Board of Directors


Allow us to introduce our current Board of Directors.


Leslie St. Jacques, CCPA, BHSc PA, BA hons, MES (Planning), MSW, RSW

Leslie St. Jacques is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant from the inaugural class of the PA Education Program at McMaster University (2010).  Leslie has worked in Neurosurgery at the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital since 2014.  She has also worked as a PA in Neurosurgery for the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg (2013) and in the Cardiovascular Surgery ICU for Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) (2010-2013).

Leslie is a co-lead for PAs for the University Health Network (UHN) and has been the elected President of their PA Council since 2014.  Since 2010, she has been involved in creating structures to enable PA practice at the local level, working with pharmacists to develop the first set of Medical Directives for HHS, and then later for UHN. Leslie has worked to revise the UHN PA policy, create templates for required documentation to ease the on-boarding process, and worked with the IT department to create a platform for PAs within the electronic medical record system.  Successful integration pathways have supported the steady increase in the number of PAs working at UHN, currently 35 and counting.

Leslie recently completed the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology through McMaster University. She is an advocate for Physician Assistant involvement in research and in teaching, and has facilitated problem-based learning sessions in neurology and psychiatry for McMaster. Leslie has been a preceptor for PA students’ placements in neurosurgery for both University of Toronto and McMaster University.  She has presented clinical material for CAPA’s annual conference in both poster and lecture formats, as well as contributed to the Journal of Canada’s Physician Assistants.


Kevin Dickson MMM, CD, MPAS, BHSc, BA, CCPA

Originally from Burlington, Ontario Kevin joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1995.  After 14 years as a Medical Technician he was selected for the Physician Assistant program and graduated in 2011.  He practiced in Primary Care in Ottawa for four years until he was posted to Fredericton New Brunswick.  He retired from the Forces in 2015 and has been working in the Emergency Department of the Dr Everett Chalmers Hospital since.  He and his wife, Kelly, are happy to raising two young sons in beautiful central New Brunswick.  In addition to his Physician Assistant degree, Kevin has received an undergraduate degree in Geography from McMaster University and has completed his Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Nebraska.


Eric Demers CD, BSc, CCPA, CAPM

Eric was born in Hawkesbury, Ontario. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1994 as a Medical Technician and released in 2017 after 23 years of service and this is where Eric graduated from the Physician Assistant Program in 2010.  During his time in the military, Eric served multiple missions overseas and on submarines where he acquired a specialty in Submarine and Diving Medicine. He calls Victoria, BC home, where he lives with his wife and two wonderful children. Eric also holds a certificate in Business Administration from the University of Victoria, a Primary Care Paramedic certificate from JIBC and is a Certified Associate in Project Management (PMI). He has been involved with CAPA since 2008 and was on the membership committee, a question writer for the national certification exam and most recently the vice-president of the Pacific Chapter. Eric is honoured be the director of the BC chapter and hopes to see PAs recognized in regulated in BC in the near future.

Executive Director

Patrick Nelson

Patrick Nelson
Prior to joining Santis, Patrick served as the Executive Director of Public and Corporate Affairs at the Ontario Medical Association (OMA), the voice of the province’s 34,000 physicians. Over ten years with the organization, he led the OMA through several strategic communications campaigns, a comprehensive governance review, as well as a major rebranding of the organization itself. Under his tenure, member satisfaction with the OMA doubled to a record high while over the course of a recent five-month advocacy campaign the profession has witnessed a remarkable 12% increase in public trust. From 1998-2003, Patrick worked in senior communications roles in the Ontario government. As an aide to Ontario’s Minister of Health, Patrick led the issues management and legislative agenda.

Director, Alberta

Kirsten Luomala, CD, MPAS, CCPA

Born and raised on a farm outside Vancouver, Kirsten joined the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in 1987 upon graduating from high school.  Joining as a medical technician she served in a variety of postings from training systems, to the Army, Air Force and on multiple deployments, Haiti, twice to Afghanistan and Alert (North Pole).  In 2007 Kirsten was selected to the CAF PA program and graduated in the inaugural PA degree class in 2009 receiving her Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska.  After graduating, she was posted to the Canadian Forces Medical School assigned to teach in the CAF PA program as well as assisted in developing a Combat PA program for the Afghanistan National Army in 2013.   While on her 2nd deployment to Afghanistan in 2013 she completed her Master of PA studies in Education and ER medicine from the University of Nebraska.  Kirsten retired from the CAF in 2014 to accept a position in Alberta’s Demonstration Project in the Department of Neurosurgery at University of Alberta where she currently works. During her time in Alberta, Kirsten has been involved in many speaking engagements promoting the PA profession to various organizations within the University of Alberta.  Currently she resides in Spruce Grove Alberta with her husband and 3 daughters.

Director, Manitoba

Steven Piotrowski, B.Sc., M.Sc., MPAS., CCPA

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba Steven completed his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba in 2005. In 2011, he finished two years of an Athletic Therapy degree before entering his Master of Science in Human Anatomy and Cell Science. It was during his master’s degree, where Steven learned about the Physician Assistant profession while teaching physician assistant, medical, pharmacy and respiratory therapy students in the gross human anatomy laboratory. In 2014, Steven was accepted to the Master of Physician Assistant Studies program at the University of Manitoba. Following graduation in 2016, he accepted a position in Beausejour, Manitoba working as a family medicine/emergency medicine physician assistant. In addition, Steven is passionate about teaching physician assistant students as both a preceptor and instructor. Furthermore, Steven has been married to his amazing wife Kim for the past four years and they have two wonderful children, Luke and Kate.

Director, Ontario

Sahand Ensafi, BHSc, BSc(PA), CCPA

Sahand Ensafi is a PA working in Emergency Medicine at the University Health Network. He developed a passion for the PA Profession during his undergraduate studies at the University of Waterloo in Life Sciences. After learning more about the growing role PAs were playing in Canada, he jumped at the opportunity to be a pioneer of the profession and was accepted into McMaster’s PA Class of 2013. During his studies he served as student council President and worked to advocate for PAs both on campus and within the Hamilton community.

After graduation, he was hired as the inaugural PA in the University Health Network Emergency Departments and has been working there for more than five years. During his time at UHN, Sahand has worked to expand PA Program to a total of 4 PAs within the ED, chaired Quality Improvement committees, co-authored abstracts/journal articles and is now a part of the ED leadership team. He is also actively involved in PA integration initiatives at UHN, through our UHN PA Council.

In addition to his role at UHN, Sahand as an Assistant Clinical Professor (adjunct) at McMaster University. He is actively involved in the clinical skills and simulation programs and as a clinical supervisor for PA Clerks completing their clerkship rotations in the ED. He also teaches at the University of Toronto PA Program; specifically in the ePBL – Clinical Skills 1 and 2 courses.

Director, New Brunswick

Ryan Bennett, CCPA

Originally from Hastings, Ontario, Ryan has called New Brunswick home for the past couple of decades—originally Saint John and now Fredericton.  After obtaining a BSc from the University of New Brunswick and working for some time in Residence Life, Counselling and Student Services he went on to become a 2014 graduate of the University of Manitoba’s MPAS program.  Ryan has worked in both rural emergency medicine in Gimli, Manitoba and most currently in Fredericton, NB in the Emergency Department at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital.  He has an interest in orthopedic emergencies, sports and wilderness medicine.  Outside of work he likes hiking in the great outdoors, camping, partaking in stories by the campfire and enjoying a brew at one of the many local breweries/pubs around town with friends and family.  It is my wish to continue to advocate and help grow the PA profession in New Brunswick, and indeed the Maritimes.

Director, Nova Scotia

Peter Thibeault, CCPA

I am a proud member of the Canadian Armed Forces and have served in a variety of postings and on multiple deployments across Canada and around the world. I’m a graduate of the inaugural 2009 PA degree class and received my Bachelor of Science from the University of Nebraska. While I was born in Ontario, I’ve called Nova Scotia home since the age of five. I grew up in Barrington, on the province’s beautiful South Shore. I’ve been a certified PA since 2010 and have extensive medical experience, along with teaching and mentoring the next generation of military PAs who are based in Nova Scotia.

Canadian Armed Forces Representative

Major Stuart Russelle, MMM, CD, MPAS, CCPA

Stuart was raised in Sudbury, Ontario. He joined the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves in 1991 and transferred to the Regular Force in 1994.  He graduated from the CAF PA program in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science and went on to complete his Master of PA Studies in 2013.  Presently posted to Ottawa he actively works in Canadian Forces clinics and the ER.  He has been fortunate to deploy on a number of diverse operations around the world, including humanitarian missions in Pakistan, peacekeeping in Bosnia, development of a PA program in Afghanistan, and most recently in Lebanon, as part of the Government of Canada’s initiative to resettle 25,000 Syrian Refugees.  Currently the CAF PA – National Practice Leader, he is actively working on new PA regulation policy within the Canadian Forces Health Services.

Student Representative

Hannah Keith

Hannah is a first PA year student at the University of Toronto. After finishing her Bachelor of Science at Trinity Western University, she completed her Master of Science in Aging and Health at Queen’s University. While completing her master’s Hannah learned more about the role of PAs in Ontario’s healthcare system. Upon graduation from the PA program, Hannah desires to work with Canada’s aging population and be involved in chronic disease education and research.

Hannah has been involved in several collaborative PA advocacy initiatives with her classmates. Through conversing with students from all three civilian PA programs, she has learned how students are adapting during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Hannah desires to share these students’ voices with the CAPA Board of Directors. As an ongoing advocate for the PA profession, Hannah also provides mentorship for aspiring PA students through her public social media platform.