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.

Chief Executive Officer, Closing the Gap Healthcare


Connie Clerici is a seasoned executive with a long history of leading large teams through complex and highly regulated environments. She is the founder and CEO of Closing the Gap Healthcare, a large, successful health care corporation that focuses on the advancement of innovations while making a concerted effort to build and support a high-quality, publicly funded health care system that is sustainable for Canadians.

Currently, more than 2000 healthcare professionals at Closing the Gap provide a continuum of professional services that includes nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, social work, personal support, and dietetics, as well as future care cost consulting services.

Clerici’s passion is to help those most in need, and to accept full accountability for doing so. She requires that ethics and compassion accompany sound business practices.

Clerici is a life-long learner, having participated in extensive training in leadership and business at a variety of institutions, including the Ivey Business School, the Rotman School of Management, the Schulich School of Business, and McMaster and York universities. She also regularly participates in values-based training programs. She currently sits as a board member or advisor at the Ivey Business School and on Western University’s entrepreneurship advisory board and executive team. She is an adjunct lecturer and senior fellow at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, as well as a special advisor to the Dean.

Clerici’s contributions to health care, entrepreneurship, and the business community have been acknowledged through numerous awards, including the Mississauga Board of Trade Business Award of Excellence, the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, the RBC Excellence in Entrepreneurship award, the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario Business Excellence Award, the Federated Press Woman Leader of the Year Award, and her induction into Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100. She was also profiled in “Extraordinary Lives: Inspiring Women of Peel,” published by the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Clerici is passionate about helping people increase their enjoyment of life. She celebrates the opportunities she and her staff at Closing the Gap Healthcare have to make positive contributions to the lives of so many Canadians. Connie is an active philanthropist across numerous sectors.

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.

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.

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.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Southlake Regional Health Centre


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.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Southlake Regional Health Centre


Arden Krystal is the president and chief executive officer of Southlake Regional Health Centre in Newmarket, Ontario. Southlake serves a population of almost 1.5 million people in York Region and Simcoe County, with regional cancer and cardiac programs and a full slate of services from surgery to mental health to children’s and women’s care. Prior to her arrival at Southlake, Krystal held senior executive operations roles at two of the largest health authorities in British Columbia—the Fraser Health Authority and the Provincial Health Services Authority—with responsibilities spanning the full continuum of care, including public health, acute community, tertiary care, and quaternary research and academic organizations. Her portfolios also included responsibility for nonclinical services, such as quality, risk, and human resources, as well as executive leadership for major public-private partnership capital projects in the hospital sector.

Krystal started her career as a registered nurse in medical and surgical oncology. She has a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a master’s degree in health administration, both from the University of British Columbia. In addition, she completed the Managing Health Delivery Certificate program at Harvard University. She also holds the designation of certified health executive through the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Krystal sits on a number of committees, including several at the Canadian College of Health Leaders, the Canadian Institute for Health Information, the Ontario Hospital Association, and the Ivey Health Advisory Council, and is acting as faculty for the C.D. Howe Institute Health Partnership Summit. She has also recently been appointed to the Ministry of Health’s Hospital Advisory Committee and also serves on the Board of Directors for Venture Lab.

Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Director, Advanced Heart Diseases Program, Ottawa Heart Institute


Lisa Mielniczuk completed her medical degree at McMaster University; she then went on to complete a residency in internal medicine at Queen’s University and a cardiology fellowship at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. She also completed a fellowship in advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, where she completed a concurrent master’s degree in Clinical Science and Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Mielniczuk is Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Advanced Heart Diseases Program at the Ottawa Heart Institute. She is also cross-appointed to the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Her commitment to leadership and program development is evident in her multiple accomplishments at the Ottawa Heart Institute: she is the Cofounder and Director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic, she developed a rapid-intervention clinic for patients with heart failure, and she developed a regional heart failure program for Ottawa/Champlain.

Dr. Mielniczuk is a translational scientist and currently holds a University of Ottawa Chair in Heart Function Research. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed papers and has built a multidisciplinary right heart failure research program at the University of Ottawa.

Provincially and nationally, Dr. Mielniczuk is an active leader for the heart failure and pulmonary hypertension community and serves as Vice-Chair of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada. Dr. Mielniczuk is a member of the CorHealth Ontario Cardiac Leadership and an expert panel member for both the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health and Ontario Health. She has been a member of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Council since 2015 and is currently serving as secretary and treasurer for the executive.

In 2019, Dr. Mielniczuk was appointed Vice-Chair, Patient Safety and Clinical Care, for the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Patient and Public Representative


Gwen Piller’s experience with both physical and mental health care spans several decades. She graduated from Sheridan College as a civil engineering technologist, but when she retired young due to disability, she got involved in volunteer work.

Twelve years ago, Piller began volunteering with the municipal accessibility committee and expanding her interests to mental health and addictions services. She has worked with all levels of government and currently volunteers as a systems-level advisor in mental health and addictions in community services, two hospitals, the Burlington Ontario Health Team, and Justice Services.

Piller continues to learn and improve her skills as an advisor by attending workshops and webinars. She holds several certificates and has received several awards in recognition of her volunteer services.

Vice-President, Clinical Programs, Ontario Health North Region


Paul Preston is Vice-President, Clinical Programs, for the Ontario Health North Region.

As a physician in North Bay, Dr. Preston has practised in the prison system, in long-term care, in the emergency department, in hospital care, in psychiatric hospital care, and in family practice.

Dr. Preston has been chief of the emergency and family practice departments; president of Medical Staff and Medical Society; a hospital medical director; and chair of the Blue Sky Family Health Team.

Dr. Preston is a graduate of the University of Toronto and assistant professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

Home and Community Care Consultant


Cheryl Reid-Haughian’s career includes over 40 years in nursing practice with a community health nursing specialty, and over 30 years in the home health care sector. She has held various roles, including manager, director, and senior nursing leader at a national home care organization. She has also served as Vice-President, Clinical Informatics, interfacing with many home and community care providers across North America and the United Kingdom.

Reid-Haughian's leadership work has included both strategic and operational dimensions of practice, with expertise in quality and risk; digital health; professional practice; research and innovation; education; and policy development. She now runs her own consulting business, with a focus on home and community care, digital health, and quality.

Reid-Haughian brings the voice of home care to her role as a Home Care Ontario representative and as a member of the Ontario Health Ontario Quality Standards Committee and the Ontario Health Digital Health Interoperability Standards Committee. She is also an Accreditation Canada surveyor, contributing to the continuous quality improvement of other organizations.

Reid-Haughian has been involved in a variety of research initiatives with a focus on home health care and technology-enabled clinical information systems. She is passionate about enabling front-line workers to create the best possible outcomes in their practice with patients and families, and she believes in collaboration, shared leadership principles, and the building of structures and processes that enable the capacity of others.

Reid-Haughian remains active in her home and professional community and lives with her husband in a small village west of Ottawa, with their beloved mini goldendoodle Seamus.

President, McMaster Children’s Hospital
Vice-President, Women’s and Children’s Health, Hamilton Health Sciences


Bruce Squires is an accomplished leader in Ontario’s health care sector and an advocate for patient safety and quality improvement.

Prior to joining Hamilton Health Sciences, Dr. Squires was Vice-President, People, Strategy and Performance, at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, where he led several successful patient safety initiatives, including the implementation of the hospital’s continuous quality improvement management system. Previously, Dr. Squires was Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, at the Canadian Medical Association and Chief Executive Officer at the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association.

Currently, Dr. Squires is Chair of the Board of Directors of Children’s Healthcare Canada and a board member with the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

Dr. Squires holds a Master of Business Administration from Dalhousie University and is a doctoral candidate at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business.

Executive Director, Roberts/Smart Centre
Registered Pharmacist


Catherine Van Vliet is the executive director of the Roberts/Smart Centre, a tertiary care centre providing treatment and support for the province’s youth with the most complex mental health and behavioural challenges.

Van Vliet has served as chief executive officer of a large primary care/community health hub, vice-president of Clinical Services, and executive vice-president of Integration and Primary Health at Kemptville District Hospital. She has led strategic planning in multiple organizations and regional programs, realizing new strategic directions in e-Health, chronic illness self-management/support and rehabilitation, and mental health coaching/navigation. Van Vliet initiated and led a Ministry of Children and Youth Services Inter-LHIN Mental Health and Addictions Agency Collaborative, which was replicated in other regions.

Van Vliet is a registered pharmacist and maintains a clinical community practice. She has a master’s degree in Health Studies and has been recognized provincially for her work in total joint replacement programming, including an Ontario Hospital Association Leading Practice for Patient Experience award. Her leadership in the adoption of electronic medical records and in e-connectivity have been recognized regionally and provincially.

Van Vliet is a surveyor with Accreditation Canada and an inaugural board member and current co-chair of the Champlain Regional Hospice Palliative Care Program. She has served as preceptor for the University of Ottawa Telfer School of Management, a reviewer for Hospice Palliative Care Ontario, and an assessor for the Pharmacy Examining Board of Canada.

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).

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