Board of Directors


Allow us to introduce our current Board of Directors.


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.


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.


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

Leslie St. Jacques is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant, a graduate of McMaster University’s PA program (2010).  Prior to becoming a PA, Leslie earned a Master’s in Environmental Studies in Planning (1998), from York University, and a Master’s in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University (2004).  Leslie is currently a Research Fellow at the Wilson Centre, and a PhD student in the Health Professions Education Research (HPER) doctoral program offered by the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, in collaboration with the faculty of the Wilson Centre, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Dr. Tina Martimianakis, Leslie’s research explores professional identity formation, compassion in healthcare provision and interpersonal aspects of healthcare education and practice.

Leslie’s work as a PA includes cardiovascular surgery ICU at Hamilton Health Sciences, neurosurgery at the Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre, and neurosurgery for the University Health Network (UHN) in Toronto.  Throughout the past 12 years as a PA in peri-operative care, Leslie has also been involved in advocacy for PAs, helping to create structure and processes to facilitate the hiring and the practice of PAs.  Leslie was the first Co-lead and Education Lead for PAs at UHN (2019-2022).  During COVID she was extensively involved in developing the PA and Medicine pages of the award-winning COVID Care/Critical Care on-line education platform.  She was the first female President of CAPA, and continues as Past President until 2023.  Leslie has also worked as a psychotherapist in adult and children’s mental health in-patient and ambulatory care settings and continues in private practice providing therapy for health care workers and others managing difficulties, and finding more joy.


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, British Columbia

Lisa Stewart, CCPA
Lisa has nine years experience as a physician assistant with a focus in Plastic Surgery; trauma and burn medicine. She has a diverse background, starting her career in commerce before returning to university to study science, yoga and then health care. Lisa’s journey as a PA was inspired from her role as a Medical Technician Reservist with the Canadian Armed Forces. She attended the University of Manitoba to obtain her Master’s degree in PA Studies in 2012. Initially she worked in Critical Care medicine in Winnipeg, and in 2014 she moved to Calgary to work in Critical Care until she transferred to work in Plastic Surgery at the Foothills Medical Center.

Lisa has recently returned to her home province of British Columbia, settling in the Comox Valley with her husband and two young children. She continues to be a strong advocate for the PA profession, while seeking out her next great challenge.


Lee Spencer, CD, DMSC, MPAS, CCPA

Lee Spencer is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant with over 16 years of experience.  He graduated from Canadian Forces Medical School in 2006.  From there Lee went on to complete his Master’s Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Nebraska in 2013.  Lee continued his studies through the University of Lynchburg to obtain his Doctor of Medical Science in 2018. For the past 6 years, Lee has been working with Alberta Health Services as a consultant in Geriatric Medicine for south zone.  Lee was a part of the Alberta’s Demonstration Project initiative in Alberta.  Lee ‘s previous experience consists of 7 years Industrial Medicine, Nationally and 25 years of services with the Canadian Armed Forces globally working in all environments.

Currently, Lee and his wife reside on a lake near Foremost Alberta. They have four grown children and two grandchildren that reside in Alberta as well.  Lee has been serving as the Alternate Director for Alberta for the past term. Lee will continue to be a voice for PA’s not only in Alberta but Nationally as well.

DIRECTOR, Saskatchewan

Todd Bryden, BSc, CCPA, CD1
Todd Bryden originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia Todd joined the Canadian Armed Forces in September 1995 and over his 22 years in the CAF was posted to numerous locations throughout Canada. He completed his Physician Assistant training in 2010 and practiced as a PA in the CAF onboard HMC Ships and within Health Services clinics until 2017 and final posting to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan where he retired from the CAF. Todd is married to his lovely wife Melissa and has 2 children, 9-year-old twins RJ and Olivia. Todd is presently employed with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority with the Department of Surgery in the Section of Urology. He also holds clinical teaching position with the University of Manitoba where he is a preceptor for UofM MPAS and CAF PA students.

Todd has been an active member of CAPA and volunteers on the Physician Assistant Council of Canada Exam Committee. He is an avid supporter of the PA profession and looks forward to being a strong advocate for integration of PAs into health care in Saskatchewan and across Canada.

DIRECTOR, Manitoba

Kali Braun, MPAS, CCPA

Kali Braun is a graduate of the Manitoba PA program, Class of 2020. Additionally, she holds a Masters degree in Medical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.


Anthony Desloges, CCPA
Anthony is a Canadian Certified Physician Assistant who currently works in Primary Care, 2SLGBTQ+ Health and Addictions Medicine in Ottawa. He was born and raised in the national capital region and completed his first degree in health sciences from the University of Ottawa in 2015. During this time, he simultaneously worked in various healthcare administrative and educational roles.  He was first introduced to the Physician Assistant profession after meeting a CAF trained PA on an inpatient medical ward at a tertiary center. Fascinated with the profession, Anthony went on to apply for the Ontario PA programs for the following cycle.

He graduated from the Consortium of Physician Assistant Education Program through the University of Toronto in 2018. Since graduation, he has worked in various specialties including cardiology, neurosurgery, and now primary care and addictions medicine. He happily works for a group of clinics in the downtown core if Ottawa which service patients with various health social, cultural and economic barriers. This includes working as part of Eastern Ontario’s Emergency Safer Supply Program providing harm reduction services to individuals with substance use disorders. Anthony has a passion for health program development and health advocacy for underserviced and marginalized populations.


Jean-Nicolas Chagnon, MPAS, CCPA
Jean-Nicolas Chagnon est né à Grand-Mère dans la province de Québec.  Ayant joint les Forces armées canadiennes en 2001, il a été employé en tant que technicien médical jusqu’en 2012.  En 2014, il terminera ses études en tant qu’adjoint au médecin via le programme universitaire (Nebraska) de l’École des Services de santé des Forces canadiennes.  Il complètera sa maîtrise (Nebraska) en 2017.

Jean-Nicolas a occupé plusieurs postes en tant qu’autorité médicale sénior lors de multiples déploiements sur terre comme sur mer.  Il a occupé le poste de Directeur Québec de l’ACAM, poste auquel il a dû renoncer en 2018 pour des raisons professionnelles.  Jean-Nicolas exerce présentement à Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, près de ses deux enfants et de sa conjointe.

DIRECTOR, Newfoundland

Kathleen Abreo,  CCPA

Kathleen has always been passionate about the health of Canadians with an interest in health policy. Working as frontline Physician Assistant during the pandemic, in a large Toronto hospital, she experienced first hand what it was like to see our healthcare system significantly stretched and strained. Many gaps and challenges exist in the post-pandemic era, and Kathleen would like to see Physician Assistants as part of the solution in improving access to healthcare in Canada. Kathleen has completed both her undergraduate and post-graduate training at the University of Toronto. Utilizing her professional network, Kathleen was able to co-create a position as a Physician Assistant at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto in the department of Paediatric Medicine. The creation of this position was successful and the department has subsequently added additional Physician Assistant positions. To expand her professional skills, Kathleen shifted to a position in the Department of General Surgery at Brandon Regional Health Center in Brandon Manitoba for the past year. She is currently in the process of exploring what her next steps will be.

Now more than ever improving access to care in Canada truly needs all hands on deck. Physician Assistants are versatile, highly competent clinicians who graduate from Canadian university programs that demand academic rigor. However, they are grossly underutilized. Kathleen has begun preliminary discussions with the province of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) to introduce Physician Assistants. As this is the home province of Kathleen’s spouse, she is passionate about integration of Physicians Assistants into the NL healthcare system. She welcomes anyone with this shared interest to reach out to her for further discussions.

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.

DIRECTOR, Prince Edward Island

Erin Sephton, CCPA

Erin Sephton was born and raised in the Maritimes, gaining a BSc in Biology from St. Francis Xavier University, as well as working as a Primary Care Paramedic in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Erin is a 2013 graduate of the McMaster University Physician Assistant program, as well as the current Alternate Director, Nova Scotia. Erin is very passionate about increasing access to health care for Canadians and is eager to begin work as CAPA’s Director PEI.


Andrew Carriere, CCPA

Andrew joined the military as a Med A reservist in 1990 and transferred to the regular force in 1998. He worked as a Med Tech on multiple domestic and overseas deployments and completed his PA training at the Canadian Armed Forces Training Center in 2010.

He has been a practicing Physician Assistant in the CAF for the past 12 years and is currently employed as the PA MOSID advisor


Eric Thomson

I’m a first year PA student at McMaster University. Prior to attending McMaster, I studied Biomedical Sciences at York University. During my time at York, I became interested in the medical applications of bioinformatics and worked on a research project aimed at developing a novel chemotherapy agent. My current clinical interests include internal medicine, infectious disease, and surgery.