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.


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.

Provincial 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.

Provincial Director, Saskatchewan

Todd Bryden, BSc, CD, CCPA

Todd Bryden originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia 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 with a Bachelor of Sciences Degree from the University of Nebraska, 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 and started work with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority with the Department of Surgery in the Section of Urology. Todd is married to his lovely wife Melissa and has 3 children, 7-year-old twins RJ and Olivia and 15-year-old Beth.

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.

Provincial 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.

Provincial 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.

Provincial Director, Québec

Louis-François Robichaud, CD, CCPA

Louis-François is the Interim Provincial Director, Québec for the Canadian Association of Physician Assistants. He was born and raised in Quebec City. Upon completing secondary school, Louis-François enrolled in the Canadian Armed Forces as a medical technician. After having served almost 20 years, he was selected for admission in the Canadian Armed Forces Physician Assistant Education program at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden, Ontario. In 2007 he graduated and was posted to Canadian Forces Base (CFB) in Esquimalt, British Columbia and then subsequently to CFB Borden, Ontario, CFB Bagotville, Québec and CFB Valcartier Québec. Over the past 30 years Louis-François has served in Croatia, Bosnia and Sierra-Leone. He also had the opportunity to work on board Royal Canadian navy ships, in remote locations in Northern Canada and on many military bases across the country. He is presently working at the CFB St-Jean, Quebec.

 Provincial Director, New Brunswick

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.

Provincial Director, Nova Scotia

Christiane Lonergan, CCPA

Christiane was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. She joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979 as a medical assistant. Her medical practice ranged from hospital settings, clinics, recruiting centres, instructor and her most favourite, as the Ship’s Junior Med Tech and Physician Assistant. She participated in Operation Sharp Guard in 1994 and Operation Altair in 2004. Christiane completed her PA Course in 2001. Retired from the Regular Forces in 2007, she continues to serve as a Regional Cadet Medical Liaison Officer for the Cadets Organizations.  She enjoys Fibre Arts, Reading and expanding her home based business. Christiane wishes to promote the PA profession and see it well integrated in the civilian health care system in Nova Scotia and in all of Canada.

Provincial Director, Newfoundland/Labrador

Vincent Lacharité, BHSc (PA), CCPA

Vincent graduated from McMaster’s Physician Assistant program in 2011 and worked critical care in Hamilton for two years prior to moving to Newfoundland. After moving to Newfoundland and finding that PAs were unable to work in the province, Vincent has been working as a PA in remote sites, providing care to individuals at sites generally only accessible by air. A big believer in the use of PAs to provide care in remote and under-serviced areas, including very progressive scopes of practice, he hopes to be able to bring PAs to Newfoundland to help provide better healthcare in the province.

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