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Board of Directors

Updated July 2016

On June 28, 2016, the Annual General Meeting of the Niagara Health Corporation was held, and the following four Directors were reappointed for a second term of three years: (click on name for photo and bio information)

Contact information:
Danielle Dube
905-378-4647, ext. 43103

Board Executive:
John MacDonald -
Chair, Board of Directors

John Bragagnolo -
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors

Ken Kawall – Treasurer

Dr. Suzanne Johnston – Secretary (ex officio role held by the President)

Board Committees:
Quality Committee
Larry Boggio -Chair
Marti Jurmain - Vice-Chair

Governance Committee
John Bragagnolo –
Bunny Alexander - Vice-Chair

Resources & Audit Committee
Ken Kawall – Chair
Cathy Sutherland – Vice-Chair

Ad-Hoc Strategic Planning Committee
John MacDonald – Chair

Medical Advisory Committee (ex officio role always held by the Chief of Staff)
Dr. Tom Stewart, Chair

Marti Jurmain

Cathy Sutherland

Larry Boggio

Murray Paton

The following Directors are continuing to 2017 (serving an initial three-year term, and eligible for reappointment in June 2017):

John MacDonald

Barry Wright

Ken Kawall

Bunny Alexander

The following Directors are continuing to 2018 (serving a second term for a period of 3 years), and eligible for reappointment in June 2018:

John Bragagnolo

Robert Tiffin

Dr. Ronald Mergl

Charles Rate

The following Ex-officio Members are continuing to 2016:

President – Suzanne Johnston

Chief Nursing Executive (and Executive Vice-President) – Derek McNally

Chief of Staff (and Executive Vice-President, Medical) – Dr. Thomas Stewart

Board Officers 2016/17

Immediately following the Annual General Meeting, the Niagara Health Board of Directors approved the following Officer Appointments for 2016/17:

Board Chair – John MacDonald

Board Vice-Chair – John Bragagnolo

Treasurer – Ken Kawall

President and Secretary – Suzanne Johnston

Board Standing Committee Appointments 2016/17

In addition to the 12 Independent Directors serving on the Niagara Health Board of Directors, three non-Board Committee Members were reappointed as the Board approved the Standing Committees for 2016/17. 

These individuals are:  Mario DeDivitiis, Michael Lethby and Ashleigh Miatello-Skrubbeltrang.  The Board’s Standing Committees consist of the Governance Committee, Quality Committee and Resources and Audit Committee.

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee will continue to report to the Board of Directors through the Governance Committee.  This Committee was established to ensure linkages to the community. This important point of contact speaks to the organization’s commitment to enhancing community engagement and two-way dialogue about important decisions and developments regarding the hospital. The Committee is made up of 10 individuals from across the region, and is chaired by Niagara Health Board Member, Larry Boggio, and is also represented by Niagara Health Board Member Marti Jurmain.

Committee Members are:

John Bullivant, Rose Dzugan, Liz Froese, Greg Furtney, Kayla Lee, Richard Martinelli, Joy Russell, and John Storm. 




Our Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers from across the Niagara region. This diverse group is dedicated to ensuring the Niagara Health System delivers high quality, safe, sustainable care and is accountable to the community. 

The Board is made up of the following individuals.
Please see below for photos and bio information.

Bernice (Bunny) Alexander

Larry Boggio

John Bragagnolo

Marti Jurmain

Dr. Ron Mergl

Ken Kawall

John MacDonald

Murray Paton

Charles Rate

Cathy Sutherland

Rob Tiffin

Barry Wright

Dr. Suzanne Johnston(ex officio, non-voting member)*

Dr. Thomas (Tom) E. Stewart (ex officio, non-voting member)*

Derek McNally (ex officio, non-voting member)*


Board of Directors, Niagara Health System – Biographies

Volunteer Community-based Directors:


Bernice (Bunny) Alexander is a retired human resources professional, specializing in organizational development, as well as a registered nurse, having worked many years as a clinical manager at the Welland Hospital prior to the amalgamation of the Niagara Health System in 2000. Bunny then worked as Senior Consultant, Organizational Development with responsibility for employee and leadership development, employee recognition, performance development and student and volunteer resources. In her retirement, Bunny has held numerous volunteer positions, and most recently served as Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre Board of Directors. She is currently a member of the City of Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee, Chair of the City of Welland Market Square Advisory Committee, and Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee for Palliative/Hospice Care Planning for South Niagara, in addition to volunteering with Hospice Niagara. Bunny and her family reside in Welland.

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Larry Boggio is a practicing community Pharmacist and owner of Boggio's Pharmacy Ltd. A graduate of the University of Toronto's Pharmacy Program, Larry has a 32-year history as a Pharmacist and business owner, having grown his business from one to four stores in four communities across Niagara - Fonthill, Niagara Falls, Ridgeway and Port Colborne. He now proudly employs over 100 individuals across these communities. His volunteer governance experience includes Past President of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, Elected District Member of the College of Pharmacists' Council, Board Member of Bridges Community Health Centre, and Board Member and Past Chair of Port Colborne Community Living. Larry supports many community organizations, including the South Niagara United Way and Port Cares. Larry and his family reside in Port Colborne.
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John Bragagnolo is the General Manager of Pen Centre in St. Catharines and has twenty five years’ experience in the property management industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Physiology and Pharmacology) from the University of Western Ontario and has completed many Master in Business Administration level courses. He holds a certificate in Human Resource Management from Queen’s University and a certificate in Performance Excellence from the Disney Institute. John has a particular interest in the areas of customer service, human resources and performance excellence. John has served in many senior volunteer positions, including past Chair of the Board of the Timmins and District Hospital, past executive member of the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation and was Chairman of the New Garden City Complex Advocacy Committee. He currently serves on the New Garden City Spectator Facility Fundraising Committee and is a member of the Niagara Labour Market Planning Committee. John and his family reside in St. Catharines.
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Marti Jurmain is an experienced educator and administrator with over thirty-five years in the Ontario College system. Marti is recently retired as the Director of Research and Innovation at Niagara College, and has proven experience and interest in strategic planning, quality assurance and performance measures. She was founder and Director of the New Product Development Division at Niagara College, which involved the development of new academic programs and the opportunity to work with several regional health service agencies. She holds a Master of Arts, English Language and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. Marti has served as a volunteer on numerous committees and fundraising initiatives in the Niagara Region, including Chair of the Niagara Region Cancer Campaign, President of the St. Catharines YMCA, and member of the United Way Executive for St. Catharines and District. Marti and her family reside in St. Catharines. (back to top)


Dr. Ron MerglDr. Ron Mergl has over 31 years of experience as a veterinarian and is owner, with his wife June, of the Niagara Falls Animal Medical Centre. Ron graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1985 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree after completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph in 1980. Ron also holds a Master’s of Science degree from Brock University (2010) which focused on zoonotic infections (those diseases that are passed from animals to people). Ron has served on numerous boards and his past voluntary governance experience includes President of the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls, Assistant Governor of Area 8 District 7090 of Rotary International, Director with Veterinarians Without Borders Canada, and board member of the Greater Niagara General Hospital, St. Andrews United Church, and Beacon Christian School. Ron spent the last year as a member of Niagara Health’s Quality Committee. Ron and his family reside on a farm in Fenwick.

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Ken Kawall has over twenty years’ experience in the private and public sector, specializing in the areas of customer service, operations, technology and change management. He is currently the Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Financial Services and Systems with the Ministry of Government Services, Ontario Public Service, providing financial management services to all Ministries of the Ontario Government. He formerly worked as Chief Information Officer with the Ministry of Transportation, providing strategic and operational information management and information technology leadership to the Ministries of Transportation, Labour, Economic Development and Trade, Research and Innovation and Consumer Services. Ken holds a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario and is a Certified Management Accountant. Ken has served as President and Chair of the Board of the Oakville Arts Council and Treasurer and Director of the Trafalgar Township Historical Society. He and his family now reside in Vineland.
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John MacDonaldJohn MacDonald is the former Chief Administration Officer for the City of Niagara Falls, having been responsible for the planning, control and management of City government initiatives, and all Corporate and Administrative Divisions. John’s professional career with the City of Niagara Falls spanned over a period of 32 years. Prior to becoming CAO, John was the Executive Director of Community Services. In his retirement, John remains active as the National Director with the Anglican Network in Canada, providing leadership and oversight to all operational and administrative activities. John holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies from Brock University. He has been involved on various community board service and fundraising organizations. John and his family reside in Niagara Falls. (back to top)



Murray PatonMurray Paton is a lawyer serving as Counsel to Walker Sorensen LLP. , Toronto, a business law firm focused on the financial services industry and corporate governance. He spent most of his career as a Partner of McCarthy Tetrault, Toronto, advising major public companies principally in the financial services industries on business transactions and financings, joint ventures and regulatory and corporate governance matters. Murray has also served as General Counsel of the 407 ETR Group, advising on, among other things, infrastructure, policy development, corporate governance and government relations matters. Murray also has extensive governance experience through his role as a Director of two federally-regulated Canadian insurance companies (Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company), as a member of the Independent Review Committee overseeing conflicts of interest for The Bank of Nova Scotia’s public mutual funds and as Board member and past Chair of Halton Healthcare Services, a multi-site Ontario public hospital. Murray is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holder of the Professional Director designation. He and his wife reside in Niagara-on-the-Lake. (back to top)


Charles RateCharles Rate is Executive Vice-President of SNC-Lavalin responsible for the company’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) division. His career includes project management, engineering and construction roles on major crown projects in the defence and telecommunications sectors and on infrastructure development projects in Canada, Asia and Europe. He has extensive experience in the implementation of social and transportation infrastructure P3 projects across Canada. As President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin, O&M he is responsible for SNC-Lavalin O&M’s conventional operations and maintenance activities and P3s in the real estate, power, airport, industrial, marine and transportation sectors including asset management, operations and maintenance, project management, energy and environmental management, and logistics support. Charlie is a Professional Engineer, registered in Ontario and is a member of the Institute for Corporate Directors. He sits on a number of boards and committees, including West Park Healthcare Centre, as well as the boards of Protrans BC and CANCAP. Charlie is a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake. (back to top)


Cathy Sutherland is a Financial Executive and Chartered Accountant. Cathy’s professional experience lead her to Home Capital Group Inc/Home Trust Company, where she spent several years in the finance division, and later becoming the Senior Vice President, Finance. Her responsibilities included chief financial advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, President and Audit Committee of the Board. Cathy is a guest lecturer at Brock University, speaking on issues related to women in business, financial services, human relations and job recruitment. In addition to achieving her CA designation with the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, Cathy holds an Honors Business Administration degree from Brock University. Her community activities include volunteer participation at The Hope Centre in Welland, a committee member with the Hamilton YWCA Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, Board member with Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Association where she currently sits as Chair of its Board Development Committee. Cathy is retired and she and her husband reside in Welland. (back to top)


Rob TiffinRob Tiffin is a professional university administrator with over 40 years of experience in senior administrative positions at The University of Western Ontario, Brock University and York University. Rob recently retired as the Vice-President Students Affairs at York where he provided leadership to a team of over 325 with responsibility for a budget of $65 million. His scope of responsibility in student services has included strategic planning, enrolment management, recruitment, admissions, retention, personal and psychological counseling, financial assistance, academic advising, career services, sport and recreation, student community and leadership programming, conflict resolution as well as support for students with disabilities. Rob has served on the Boards of Governors and Senates of four universities and has served on the executive of several provincial, national and international professional organizations Because of his extensive travel experience he has a broad understanding of educational policies, standards and practices in a variety of educational jurisdictions. Since retiring from York University Rob has continued a private consulting practice engaging with colleges, universities, government agencies and the private sector. He has continued his commitment to enhancing post-secondary educational opportunities for students with disabilities by serving as President of the Tamara Gordon Foundation. (back to top)

Barry Wright is Associate Professor, Goodman School of Business, Brock University. Barry holds a Ph.D. from Queen’s University (specializing in organizational behaviour), a Master’s degree from Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta. Barry’s academic research focuses on understanding and solving leadership challenges, change and its influence on organizational members, and creating effective work environments. Prior to joining Brock, Barry was Associate Professor at the Schwartz School of Business and Information Technology at St. Frances Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Barry is a member of the board of Leadership Niagara. Barry and his family reside in St. Catharines. (back to top)


Ex-Officio Non-Voting Directors:

Dr. Suzanne Johnston President of Niagara Health SystemSuzanne Johnston – President, Niagara Health System is originally from New Brunswick. She has more than 25 years of leadership experience in health care and government. Before taking on her current role with NHS, Dr. Johnston served as Vice President, Clinical Programs, and Chief Nursing Officer at Northern Health Authority, an organization serving northern B.C. with over 24 hospitals, 14 long-term care facilities, and community services providing specialized services to diverse populations including aboriginal Canadians.

Dr. Johnston was also Chief Operating Officer for Northern Health Authority’s northwest region, and has worked at the NHA since 2000.

Dr. Johnston obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of New Brunswick and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Arizona. She participated in executive education at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania.  (back to top)


Dr. Thomas StewartDr. Thomas (Tom) E. Stewart Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President completed his MD with honors at the University of Ottawa in 1988. He went on to do a fellowship in Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto followed by research training in Paris, France and Toronto. He was a Professor of Medicine and Anaesthesiology at the University of Toronto where he worked as a Critical Care Physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network. Dr. Stewart has held a number of leadership roles including: Physician-in-Chief (2009-2013) and Chief Clinical Officer (2010-2013) at Mount Sinai Hospital, Director of Critical Care Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital (1998-2009) and the University Health Network (2002-2009).  He was a key developer and implementer of Ontario’s Critical Care Strategy, having served as Chair of the provincial Critical Care LHIN Leader Table for several years while it underwent significant change. He has received multiple honors, awards and grants and has published numerous peer-review articles and book chapters. He is a regular invited presenter nationally and internationally. Dr. Stewart’s research focuses include ARDS and ALI, lung protective modes of mechanical ventilation, unconventional approaches to mechanical ventilation, leadership skills, implementing change and system design. In his role as Physician in Chief and Chief Clinical Officer at Mount Sinai, Dr. Stewart championed a number of innovative initiatives to improve efficiency, patient experience, safety, cost-control and flow. Dr. Stewart has also led an initiative to train leadership and management skills to clinicians nationally and internationally. Dr. Stewart is also a committed family man, and has a wife and two children aged 17 and 14.

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Mr. Derek McNallyAs Executive Vice President,  Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive, Derek McNally is the executive lead for the clinical portfolios at the Niagara Health System.

He has an excellent track record for implementing sustainable change, and his personal style and approach engender a great deal of team buy-in and a great work environment. Working with all members of the NHS team, Derek’s focus is on optimizing performance of the NHS team, striving for a great patient experience and excellence of culture, quality and safety, staff and physician engagement, and financial stewardship.

Derek rejoined the NHS in early 2014 after serving as Executive Vice President, Clinical Programs at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Previously at NHS, Derek distinguished himself in the role of Vice President, Patient Services & Site Lead and Chief Nursing Officer at the Greater Niagara General Site. Derek has also held senior leadership positions at Trillium Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the Hospital for Sick Children.

Derek began his career as a front-line nurse and continues to be a strong and vocal advocate for great patient care.  
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