Board of Directors

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Allow us to introduce our current Board of Directors.

PRESIDENT

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.

PAST PRESIDENT

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 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 and Education Lead for PAs for the University Health Network (UHN) and has been involved in developing the PA and Medicine pages of the UHN/Michener COVID Care/Critical Care education platform.  Since 2010, she has worked to create 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 on hospital PA policy, creating templates for required documentation to ease the on-boarding process, and working with IT department to facilitate structures PA work flows within electronic medical record systems. Successful integration pathways have supported the steady increase in the number of PAs working at UHN, currently 44 and counting.

Leslie holds a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Epidemiology from McMaster University, and is an advocate for Physician Assistant involvement in research and in teaching.  She has facilitated problem-based learning sessions in neurology and psychiatry for McMaster and has been a tutor for the Health in Community course for University of Toronto Medical School since 2019. 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.

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, 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.

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, 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

Steven Hall, MPAS, CCPA, BN
My medical career began in 2002 upon graduation with a Bachelor of Nursing Degree. My nursing career included working in a variety of acute care settings in both Canada and the US, culminating in working the last 9 years in the Surgical ICU. Initially certified as an ACLS instructor in 2009, I have taught ACLS courses over the years, and provided guest lectures within the ICU program.

After completing the MPAS program at U of M with graduation in 2015, my initial career path began in the Emergency Department at Concordia Hospital where I later transitioned to my present role as a hospitalist. In addition to clinical work, I have had responsibilities with the MPAS program including working with students, formulating exam questions, directing clinical case studies, and guest lecturing. I have had extensive involvement for several years with prospective and current students through the early exposure and shadowing program, clinical rotations, and assessing student interviews and evaluations.

Additionally, I have been a contributor to the Journal of Canada’s PAs, and have recently pursued graduate leadership courses. Lastly, I was a member of the executive with Physician and Clinical Assistants of Manitoba (PCAM) in the role of Grievance Officer, representing and advocating for members.

DIRECTOR, Ontario

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.

DIRECTOR, Quebec

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, 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 Ashley Millham, CCPA, CD
Major Ashley Millham is in his 33rd year of service to Canada as a senior officer in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). He currently serves as Officer Commanding of Banting Company, and CAF Physician Assistant Program Director at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Center (CFHSTC) in Borden, ON. He began his career in the Regular Force in March of 1988 as an armoured crewman. In 1995, Cpl Millham transferred occupations to become a Medical Technician. With domestic deployments for the Winnipeg floods and 1998 Ice Storm, operational tours, and training as an airborne Med Tech, he had opportunities to learn from a variety of experiences and translate that knowledge into training for fellow Med Techs. In 2006, he was awarded a Chief of Defence Staff award for actions during an Improvised Explosive Device attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Progressing through the occupation, he had the opportunity to enter the CAF PA program in 2008. Graduating in 2010, Warrant Officer Millham was recruited to Canadian Special Operation Regiment as a Physician Assistant. There he was able to hone clinical skills and excelled in remote trauma medicine, tropical and travel medicine. He used educational skill to teach other foreign military medical providers. He completed both basic dive medicine and basic aviation medicine courses through the CAF. In 2015, Master Warrant Officer Millham was posted to 1 Canadian Field Hospital as Sergeant Major. In 2016, he deployed to Erbil, Iraq as the Hospital Sergeant Major for the initial deployment of the Role 2 Hospital. In this role, he assisted the initial planning for the deployment by utilising the “glass house” concept. To solve the problem of overfilling space with equipment, he had room outlines taped on the floor and placed the equipment needed, giving planners realistic estimates of equipment capacity in the facility Canada would inherit. The “glass house” model became the primary tool used for final training exercises for hospital staff deploying to Erbil.

After commissioning to rank of Captain, he worked as a company 2nd in command and unit training office prior to being posted to 32 CF Health Services Center, Detachment London as the clinic commander. With COVID-19 forcing multiple rapid military deployments, he planned and executed medical screening and immunization clinics for several hundred Reserve Force soldiers deploying throughout ON and QC.

Upon promotion to Major in 2019, he took his current role as PA Program Director and oversaw the resumption of training for two cohorts of CAF PA students. He is also the program administrator for Heart and Stroke courses conducted at CFHSTC and is an ACLS instructor.

Major Millham has had operational deployments in Cyprus, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Central and South America, Sub-Sahara Africa and Iraq.

He has been happily married to his dedicated wife, Suzanne for 26 years. Their daughters, Belana and Cheyanne, attend University of Ottawa studying business and nursing.

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.