Our leadership team provides senior oversight and direction to PHO’s
- public health science functions: communicable diseases, infection prevention and control, environmental and occupational health, health promotion, chronic disease and injury prevention, and emergency preparedness and response
- public health laboratory functions: science and operations
- research, information and knowledge services
- corporate functions: strategy and stakeholder relations, finance, procurement, human resources, facilities and legal and privacy
President and Chief Executive Officer
Michael Sherar leads Public Health Ontario, the provincial agency that provides evidence to inform policy, undertakes public health capacity building, and provides integrated public health laboratory and surveillance systems.
Prior to joining PHO, Michael held several senior management positions in the public sector. He was previously the interim Transitional Lead and Chief Corporate Officer for the Toronto Seniors Housing Corporation (TSHC), where he led planning for TSHC to assume operating responsibility for seniors’ social housing buildings from the Toronto Community Housing Corporation. Prior to TSHC, Michael spent 17 years at Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), nine of which as President and CEO. He led the expansion of CCO’s mandate, built an effective infrastructure to support health system improvement in Ontario and led the smooth transition of CCO to become a division of Ontario Health.
Michael received his doctorate in Medical Biophysics from the University of Toronto. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Physics from Oxford University.
Chief Laboratory Operations Officer (Acting)
Kirandeep Bains provides strategic, operational and business leadership for the planning, implementation and direction of bioinformatics and the biocomputing centre, laboratory information systems (LIS), laboratory data and surveillance, and research operations sections of PHO’s laboratories.
Kirandeep brings over twelve years of senior management experience in the healthcare industry. His primary focus was the laboratory and information services, but he also has expertise in leading organizational change and quality improvements. He comes to PHO from Dynacare where he was the Director of Informatics. He also held progressively senior positions at Dynacare within the information and technology solutions and services portfolio and laboratory services portfolio.
Kirandeep graduated with his Honours Bachelors of Science from the University of Toronto and holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. He has also completed the Evanta Professional Development Academy’s Frontline IT Leadership program, Leaders Beyond Inc.’s IT Leaders Beyond program and Peoplecert’s ITIL’s Foundation Certification for IT Service Management.
Chief Financial Officer
Cathy Campos provides executive leadership for PHO’s finance, procurement, facilities and enterprise risk management functions.
Cathy is a seasoned executive with extensive senior leadership experience in the health care sector. She was previously the Vice-President of Finance and Chief Financial Officer for Rouge Valley Health System, where she was responsible for the finance, supply chain, capital planning and risk functions at the hospital and acted in the role as the key financial advisor for the business. Prior to Rouge Valley, Campos served as the Director of Finance at Baycrest Centre.
Cathy is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Master of Healthcare Administration from the University of Toronto.
Chief, Strategy and Stakeholder Relations, Research, Information and Knowledge
Colleen Geiger provides executive leadership for Public Health Ontario’s strategic, business and operational planning, organizational performance measurement, process improvement, stakeholder relations and issues management, as well as PHO’s research, knowledge and information areas including: research and ethics services, knowledge services and information technology and informatics.
She is also currently providing interim executive leadership for the Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention department.
Colleen was PHO’s acting President and CEO from April 2020-July 2022. During this time, she provided critical leadership, as the organization navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and contributed to Ontario’s response efforts.
Prior to joining PHO, Colleen has held senior management positions both the public and private sector in academic health science settings, community hospitals, local health integration networks, as well as in international health care consulting. She also has extensive experience in not-for-profit governance.
Colleen holds a Master of Business Administration (health services management) from McMaster University and is a Certified Health Executive.
Dr. Jessica Hopkins
Chief Health Protection and Emergency Preparedness Officer
Dr. Jessica Hopkins leads and is responsible for the scientific and operational activities in the Health Protection portfolio, which consists of two departments (Medical and System Support, and Operations and Response). The scope of work in these departments include communicable disease surveillance and control, outbreak response, infection prevention and control, and emergency preparedness and response. She is also currently providing interim executive leadership for the Environmental and Occupational Health department.
Jessica has 10 years of experience in local public health and previously worked as the Medical Officer of Health for Peel Region, and as Associate Medical Officer of Health in Hamilton and Niagara Region. She works as a family doctor and is an Assistant Professor (part-time) with the Department of Health Research Methods, Epidemiology, and Impact, McMaster University and Adjunct Lecturer with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.
Jessica obtained her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Western Ontario and her Master of Health Science from the University of Toronto in the field of Community Health and Epidemiology. She completed residencies in Family Medicine and Public Health and Preventive Medicine at McMaster University.
Chief Legal Officer and Corporate Secretary
As the Chief Legal Officer of PHO, Michelle Macdonald leads the provision of legal advice on issues arising from the organization’s day to day business. She also provides support for the Board of Directors of PHO, as the Corporate Secretary.
Michelle is an experienced public sector legal services leader, having been in management roles in various branches of the Ministry of the Attorney General. In her previous role as Senior Counsel at the Ministry of Health legal services branch, she provided advice on complex procurements (including information technology procurement), laboratories, and digital health.
Michelle holds a Master of Laws degree (specializing in health law) from Osgoode Hall Law School, a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Alberta, and an Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto.
Chief Human Resources Officer
Murray Odesse leads the Human Resources (HR) portfolio, overseeing programs related to HR services and administration, wellness, employee and labour relations, and organizational development.
Murray has a strong background in executive leadership, both within the private and public sectors. He is well-versed in building agile operating structures and cultures to execute organizational strategy.
Murray has a Certified Human Resources Leader designation, and an MBA from Royal Roads University. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Advanced Program in Human Resources Management at the Rotman School of Management.
Dr. Samir Patel
Chief, Microbiology and Laboratory Science
Samir Patel has been a Clinical Microbiologist at PHO since 2009, and has been the clinical lead of many important programs at the laboratory, including vector-borne and zoonotic infections such as Lyme and West Nile, antimicrobial resistance, and a novel pathogen discovery program. He is responsible for the detection of novel or rare pathogens using deep sequencing technologies.
Samir is an Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He has actively contributed to many interdepartmental committees both within PHO and beyond, including the ethics committee, and provincial groups, including the Institute of Quality Management Microbiology Committee, and the Canadian Public Health Laboratory Network's Antimicrobial Resistance and Lyme Working groups.
Samir received his doctor of philosophy in tropical diseases from the University of Toronto, where he also received his fellowship in clinical microbiology. He successfully completed his Canadian Society of Microbiology board exam in 2011.
Director, Supply Chain and Corporate Initiatives
Tony Ho is a senior finance leader with progressive experience in both the hospital and private sectors. In his current role at PHO as director, financial planning, reporting and compliance, Tony provides leadership for the accounts payable, accounting and financial planning and analysis functions.
In his previous role at Rouge Valley Health System, he worked as the Program Business Manager, which focused on budget planning, business case development and customer centred analytics and reporting. Tony also worked at IBM gaining progressive experience in various roles there.
Tony holds a Chartered Professional Accounting (CPA) designation and a Business Degree from the Schulich School of Business at York University.
Director, Human Resources
Michelle Kazimirek is a senior HR leader with progressive management experience in hospital, public service and private sectors for the last 20 years. In her current role as Director, Human Resources, Michelle provides strategic direction and management oversight to the Human Resources and Payroll department. Michelle has diverse and well-rounded expertise in all areas of human resources administration and is an established leader in inspiring, implementing and maintaining effective programs, processes and systems that directly contribute to organizational success.
In her previous leadership roles, Michelle led large-scale employee engagement and development programs, implemented reward and talent management strategies and negotiated complex collective bargaining and labour negotiations.
Director, Financial Planning, Reporting and Compliance
Katerina Petaroudas is a senior finance leader with progressive experience in both the hospital and private sectors. In her current role at PHO as Director, Financial Planning, Reporting and Compliance, Katerina provides leadership for the accounts payable, accounting and financial planning and analysis functions.
In her previous role at Rouge Valley Health System, Katerina led the financial planning and analysis function, which focused on budget planning, business case development and customer centred analytics and reporting.
Katerina holds a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation and a Master Degree in Healthcare Administration from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Karam Ramotar
Deputy Chief, Microbiology and Laboratory Science
Dr. Karam Ramotar is responsible for working with PHO’s clinical and medical microbiologists, as well as laboratory operation leadership to ensure that PHO’s public health laboratories continue to serve their stakeholders at the highest quality standards.
Karam has extensive expertise in molecular and clinical diagnostic microbiology, both in terms of technical and operational knowledge. He developed and established the molecular microbiology testing service at the Eastern Ontario Regional Association’s (EORLA) Microbiology Reference laboratory, and guided the expansion of service by that institution over the last 20 years. In another previous role, Karam implemented diagnostic testing for TB and STIs through a Canadian-funded public health program in Guyana between 2004 and 2008. Additionally, he acted as a peer assessor for Ontario’s Laboratory Quality Program for 15 years, performing laboratory assessments in Ontario and other Canadian provinces.
Karam holds a PhD in Medical Microbiology from the University of Manitoba, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Microbiology from the University of Alberta.
Operations Director, Provincial Front End Processing and Specimen Management
Marjorie Allen provides strategic and operational leadership for laboratory operations. Marjorie joined PHO in 2005 as Quality Assurance Coordinator for the laboratory. In 2009, she moved to the Laboratory Renewal Team to implement high volume test area before taking on the role of senior manager, virology and molecular services.
Prior to joining PHO, Marjorie was a partner in a consulting company that provided quality, food safety and risk management services to a variety of industries. She previously worked in the community laboratories and her educational background is as a medical laboratory technologist. Marjorie holds a Masters Certificate in Operational Risk Management from Shulich School of Business, a Management Certificate from the Rotman School of Business, and a Certificate in Food Science and Safety from the University of Guelph.
Operations Director, Provincial Testing, Bacteriology, Environmental and Genomics Core
Louis Litsas provides strategic and operational leadership for the central and regional public health laboratories in Ontario. He has more than 15 years of progressive leadership experience in laboratory operations, with experience in Canadian and American academic hospitals as well as both public and private sectors.
Louis comes to PHO from LifeLabs where he focused on helping technical staff deliver high quality and timely surgical pathology reports with an emphasis on client-service and client-responsiveness. He began his career at the Hospital for Sick Children and has worked at Kapiolani Women & Children’s Hospital in Hawaii, UCLA and Cedar Sinai in Los Angeles, and London Health Sciences Centre where he leveraged his leadership and continuous improvement skills to support laboratory operations in identifying and implementing efficiencies and high quality reporting to improve service and patient care.
Louis is an active member of the American Society of Clinical Pathology as a Pathologists’ Assistant. He holds a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Southern California.
Operations Director, Quality, Regulatory Affairs and Customer Service
Antonia Maric oversees the areas of quality, regulatory affairs, and customer service in laboratory operations. She has over 10 years of progressive leadership experience in laboratory operations, quality, regulatory compliance, and customer service in both hospital and private sectors.
Prior to joining PHO, Antonia worked at LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services and The Hospital for Sick Children. In these organizations, she leveraged her leadership and continuous improvement skills to support laboratory operations in identifying and implementing efficiencies to improve quality, regulatory compliance, and customer experience.
Antonia is an active member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario as a Medical Laboratory Technologist. She holds a Master of Health Management from McMaster University and is a Certified Health Executive.
Operations Director, Molecular Services and Virology
Esther Nagai provides strategic and operational leadership for molecular services and virology. She has more than 14 years of progressive leadership and technical experience in laboratory operations in both the public and private sectors.
Prior to joining PHO, Esther worked at Fraser Health Authority and Royal Jubilee Hospital in British Columbia and at LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services in Ontario. In these organizations, she supported laboratory operations in implementing efficiencies to mitigate risks and improve overall quality and patient care. Esther is a member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario as a Medical Laboratory Technologist and a board member of the Canadian Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases.
Public Health Sciences
Director, Environmental and Occupational Health
Rena Chung joined Public Health Ontario (PHO) in 2010 as an environmental science specialist in the Environmental and Occupational Health team. In 2015, Rena became the manager of Toxicology and Exposure assessment. Rena’s work with Environmental and Occupational Health has been focused on supporting Ontario’s public health units and Ministries on environmental health topics ranging from the application of toxicology to interpreting chemical impacts to air, groundwater and soil, drinking water guidelines as well as risk communication.
Prior to joining PHO, Rena worked in consulting as a group leader and senior environmental risk assessor, where she managed large teams specializing in human health risk assessment, brownfield redevelopment, environmental permitting and planning and water resources. Rena has a Master in Environmental Studies degree from York University and a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree in Life Sciences and Environmental Sciences from Queen’s University. Rena is also a diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology.
Director, Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention
Dan Harrington is the Director of Health Promotion, Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention (HPCDIP) at Public Health Ontario (PHO). Dan joined PHO as an Epidemiologist Lead in 2014, before moving to the role of Manager, Epidemiology & Evaluation Services in HPCDIP in 2016.
Dan holds PhD and MA degrees from McMaster University in health geography, and his research to date has focused broadly on leveraging natural experiments to understand in implementation and impacts of population health interventions. His research program prior to joining PHO has spanned across a range of health outcomes, including access to primary and specialist health care, individual- and neighbourhood- level determinants of overweight and obesity, and perception of health risks.
Deputy Chief, Health Protection, Operations and Response
Emily Karas leads the department responsible for the management, prevention and control of communicable diseases and emergency preparedness and incident response. She provides provincial leadership in communicable diseases, infection prevention and control, as well as preparedness and response to both infectious and non-infectious disease emergencies and issues. Emily previously served as PHO’s Director, Knowledge Exchange and Communications and as PHO’s Manager of Communicable Diseases.
Emily has considerable experience at the local and provincial public health levels. She was previously a Nurse Consultant and Team Lead for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and worked as a Public Health Nurse at both the Niagara Region and Peel Region public health units. She has almost 15 years of combined public health and nursing experience. Emily holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Queen’s University, a Masters of Nursing from the University of Toronto and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Westminster.
Research, Information and Knowledge
Director, Technology Services
As the Director of Technology Services, Cary Luner provides strategic oversight and management to the information technology and information management department. He plans, develops and oversees the technology infrastructure and systems of the organization. With more than 20 years of experience as a strategic IT leader, Cary brings extensive knowledge of project management within the ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) methodology framework to his role, along with a passion for client service and partnership.
Cary has been involved with PHO since its inception, assuming progressively more senior leadership roles. His expertise extends to security, privacy, system architecture and importantly, the role that technology plays enabling the organization to achieve its objectives.
Dr. Nancy Ondrusek
Director, Research and Ethics
Nancy Ondrusek oversees the Research and Ethics Services team, providing leadership for the development, implementation, evaluation and management of evidence-based research and ethics policies, practices, products and services, to ensure that appropriate infrastructure is in place to enable and promote public health research across the organization. She leads the ethics team in providing ethics review services and capacity building support to public health units across Ontario.
Nancy began her career with PHO in 2010 as a research ethics officer, where she played a key role in the development of PHO’s ethics framework and service program, transitioning to manager, research and ethics services in 2014. She has over 25 years of experience in research ethics as an administrator, ethics board member and researcher, and is an adjunct lecturer at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. Nancy obtained a doctorate through the Institute of Medical Sciences and the Joint Center for Bioethics at the University of Toronto and a masters in genetics at Brock University.
Director, Knowledge Exchange
Antonietta Palumbo leads the team responsible for the development and implementation of PHO’s knowledge exchange strategies, including the synthesis, application and dissemination of research and scientific evidence. Knowledge Exchange serves as an organizational resource and includes support for knowledge mobilization, education, library services and event planning.
Antonietta brings more than 20 years of progressive management, leadership and communications experience in the public sector, including the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Ministry of Transportation, the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation, and senior roles in both a Minister and Chair’s office. She is a seasoned and dynamic leader with well-rounded expertise in all areas of communications, particularly stakeholder engagement, issues management, strategic planning and change management. Antonietta has designed and implemented comprehensive communications programs to foster collaboration and enhance overall reach and effectiveness that have ultimately enabled organizations to fulfil their goals and priorities.