Valerie Rzepka is a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, Executive Director and co-founder of Canadian Medical Assistance Teams (CMAT), an emergency medical response organization that provides medical aid in the wake of major global disasters. She has been a member of the CEEP Board of Directors since 2008.
In nearly 15 years of responding to disasters, Valerie has coordinated, supervised and deployed to medical projects in Thailand, Pakistan, China, Haiti, Chile, Japan, and the Philippines. Most recently, she oversaw CMAT’s immediate rapid assessment and coordinated the overall response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake. As a result of her collaboration in United Nations-led emergency responses, Valerie has been invited to consult for the Pan-American Health Organization in Washington, DC, and World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland as a subject-matter expert in Emergency Medical Response in the Emergency Medical Teams initiative.
Valerie received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Ryerson University in Toronto, and her Master of Science in Health Policy jointly from the London School of Economics and diploma from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the United Kingdom. She completed the Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner program at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
Valerie has been working in remote First Nations and Inuit communities in the Canadian Arctic and Sub-arctic for over a decade, and presently works as a Clinical Nurse Educator teaching outpost nurses the advanced practice skills necessary for working in remote communities. She also works casually as a Critical Care Flight Nurse, transporting patients internationally, and as a Medical Officer with Holland America and Princess Cruise Lines.
Prior to returning to clinical practice, Valerie worked as a Health Policy Analyst with the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), helping to shape legislation, affecting nursing and health care in Ontario, Canada and around the world.
Valerie is a sought-after guest lecturer, having presented at conferences such as the World Conference on Disaster Management in Toronto (2015), and at universities and colleges across Canada and around the world. She contributed to a textbook entitled "Disaster and Development: An Occupational Perspective", and her scholarly contributions have appeared in the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, the Registered Nurse Journal among others.