Governance

If you ask any of our staff they will tell you we are accountable to the patients and families in the communities we serve. However, we do have a dedicated group of stakeholders that give us guidance and make sure things run smoothly.

Board of Directors

Christopher Dyrda – Chair of the Board

Corporate Director

Photo of Christopher Dyrda - Chair of the Board

Having spent his early years in rural Manitoba, Chris graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelors of Commerce degree (1980) and subsequently from Queen’s University in Kingston (1981) with an MBA in Finance. He went on to enjoy a career spanning almost four decades with the TD Bank Financial Group and as a member of the Senior Management Team was, in his last several roles, responsible for the Business Banking operations in the four western Provinces, the three northern Territories, Ontario District, and Quebec. He earned the ICD.D designation in 2009. Chris has been actively involved in charitable work his entire adult life and is currently is the Chair of the CHEO Research Institute board, a Member of the Investment Committee of the CHEO Foundation, a member of the joint Governance Committee between CHEO Research Institute and CHEO, a member of the Investment Committee at Carleton University and a member of the Finance Committee at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. Additionally, Chris is a twenty year board member of First Nations Bank of Canada, a chartered bank with offices across the country with a major focus in the far north, that caters to the needs of Indigenous peoples, First Nations, and various Indigenous enterprises. Chris and his wife Karen split their time between their home in Ottawa and their lake home outside of Perth, Ontario. They have three adult sons each with wonderful partners.


Lynn van der Linde – Vice Chair

Vice President Advisory Services, Quarry Consulting

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Lynn van der Linde leads an advisory services practice with Quarry Consulting helping corporations, governments, quasi-public and non-profit organizations build and deliver effective transformation strategies. She brings more than twenty years of experience in both private and public sectors, having held various executive positions, including IBM and Canadian Blood Services. Lynn has also held various executive Board of Director positions with Canadian charities, namely Fertile Future – an organization that helps young cancer patients understand their fertility options before undergoing cancer treatments that may render them infertile; as well as The IBD Foundation of Canada – where she helped educate and empower youth and adults afflicted with Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Lynn is also an accredited Sommelier and in her spare time provides wine reviews on behalf of Natalie MacLean. Her most important job though is being the proud mother of two teenage boys. Her oldest son, Max was diagnosed at CHEO with Ulcerative Colitis in July 2012 where she witnessed first-hand the physical, mental and emotional challenges that come with this disease. This understanding fuels her need to help children affected by IBD – and their parents – and ultimately find better treatments that will only come about through continued investment in research. She believes whole-heartedly in the mission of the CHEO Research Institute and is honoured to contribute to this important cause.


Martin Zablocki – Treasurer

Partner at Gowling WLG

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Martin Zablocki is a retired public service executive, having spent 30 years leading a variety of organizations within the Federal Government. Martin continues to provide advice to businesses looking to access government markets globally. Martin has significant experience working in international markets with companies in the infrastructure, aerospace and defence sectors. He also has a notable track record of work with business leaders in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Prior to retiring from the public service, Martin was the President and CEO of Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC). CCC is a Canadian Crown corporation focused on international trade, facilitating approximately $2B in exports to foreign governments on an annual basis. Mr. Zablocki is a Fellow within the Chartered Professional Accounting profession and is a Chartered Business Valuator. Martin has served on a number of volunteer Boards and Committees.


Harry Atkins

Physician, Blood and Marrow Transplant Program, The Ottawa Hospital Scientist, Centre for Innovative Cancer Research, OHRI; Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Ottawa

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Harold Atkins MD is a physician of The Ottawa Hospital Transplant and Cell Therapy Program, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and a scientist in the Center for Innovative Cancer Research. He received his Bachelor of Medical Science degree and Medical Degree from the University of Ottawa followed by a rotating internship year at the Victoria General Hospital in Victoria BC. Specialty training in Internal Medicine was done at the University of Ottawa. Clinical and research fellowships in Hematology, Stem Cell Transplantation and Experimental Hematology followed at the University of Washington and at the Ontario Cancer Institute. He specializes in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and has spearheaded the use of stem cell transplantation for immune repair to treat patients with severe autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, scleroderma, myasthenia gravis and others. The outcome of a trial in Multiple Sclerosis was published in the Lancet in 2016. He ran a clinical trial exploring the role of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in preventing organ transplant rejection. He is a member of a BiocanRx funded, pan-Canadian consortium to develop and improve the accessibility of new chimeric antigen receptor T lymphocytes for the treatment of hematological cancers. He was awarded the OHRI’s Dr. Michel Chretien Researcher of the Year in 2016, the Till and McCulloch Award from the Stem Cell Network in 2017 and was the co-recipient of the Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.


Sylvain Charbonneau

Vice-President, Research, University of Ottawa

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Sylvain Charbonneau was appointed Interim Vice-President, Research, at the University of Ottawa for a term starting July 1, 2017. He previously held the position of Associate Vice-President, Research at the University. Mr. Charbonneau received a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Ottawa and a Ph.D. in Photonics – Semiconductor Physics from Simon Fraser University, B.C. He joined the Institute for Microstructural Sciences at the National Research Council (NRC) in 1988. At the NRC, he led a number of research and development initiatives, including the Canadian Photonics Fabrication Centre and the Printable Electronics flagship program. In late 2000, he co-founded Optenia Inc., an NRC spinoff in the communications technology sector. Mr. Charbonneau has published over 180 papers and has 17 patents and licences in the fields of photonics, nanotechnology and ICT.


Margo Crawford

Founder and CEO, Business Sherpa Group

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Margo Crawford is a Canadian thought leader on small and mid-sized businesses (SMB), including SMB leadership, succession and strategy. She values knowledge sharing and often speaks both as a key note speaker and panelist for national events. As the Founder and CEO of the Business Sherpa Group (BSG), a business management solutions company, she has grown BSG over the past 14 years to support over 400 small and mid-sized businesses throughout Canada and internationally. Prior to BSG, Margo was co-founder of Meriton Networks, an optical telecom start-up, and was instrumental in raising over $75M in equity financing and M&A expansion strategies. She currently sits on the board of the Ottawa Network for Education (Chair of Governance/HR Committee) and CHEO Research Institute and previously served on the boards of Digital Opportunity Trust and the Canadian Museum of Nature Foundation. She is also a member of the ICD Executive Committee – Ottawa Chapter, the Venture Development Committee of Invest Ottawa and the Ottawa Board of Trade SME Council. She mentors several business peer groups as well as individual CEOs. Margo was named Businesswoman of the Year, Women’s Business Network and HR Professional of the Year by the HR Vision Awards.


Natalie Evans

Partner and Head of Assurance at GGFL LLP, Chartered Professional Accountants

photo of Natalie Evans Board of Directors

Natalie Evans is a Partner and Head of Assurance at the Ottawa accounting firm GGFL and is a member of the firm’s Partner Executive Committee. She joined GGFL in 2001 and during the past 20 years has worked with clients and families in a wide range of industries, to provide tailored advisory services to owner-managed businesses. She was named a GGFL partner in 2016 and the firm’s Head of Assurance two years later. Natalie also served for seven years as Treasurer and executive board member of The Ottawa Food Bank. As a Partner in a public accounting firm and a business owner, she brings extensive business and accounting expertise to the CHEO Research Institute’s diverse governance team. A mother of two, Natalie is proud to be contributing to the CHEO RI mission and the opportunities in medical advancements it brings to families for both life-changing and life-saving opportunities.


Watson Gale

General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer, CHEO

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Watson Gale is CHEO’s General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer. Watson brings over 30 years of experience in law and executive management to his role together with an extensive background in governance. Watson has a business background and a long history of working with not-for-profit and charitable organizations, including being on the board of directors of several key organizations in Ottawa. In addition to practicing law in Ontario, Watson was called to the bar in both Nunavut and the Northwest Territories and has a strong interest in Canada’s amazing northern regions.


Parm Gill

Serial Entrepreneur

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Mr. Parm Gill is a serial entrepreneur with a myriad of start-up experience having launched several technology businesses over his career. As Managing Partner of the Gill Group, he acts as a strategic advisor, mentor, investor, and connector for start-up companies. He brings with him the experience and expertise of guiding the growth and development of numerous startup companies, with a focus on strategic planning, business development, fundraising, and intellectual property development and commercialization. His passion for entrepreneurship is equally matched by his passion for giving back to the community through active involvement with a number of charitable and non-profit organizations. You can find out more about him at LinkedIn.com/in/ParmGill, where he can also be contacted, and he can be found on Twitter @ParmSGill


Don Husereau

Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Senior Scientist, University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology in Hall, Tirol Austria

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Don Husereau is a Senior Associate with the Institute of Health Economics. He is also an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at The University of Ottawa and Senior Scientist at the University for Health Sciences, Medical Informatics and Technology in Hall in Tirol, Austria. He is a former Director and Senior Advisor with the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH). Don’s current research focuses on the value of health system innovation and the use of evidence and economics to inform health policy based on sound principles of social justice, epistemology, and judgment and decision-making. This includes work on science policy and mechanisms to value and manage innovation that benefits innovators, public policy makers/administrators and academics/researchers. He is currently Chair on an International Task Force that has developed consolidated health economic evaluation reporting standards (CHEERS) that is now endorsed by leading biomedical and health policy journals. Don formerly served on the Board of Directors for the International Society of Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) and is a former Editorial Advisor for their biomedical journal, Value in Health. He is also an Editorial advisor for Pharmacoeconomics and the general interest journal BMC Medicine and serves on both the pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR) Expert Review Committee (pERC) and Ontario Committee to Evaluate Drugs. Don received both his BSc in Pharmacy (1993) and his MSc (2000) from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Kevin Keohane

President and CEO, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation

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Kevin Keohane is the President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation. Kevin spent 20 years with the Ottawa Citizen prior to joining the CHEO Foundation as Vice President, Development & Corporate Relations in 2001. In 2011, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer and was subsequently appointed as President and CEO at the end of 2012. Kevin is also a member of the Canadian Children’s Hospital Foundation Executives (CCHFE) and the CHEO Foundation’s lead representative with Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).


Sapna Mahajan

Director, Genomics in Society, Genome Canada

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Sapna Mahajan is an executive leader with more than 15 years of national and international experience in the health field, specifically leading public affairs, research, policy, and program implementation. She is currently the Director of Genomics in Society at Genome Canada responsible for providing strategic leadership to enhance awareness of genomics across the country and bridge the research-policy nexus. For more than a decade, she was Director of Programs and Priorities at the Mental Health Commission of Canada, where she led ground-breaking work in the areas of workplace mental health, peer support, e-mental health, and suicide prevention. In 2018, she was recruited to spend two years at Treasury Board Secretariat leading government-wide efforts in the areas of diversity, inclusion, mental health, and wellness. Prior to joining the Commission, Sapna worked at the Queen’s Center for Health Services and Policy Research, as well as the William J Clinton Foundation and the Centre for International Health and Development. Sapna holds a Masters in International Public Health – Health Policy and Management from Boston University. She is a Canadian Healthcare Executive and a Project Management Professional. In 2015, she was chosen to participate in the Governor General Canadian Leadership Conference. She is an active community member volunteering with several charities and not for profit organizations, including as a Board member of the Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre and Mindful Employer, founding member of the Guardian Council for the United Kingdom based organization Togetherall, and as an International Expert Advisory Committee member for Aga Khan University’s Brain and Mind Institute.


Lindy Samson

Chief of Staff, CHEO

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Dr. Lindy Samson is the Chief of Staff and Chief Medical Officer at CHEO. Appointed in April 2016, she is responsible for organizing the activities of the medical staff and for ensuring the quality of clinical care and patient safety. In addition, she is a staff physician in the Division of Infectious Diseases, she holds an academic appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine and is a Clinical investigator at the CHEO Research Institute. Her academic and research work is focused on pediatric HIV, the impact of social on the health of children and youth and teaching/evaluating the Health Advocate and Leadership Roles across the continuum of learners.


Lucie Thibault

Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

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Lucie Thibault, PhD, is professor and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Ottawa in Ontario, Canada. She has worked at Brock University, at The University of British Columbia, and has been a visiting scholar at the Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen and at the RheinAhr Campus of Koblenz University of Applied Sciences. In 30 years of teaching, Lucie has taught organizational theory, ethics in sport, globalization of sport, governance and policy, and social issues in sport. Lucie serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Sport Policy and Politics as well as the European Sport Management Quarterly. She has previously held the role of editor of the Journal of Sport Management. She is a member of the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) and was named a NASSM research fellow in 2001. In 2008, Lucie was awarded the Earle F. Zeigler Award from NASSM for her scholarly and leadership contributions to the field. Her research interests lie in the formation, management, and evaluation of cross-sectoral partnerships in sport organizations. She also investigates the role of the Canadian government in sport excellence and sport participation and government involvement in developing sport policy. She has been an invited speaker featuring her research in many conferences around the world. Her research has appeared in numerous scholarly journals such as the Journal of Sport Management, International Review for the Sociology of Sport, Journal of Sport and Social Issues, Human Relations, Leisure Studies, European Sport Management Quarterly, International Journal for Sport Policy and Politics, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. She is co-editor of Contemporary Sport Management (2018, Human Kinetics) and Sport Policy in Canada (2013, University of Ottawa Press).


Mark Walker

Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Ottawa Hospital

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Dr. Mark Walker earned his Medical Degree from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario (1993). His Residency Training in OB/GYN was completed at the University of Ottawa, Ontario (1998); followed by this Fellowship in Maternal-Fetal Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 2003, Dr. Walker earned a Master of Science in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. He recently graduated from Harvard University with a Masters in Health Care Management. Dr. Mark Walker is a high risk Obstetrician and Clinical Epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa. He has published over 250 per reviewed articles and has made a significant impact in our understanding of folic acid in pregnancy, and thrombophilia in pregnancy. Dr. Walker is highly involved in public policy at the provincial and national levels advocating for women and children’s health. Since joining TOH in 2000, Dr. Walker has held several positions including Fellowship Director for Maternal Fetal Medicine and working closely with the Department of Medicine for the promotion of medical disorders awareness in prenatal care. Dr. Walker’s leadership roles include Chief and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Newborn Care at The Ottawa Hospital and University of Ottawa, the scientific Director and co-director of BORN (Better Outcomes Registry and Network), and the Medical Lead for Obstetrics and Gynecology for the Champlain Maternal Newborn Regional Program. He held a Tier 1 Chair from the University of Ottawa in Perinatal Research. He is co-founder of the OMNI Research Group (Obstetrics & Maternal Newborn Investigations) at The Ottawa Hospital.

Research Strategy and Management Team 

Jason Berman

Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director

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Dr. Jason Berman is the CEO and Scientific Director of the CHEO Research Institute and Vice President Research at CHEO. He is also a Full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. Previously he served as Associate Chair, Research, Department of Pediatrics, and Professor of Pediatrics, Microbiology & Immunology and Pathology at Dalhousie University and interim Vice President Research, Innovation and Knowledge Translation for the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He has overseen the pediatric leukemia program for the Maritimes since 2005 and chairs an international clinical trial for children with Down syndrome and myeloid leukemia. He is internationally recognized for pioneering research using zebrafish to study childhood cancers and rare inherited diseases. His laboratory has served as the Atlantic node of the Centre for Drug Research and Development and a national hub for zebrafish modeling of orphan diseases. He has been co-chair of the C17 Childhood Cancer Network Developmental Therapeutics Committee and Director of the Clinician Investigator Program and Medical Research Graduate Program at Dalhousie. He is president of the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation, vice president of the Canadian Hematology Society and a founding member of the Canadian Rare Disease Models and Mechanisms Network.


Rhonda Correll

Chief Operating Officer

Rhonda Correll has been the Chief Operating Officer at the CHEO Research Institute since 2008. Prior to this, she was the founding Director of Operations for the CHEO Research Institute Clinical Research Unit (CRU). Her background in Nursing and Project Management of large multi-site clinical trials has helped CHEO Research earn an internationally respected reputation. In her role as Chief Operating Officer, Rhonda oversees all areas of the Office of Research Services. Additionally, she is responsible for the management of space allocation, risk management, research appointments and coordination of the conflict of interest program. She is also responsible for supporting the Governance and Nomination Committee of the CHEO Research Institute Board of Directors. Key to her role is the planning and execution of the CHEO Research Strategic Plan.


Chris St. Germain

Chief Financial Officer, CHEO Research Institute

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Chris is the Chief Financial Officer of the CHEO Research Institute. He is a Chartered Professional Accountant (Chartered Accountant) with more than 30 years of work experience. For over twelve years, Chris has provided leadership of the organization with the assistance of the Finance Officers and is responsible for the financial operations including budgeting, monthly financial reporting, year-end financials, and reporting to the Board of Directors. In addition to the financial operations, he assists researchers with potential commercialization opportunities. Chris began his career at Deloitte where he came a Trustee in Bankruptcy and assisted companies’ turnaround from financial distress. Following his work from Deloitte, he has worked with many different organizations and industries on a part-time basis as a Chief Financial Officer. These organizations include not-for-profit entities, private enterprises, publicly traded companies, and high net worth individuals.


Lisa Carter

Manager, Health and Safety

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Lisa Carter has over 25 years’ experience in Health and Safety, Disability Management, Training and Development and Change Management. Currently Lisa is responsible for the development of CHEO RI best practice standards for effective occupational health and safety management systems and auditing, accident prevent, hazard analysis, risk management & mitigation. Lisa is committed to staying ahead of emerging needs, knowledge and trends, developing forward-thinking safety solutions ensuring the workplace is in compliance with all applicable federal and provincial regulations. Lisa always takes a collaborative management approach in the development and implementation of safety programs such as biosafety, biosecurity, hazardous material management, industrial hygiene, radiation, ergonomics and emergency preparedness. Lisa began her career as an Employment Equity Consultant and Program Director establishing training, development and recruitment programs for Indigenous Women. Lisa’s diverse skillset was further developed in the 20 years working for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board where she was responsible for the design and implementation province wide safety audits for the Health Care Sector and the development mitigation strategies for large multisite Corporations.


Samira Chamaa

Manager, Grants and Pre-Awards

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Samira Chamaa is the Manager of Grants and Pre-Awards with more than 15 years of experience specializing in the health research sector. She is responsible for the direction and overall management of pre-award grant and award administration, and post-award non-financial administration. She provides leadership for incorporating national best practices into institutional policies and procedures to ensure compliance with agency terms and conditions, and Institutional policy. Samira works with scientists, clinical researchers, trainees, administrative and finance teams to support the successful application and administration of research grants. From major competitions to internal grant programs, Samira advises and assists researchers at all levels of their careers to receive the essential funding that will propel health research forward. Prior to joining the CHEO Research Institute in 2011, Samira worked at the University of Ottawa and the Ottawa Heart Institute supporting basic science, translational, clinical and industry sponsored research projects, contracts and educational programs.


Megan Radmore

Manager, Contracts Office

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Megan Radmore is an in-house lawyer (J.D.) and Manager of the CHEO Research Institute’s Contracts Office. Previously, Megan built a regulatory, advertising and commercial law practice in the health and food sectors at a top-tier, international law firm, Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP. In recent years, she has lectured at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, and authored and contributed to a number of publications. She has also worked in corporate law, and spent a year advising Ottawa’s entrepreneurs and innovation community. In her academic studies, Megan conducted extensive research on the intersections between global trade, intellectual property and access to medicines, and participated in Open AIR, a global, collaborative research network that uncovers insights about access to knowledge. She was also the recipient of a Social Justice Fellowship, and conducted human rights advocacy for a term in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. At CHEO Research Institute, Megan’s team of lawyers/contracts specialists support research by drafting, negotiating, reviewing and managing all legal agreements between the Institute, and its governmental, institutional and industry partners. When Megan isn’t hard at work, she is a proud parent supporter of CHEO, as a busy mom/wife to a young family.


Sabrina Hamer

Manager, Quality Assurance & Regulatory Compliance

Sabrina has 19 years clinical research experience with more than half of her experience in regulated clinical trials. Sabrina joined the CHEO RI team in 2016 as part of the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Compliance Program. Sabrina has vast knowledge in the areas of quality assurance, clinical trial management, Good Clinical Practice, Health Canada and FDA regulations, and other international best practice guidelines. Sabrina aims to provide the best support and service to the research community, and works collaboratively with various departments to navigate the complex and ever changing regulatory environment.

Annual Reports

The Annual Report 2020

Click here to view the 2020 CHEO Research Institute Annual Report – Nimble.

The Annual Report for 2019

Past annual reports are available upon request. Please email Michelina Sicoli at [email protected]