Growing the HRI Board of Directors

It is with great pride that we announce the addition of four new members to the HRI Board of Directors, fulfilling a strategic decision to increase the size of the board from nine to 12 members.

The expansion of the board reflects HRI’s commitment to invite broader perspectives to guide our work as the need for mental health and addiction research grows.

Each board member brings unique experience and expertise to the table. As mental illness and addiction become increasingly urgent and complex matters in the Canadian landscape, we want to capture diverse insights that will ensure we are moving in a direction that will most benefit our greatest stakeholders – people living with mental illness and addiction.

We are pleased to welcome the following directors:

Dr. Bob Bell

Robert Bell served as Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health from 2014 to 2018. Prior to this role, he served as President and Chief Executive Officer of University Health Network for nine years. He was previously the Chief Operating Officer at Princess Margaret Hospital, and the Chair of Cancer Care Ontario’s Clinical Council and the Cancer Quality Council of Ontario.

Dr. Bell received his Doctor of Medicine from McGill University and a Master of Science from the University of Toronto. He achieved his Fellowship in Orthopaedic Surgery in 1983. He completed training in Orthopaedic Cancer Surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard University in 1985, and at the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2005.

Dr. Bell is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Surgeons, and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh. He is an internationally recognized orthopedic surgeon, health system executive, clinician-scientist, and educator with more than 40 years of health care experience. Today he provides advice to a number of private and public organizations.

Gord Garner

Gord Garner is the Executive Director of the Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) and Chair of Recovery Day Ottawa, an annual event aimed at reducing the stigma surrounding addiction and raising awareness about recovery.

Informed by his own 38 years of active addiction and influenced by those who helped him, he is now a national public speaker and trainer with expertise in Person-First Language and addressing stigma. Since 2016, he has presented at roundtables, conferences and meetings across Canada. His work has helped to shape many policies, practices, and educational materials on the harms associated with stigma.

For three years in a row (2018-2020) Gord has presented at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, a policy-making body of the United Nation system with prime responsibility for drug-related matters.

Gord is dedicated to removing barriers to enable policy writers, academics, researchers, and people with lived and living experience of substance use disorders to take evidence-based actions to improve the lives of people impacted by substance use in Canada.

Dr. Nick Kates

Nick Kates is Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University, with a cross-appointment in the Department of Family Medicine. He is also an Associate Member of the Department of Health, Aging, and Society at McMaster University.

For 12 years, Nick was the Director of the Hamilton Family Health Team Mental Health and Nutrition Program, which integrates mental health counsellors and dietitians into the offices of family physicians across Hamilton. He served as the Ontario Lead for the Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership (QIIP) for five years, promoting quality improvement among primary care practices. He was also a member of the 2012 Ontario Minister of Health’s Advisory Group to redesign a mental health system for the province, and he served on the Federal Minister of Health’s Advisory Council on Mental Health and Addictions from 2017 to 2020. Throughout his career, Nick has consulted on many different health care systems in Ontario, across Canada, and around the world.

Dr. Linda Lee

Dr. Linda Lee is a Care of the Elderly family physician and Schlegel Research Chair in Primary Care for Elders. She is also Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at McMaster University.

Dr. Lee has developed a Primary Care Memory Clinic model, known as the MINT Memory Clinic and Training Program, which has guided the development of new memory clinics in 115 primary care settings in Ontario. She has received a number of accolades for her leadership in improving care for older adults with dementia and other memory disorders, including:

  • The 2014 Ontario Minister’s Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety;
  • The 2015 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging Betty Havens Award for Knowledge Translation in Aging;
  • The 2019 Canadian Medical Association Joule Innovation Access to Care Award; and
  • The 2020 Change Foundation Future Innovator Award for improving healthcare experience for patients and caregivers.

Dr. Lee’s research interests focus on improving health care for older adults living with dementia and other complex chronic conditions associated with aging.

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