Who We Are
The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario is a multidisciplinary group of volunteers working to improve the quality of the healthcare system. The members represent expertise from across Ontario and include:
patient and family members
experts in oncology, health system policy and administration, governance, performance measurement and health services research
Virginia McLaughlin (Chair)
Virginia McLaughlin has been a member of CQCO since 2011 and has been serving as Chair since 2013. She serves as a Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of Guelph and the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology Corporation. In addition, she is Honorary Colonel of the 25 (Toronto) Field Ambulance. She is a past chair of the Board of Directors at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and a past chair of the Governance Leadership Council of the Ontario Hospital Association.
Before becoming a member of the Sunnybrook Board of Directors, she was a member of the Board of Trustees at York Central Hospital (1985 to 1997) and chair of the board (1995 to 1997). She chaired the GTA/905 Healthcare Alliance (1995 to 1998) and the York Region Tri-Hospital group (1995 to 1997).
She has also participated in governance for the Ontario Hospital Association as a member of the Regional Council Executive Committee for Region 3 (1998 to 2008), chair of the RCEC (2000 to 2002), member of the OHA Board of Directors (2000 to 2002) and chair of the OHA Advocacy Committee (2001 to 2002). From 2004 until November 2007, she was the chair of the Ontario Hospital Association Governance Leadership Council. Her other recent volunteer commitments include chair of the Board of Trustees of the University of Trinity College (2003 to 2005; member since 1999), chair of the Finance Committee (2000 to 2003) and member of the Nominating Committee for the Provost (2001).
During the 1980s and early 1990s, she served as a volunteer member of the Toronto Symphony Board, Toronto Symphony Volunteer Committee and Junior Women’s Committee. She was also a member of the Country Day School Board and chair of the Junior School Curriculum Committee.
She is also President of Helmhorst Investments Limited. She is married and has 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren.
Appointed in 2011
Darren Larsen (Vice-Chair)
Darren Larsen has been OntarioMD’s Chief Medical Information Officer since 2007. There, he provides clinical advice to many provincial and national steering committees and clinician advisory groups, and has been instrumental in building system-level partnerships.
He is a champion of electronic medical record (EMR) adoption, and optimization of EMRs and health informatics to empower Ontario’s physicians to enhance quality patient care and practice efficiency. He provides the physician perspective and guides all aspects of OntarioMD’s work to evolve and advance EMRs and digital health for primary care and community specialist clinics. This includes clinical practice change, quality improvement, data quality and analytics, and EMR maturity measurement.
He obtained his Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta and his medical degree at the University of Calgary, and did residency at the University of Ottawa. He holds a Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership from York University’s Schulich School of Executive Management.
Clinically, he practices and teaches at the University of Toronto’s department of Community and Family Medicine and Women’s College Hospital’s Family Practice Health Centre, and lectures at the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation.
Appointed in 2012
Matthew Anderson has 25 years of experience as a leader in healthcare. He became President and CEO of Lakeridge Health in 2016. Previously, he was CEO of William Osler System in Brampton and North Etobicoke. He is also a former CEO of the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network.
His healthcare leadership began at the University Health Network, where he quickly rose to leadership positions, including chief information officer and senior vice-president. He was named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 by the Globe and Mail.
At Lakeridge Health, Matthew leads one of the largest community hospital systems, overseeing the operation of 5 community hospitals with 4 emergency departments and more than 5,000 staff and physicians. He works with Lakeridge Health’s community partners to build a regional system of care for families in the Durham region.
Matthew lives in Brooklin with his wife and their 3 children.
Appointed in 2016
Dr. Chaim Bell is the Physician-in Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is a professor of medicine, and Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. He is a hospital-based general internist at Mount Sinai Hospital, an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario and a core member of the University of Toronto Centre for Quality Improvement and Patient Safety. He is a medical consultant to the Policy and Innovation branch of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Dr. Bell is an expert in the areas of health system policy and administration, performance measurement and health services research. His research focuses on patient safety and the quality of patient care in hospitals. For the past 5 years, he has been the Research Director for the Sinai Health System-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.
Dr. Bell received his medical degree from the University of Toronto, and completed his specialty training in Internal Medicine and Clinical Investigation at the University of Toronto. He was a visiting fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and then received his doctorate in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Services Research from the University of Toronto. He holds a joint Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Canadian Patient Safety Institute Chair in Patient Safety and Continuity of Care.
Appointed in 2014
Cholly Boland has been President and Chief Executive Officer of Winchester District Memorial Hospital and Dundas Manor Long-Term Care Home for the past 8 years.
Cholly has held chief executive positions with hospitals and nursing homes in Orangeville, Arnprior and Northern British Columbia; and with a community care access centre in Northern Ontario.
Cholly holds degrees from Queen's and Ottawa universities, and certificates from the Canadian and American colleges of health executives.
Appointed in 2019
Dr. Michael Brundage is a radiation oncologist, and professor of oncology in the department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Queen’s University. He frequently acts as a link between the NCIC Clinical Trials Group and the Department of Radiation Oncology at the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario. However, his research program is primarily in the division of Cancer Care and Epidemiology at Queen’s Cancer Research Institute, an applied research unit that he heads.
He implemented the first Canadian patterns of care study in prostate cancer radiotherapy. His work with psychologist Dr. Deb Feldman-Stewart addresses information provision and decision support for cancer patients. In the areas of health-related quality of life and other patient reported outcomes, he has worked to explore new methods of appropriately assessing and interpreting these outcomes in cancer clinical trials. This also includes finding new ways of effectively communicating these outcomes to patients and clinicians.
Appointed in 2014
Jenny Cockram is passionate about technology solutions that are person-centric, but only if they optimize and improve business process and communication.
She has over 25 years of experience in the information industry designing and promoting technology to deliver critical information electronically to Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies. This includes early solutions such as NewsEdge’s push technology for competitive intelligence and LIVE news tracking, and Infomart/Dialog Online for in-depth research, which delivered personalized information to individual desktops.
Using the lessons learned in the information industry, she entered the healthcare industry with the intent to use that experience to make a difference. Starting with HealthLink Clinical Data Network and then on to MediSolution Inc., she supported the exchange of health information by promoting integration and networking solutions. She has been involved in healthcare as an independent consultant, working on several provincial initiatives. These include the Ontario Wait Time Information System, where she was the clinical product manager responsible for the Hospital Report Manager product, and then as product communications lead for OntarioMD products and services.
Her biggest challenge was as a caregiver and patient advocate, navigating the healthcare system for her family members: husband, Bob, who was diagnosed with a rare thymoma in September 2008, her Mom and Dad as they became frail seniors, and again for her husband as he battles this cancer for a second time. Jenny believes technology could have improved communication of patient information between healthcare providers during her family’s challenges.
She has a 360 degree view of the healthcare system as a vendor representative, hospital project manager, provincial team advisor and patient advocate/caregiver.
Appointed in 2011
Ruthe Anne Conyngham
Ruthe Anne Conyngham’s passion for healthcare began with her appointment to the board of St Joseph’s Healthcare London in 1999. She served as chair from 2003 to 2005. She completed terms as chair of the Canadian Healthcare Association (2008) and the Ontario Hospital Association (2007). Locally, in addition to serving on the boards of Children’s Health Foundation and the London and Middlesex United Way, she chaired the Lawson Research Institute (2003 to 2006).
She is currently Chair at London Health Science Centre and a faculty member with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.
She has gained a provincial reputation as a tireless healthcare advocate demonstrating leadership in advocacy and policy development provincially and nationally. With a long-standing passion for governance leadership, she is an advocate for raising awareness of quality and patient/client safety, and the effects they have on the patient experience.
She was recognized in 2008 as a Leading Woman in her community by the Province of Ontario, honoured as a 2011 YMCA Woman of Excellence, and received a Queen’s Jubilee Medal for volunteerism and commitment to the community.
Professionally, Ruthe Anne worked for 3 decades in the aviation industry for Air Canada, culminating in her appointed as Air Ontario’s chief operating officer in 1999. In addition, she took on the senior human resource role during the creation of Air Canada Jazz through the merger of Air Canada’s 5 regional airlines. After retirement, she lectured at the University of Western Ontario.
Appointed in 2012
Winnie Doyle is the Senior Vice-President for St Joseph’s Health System and Executive Vice-President for Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
She has worked in clinical practice and research, and more recently as a senior administrator in clinical programs. Before that, she was vice-president in the Mental Health and Addictions Program. She is committed to teaching. She was a preceptor for nursing students in mental health for 15 years and a tutor for medical students. She is currently a clinical lecturer at McMaster University.
Winnie received her Master of Nursing Administration from the University of Toronto in 2000.
Appointed in 2011
Debbie Galet joined Lakeridge Health as Director of Post-Acute Specialty Services following 8 years at St. Michael’s Hospital. Her current portfolio includes palliative care, rehabilitation and complex geriatric services. She has been both a regional lead in program planning, and co-chair of regional orthopedic rehabilitation planning for the Central East Local Health Integration Network.
She currently sits on the oversight committee for resource matching and referral in the Central East Local Health Integration Network and is a clinical service representative in the Provincial Rehabilitative Care Alliance. Her interests lie in health system continuous quality improvement, access and resource utilization to improve patient care.
Deb’s husband was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer and passed away in February 2011. Deb has 2 children, Alan and Milly, and a dog named Sugar.
Appointed in 2015
Janice Kaffer has been serving as CEO and President of Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare in Windsor since 2014. In this role, Janice provides executive leadership to an organization with a 130-year history of service to the Windsor community. Along with the more than 1,100 staff employed at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, she and her team are engaged in fulfilling a vision for a healthier community that includes everyone, with a particular focus on those who are vulnerable or marginalized.
She is an alumnus of 3 post-secondary institutions: Centennial College, Trent University and Queen’s University. She has been a proud registered nurse for more than 33 years throughout Ontario and Nova Scotia.
Appointed in 2018
Michelle Karker is currently the CEO of The Elliott Community, where a key focus for her is to get to know the residents, staff and volunteers, while partnering with the Board of Trustees to ensure The Elliott Community continues to be a strong, sustainable, resident focused organization that grows to meet the needs of its entire community for years to come.
Previously, she was the executive director of the East Wellington Family Health Team, working with a highly engaged team of family physicians, allied health professionals and administrative staff within the communities of Erin, Rockwood and Guelph Eramosa. Michelle was responsible for the development of a new community health organization where she was directly involved in the planning, funding, design and construction of 2 new medical clinics involving public/private partnerships.
Michelle is an active leader within the primary healthcare system, and has been involved with a number of health system and primary care initiatives. Some of these include: Association of Family Health Teams, Association of Ontario Health Centres, Local Health Integration Network and regional health system initiatives. She has also developed and overseen innovative partnerships with other organizations to fund and deliver new healthcare services.
Michelle is also a Board Director for Hospice Wellington and currently the Chair of the Quality Improvement committee and is also on the Board of Directors for the Association of Family Health Teams of Ontario. Michelle has a strong interest in performance measurement, data management and quality improvement.
Prior to her CEO role, she had worked in a variety of leadership roles within the non-profit sector and private sector. She has a Bachelor of Arts from Western University, Bachelor of Education in adult education from Brock University and a Master of Arts in leadership from the University of Guelph. As well, she is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management Advanced Health Leadership Program.
Appointed in 2015
Dawn Powell holds a Master of Science in Real Estate Appraising from the Opus School of Business at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, and is an accredited member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada.
She is President of Powell Appraisals, an independent property valuation and consulting firm that has served Northwestern Ontario since 1987.
In September 2011, she was elected chair of the Patient and Family Cancer Care Partnership for Cancer Care Northwest. In addition, she is a member of the Patient and Family Centred Leadership Council for the Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre. She has participated in numerous committees, councils and media events as a patient representative, primarily for Cancer Care Northwest and Cancer Care Ontario.
Dawn lost her father to lung cancer in 1978, her mother to ovarian cancer in 1991, and was diagnosed herself with cancer in 2007. She has witnessed tremendous progress in cancer treatment and patient care over more than 30 years, but she wants more. She trusts that the way to achieve this is to give patients a voice in their own care – from diagnosis, through treatment and beyond.
Dawn lives in Thunder Bay with her husband, Eric, and calls Northwestern Ontario her home.
Appointed in 2012
Dr. Andy J. Smith is the President and CEO of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Ontario.
In addition, he is a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto. He completed medical school, including a Master of Science, and General Surgery residency at the University of Toronto. He also completed a surgical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Upon returning to Canada, he established himself as a leader in the management of colorectal cancer. He has served as head of the division of General Surgery at Sunnybrook, Chair of the division of General Surgery at the University of Toronto, chief of the Odette Cancer Program and regional vice-president for Cancer Care Ontario. Most recently, he served Sunnybrook as its executive vice-president and chief medical executive.
Appointed in 2014
Michael Sherar (Ex-officio)
Dr. Michael Sherar is President and CEO of Cancer Care Ontario since 2011. From 2006 to 2011, he was the provincial agency’s vice-president of Planning and Regional Programs, leading the development of Regional Cancer Programs, including capital planning for cancer services across the province.
He is an affiliate scientist at the Techna Institute at the University Health Network, where he carries out research and development of minimally invasive thermal therapy technologies for cancer, including radiofrequency ablation.
He received a Bachelor of Arts in Physics from Oxford University in 1985 and his doctorate in Medical Biophysics from University of Toronto in 1989.
Ex-officio member since 2011
Robin McLeod (Ex-officio)
Dr. Robin McLeod received a Bachelor of Science and medical degree from the University of Alberta. Following this, she completed training in General Surgery at the University of Toronto, and in Colorectal Surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. She also trained in clinical epidemiology at McMaster University before joining the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1985. She is currently a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and Fellow Ad Hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. She is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Colorectal Surgery.
She is currently the Vice-President of Clinical Programs and Quality Initiatives at Cancer Care Ontario. At the University of Toronto, she is a professor in the Department of Surgery and the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, and Vice Chair, Best Practice and Quality in the Department of Surgery.
She is a past president of the Canadian Association of General Surgeons and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract, and a past Regent of the American College of Surgeons. She was the founding chair of Evidence Based Reviews in Surgery, an internet journal club jointly sponsored by the Canadian Association of General Surgeons and American College of Surgeons.
Her clinical and research interests are colorectal cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, evidence based medicine, quality and knowledge translation. She has led several multicentre clinical trials and quality initiatives, and has authored more than 400 peer-reviewed articles and 40 book chapters.
Ex-officio member since 2014
The Cancer Quality Council of Ontario is supported by a secretariat housed at CCO:
Afifa Faisal, Coordinator Thivya Shanthakumar, Policy and Research Specialist
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