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About the Knowledge Institute

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To transform healthcare in Niagara through knowledge generation, knowledge mobilization and capacity building.


To lead community hospital-based research in Canada

To advance healthcare and health service delivery through research, quality improvement and education

Our Team

Advisory Committee

The NHKI Advisory Committee provides strategic oversight and support of knowledge generation and knowledge mobilization initiatives of the Niagara Health Knowledge Institute. The Committee supports the Executive Director and Chief Scientist in optimizing collaboration and communication among interested and affected parties. The NHKI Advisory Committee will ensure strategic alignment of all activities against the vision, purpose and values of Niagara Health, and will monitor progress on implementation of the deliverables.


  • Dr. Johan Viljoen, Co-Chair, Executive Vice-President, Medical; Chief of Staff, Niagara Health
  • Dr. Jennifer Tsang, Co-Chair, Executive Director and Chief Scientist, Niagara Health
  • Linda Boich, Executive Vice-President, Patient Experience and Integrated Care, Niagara Health
  • Harpreet Bassi, Executive Vice-President, Strategy and Communications, Niagara Health
  • Sonali Kohli, Executive Vice-President, Digital Transformation and Chief Information Officer, Niagara Health
  • Charity Beland, Manager, Indigenous Health Services and Reconciliation, Niagara Health
  • Catherine Bourque, Patient Partner, Niagara Health
  • Denise Kennedy, Patient Partner, Niagara Health
  • Dr. Jonathan Bramson, Vice-Dean, Research, McMaster University
  • Dr. Amanda Bell, Regional Assistant Dean, Niagara Regional Campus, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine
  • Tim Kenyon, Vice-President, Research, Brock University
  • Marc Nantel, Vice-President, Research, Innovations & Strategic Enterprises
  • Vacant, Chair, NHKI Research Committee

NHKI Sponsorship - Dr. Johan Viljoen, Executive Vice-President, Medical; Chief of Staff

Dr.Johan Viljoen is the Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs at Niagara Health. He is an Obstetrician/Gynaecologist by training and practiced in Niagara for 27 years in that capacity before transitioning to full time medical leadership. During his clinical practice years he also served for 12 years as Chief of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at NH prior to becoming COS. He is a lifelong learner and believes in ongoing professional development and has reached outside his normal comfort zone in completing a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters of Law in Health Law.

NHKI Executive Director and Chief Scientist - Dr. Jennifer Tsang (she/her), MD, PhD, FRCPC, ABOM

Dr. Jennifer Tsang (she/her), MD, PhD, FRCPC, ABOMDr. Jennifer Tsang (she/her), MD, PhD, FRCPC, ABOM, obtained her Bachelor of Science Degree with the highest GPA (Gold Medalist) of her class from the University of Toronto in 1999. She then completed her Doctorate of Medicine Degree (Cum Laude) at the University of Ottawa in 2003. She returned to Toronto where she completed her residency training in Internal Medicine in 2006 followed by fellowship training in Adult Critical Care Medicine in 2008. While working as an adult critical care physician at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, she completed her PhD study at the University of Toronto in the field of molecular biology to understand the biology of sepsis. In 2013, she joined Niagara Health as an adult critical care physician and in 2015, she was appointed as the Physician Research Lead. In 2020, she received designation as an American Board of Obesity Medicine Diplomate for the provision of specialized care to patients with obesity in Southern Ontario. She is currently the Executive Director and Chief Scientist of the Niagara Health Knowledge Institute; an Associated Professor in the Department of Medicine, McMaster University; and the Regional Deputy Research Director, Internal Medicine Residency Program, McMaster University. She founded the Critical Care Research Program at Niagara Health, a program that was recognized by Health Standards Organization as a Leading Practice and ranked #3 in Canada in patient enrollment. She has over 45 peer-reviewed research publications and over $50 million in competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) grant funding as Principal Applicant and Co-Applicant. She received the McMaster University Department of Medicine Early Career Research Award in 2015, Canadian Critical Care Trials Group Early Career Research Award in 2018 and the McMaster University Department of Medicine Mid-Career Research Award in 2020.

Her academic work focuses on health research transformation in Canada by increasing research capacity in community hospitals across Canada. She is active in expanding clinical trials to Niagara Health and other community hospitals across Canada and is co-investigator of over 20 multicentre clinical trials. She is heavily involved at the provincial level and national level. At the provincial level, she sits on the planning committee of the Critical Care Services Ontario’s Critical Care Clinical Practice Rounds. She also sits on the Ontario Hospital Association’s Hospital-Based Coordination Working Group with a vision to develop a fully integrated health research and healthcare delivery system across Ontario. At the national level, she is the co-founder and co-chair of the Canadian Community ICU Research Network and the co-chair of the COVID-19 Network of Clinical Trials Networks Community Acute and Critical Care Working Group with the mandate to provide financial support and mentorship to community hospitals in developing research programs. She is also active in educating and equipping health and research professionals in a broad range of research methodologies through supervising graduate students and through her involvement as a steering committee member and mentor of the innovative CIHR-funded Life-Threatening Illness National Group (LifTING) Research Training Platform with the mandate to address the lack of translation of new scientific knowledge into improved healthcare practices and the ongoing health inequities despite significant advances in health sciences. Outside of her clinical and academic work, she serves as the Vice Chair of the Board of Directors at Quest Community Health Centre in Niagara.

Administrative Team

Elaina Orlando – Research Manager

Elaina Orlando, MPH PhD is the Research Manager at Niagara HealthElaina Orlando, MPH PhD is the Research Manager at Niagara Health and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Brock University. Elaina holds a PhD in Health Services Research from the University of Toronto and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Waterloo. Elaina started her career as a public health epidemiologist before transitioning to acute care where she has worked in quality improvement and patient safety as well leading the integrated home and community care and discharge planning teams. As the Research Manager, Elaina oversees the day-to-day operations of the research portfolio, collaborating with internal and external stakeholders to expand the breadth and depth of research at Niagara Health. Elaina is passionate about creating meaningful organizational change through the engagement of teams and the application of a health systems research lens.

Maria Bailey – Administrative Assistant

Research Team

Coming soon.

Education Team

Coming soon.


Niagara Health Knowledge Institute Organizational Chart

See organizational chart here

Niagara Health System