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Leadership in Action - Vernissage Health Alumni from 2018 Dialogue Series

We are "looking back" over five years of the Vernissage Health Leaders Dialogue Series and celebrating the success and impact of emerging leaders who are alumni of the series!

During their final stages of IHPME graduate studies, Masters and PhD students with keen interest in leadership - from Health Services Research, Health Informatics, Clinical Epidemiology, Health Administration and Quality Improvement and Patient Safety programs - dig deep to explore what it takes to lead in today's health system. During the series, emerging leaders explore their identity, values, current challenges and aspirations for leadership in health with established leaders who serve as role models and mentors. During the experience, their personal vision and path forward in leadership begins to take shape. They begin "transitioning leadership into practice".

Here are two updates from emerging leaders in the 2018 cohort of the Vernissage Health Leaders Dialogue Series - Royce Jean Louis (MHI) and Jennifer Gutberg (HSR). These emerging leaders reflect on their time in Vernissage Health and the lessons they are bringing into their own leadership practices:

Population Health Informatics Leader - Royce Jean Louis – BSc. MSc. (Masters in Health Informatics)

While completing his undergraduate studies, Royce worked as a research assistant at the University of Ottawa in HIV awareness which developed his desire to continue graduate studies in health informatics. While studying for a Master’s degree, Royce developed a keen interest in population health and use of the MHI program’s “people, process, technology framework” to mitigate the interoperability issues that plague the healthcare sector. Using his background in Population Health and Health Informatics, Royce brings a unique lens to leading system integration and change in organizations and the broader health care system.

Royce now works as a Research Methods Specialist at the Slaight Family Centre for Youth in Transition at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto were he developed and manages multi-user and multi-site clinical databases for internal and external stakeholders with an interest in adolescent psychosis. Royce leads a team that provides data analysis, data visualization and data management support for mental health researchers.

Royce reflects: “During my time at Vernissage Health, I learned a lot about leadership from the established leaders. Their stories had a significant impact on my own leadership practice. In a leadership role at CAMH, I am looked to for guidance because of my expertise. I am constantly reminded of the learnings from our dialogue sessions. One learning that stands out for me is to try not to put pressure on yourself to know everything. It is okay not to know the answer and to tell your team that you are still learning and need time to process the information. This is something I will remember throughout my leadership journey, especially since I am at the nascent stages of my leadership career and the pressure “to know the answers” is significantly pronounced. My time in Vernissage Health did wonders for my self-confidence and helped me shape by own leadership practices. This is an experience I will forever remember.” To learn more about Royce’s career please visit:

Health Systems Research Leader - Jennifer Gutberg - Ph.D. Candidate, Health Services Research, MSc, BA

Jennifer is a PhD Candidate in the Health Services Research program at IHPME, and a Doctoral Fellow with the Health System Performance Network. Her research examines health system transformation across acute and primary care sectors, and Jennifer has a particular passion for studying leadership, organizational culture, and patient safety. Her research is supported by fellowships from the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, as well as the Health System Performance Research Network.

Jennifer has also worked with numerous Canadian healthcare and government organizations as a consultant and facilitator. She has authored or co-authored over 20 peer-reviewed publications, and has over 40 presentations, including national and international conferences, invited talks and symposia, and practitioner- and policy-oriented presentations.

Since the start of COVID, Jennifer has created partnerships with researchers and collaborators across Canada from Quebec to British Columbia, and globally, across the U.S., U.K., Europe, Brazil, and Australia. Currently, Jennifer is working on a series of research projects looking at the “as-yet-unknown longer-term transformations” that COVID will bring to the health system, whether exploring the needs for system resilience and crisis leadership, or the longer-term impacts of COVID- and COVID-related illnesses on patients and providers.

Jennifer reflects, “While I am still completing my PhD studies at IHPME, my leadership journey took me in exciting new directions giving me the chance to draw on the lessons from my time in Vernissage Health. The most important leadership reflections I’ve carried with me from Vernissage Health is that true leadership is authentic, based on relationships and includes your unique experiences and passions. For me, this means leveraging all the meaningful relationships I have built throughout my time at IHPME into an array of exciting, and personally fulfilling projects. I learned how much I enjoy and value connecting with others authentically, and it’s a privilege to convert our shared passions into important work that will improve the health system.” Read more about Jennifer’s career at

Other emerging leaders in the 2018 IHPME cohort included Jonathan Chiu (QIPS), Jill Furzer (HSR) Naheed Jivraj (Clinical Epidemiology), Michael Lebenbaum (HSR), Crystal Milligan (HSR), Haroon Yousuf (Bioethics), Kevin Leung (MHI) and Lee Chapman (MHSc). Stay tuned for updates from alumni in the 2019 cohort next month!

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