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Dr. Kevin Smith, NHS Supervisor and the Community Based Nominating Committee Announce the Appointment of the Board of Directors for NHS

Posted Apr 9th, 2013

Following a rigorous application process, NHS Supervisor Dr. Kevin Smith, along with the Community Based-Nominating Committee, are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Board of Directors for Niagara Health System.

The complete list of new volunteer community-based Directors is as follows (see biographies below):

Bernice (Bunny) Alexander
Richard C. Baker
Larry Boggio
John Bragagnolo
Marti Jurmain
Ken Kawall
John MacDonald
Catherine Mindorff-Facca
Murray Paton
Cathy Sutherland
Frank Vassallo
Barry Wright
Dr. Sue Matthews (ex officio, non-voting member)
Dr. Joanna Hope (ex officio, non-voting member)
Dr. Andrei Arvinte (ex officio, non-voting member)

The three ex-officio members have positions on the Board by virtue of the office they hold in the organization, per the Public Hospitals Act and the OHA Guide to Good Governance.

"I believe the Community-Based Nominating Committee has done a remarkable job in selecting such excellent candidates to steward Niagara Health System, selecting members based on their skills and abilities, while also ensuring candidates come from across the Niagara Region," said Dr. Kevin Smith.

Dr. Kevin Smith, together with the NHS leadership team, will work with the Board through an education and orientation program, following which he will recommend the termination of his role as Supervisor to the Minister.

2013 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. Previously, she was a member of the City of Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee, 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.

Richard C. Baker is a retired Architect and former partner of Baker and Elmes Architects of St. Catharines, and recently a consultant to Quartek Group Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Virginia. In his professional role, Richard has participated in the design of numerous projects throughout the Niagara Region and beyond. He currently serves as Chair of Niagara Ina Grafton Gage Foundation, and has recently served as Juror of the Niagara Community Design Awards and as a Member of Council of the Ontario Association of Architects. Richard’s expertise is in the areas of construction and project management, and strategic planning. Richard and his family reside in St. Catharines.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

John 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.

Catherine Mindorff-Facca is a retired Registered Nurse and Epidemiologist from Hamilton Health Sciences. She holds a Master of Science (Epidemiology) from McMaster University and has completed advanced training in Surveillance, Prevention and Control of Nosocomial Infections, Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. In her professional career, Catharine provided hospital and community infection control services, and completed a secondment to the Laboratory Centre for Disease Control with Health Canada, where she was Acting Chief. Over the past ten years, Catherine has devoted her efforts to ground-breaking volunteer service, with a focus on building community capacity for collaborative action toward a stronger Niagara. She led the move to bring Community Health Centres to Niagara, was founding Chair of Niagara Connects (formerly known as the Niagara Research and Planning Council), served as a trustee for Brock University, was Chair of FACS Niagara, and served on the Steering Committee for the Clinical Services Planning Project of the HNHB LHIN. Catharine and her husband, Jack reside in Ridgeway.

Murray 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.

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.

Frank Vassallo is Vice-President, Physician IT Adoption, OntarioMD, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Ontario Medical Association that is focused on assisting Ontario’s community-based physicians adopt information technology. In his 23-year career in health services administration in both the public and private sectors, Frank has served in various senior management roles spanning clinical and information technology management, performance measurement, government relations and business development. Frank holds a Master of Health Services Administration as well as a post-graduate Fellowship in Hospital Administration. Frank has recently completed a Master of Communications Management (Public Relations). Frank has served in various volunteer capacities, including Board member and Chair of the former Niagara District Health Council. Frank is a long-time resident of Niagara, currently residing with his family in St. Catharines.

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 the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Niagara. Barry and his family reside in St. Catharines.

Ex-Officio Non-Voting Directors:

Dr. Sue Matthews, Interim President & CEO and Chief Nursing Executive is an experienced Nurse Leader. She has held a variety of positions as a staff nurse and nurse educator, and nurse leadership positions, Vice President, Chief of Nursing and Professional Practice, and Provincial Chief Nursing Officer for Ontario. She is now the Interim President & CEO of the Niagara Health System. She holds an R.N. Diploma; a Bachelor of Arts in Health Studies, a Master’s of Health Science Nursing and a Doctorate in Public Health. She is also a Fellow of the Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia. She is appointed as Adjunct Professor at Trent University, Brock University and the University of Toronto and as Clinical Associate Professor at McMaster University. Sue continues to be involved in national and provincial activities, with a goal of increasing the health of Canadians through strong nursing leadership. 

Dr. Joanna Hope, Interim Chief of Staff is a family physician from Fenwick who has held numerous senior medical staff leadership positions within the Niagara Health System, and was Chief of Staff of the Welland Hospital from 1992 to 1998. Dr. Joanna Hope’s appointment as Interim Chief of Staff was effective March 2, 2009. Along with her busy Family Practice, Dr. Hope works as a Hospitalist. She has a background in family medicine, obstetrics and emergency medicine. Dr. Hope is a past member of the Board of Cancer Care Ontario - Central West Region, and the Niagara Peninsula Children’s Centre.

Dr. Andrei A. Arvinte is a Radiologist and President of the Medical Staff at the Niagara Health System. Dr. Arvinte attended the University of Saskatchewan where he completed his Diagnostic Medical Imaging Residency in 2006, followed by his Body and Interventional Fellowship, McMaster University, in 2007. He commenced his position with the Niagara Health System in August 2007, and was elected President of the Medical Staff in October 2011.

Non-Board Committee Members:

In addition to the 15-member Board, five community individuals were invited to participate on one of the standing committees of the Board. Committees are an important element of the Board’s governance processes that aid in the fulfillment of its governance role. These individuals are:

John Grant, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Political Science, Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto, and Instructor, Brock University

Sean Keays, Chief Administrative Officer, Foyer Richelieu, Welland

Michael Lethby, Executive Director, Niagara Resource Service for Youth, St, Catharines

Ashleigh Miatello-Skrubbeltrang, Manager, Advancement Research, Brock University

Domenic Ventresca (retired), former Director, Seniors’ Services, Regional Municipality of Niagara



Media contact: Caroline Bourque Wiley, Manager of Communications, 905-378-4647, ext. 43113;

Niagara Health System