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Physician Testimonials

Program for Early Career Health Leaders

Program Design 

The highly rated nine month Early Career Health Leaders Program integrates 1:1 coaching by experienced leaders, who serve as mentors, with the Health Leaders Dialogue Series. 

The experience is offered to Early Career Health Leaders who are enrolled in or recently graduated from a University based graduate program in health and are working full or part time in health leadership.  (Leadership is broadly defined to include leadership positions or roles in health organizations as well as leadership in health advocacy or community development.)  Applications for the 2024 program are NOW OPEN. ​

The program is designed to provide a positive learning experience that includes the following:

  • Evidence based leadership self assessment related to the capacities of effective leaders in early career stages;

  • Readings, reflection and authentic conversation about contemporary leadership in health;

  • One to one coaching and support to progress on leadership development goals. 

At successful completion of the program, participants will be issued proof of enrolment and expense receipts for continuing education and tax purposes.  Physicians are eligible for continuing medical education (CME) credits from both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and the Canadian College of Family Physicians.  Eligibility for CCHL continuing education credits is available. 

2023 Leadership Mentors & Program Faculty

(2024 Mentors being finalized)

Kaiyan Fu, RN CHE CHRP MHSc.

Vice President, Seniors Health and Chief Clinical Executive,

St. Elizabeth Health

Kaiyan is a Registered Nurse, Certified Health Executive and Certified Human Resources Professional. As Vice President, Senior’s Health & Chief Clinical Executive at SE Health, Canada, she provides leadership to leverage best-in-class clinical approaches for defining organizational protocols, standards, and leading practices, monitor quality and safety performance, and implement continuous improvement across all clinical programs with a national scope. Kaiyan also provides executive leadership to more than 10 senior’s living facilities in the provinces of Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario.


Kaiyan’s career path includes Chief Executive Officer at the Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care; Director of Nursing Innovation and Change Management at St. Michael’s Hospital; National Health Services Consulting Manager at Deloitte and Provincial Chief Nursing Officer with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. 


Kaiyan is currently a Board of Governor and a member of the Board’s Quality Committee at North York General Hospital and has served on the Boards of Accreditation Canada, the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and the Canadian College of Health Leaders GTA Executive Committee.  

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Dr. Jocelyn Charles

Family Physician and Medical Director,

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Mentor, Certificate Program for Early Career Leaders

Jocelyn is currently a family physician in the Sunnybrook Academic Family Health Team, the Primary Care Clinical Co-Lead for North Toronto, and the Medical Director of the Veterans Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Her previous leadership roles included Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee and Chief of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Her work has focused on developing patient-centred models of care to meet the needs of patients with complex needs.  She was recently recognized by the College of Family Physicians of Canada as the Family Physician of the Year for Ontario in 2019.

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Dr. Darren Larsen

Experienced Physician Executive

Over his 31 years as a comprehensive care Family Physician, Darren has been involved in many provincial and national Health IT, Quality and Physician Leadership initiatives in Canada. He has contributedt to multiple digital health, primary care and quality commissions for the Ontario Ministry of Health, Ontario Health (Quality, Digital Services and Cancer Care) as well as the Ontario and Canadian Medical Associations.

He is Chair of the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario, Board Director for the federal agency Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, and is a senior fellow at WIHV (Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care). His digital health interests include data analytics, measurement for quality improvement and accountability, physician change and issues of scale and spread. With this interest he also the President of the HIMSS Ontario Chapter and a member of the HIMSS Global Public Policy Committee.

Darren obtained his Bachelor of Science at the University of Alberta, Medical Doctorate at the University of Calgary, did residency at the University of Ottawa and holds a

Masters Certificate in Physician Leadership from York University’s Schulich School of Executive Management.

He is currently self employed as a physician health "informatition" after serving as Chief Medical Director of TELUS Health Care Centres nationally.  He also practices at Women’s College Hospital and teaches at the University of Toronto in the Department of Family and Community Medicine as well as the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation.

Liben Gebremikael

Executive Director

Taibu Community Health Centre 

Liben has over 25 years of experience in the Primary Healthcare Sector, Social Services, Mental Health, and Community Capacity Building and Development field. He has worked as a Social Worker, Child & Family Therapist, Project Coordinator, and Therapeutic Group Facilitator with various primary care and non-for-profit organizations working with racialized and marginalized populations.

Liben has been instrumental in bring community members, partners and other stakeholders together in developing and implementing programs and services that address the impact of anti-Black racism with an Afrocentric lens.


He holds an MA in Migration, Mental Health & Social Care from the University of Kent (UK), A Bachelor Degree in Divinity from the University of London, a Masters Certificate in Healthcare Management from Schulich School of Business. He has completed Community Health Leadership Program at the Rotman School of Management. In 2021, he was awarded a scholarship and has completed the Strategic Perspectives for Non-Profit Organization program at the Harvard Business School


He is an Adjunct Professor at Ontario Tech University, an Assistant Professor at Humber College and has recently taught a special course on Anti-Black Racism and the Health of Black Canadians as a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto Scarborough.





Dr. Joy Richards

Experienced Health Executive

Mentor, Vernissage Health

Dr. Richards is an experienced health care executive and mentor. Recently retired, Dr. Richards was the former Vice-President Patient Experience and Chief of Health Professions at UHN, and most recently VP Health Education Development & Executive-in-Residence at the Michener Institute. Dr. Richards is a Past-President of the Academy of Canadian Executive Nurses (ACEN) and holds academic appointments at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Nursing, and York University Faculty of Nursing. Dr. Richards graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Nursing. She went on to complete a Master of Arts in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara California. Her dissertation focused on exploring and understanding the development and practice of feminine courage in leadership. Dr. Richards has received numerous awards and honours, including becoming a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing as a Fellow (FAAN).

Jake Tran


President and CEO

Toronto Grace Hospital

Jake Tran is the President & CEO at the Toronto Grace Health Centre since 2018.  Jake brings over 23 years of experience as a clinical respiratory therapist in acute care and community settings.  He has experience in complex continuing care, transitional care, wound care, respiratory care, and mental health programs.

Jake holds a Master’s Degree in Science in Community Health from the University of Toronto.  He completed his Advanced Health Leadership Program and International Interprofesional Wound Care from the University of Toronto and is a Ph.D. Candidate from Queens University with interests in Wound Prevention/Care and “successful aging”.

He enjoys many outdoor activities with a keen interest in road-cycling. The longest distance travelled in one-day was 250km—From Markham to Orillia to Barrie to New Market to Markham.  Total hrs on the bike 10 hrs.

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Brian Schwartz, MD, MScCH

Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Decpartment of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto

Brian is Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. From 2009 to 2022 he served in leadership roles at Public Health Ontario, first as PHO’s inaugural Director of Emergency Management Support and later as Vice-President, Science and Population Health.

From 2004 to 2011 Brian served as Scientific Advisor to the Emergency Management Branch of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. He was Vice-Chair of the Ontario SARS Scientific Advisory Committee in 2003, chaired the H1N1 pandemic Ontario Scientific Response Team in 2009 and served as Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table from 2020 to 2022.

Before entering public health Brian practiced emergency medicine for over 30 years in community and academic settings and was Chief of Emergency Services at a community hospital. He held the position of Director of the Sunnybrook Centre for Prehospital Care from 1996 to 2009.  He has educated students, residents and health professionals and published extensively on public health emergency preparedness and response, paramedic care in the prehospital setting, and the intersection of clinical care and public health. [BS1] Brian has received numerous national and international medical leadership awards including most recently the 2023 University of Toronto President’s Impact Award on behalf of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.



Wendy Nelson

Founder and Project Lead, Vernissage Health
Senior Fellow, IHPME

As a experienced executive and mentor, Wendy is founder of Vernissage Health - a leadership development initiative based at IHPME that connects emerging and established leaders together in dialogue about leadership in health. The aim is to develop emerging leaders with the skills and insights to successfully lead positive change in Canada's health system. As a Senior Fellow within IHPME, Wendy's work with Vernissage Health garnered her receipt of the Arbor Award in 2018 for outstanding service to the University of Toronto.

Bringing deep experience, Wendy has served as a senior executive in a broad range of settings in the private and public sectors including North York General Hospital in Toronto, Trillium Health Centre in Mississauga, St. Joseph's Hospital in Hamilton, Rx Canada and the Ontario Public Service.


Wendy is one of a handful of Canadians who are alumni of the Leadership Academy offered through Parker Palmer's Centre for Courage and Renewal in Washington. She is also a graduate of McGill University's International Masters of Health Leadership, a global leadership development initiative.


Dr. Isser Dubinsky, B.Sc., MD, CCFP (EM)

Vernissage Health Co-Lead
Senior Fellow, IHPME


Dr. Dubinsky is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow with the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation (IHPME)  Dr. Dubinsky served as an Associate Director of Hay Group Health Care Consulting from 2004-2016.  Prior to that time, he served as Chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at University Health Network and Chief of Emergency Medicine at North York General Hospital, one of Canada’s busiest emergency departments.  During his tenure as Chief of Emergency Medicine, Isser served on the Medical Advisory Committees, Board and Hospital Executives at both hospitals. 


Dr. Dubinsky is an honours graduate from U of T’s medical program (1975). Following graduation from medical school he had a range of experiences from performing mission work in rural hospitals in Africa to working in small community hospitals in Canada.

Learn more or Apply Now!

To learn more about the 2024 programme, schedule a 1:1 conversation with Wendy Nelson, Founder and Project Lead at

Otherwise plan to join a one-hour online information session on one of the following dates:

  • Wednesday Sept 13, 2023 at 7 p.m. 

  • Tuesday Sept 26, 2023 at noon

  • Wednesday Oct 18, 2023 at 6 p.m.

Register for information sessions at


To apply, please submit the following documentation to

  1. An up to date CV or resume

  2. Completion of Intake Survey 


Contact Us or Register for an Information Session

To learn more about the 2024 programme, schedule a 1:1 conversation with Wendy Nelson, Founder and Project Lead at

Otherwise plan to join a one-hour online information session on one of the following dates:

  • Wednesday Sept 13 at 7 p.m. 

  • Tuesday Sept 26 at noon

  • Wednesday Oct 18 at 6 p.m.

Register for information sessions at

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