Canadian Medical Association

The Physician Leadership Institute faculty includes physician leaders and industry experts.

Monica Branigan, MD, MHSc

Monica is a palliative care physician and associate professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto. After receiving her masters of health sciences (bioethics) from the U of T Joint Centre for Bioethics in 2002, she taught ethics and professionalism as a clinician educator with U of T’s Faculty of Medicine until 2008. She continues to teach on those topics as part of the CMA Joule faculty, where she is also a trainer for Crucial Conversations.

As the chair of the Canadian Society of Palliative Care Physicians Working Group on Physician-Hastened Death, she presented widely at the national level, sharing the perspective of her palliative care colleagues. Monica contributed to the development of a CMA course on end-of-life care and medical assistance in dying.

Her most recent clinical role has been providing psycho-social-spiritual palliative support to palliative care patients and their families. She is currently exploring how to bring mindfulness and compassion skills to physicians through teaching Self-Compassion for Health Care Communities and offering wellness and resiliency retreats.

Phil Cady, CD, BSW, MA(Leadership), DSocSci

Phil is president of Cognitive Leadership Strategies West and founding partner of the LEADS Learning scholar-practitioner network, bringing leadership and learning opportunities to organizations of all types and sizes around the world.

With a passion for studying, designing and facilitating systems transformation, Phil has provided consulting and coaching on leadership development and strategy formulation for many public and private organizations across the world. He is a certified facilitator of the Human Synergistics organizational performance diagnostics and the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. He is also a Cognitive Edge practitioner and the Canadian master facilitator for Power+Systems workshops and Friday Night at the ER systems thinking simulation.

Phil worked in the health, occupational trauma and wellness fields during his previous career as an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces. Since 1997, he has served as an adjunct professor of leadership in the master of arts in leadership and MBA programs at Royal Roads University. He is also a faculty member for the Conference Board of Canada’s Directors College, serves on several organizational boards and frequently volunteers his services to non-profit and social-mission-driven organizations.

Scott Comber, PhD

Scott has more than 30 years of leadership experience in education, financial, IT, health care and consulting. He established and incorporated two companies of his own before assuming his current role at Dalhousie University, where he is a university teaching fellow with the Rowe School of Business. As a researcher, Scott focuses on health care systems (front-line ownership and applied system complexity approaches), leadership development and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Scott is also president of LeadX, a consulting company that specializes in leadership development and change management. In this role, he works closely with organizations to develop exceptional leaders and facilitate teams through change. He is certified as an executive coach and is an editorial board member of the Canadian Journal of Physician Leadership. 

A keynote speaker, author and award-winning teacher, Scott has been quoted in publications such as The Globe and Mail, Financial Post and Business Week. He holds two master’s degrees (human development and business administration [finance]) and a PhD in human and organizational systems.

Graham Dickson, PhD

Graham is dedicated to developing medical leadership in Canada and globally. He is research advisor to the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders and the Canadian Health Leadership Network. He received the Canadian College of Health Leaders’ Distinguished Leadership Award in 2020.

Graham was principal investigator in a cross-Canada research project to develop the LEADS in a Caring Environment Framework. He is a partner in LEADS Global, working to bring leadership programs to health care organizations worldwide. He has actively worked with the Royal Australasian College of Medical Administrators in Australia and Hong Kong and delivered programs in Brazil, Saudi Arabia, Belgium and India. He is also helping Sanokondu build leadership curricula for residents.

With Bill Tholl, Graham has authored two editions of the Bringing Leadership to Life in Health: LEADS in a Caring Environment books published by Springer. He has written articles on medical leadership and edited two special issues of Emerald journals. He is professor emeritus at Royal Roads University, where he helped develop the Master of Arts in Leadership (Health) program and founded the Centre for Health Leadership and Research. 

Michael Gardam, MD CM, MSc, FRCPC, CHE

Michael is a pioneer in using positive deviance and other approaches based on complexity science to improve patient safety and address complicated medical challenges. He has published more than 120 scientific works and advised numerous organizations around the world, including the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Irish Health Service Executive, as well as several hospitals across Canada. 

Always interested in physician leadership, Michael was chair of the University Health Network’s Medical Advisory Committee and chief of staff at Humber River Hospital. He is currently chief operating officer at Health PEI and program director for the Schulich School of Business Healthcare Leadership Development Program. 

Michael is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in infectious diseases.


Known as “The Doctor’s Doctor” for her focus on physician health and wellness, Mamta is an internationally renowned psychiatrist, consultant, certified coach, author and speaker. She is the founding director of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine Wellness Program, and served as the expert physician advisor to the Canadian Medical Association’s Centre for Physician Health and Wellbeing. She currently chairs the Ontario Medical Association’s Burnout Task Force, and serves as the Wellness Advisor to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Mamta is also keenly interested in physician leadership development and the system-level factors affecting physician wellness. She has hosted podcasts, authored journal articles and written two bestselling books on these topics. In her capacity as CEO of PEAK MD, she delivers keynote presentations, workshops and programs for women leaders in medicine (Momentum and the Raft), coaches senior physician leaders and advises health care organizations globally. 

The recipient of numerous prestigious awards, Mamta was honoured with the designation of distinguished fellow by both the Canadian and American psychiatric associations. She is a past president of the Ontario Psychiatric Association and the Federation of Medical Women of Canada.

Brian Golden, MS, PhD, FCAHS

Brian is a researcher, teacher and advisor in the areas of change management, health system design, leadership and payment models. He is the Sandra Rotman Chair in Health Sector Strategy at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, and co-academic director of Rotman’s Global Executive MBA for Healthcare and the Life Sciences.

Brian co-authored Ontario’s 2013 report on primary care governance and a follow-up report in 2015 looking at a population-based model of primary care delivery based around patient care groups. He stepped down as chair of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in 2010.

Brian has worked as an advisor and director of leadership development programs for many organizations, including Ontario’s Ministry of Health, Britain’s National Health Service, The Hospital for Sick Children, the University Health Network, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

He is the recipient of the Ted Freedman Award for Innovation in Education Award and the CMA’s first Eureka Award for Innovation in Physician Education. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Janice Gross Stein, PhD, FRSC, LLD, MOC

A member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, Janice is currently the Belzberg Professor of Conflict Management in the Department of Political Science and the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an honorary foreign member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. 

The author of more than 80 books, chapters and articles on international security, intelligence, peacemaking and public policy, Janice’s recent publications include Networks of Knowledge: Collaborative Innovation in International Learning, The Cult of Efficiency, Street Protests and Fantasy Parks: Globalization, Culture, and the State and Canada by Mondrian. She is also the co-author of the prize-winning The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar. 

Janice was the Massey Lecturer in 2001 and is a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts for outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She has received honorary degrees from the University of Alberta, Cape Breton University and McMaster University.

Jeffrey Hoch, PhD

Jeffrey is a professor at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, where he is pursuing research on how to make health economics more useful to decision-makers. His research interests also include health services related to cancer, mental health and other issues affecting poor and vulnerable populations. He is chief of the Division of Health Policy and Management with the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis.

An award-winning teacher, Jeffrey has been recognized for his work by Western University and the University of Toronto, as well as by the Society for Medical Decision Making. He has also received a Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term-Care.

Jeffrey received his PhD in health economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. His research has been supported by more than $40 million in grant funding, resulting in more than 200 peer-reviewed articles and 250 invited presentations in 15 countries. He has also contributed to more than 20 book chapters and editorials.

Gillian Kernaghan, MD, CCFP, FCFP, CCPE, LLD

Gillian was the president and CEO of St. Joseph's Health Care, a multi-site academic health care organization serving the London, Ontario, region, from 2010 to 2021. Before assuming this role, she spent 17 years as vice-president, medical, for various hospitals in London. She received the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders’ Excellence in Medical Leadership Award in 2018.

After completing her residency at St. Joseph’s Hospital in 1984, Gillian joined the staff of St. Joseph’s, Parkwood Hospital and the London Health Sciences Centre as a family physician, practising until 2010. She was an associate professor with the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry until 2020. 

Gillian has also served on numerous provincial and national boards and committees. Some of her past positions include co-chair of the Canadian Health Leadership Network, president of the Canadian Society of Physician Executives and member of the board of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). She was also chair of the Catholic Health Association of Ontario and recently completed a six-year term on the board of the Ontario Hospital Association. She is an inaugural board member of Supply Ontario  and a member of the Board of Ontario Health.   

Peter James Kuling, BSc, MSc, MD, FCFP, CCPE

Peter was awarded the CMA’s 2017 Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Advocacy in recognition of his lifelong dedication to health care advocacy. He is a former president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association and, as chair of the CMA Political Action Committee, championed the MD-MP Contact Program, a grassroots lobbying initiative to influence public health care policy. He also oversaw successful campaigns to ban tobacco advertising at sporting and cultural events and to obtain increased funding for health care. 
As a faculty member with CMA Joule and the Ontario College of Family Physicians, Peter delivers programs on advocacy, leadership and best practices. He is also an expert advisor for Accreditation Canada International, delivering education sessions on leadership and quality improvement internationally. 

Peter is an assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Ottawa. He also served as lead physician and unit director for The Ottawa Hospital’s Academic Family Health Team. He is a Canadian Certified Physician Executive and has completed the Advanced Health Leadership Program at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.

Martin Lees, BSc, MD, MSA, PhD

Martin has extensive leadership experience in hospitals and health care systems. He has served on the boards of six hospital corporations and health care agencies and has been involved in many task forces and project groups for government and health care organizations. He has also led several organizations in their quality improvement and patient safety efforts and actively teaches in these areas across Canada. 
In addition to a master’s degree in health care administration and a PhD in management and decision sciences, Martin has certificates in mindfulness and assists people and organizations with resiliency and well-being.

As a clinician, Martin focused on primary care as an emergency medicine physician and urgent care practitioner. As a consultant and a faculty member at two business schools, he advises on change management, leadership, corporate governance, organizational development and strategic planning. Martin has published several articles in peer-reviewed publications and served as a member of the editorial board of Healthcare Management Forum.

Ian McKillop, MASc, PhD, FRSPH

Ian is a management professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo and helps lead Waterloo’s Professional Practice Centre in Health Systems — an innovative industry–university partnership that delivers practical, leading-edge solutions to health care organizations. Ian is passionate about equipping physicians, nurses and managers with the finance and management skills they need to thrive as leaders in Canada’s health system. 

Ian began his academic career in Waterloo’s School of Accountancy, with an interest in the design and audit of health care information systems. After spending a number of years at a leading business school training future certified public accountants, he returned to Waterloo in 2004 as the JW Graham Research Chair in Health Information Systems.

Ian has lived and worked internationally, held senior administrative positions and served in public governance roles. His work on costing and funding in Canada’s health system has contributed to several commissions and government inquiries.

Louise McNaughton-Filion, MD CM, FCFP(EM), CCPE

A Canadian Certified Physician Executive, Louise has provided her expertise to several national, provincial and local initiatives to improve emergency care in Canada. She was an investigating and inquest coroner for many years and held a variety of positions in the Ontario Coroners Association, including a two-year term as its president. In 2010, she was the senior medical advisor for the Internationally Protected Persons (IPP) program for the G8 and G20 summits. 

Louise has held multiple administrative posts during her career, including chief of the emergency department and assistant chief of staff (quality of care) at Ottawa’s Montfort Hospital and emergency department lead for the Champlain Local Health Integration Network. She currently holds an administrative post with the Government of Ontario as well as an academic post at the University of Ottawa. 
Louise received her medical degree from McGill University and completed her residency at the University of Toronto. She has practised emergency and family medicine in both rural and urban settings.

Shazma Mithani, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Shazma Mithani is an emergency physician at the Royal Alexandra and Stollery Children’s Hospitals in Edmonton. She has been working as an adult and paediatric ER physician since graduating from residency from the University of Alberta in 2014. She completed medical school in 2009 at Western University in London, Ontario.

Dr. Mithani has been involved in health advocacy for years, and works with vulnerable patient populations everyday while on shift. Her advocacy work has involved working with municipal, provincial, and federal leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure both the public and hospital capacity were protected. Since then, she has continued to advocate for system wide change at all levels in areas such as emergency department overcrowding, EMS capacity, the drug poisoning crisis, and physician burnout.

Her advocacy outside of the hospital includes public health education through her social media platforms, as well as community initiatives, such as naloxone kit training. Dr. Mithani serves as a director on the boards of the Alberta Medical Association as well as the Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton. 

Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her family, playing ultimate frisbee, playing tennis, running, camping, skiing, and cycling. She is also a self-described foodie and loves supporting local restaurants and businesses. 

Paul Mohapel, PhD

Paul is many things: consultant, lecturer, educator, researcher and facilitator. No matter which hat he is wearing at any given time, he believes effective leadership requires a holistic approach that requires emotional, spiritual, social and systemic thinking skills.

Paul has always been interested in both the biological and social underpinnings of leadership. After receiving his doctorate in psychology from the University of Victoria, Paul worked as a neuroscience researcher for several years at Lund University Hospital in Sweden. He later returned to Canada to pursue a master’s degree in leadership and training at Royal Roads University. 

Drawing on his extensive knowledge of the brain, psychology and leadership, Paul now designs and facilitates workshops in organizational development. He also lectures in the leadership, business and psychology programs at several universities, including Royal Roads. As a consultant, he has helped a wide array of clients — from private corporations to health care organizations — improve individual and organizational emotional intelligence, mindfulness, leadership development, talent management, interpersonal communications and team effectiveness.

Jodi Ploquin, M.Sc., Certified Workplace Traumatologist, CHE

As a medical health physicist who has worked as a change leader in radiation safety, nuclear security, patient safety and physician wellness, Jodi brings diverse experience in health care to the table. She is currently the Provincial Program Manager, Physician Wellness, Diversity and Development at Alberta Health Services.

With a passion for life-long learning and creating engaging opportunities for knowledge exchange, Jodi is certified in adult learning through the University of Calgary where she lectures as the graduate level. She is also trained in quality improvement and patient safety through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

As a change leader, Jodi sat on the expert panel for Healthcare Excellence Canada as a co-creator of the Leading Change Toolkit. Jodi is an ambassador for Canada for the World Institute for Nuclear Security and European Commission on the security of radioactive sources used in medicine.

Supporting physician wellness through the pandemic was a call to action for Jodi, spurring her to become certified in Psychological First Aid through the Canadian Red Cross and to become a Certified Workplace Traumatologist.

In 2022, Jodi’s leadership was recognized with nomination to the University of Alberta Executive Education Program, through which she earned her designation as a Certified Healthcare Executive.

Lisa Richardson, MD

Dr. Lisa Richardson practises General Internal Medicine at the Toronto General Hospital and is the Associate Dean, Inclusion and Diversity, at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine. She is an education researcher at the Wilson Centre with a scholarly focus on how to integrate Indigenous and critical perspectives from the social sciences into medical education.   Dr Richardson is the Strategic Lead in Indigenous Health for Women's College Hospital where she founded Ganawishkadawe – The Centre for Wise Practices in Indigenous Health. She is on Council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and co-chairs the Royal College’s Indigenous Health Committee. Lisa is also a founding executive member of the National Consortium for Indigenous Medical Education and belongs to the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada.

Katherine Stevenson, BA(Hon), BScPT, MSc, PhD

A physical therapist, Kath has primarily worked in the area of health care improvement since 2004, when she joined Saskatchewan’s Health Quality Council. In 2012, Kath launched her own business, the Groundwork Strategy, which provides teaching, coaching and facilitation to individuals, teams and organizations that want to work with technical and relational approaches to improvement in health, education and social care.

Since 2018, Kath has held the position of director of learning and program development for quality and safety with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. She is also a clinical assistant professor with the School of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Saskatchewan and is completing her doctorate in quality improvement and leadership with the University of Jönköping in Sweden.

Her work and research focus on leadership, learning, team development, conflict engagement, quality improvement, safety and interprofessional collaboration. Kath lives in Saskatoon with her partner and their two children, one of whom has complex medical and developmental needs. 

Janelle Syring, BMR (PT), MD - CCFP

Dr. Janelle Syring is a Métis family doctor with roots in the Red River Settlement. She grew up in Winnipeg on Treaty 1 territory and has been living in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) since 2018. She graduated from the University of Calgary Cumming school of Medicine in 2019 and completed her family medicine residency at the UBC Indigenous family medicine program in the downtown east side in 2021. She brings an intersectional feminist lens to her work which includes full spectrum family medicine, low risk obstetrics and harm reduction in Calgary as well as in Yellowknife. When she's not at work you can find Janelle with her husband chasing after her mischievous doodles at the dog park.

Joshua Tepper, MD, FCFP, MPH, MBA

Joshua is a family physician and senior health care executive with a career leading health system policy and innovative change at both the provincial and national levels. 

Joshua has senior health leadership experience in both the public and private sectors including serving as president and chief executive officer of North York General Hospital and before that Health Quality Ontario, a government agency. He has served at senior levels of government including as assistant deputy minister in the Health Human Resources Strategy Division of the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in Ontario and as a senior health advisor at Health Canada. He has been involved in medical association leadership including as vice-president of the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada.

He is a full professor at the University of Toronto and has previously been an adjunct scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and a research consultant for the Canadian Institute for Health Information. He has received several national and provincial awards for his leadership in these positions. 
He has always remained in active clinical practice serving marginalized populations in rural, remote and inner-city settings.

Johny Van Aerde, MD, MA, PhD, FRCPC

Johny has more than 25 years of experience as a neonatologist, first as a clinician-researcher and then in various leadership roles. 

He served as the executive medical director of the Canadian Society of Physician Leaders. He served as medical director of several neonatal intensive care units and the Pediatric Home Nutrition Support Program for Northern Alberta, chair of the Collaborative Practice and Quality Improvement (Neonatology) initiative for Alberta Health Services and regional director of the Northern Alberta Neonatal Intensive Care Program. With a supportive team, he led the integration of the latter program was able to bring together 115 neonatal beds and a follow-up clinic in five different hospitals under one functional umbrella. Johny has also served on many committees for regional, provincial and national organizations.

Johny is Professor Emeritus in Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, and Adjunct Professor at the School of Leadership Studies, Royal Roads University. He holds a PhD in medical sciences and a master’s degree in health leadership studies. He has published 100 peer-reviewed papers, two dozen book chapters and 150 abstracts on topics ranging from neonatal nutrition and metabolism to health system leadership. He is the founding editor of the Canadian Journal of Physician Leadership. He lives in a self-sustainable house where his wife grows food year-round. 

Kishore Visvanathan, MD, FRCSC

Kishore has practised urology in Saskatoon since 1992. He is a graduate of the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, where he is now clinical professor of surgery (urology). He was previously head of the Saskatoon Health Region’s Division of Urology.

Interested in quality improvement and clinical practice redesign, Kishore is the clinical lead for Saskatchewan’s Improving Access to Specialist and Diagnostic Care initiative, working to reduce wait times in the province for specialty care. He also leads Saskatoon Urology Associates’ Advanced Access project, which aims to improve access to specialist consultation. In addition to his clinical work, Kishore chairs Saskatchewan’s Prostate Assessment Pathway, which expedites diagnosis and treatment for men suspected of having prostate cancer.

Kishore teaches the principles and application of quality improvement to health care students and professionals at the University of Saskatchewan as well as at conferences across Canada. Over the years he has authored articles for the Canadian Journal of Urology, CMAJ, Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine and other journals.

Jennifer J. Williams, BSc, MD, FRCPC

Jennifer is a compassionate and trauma-informed gastroenterologist and leader. She is committed to creating healthy work environments to help individuals thrive while improving the quality of health care, enhancing patient experience and outcomes and achieving system sustainability.

A clinical associate professor in the division of gastroenterology and hepatology at University of Calgary, Jennifer has practised gastroenterology for nearly 15 years. She has held numerous leadership roles, including on the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) Board where she was integral in the development of the AMA’s Healthy Working Environments Framework and was a founding member of the Specialty Care Alliance.

In November 2020, she accepted the role of medical representative (south sector), in physician wellness and diversity with Alberta Health Services. She also serves as a collaborator with Well Doc Alberta. In January 2021, Jennifer was appointed Deputy Head (Clinical) at the U of C’s department of medicine. Among her many achievements, she received Chief Wellness Officer Certification through Stanford Medicine WellMD.

Jennifer believes patients cannot be first in a system where employees and physicians come last. She wants to help create health care teams characterized by safety, trust, connection, voice, empowerment and compassion, so that together we can transform health care.

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