Skip to main content

Evidence to Improve Care

Ontario Quality Standards Committee Biographies

Vice-Dean (Clinical), Queen’s University School of Medicine
Medical Director, Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization
2014-15 President, Canadian Medical Association


Chris Simpson is Vice-Dean (Clinical) and Medical Director of the Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization in the Queen’s School of Medicine. He is also an Affiliate Scientist with the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and a member of the Queen’s School of Policy Studies Health Policy Council.

He served as the 2014-2015 President of the Canadian Medical Association, and from 2006-2016, he served as Professor and Head of Cardiology at Queen’s University, as well as Medical Director of the Cardiac Programs at Kingston General Hospital/Hotel Dieu Hospital.

Dr. Simpson’s primary non-clinical professional interest is health policy. He serves on the CorHealth Board of Directors as well as on the Board of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He obtained his medical degree at Dalhousie University in Halifax before completing internal medicine and cardiology training at Queen’s University in Kingston and then a Heart and Stroke Foundation Clinical and Research Fellowship in Cardiac Electrophysiology at the University of Western Ontario.

Patient and Public Representative


Subi Bhandari is a member of Patients Canada and sat on their board of directors from 2012-2016. He is also a member of the Local Health Integration Network Renewal Advisory Group, established by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In 2015-2016, he advised Health Quality Ontario on the development of recommendations for a provincial approach to patient engagement.

Bhandari joined Cancer Care Ontario's Patient and Family Advisory Council in 2012. He served as a patient representative on the Expert Advisory Panel (Colonoscopy) of Quality Management Partnership and CCO Clinical Council. He was also a member of the eHealth Advisory Panel from 2013-2015. He was on the Trillium Health Centre board of directors from 2009-2011 and served on the Quality and Resource committees.

Bhandari holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Punjab University, India. He is an experienced management executive, having worked more than 30 years for international companies in information technology, quality management and general management.

Patient and Public Representative


Vivian Bethell became deeply involved in the health care system when her spouse was diagnosed with cancer. Her involvement began close to home at Kingston General Hospital, where she joined their Patient, Family, and Public Advisors Council. More recently, she was selected to serve as the patient and family advisor on their Board of Director’s Patient Care & People Committee.

She serves on the Ontario Renal Network Patient and Family Advisors Council and is a member of the network’s Palliative Care Priority Panel and its working group, Advance Care Planning and Goals of Care.

She has been a part of other regional and provincial patient and family advisor councils, including the Regional Cancer Network, Regional Medicine Program Council, the Regional Integrated Renal Council, and the Ontario Renal Network.

She is a graduate of the University of New Brunswick and the Executive Program in the Faculty of Management (now Rotman School of Business) at the University of Toronto. Over the course of her career, she was the head of the human resources group at the Bank of Canada and also taught in secondary schools. She is now retired.

Registered Nurse
Founder, Closing the Gap Healthcare
Adjunct Lecturer, University of Toronto, Institute Health Policy, Management and Evaluation


Connie Clerici is the founder of Closing the Gap Healthcare, a large interdisciplinary service provider in Ontario. She is an adjunct lecturer with the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. She sits as a board member and advisor at both the Ivey Business School and Ivey’s Pierre Morrissette Institute for Entrepreneurship, as well as Medical Confidence, Cloud DX, Trans Research Labs and the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario.

She’s been awarded the Mississauga Board of Trade Business Award of Excellence, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Royal Bank of Canada Excellence in Entrepreneurship, the ICCO Business Excellence award, and the Federated Press Women Leader of the Year Award.

Clerici is a registered nurse with a Bachelor of Health Science in Nursing.

Vice President, Clinical, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN
Clinical Quality Lead, Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN, Health Quality Ontario


Jennifer Everson is the vice president, clinical, with the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), as well as the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant LHIN Clinical Quality Lead at Health Quality Ontario.

Dr. Everson is past chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at Hamilton Health Sciences and was chief of the Department of Family Medicine from 1997 to 2004 before taking on the role of chief of staff in 2003. She was vice-president, medical, from February 2005 through January 2009 and provided leadership to the more than 1,500 physicians at Hamilton Health Sciences. Dr. Everson began her health care career in 1981 after graduating from Queen's University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and then attended McMaster University Medical School for her undergraduate medical training. In 1987 she completed her residency in family medicine.

Dr. Everson’s areas of interest includes patient safety and quality medical practice. She continues to practice family medicine at the Stonechurch Family Health Team in Hamilton. As an associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University, she is involved in the education of new physicians and residents.

Executive Director, TAIBU Community Health Centre


Liben Gebremikael is the first Executive Director of TAIBU Community Health. Born in Ethiopia and now a resident of Toronto, Gebremikael has more than 25 years of experience in primary health care, social services, mental health, and community capacity building and development. He has worked as a social worker, child and family therapist, project coordinator, and therapeutic group facilitator with various primary care and non-profit organizations serving racialized and marginalized populations in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Gebremikael holds an MA in Migration, Mental Health & Social Care from the University of Kent (UK), a Masters Certificate in Healthcare Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University, and recently completed the Community Health Leadership Program at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Located in the Malvern neighbourhood of Scarborough, TAIBU Community Health Centre (CHC) provides primary health care and related services for the Greater Toronto Area’s black community. TAIBU CHC recognizes the health impacts of the systemic oppression of black people and consequently strives to deliver health services through intersectional, equity based and culturally affirming practices that promote holistic wellness, health education, and prevention. Since TAIBU CHC’s inception in 2008, Gebremikael has led a dedicated, passionate and professional staff to advance the organization’s mandate and mission. Today, TAIBU CHC has more than 8,000 registered clients who receive a wide range of culturally appropriate health and social programs and services. The Centre is widely regarded for its non-traditional and innovative approach.

In June 2012, Gebremikael received the prestigious Emerging Leaders Award from The Association of Ontario Health Centres at its annual conference in Toronto. In November 2014, he was awarded the Development Award by the Planet Africa Group.

Senior Scientist, Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Health Research Institute
Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa


Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw is a senior scientist in the Clinical Epidemiology Program at the Ottawa Health Research Institute, a full professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake.

Since 2016, he has been the president of the Campbell Collaboration and became corresponding fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He was the director of Cochrane Canada (2006-2015) and the co-ordinating editor of the Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care group (1997-2015).

His research focuses on the evaluation of interventions to disseminate and implement evidence-based practice.

Dr. Grimshaw received his medical degree (MBChB, MD equivalent) from the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom. He trained as a family physician prior to undertaking a PhD in health services research at the University of Aberdeen.

Vice-President, Medical Affairs, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
Assistant Professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, University of Toronto


Dr. Philip Klassen is vice-president, medical affairs, at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, and assistant professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is also a practicing forensic psychiatrist, and works in the Traumatic Stress Clinic at Ontario Shores.

Administratively, Dr. Klassen is responsible, in partnership with the Senior Management Team and interprofessional colleagues at Ontario Shores, for quality improvement, utilization management, medical staff evaluation, recruitment and retention, and education. Dr. Klassen is the executive sponsor of the hospital’s implementation of clinical practice guidelines, and quality-based procedures, and was Co-Chair of the provincial quality-based procedures expert panel, and implementation panel, for schizophrenia.

Academically, Dr. Klassen has written and presented on clinical and quality-related topics, and topics in forensic psychiatry. He has been awarded for course design, and remains an active teacher at the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has a special interest in global mental health and has led the creation of the first mental health and diversion court in Africa.

Clinically, Dr. Klassen is active in the areas of forensic risk assessment and management, clinical sexology, assessment of fitness for duty, assessment of trauma outcome, and other forensic domains. He has also been an external reviewer for provincial and hospital programs.

Consultant, French language health services


Diane Lavallée currently supports the provincial Regroupement of French Language Services (FLS) Planning Entities. She also manages a national project with the Réseaux des services de santé en français de l’Est de l’Ontario and Société santé en français.

From 2007-2012, Lavallée was director of the mental health program at Hôpital Montfort in Ottawa, where she was appointed to the Board’s Quality Council as staff champion. She chaired the Champlain Mental Health Inter-hospital Committee from 2010-2012. She co-presented the Franco-ontarien perspective to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario’s Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions and contributed to the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Round Tables on Mental Health Systems and Francophone Services.

At Accreditation Canada, 1995-2007, she was director of Client Services responsible for national and international surveys. Lavallée led the development and successful implementation of the initial First Nations accreditation programs from 1997-2001. She was invited to speak to the Maori Accreditation Program at the New Zealand Accreditation Council.

Lavallée obtained a Master’s of Science in Rehabilitation Nursing at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, where she was the recipient of the Jeanne Ann Cleary’s memorial fellowship in 1988. She was a clinical nurse specialist at The Rehabilitation Center in Ottawa, and was appointed to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s Provincial Rehabilitation Advisory Committee from 1990-1993.

Physician, Blue Sky Family Health Team
Primary Care Lead Physician and Vice-President Clinical, North East LHIN


Dr. Paul Preston is the primary care lead physician and vice-president, clinical, for the North East Local Health Integration Network (LHIN).

His 30-year career in North Bay includes working in the emergency room, general and psychiatric hospitals, local prison, nursing home, walk-in clinic, and family practice office.

He has been the chief of departments of Emergency and Family Practice, president of Medical Staff and Medical Society; and chair of the Blue Sky Family Health Team.

Director, Professional Practice, Knowledge and Innovation, ParaMed Home Health Care


Cheryl Reid-Haughian is the director of Professional Practice, Knowledge and Innovation with ParaMed Home Health Care.

Reid-Haughian is a registered nurse who is masters prepared and certified as a community health nurse. She is also the Co-Chair of the HomeCare Ontario/Ontario Community Support Associations Nursing Practice Council and a board member of the Community Health Nurses of Canada.

In 2008, she was the recipient of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) Award of Merit.

Vice President, People, Strategy & Performance at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario – Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre


Bruce Squires is vice president, people, strategy & performance at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario - Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre (CHEO-OTC). In this role, he serves as the organization’s chief strategy, human resources and quality & safety officer.

During his five years at CHEO-OTC, the organization implemented an organization-wide quality improvement methodology, joined the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety, and was recognized by Forbes Magazine as Canada’s top healthcare employer.

Bruce Squires has served as CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association and Ontario Chiropractic Association and as a senior vice president at the Canadian Medical Association. He is currently pursuing his doctorate in Management from Carleton University.

Family Physician, Orillia
Vice-President, Clinical, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
Clinical Quality Lead, North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, Health Quality Ontario


Dr. Rebecca Van Iersel is a family physician in Orillia and the vice president, clinical, for the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) responsible for engaging with physicians in the region to advance quality improvement throughout the health care system. Her role includes acting as both the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN’s Primary Care Physician Lead and Regional Clinical Quality Lead working with Health Quality Ontario and the LHIN. As a family doctor, she’s worked for 10 years providing comprehensive care including hospital care, emergency department work and low risk obstetrics.

Dr. Van Iersel has previously served as the physician champion for the Couchiching Community Health Link. She remains involved in the Health Link. She remains involved in the Health Links work across North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN.

At Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital (OSMH), Dr. Van Iersel has held positions including past-president, Medical Staff Association, and medical director of the Intensive Care Unit, Emergency Department, Family Medicine and Patient Flow programs. She has been a leader in improving Alternate Level of Care utilization, reducing patient lengths of stay, implementing standardized care and quality based procedures.

Dr. Van Iersel received her Bachelor of Science in Life Sciences and Doctor of Medicine degrees from Queen’s University. She is a graduate of the Ontario Medical Association / Canadian Medical Association Leadership Development Program and is an alumni of the Improving and Driving Excellence Across Sectors (IDEAS) provincial quality improvement program.

Bioethicist, Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and the Joint Centre for Bioethics
Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto


Frank Wagner is a bioethicist with the Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, the Joint Centre for Bioethics, and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is also a faculty member of the Canadian Medical Associations’ Physician Leadership Institute.

He was the founding bioethicist and a member of the senior leadership team at the Toronto Central Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), and over a five-year period was co-director with the late Dr. Larry Librach on the development of the in-home palliative care program with the Tammy Latner Centre for Palliative Care, Mt. Sinai and the Toronto CCAC. He completed a nine-year term as a Trustee of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and was chair of its Patient Care/Quality Committee. He also served a six-year term as a member of the Board at Women’s College Hospital.

He was the ethicist on Health Quality Ontario’s Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee where he also served as chair of the Public Engagement Subcommittee and led the provincial expert panels on celiac disease and epilepsy for the committee. He was also a member of the Law Commission of Ontario’s advisory committee on legal issues impacting seniors in Ontario, and is now on the Law Commission’s committee on end of life.

He holds degrees in physical anthropology (Bachelor of Arts) and medical anthropology (Master of Arts), and is a graduate of the Master of Health Sciences program in Medical Ethics at the University of Toronto. He has been directly involved in the development of the three taskforce reports on physician-assisted death (PAD)/medical assistance in dying (MAID) published by the Joint Centre for Bioethics (JCB).

Corporate Medical Director, Quality and Patient Safety, William Osler Health System
Clinical Quality Lead, Central West LHIN, Health Quality Ontario


Dr. Tamara Wallington is the corporate medical director, quality and patient safety, William Osler Health System. In this role, she has led quality improvement initiatives including the design of a process for the development and evaluation of standardized clinical decision tools. Dr. Wallington has led the roll out of a corporate electrocardiogram (ECG) management system, an integrated diagnostic and management process for the early detection and treatment of sepsis in the emergency department, as well as a corporate anticoagulation initiative. Since the introduction of Quality Based Procedures (QBPs), Dr. Wallington has led the implementation of more than 12 QBPs and is leading work on the delivery of an integrated, collaborative care model in the community.

Trained in internal medicine, public health and preventive medicine, Dr. Wallington is a staff physician at William Osler Health System in the Department of Medicine, and Corporate Medical Director for Quality and Patient Safety.

Dr. Wallington is faculty in the provincial Improving and Driving Excellence Across Sectors (IDEAS) training program, and is the clinical quality lead, Central West Local Health Integration Network, at Health Quality Ontario.

Let’s make our health system healthier

Join Our Patient, Family and Public Advisors Program

Patients, families and the public are central to improving health quality.

Man smiling

Sign up for our newsletter

Are you passionate about quality health care for all Ontarians? Stay in-the-know about our newest programs, reports and news.

Health Quality Connect - Health Quality Ontario's newsletter - on an iPad and a cell phone