate

Zach is a third year BSc Neuroscience student at the University of Calgary, with aspirations to be a clinician-scientist in a neuroscience-related field. In early 2016, Zach joined Open Arms Patient Advocacy Society because it provided an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of patients of the Alberta health care system by helping them attain the quality of health care they desire. In his free time, Zach enjoys archery, reading, and exploring new cuisines.

Sarah Wilson

Sarah Wilson

Patient Advocate 

Sarah graduated from the University of Calgary with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in Biomedical Sciences in 2014. She became a patient advocate because during because during her time in University she learned a lot about the Healthcare system and wanted to continue learning after her graduation. Sarah’s g0al is to better our Healthcare system by increasing efficiency and the respect patients receive. She wants to help people get the treatment they need, in the manner they deserve. Ultimately Sarah feels that at times, the healthcare we receive is anything but transparent and that professionals need to be more accountable for their actions.

During her time in University she played on the UofC Fastpitch team and continues to play Fastpitch in Calgary. Sarah enjoys learning, playing and watching sports.

Debbie Dunwell

Simone Withecomb

Debbie Dunwell

Debbie Dunwell

Patient Advocate 

Debbie is a certified Volunteer Manager and has been working in health care for over eight years.  Debbie has been employed as Volunteer Coordinator at Foothills Country Hospice in Okotoks and South Health Campus in Calgary.  These roles were rewarding life changing for her with the responsibility at both facilities to advocate for patients and volunteers.  Debbie was a member of the Accreditation, Ethics and Gala committee at Hospice. Debbies experiences also entail on the Staff Advisory Council, COACT Quality Council and Community of Practice for Palliative Care at SHC. During her time she worked with the the volunteer Patient Support Program for Neo Natal, Palliative Care and long term patients and was on the Staff Advisory Team, COACT Quality Council and the Community of Practice for Palliative Care. Debbie have attended Palliative Medical Rounds with the Palliative Team for over eight years to assist her in identifying patients needs.

Debbie is eager  to support families in the health care system.  Personal experience brought Debbie to the organization. Her sister was diagnosed with stage four cancer and passed away in 2013.  Throughout her three-year journey,Debbie and her family were her advocates.  Her final days were in ICU and after approaching the staff with concerns the unit took responsibility for gaps in training and implemented the necessary changes they had identified. She knows first hand change can happen and is grateful to be part of Open Arms.

Simone Withecomb

Simone Withecomb

Simone graduated in 2013 from the University of Calgary with a Bachelors of Health Science. This degree introduced her to healthcare through volunteering that she did in the Paediatric Emergency department at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Since then, Simone has been involved in Clinical Trials because she loves finding new clinical practices to improve the patient experience. Currently, she is working at the University of Alberta as a Clinical Research Assistant in IBD.
Working with patients, as well as asking some personal health questions, introduced Simone to the many different pathways health care can take and the difficulties there can be in navigating many different healthcare options. She wanted to be an advocate to help those people unfamiliar with the healthcare system navigate the many different paths their care can take.