Our Team

Zal Press, Executive Director

Zal Press founded Patient Commando to promote patient storytelling as a method to increase patient engagement in health care.

His experience of living with chronic illness for over 30 years prepared him for this role. From being a docile patient who did what he was told, Zal has evolved into a patient who is an active participant in his healthcare.

The Patient Commando Code is at the heart of his philosophy about a patient’s role:

  • Become collaborative partners with your health care providers.
  • Think critically about all information you’re given whether from a provider or from the internet.
  • Learn that illness doesn’t only affect you, but all those who love you, and learn to love them back.

Parallel to his evolution as a patient, Zal was the president of a manufacturing business and previously a marketing communications firm. He has 2, twenty-something children who have been passengers on this sometimes not-so-first-class illness journey and have matured into sensitive, thoughtful, citizens of the world.

Learn more about Zal and his presentations.


Michael Houlahan, Director, Stakeholder Relations, Business Development

MH An accomplished innovative leader in Stakeholder Relations, Marketing and General Operations Management in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, Mike has built a network of patient and Industry communities to build sustainable business partnerships. He brings transformational leadership through his experience in Stakeholder Mapping; Advocacy strategy for disease awareness, access to treatment and equity; Enabling strategic partnerships; Patient insights; and ROI Metrics/Social Impact Scorecards.

He is member of the Board of Directors for 2013 -14 of the National Case Management Network (NCMN). NCMN is an accrediting body representing Case Managers for the collaborative client-driven process for the provision of quality healthcare and support services through the effective and efficient use of resources.

Mike is also a hockey coach, hack amateur trumpet player and a survivor of the Patient Commando Improv class.


Eamonn O’Connell, Director of Communications

Graduating from the University of Guelph with a degree in Biological Science and Psychology, Eamonn went on to study Marketing and Media Relations at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Having experience in managing communications and relations with various health organizations like the Canadian Red Cross and the Campaign to Control Cancer, Eamonn joined Patient Commando in 2011 as our Director of Communications.