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Board of Directors

Updated July 2016

On June 28, 2016, the Annual General Meeting of the Niagara Health Corporation was held, and the following four Directors were reappointed for a second term of three years: (click on name for photo and bio information)

Contact information:
Danielle Dube
905-378-4647, ext. 43103

Board Executive:
John MacDonald -
Chair, Board of Directors

John Bragagnolo -
Vice-Chair, Board of Directors

Ken Kawall – Treasurer

Dr. Suzanne Johnston – Secretary (ex officio role held by the President)

Board Committees:
Quality Committee
Larry Boggio -Chair
Marti Jurmain - Vice-Chair

Governance Committee
John Bragagnolo –
Bunny Alexander - Vice-Chair

Resources & Audit Committee
Ken Kawall – Chair
Cathy Sutherland – Vice-Chair

Ad-Hoc Strategic Planning Committee
John MacDonald – Chair

Medical Advisory Committee (ex officio role always held by the Chief of Staff)
Dr. Tom Stewart, Chair

Marti Jurmain

Cathy Sutherland

Larry Boggio

Murray Paton

The following Directors are continuing to 2017 (serving an initial three-year term, and eligible for reappointment in June 2017):

John MacDonald

Barry Wright

Ken Kawall

Bunny Alexander

The following Directors are continuing to 2018 (serving a second term for a period of 3 years), and eligible for reappointment in June 2018:

John Bragagnolo

Robert Tiffin

Dr. Ronald Mergl

Charles Rate

The following Ex-officio Members are continuing to 2016:

President – Suzanne Johnston

Chief Nursing Executive (and Executive Vice-President) – Derek McNally

Chief of Staff (and Executive Vice-President, Medical) – Dr. Thomas Stewart

Board Officers 2016/17

Immediately following the Annual General Meeting, the Niagara Health Board of Directors approved the following Officer Appointments for 2016/17:

Board Chair – John MacDonald

Board Vice-Chair – John Bragagnolo

Treasurer – Ken Kawall

President and Secretary – Suzanne Johnston

Board Standing Committee Appointments 2016/17

In addition to the 12 Independent Directors serving on the Niagara Health Board of Directors, three non-Board Committee Members were reappointed as the Board approved the Standing Committees for 2016/17. 

These individuals are:  Mario DeDivitiis, Michael Lethby and Ashleigh Miatello-Skrubbeltrang.  The Board’s Standing Committees consist of the Governance Committee, Quality Committee and Resources and Audit Committee.

Community Advisory Committee

The Community Advisory Committee will continue to report to the Board of Directors through the Governance Committee.  This Committee was established to ensure linkages to the community. This important point of contact speaks to the organization’s commitment to enhancing community engagement and two-way dialogue about important decisions and developments regarding the hospital. The Committee is made up of 10 individuals from across the region, and is chaired by Niagara Health Board Member, Larry Boggio, and is also represented by Niagara Health Board Member Marti Jurmain.

Committee Members are:

John Bullivant, Rose Dzugan, Liz Froese, Greg Furtney, Richard Martinelli, Joy Russell, and John Storm. 




Our Board of Directors is comprised of dedicated volunteers from across the Niagara region. This diverse group is dedicated to ensuring the Niagara Health System delivers high quality, safe, sustainable care and is accountable to the community. 

The Board is made up of the following individuals.
Please see below for photos and bio information.

Bernice (Bunny) Alexander

Larry Boggio

John Bragagnolo

Marti Jurmain

Dr. Ron Mergl

Ken Kawall

John MacDonald

Murray Paton

Charles Rate

Cathy Sutherland

Rob Tiffin

Barry Wright

Dr. Suzanne Johnston(ex-officio)*

Dr. Thomas (Tom) E. Stewart (ex-officio)*

Derek McNally (ex-officio)*

Dr. Parminder Brar (ex-officio)*


Board of Directors, Niagara Health – Biographies

Volunteer Community-based Directors:


Bernice (Bunny) Alexander is a retired human resources professional, specializing in organizational development, as well as a registered nurse, having worked many years as a clinical manager at the Welland Hospital prior to the amalgamation of the Niagara Health System in 2000. Bunny then worked as Senior Consultant, Organizational Development with responsibility for employee and leadership development, employee recognition, performance development and student and volunteer resources. In her retirement, Bunny has held numerous volunteer positions, and has served as Vice-Chair of the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Community Care Access Centre Board of Directors. She is currently a member of the City of Welland Senior Citizens’ Advisory Committee and is a member of the HNHB LHIN Regional Palliative Care Program Council , in addition to volunteering with Hospice Niagara. Bunny and her family reside in Welland.

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Larry Boggio  is a practicing community Pharmacist and owner of Boggio's Pharmacy Ltd. A graduate of the University of Toronto's Pharmacy Program, Larry has a 35-year history as a Pharmacist and business owner, having grown his business from one to four stores in four communities across Niagara - Fonthill, Niagara Falls, Ridgeway and Port Colborne. He now proudly employs over 150 individuals across these communities. His volunteer governance experience includes Past President of the Ontario College of Pharmacists, Elected District Member of the College of Pharmacists' Council, Board Member of Bridges Community Health Centre, and Board Member and Past Chair of Port Colborne Community Living. Larry supports many community organizations, including the South Niagara United Way, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Port Cares, Showboat Theatre and The Port Colborne Operatic Society. Larry and his family reside in Port Colborne.
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John Bragagnolo is the General Manager of Pen Centre in St. Catharines and has twenty five years’ experience in the property management industry. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Physiology and Pharmacology) from the University of Western Ontario and has completed many Master in Business Administration level courses. He holds a certificate in Human Resource Management from Queen’s University and a certificate in Performance Excellence from the Disney Institute. John has a particular interest in the areas of customer service, human resources and performance excellence. John has served in many senior volunteer positions, including past Chair of the Board of the Timmins and District Hospital, past executive member of the St. Catharines General Hospital Foundation and was Chairman of the New Garden City Complex Advocacy Committee. He currently serves on the New Garden City Spectator Facility Fundraising Committee and is a member of the Niagara Labour Market Planning Committee. John and his family reside in St. Catharines.
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Marti Jurmain is an experienced educator and administrator with over thirty-five years in the Ontario College system. Marti is recently retired as the Director of Research and Innovation at Niagara College, and has proven experience and interest in strategic planning, quality assurance and performance measures. She was founder and Director of the New Product Development Division at Niagara College, which involved the development of new academic programs and the opportunity to work with several regional health service agencies. She holds a Master of Arts, English Language and Literature from the University of Western Ontario. Marti has served as a volunteer on numerous committees and fundraising initiatives in the Niagara Region, including Chair of the Niagara Region Cancer Campaign, President of the St. Catharines YMCA, and currently member of the Niagara Health Board of Directors. Marti and her family reside in St. Catharines. (back to top)


Dr. Ron MerglDr. Ron Mergl has over 31 years of experience as a veterinarian and is owner, with his wife June, of the Niagara Falls Animal Medical Centre. Ron graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College in 1985 with a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree after completing a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Guelph in 1980. Ron also holds a Master’s of Science degree from Brock University (2010) which focused on zoonotic infections (those diseases that are passed from animals to people). Ron has served on numerous boards and his past voluntary governance experience includes President of the Rotary Club of Niagara Falls, Assistant Governor of Area 8 District 7090 of Rotary International, Director with Veterinarians Without Borders Canada, and board member of the Greater Niagara General Hospital, St. Andrews United Church, and Beacon Christian School. Ron spent the last year as a member of Niagara Health’s Quality Committee. Ron and his family reside on a farm in Fenwick.

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Ken KawallKen Kawall has over twenty years’ experience in the private and public sector, as an innovative change leader in customer service, operations, financial management and technology.  He is currently the Chief Technology and Innovation Officer for the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board providing strategic direction and leadership for information management and technology solutions as a key component of enterprise-wide business transformation. Prior to this he served as Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Financial Services and Systems with the Ministry of Government Services, Ontario Public Service and as the Chief Information Officer with the Ministry of Transportation. Private sector experience includes Executive positions with Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, Scotiabank, CUMIS Group, Union Gas and UPS Canada. Ken holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Western Ontario and an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo. He is also a Chartered Professional Accountant. Ken is currently Treasurer with Ontariogreen Conservation Association and has served as President and Chair of the Board of the Oakville Arts Council, as a member of the Town of Oakville’s Cultural Advisory Committee and Treasurer and Director of the Trafalgar Township Historical Society. He and his family now reside in Vineland.
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John MacDonaldJohn MacDonald is the former Chief Administration Officer for the City of Niagara Falls, having been responsible for the planning, control and management of City government initiatives, and all Corporate and Administrative Divisions. John’s professional career with the City of Niagara Falls spanned over a period of 32 years. Prior to becoming CAO, John was the Executive Director of Community Services. In his retirement, John remains active as the National Director with the Anglican Network in Canada, providing leadership and oversight to all operational and administrative activities. John holds a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Western Ontario, and a Bachelor of Recreation and Leisure Studies from Brock University. He has been involved on various community board service and fundraising organizations and has been a member of the Niagara Health Board since 2013. John and his family reside in Niagara Falls. (back to top)


Murray PatonMurray Paton 

is a retired lawyer who spent most of his  44- year legal career as a Partner of McCarthy Tetrault, Toronto, where he practiced Business Law and held numerous leadership positions with the firm.. Murray also served as General Counsel of the 407 ETR Group, where as a member of the Executive Team , he advised on  business matters, infrastructure, government relations and  corporate governance. He most recently served as Counsel To Walker Sorensen L.L.P , Toronto, a business law firm focused on  the financial services industry. Murray is a former Director and past Chair of the Conduct Review Committees of two federally-regulated Canadian insurance companies , Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada and Temple Insurance Company, and a former Board member and past Chair of Halton Healthcare Services, a multi-site Ontario hospital.  He currently serves as a Member of the Independent Review Committee overseeing conflicts of interest for The Bank of Nova Scotia’s public mutual  funds. Murray is a member of the Institute of Corporate Directors and holder of the Professional Director designation. He and his wife reside in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

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Charles RateCharles Rate is Executive Vice-President of SNC-Lavalin responsible for the company’s Operations and Maintenance (O&M) division. His career includes project management, engineering and construction roles on major crown projects in the defence and telecommunications sectors and on infrastructure development projects in Canada, Asia and Europe. He has extensive experience in the implementation of social and transportation infrastructure P3 projects across Canada. As President and CEO of SNC-Lavalin, O&M he is responsible for SNC-Lavalin O&M’s conventional operations and maintenance activities and P3s in the real estate, power, airport, industrial, marine and transportation sectors including asset management, operations and maintenance, project management, energy and environmental management, and logistics support. Charlie is a Professional Engineer, registered in Ontario and is a member of the Institute for Corporate Directors. He sits on a number of boards and committees, including West Park Healthcare Centre, as well as the boards of Protrans BC and CANCAP. Charlie is a resident of Niagara-on-the-Lake. (back to top)


Cathy Sutherland is a Financial Executive and Chartered Accountant. Cathy’s professional experience lead her to Home Capital Group Inc/Home Trust Company, where she spent several years in the finance division, and later becoming the Senior Vice President, Finance. Her responsibilities included chief financial advisor to the Chief Executive Officer, President and Audit Committee of the Board. Cathy is a guest lecturer at Brock University, speaking on issues related to women in business, financial services, human relations and job recruitment. In addition to achieving her CA designation with the Ontario Institute of Chartered Accountants, Cathy holds an Honors Business Administration degree from Brock University. She is also a Board member with Hamilton Health Sciences Volunteer Association where she currently sits as Chair of its Board Development Committee. Cathy is retired and she and her husband reside in Welland. (back to top)


Rob TiffinRob Tiffin has over 40 years of experience in senior administrative positions at The University of Western Ontario, Brock University and York University where he served as the Vice-President Student Affairs prior to his retirement in 2012.  In this role Rob lead a team of professionals that provided academic and co-curricular support services to 55,000 undergraduate and graduate students.   Rob has served on the Boards of Governors and Academic Senates of four universities as well as on the executive of several provincial, national and international professional organizations.  He has an in-depth understanding of educational policies, standards and practices in a variety of international educational jurisdictions.  Rob has a comprehensive understanding of governance and financial management in the non-profit sector, the role of government relations, fund raising, complex funding models, strategic planning as well as the establishment and monitoring of measureable performance standards in a service oriented environment. Rob continues to maintain a private consulting practice engaging with colleges, universities, government agencies and the private sector. He has continued his commitment to enhancing post-secondary educational opportunities for students with disabilities by serving as the inaugural President of the Tamara Gordon Foundation (back to top)


Barry Wright is the Interim Dean of the Goodman School of Business, Brock University. Barry holds a Ph.D. from Queen’s University (specializing in organizational behaviour), a Master’s degree from Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Alberta. Barry’s academic research focuses on understanding and solving leadership challenges, change and its influence on organizational members, and creating effective work environments. Prior to joining Brock, Barry was Associate Professor at the Schwartz School of Business and Information Technology at St. Frances Xavier University in Nova Scotia. Barry is a member of the board of Leadership Niagara. Barry and his family reside in St. Catharines.  (back to top)



Ex-Officio Directors:

Dr. Suzanne Johnston President of Niagara Health SystemSuzanne Johnston serves as the President Niagara Health. She has more than 30 years of leadership experience in health care and government.  Prior to joining Niagara Health in 2014, Suzanne was the Vice President, Clinical Programs and Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Health, in British Columbia. Dr. Johnston obtained both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of New Brunswick and completed her doctoral studies at the University of Arizona. Suzanne is a Fellow in the Wharton Nurse Executive Program, a member of the College of Registered Nurses of Ontario, and Assistant Clinical Professor in the Health Sciences Faculty, School of Nursing McMaster University.

Suzanne was the recipient of the 2016 Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Community Leadership Award, serves as a Director on the Niagara College Board of Governors and is a Community Member - Governance Committee for YMCA of Niagara. 

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Dr. Thomas StewartDr. Thomas (Tom) E. Stewart Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President completed his MD with honors at the University of Ottawa in 1988. He went on to do a fellowship in Internal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto followed by research training in Paris, France and Toronto. He is currently a Professor of Medicine and Anaesthesiology at the University of Toronto and previously worked as a Critical Care Physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network. Dr. Stewart has held a number of leadership roles including: Physician-in-Chief (2009-2013) and Chief Clinical Officer (2010-2013) at Mount Sinai Hospital, Director of Critical Care Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital (1998-2009) and the University Health Network (2002-2009).  He was a key developer and implementer of Ontario’s Critical Care Strategy, having served as Chair of the provincial Critical Care LHIN Leader Table for several years while it underwent significant change. As an academic, he has received multiple honors, awards and grants and has published numerous peer-review articles and book chapters as well as being an accomplished speaker at several national and international forums. In his role as Physician in Chief and Chief Clinical Officer at Mount Sinai, Dr. Stewart championed a number of innovative initiatives to improve efficiency, patient experience, safety, cost-control and flow. Dr. Stewart has also led an initiative to train leadership and management skills to clinicians nationally and internationally.  In his current role, Dr. Stewart is Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President Medical at Niagara Health as well as Chief of Staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton.  In this role, Dr. Stewart is playing a key role in leading the medical staff and executing the strategic plans at both organizations, as well as working together to create a more integrated system of care.

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Mr. Derek McNallyAs Executive Vice President, Derek returned to the NH in the position Executive Vice President, Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Executive, effective Monday, February 24, 2014.  In this role Derek  acts as executive lead for the clinical portfolios. He is tasked with helping to optimize our performance as we strive for a great patient experience and excellence of culture, quality and safety, staff and physician engagement, and financial stewardship, working with the other members of the Executive Team.

 Derek is rejoined the NHS after serving as Executive Vice President, Clinical Programs at Markham Stouffville Hospital. Previously Derek was Vice President, Patient Services & Site Lead and Chief Nursing Officer at the Greater Niagara General Hospital at Niagara Health System, where he distinguished himself by dramatically changing the performance and perception of his site. Previous to NHS and Markham, Derek has also held senior leadership positions at Trillium Health Centre, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the Hospital for Sick Children.   

Derek began his career as a front-line nurse in Glasgow, Scotland and has continued to be a strong and vocal advocate for great patient care. 

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Dr. BrarDr. Parminder Brar, President, Niagara Health Medical Staff Association, 

is a Consultant Pediatrician who has also had a primary care pediatric practice in St. Catharines for over two decades. He moved to Niagara after completing his residency in Pediatrics from Saskatoon and has made St. Catharines his home since 1993. He has been a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of Niagara Health since its inception in 2000. In years past he has also served as Chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee of the Haldimand, Niagara, Hamilton, Brant LHIN. During his residency training he also served as the Secretary Treasurer of the Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Saskatchewan and as the representative of the Canadian Association of Interns and Residents to the Canadian Medical Association Council for Health Education.

Dr. Brar was the first Regional Chief of Pediatrics of the Niagara Health System from 2000 -2013 and had the responsibility of melding the three pediatrics departments of the hospitals in St. Catharines, Niagara Falls and Welland, each with distinct cultures, into one cohesive functional unit.

As the Co-Medical Director of the NHS Maternal Child Program, Dr. Brar was involved in all aspects of the operation of, and planning services delivery for the program, including developing clinical standards protocols, utilization management, program accreditation, recruitment and retention of medical staff, budgeting, fund raising, pandemic planning, continuing medical education and as a liaison to various internal and external stakeholders. (back to top)