Central East LHIN Patient and Family Advisory Committee

The Central East LHIN developed a Patient and Family Engagement Strategy and actively recruited community members to participate in a Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC). The individuals listed below, who have been patients, or caregivers of patients in the Central East, and who reflect the diversity of the people and communities, are members of the Central East LHIN Patient and Family Advisory Committee.

To download a printable two-page PFAC information sheet click HERE.

 randy Randy Filinski, Pickering - Co-Chair

Randy Filinski is a resident of Pickering who has taken a keen interest in health care over the last 14 years since retiring from IBM.  Specifically, Randy has focused on senior health care issues from a consumer and caregiver point of view. 

Having enjoyed employment as a marketing and sales executive with IBM on a global basis for 22 years, he decided to redirect his energies to explore volunteer opportunities in the health care sector in his local community.  He has volunteered for several Boards and Local Advisory Committees and has worked actively in many programs such as Community Care Durham, VON Central East and Durham, the United Way, the Durham Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity Durham North, Durham West Special Olympics, RVHS Community Advisory Group and many others on an event basis. 

In addition to volunteering, he has researched health care from a consumer point of view in all sectors in Durham, and, with the announcement of the LHINs, has focused on the Central East Region. As a consumer, he has been an active member in the development of the Central East LHIN from the first meeting in 2004 and has worked on various LHIN committees focused on the Seamless Care for Seniors initiative, the Aging At Home work groups and recently, worked with a team developing a set of Regional Specialized Geriatric Services for the Central East LHIN now known as the Seniors Care Network. 

Over the past 6 years, he has chaired the Ajax-Pickering CARP Chapter with over 4,000 members and has developed a community health care advocacy team focused on patient/caregiver health care for seniors and caregivers.

Recently, he has been selected to the Ontario Patient/Caregiver Advisory Panel to represent the community in the effort to improve home and community care, a directive from the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care for Ontario. 

His objective, as a non-health care professional, is to bring a very strong focus from a consumer point of view to all sectors of health care and utilize his community contacts and marketing, integration and project management skills for the betterment of health care in his community.


 annemarie  Anne-Marie Yaraskavitch, Whitby - Co-Chair

Anne-Marie brings a mixture of family caregiver and patient knowledge to her role as a member of the Central East LHIN’s Patient and Family Advisory Committee.

She has had first-hand experience within the health care system as a family caregiver supporting loved ones living with cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer and has also journeyed with a loved one receiving palliative care services at end of life. Her family caregiver experiences have occurred in hospital, community and long term care settings, in both urban and rural communities. She herself has also been a patient in both hospital and community settings.

Since her retirement in 2001 Anne-Marie has concentrated her volunteer efforts in areas related to health care initiatives focused on improving the system of care and support for patients and family caregivers, with a special focus on older adults. Anne-Marie also has a special interest in palliative care. She is currently a public member on the board of the Seniors Care Network in the Central East LHIN. Anne-Marie’s past volunteer work has included being a senior/caregiver representative on the Central East LHIN’s Seamless Care for Seniors Steering Committee, the Central East LHIN Caregiver Support and Well-Being Priority Project and the Seniors Care Network’s Geriatric Assessment and Intervention Network (GAIN) redesign project. She is also a past board member of the Alzheimer Society of Durham Region, the Durham Senior Games and a past chair of the Dementia Network of Durham Region.

Anne-Marie’s 28 year career with Bell Canada spanned work in a number of areas within the organization, including leadership positions in client services and business management. After her retirement in 2001 she pursued studies in the area of aging, completing a bachelor’s degree in Gerontology.

Anne-Marie and her husband have lived in Whitby for over 30 years. 



Eta Berenzai, Whitby

Eta is a retired elementary special education teacher who resides in Whitby. She became involved in the Patient Family Advisory Committee because she believes that universal health care is one of the great equalizers in Canadian society and therefore an integral part of Ontarians’ commitment to social justice.

She has been a caregiver to family members and has been a patient with varied experiences in the system. She has a friend with challenging health issues and has watched this individual experience many negative health care challenges for over two years. Consequently, Eta brings a strong commitment to participating in whatever promising vehicle is available for working towards the aim of everyone in Ontario benefitting from our health system according to need. Her hope is that the PFAC approach will increase the ability of the health care system to more successfully provide evidence-based, civil, unbiased, up-to-date and prompt health care, marked by efforts to create equity and to remove impediments to that goal.

Eta’s area of special interest is the need for improvements in the area of mental health and addiction: evidence-based care and treatment delivery, ongoing up-to-date service provider training and staffing, education and positive changes in societal attitudes. For the last ten years, Eta has participated in various Durham Region mental health service provider and institutional initiatives and activities. She has volunteered on committees interested in advocating for proactive changes for individuals dealing with mental health and/or addiction issues and also to giving more effective support to their families. Eta joins the Central East LHIN PFAC, hoping that the combined voices and experiences of the many citizens involved in the LHIN Patient and Family Advisory Committees within the province will allow consumer voices to be heard and that they will make a positive impact on health care delivery in general, and mental health care in particular.



Alex Haagaard, Port Perry

Alex Haagaard is a designer and disability justice activist who grew up, and currently resides, in Port Perry. Their work in health care advocacy is informed by their experiences as a chronic patient with several rare and co-morbid illnesses, as well as by their academic and professional background in the medical sciences and healthcare design.

One of Alex's primary interests is in digital health and online community-building. In the past three years they have been involved in coordinating a number of #CripTheVote social media campaigns, intended to bring attention to disability-related issues in politics, and they are the founder of #MedTraumaChat, a popular bi-weekly Twitter discussion about topics relating to medical trauma.

Alex is eager to be able to combine their expertise as both a patient and designer, to help in guiding our health care system toward greater inclusion of, and responsiveness to, the needs of multiply marginalized patients.


mieko Mieko Ise, Toronto

Mieko Ise started her career in the corporate sector and then made the decision to offer her marketing skills to the charitable sector.  Over the past 25 years she has managed fundraising programs that have raised millions of dollars for a variety of organizations and causes dealing in the arts, environment, health care and social services.  During this time she has also coordinated the efforts and motivated the spirits of thousands of volunteers.  She is an avid practitioner for building strong, synergistic relationships between donors, volunteers and the charities they serve, as well as for strategically developing new initiatives that balance the needs of all parties and that enrich the concept of giving within the community.

Mieko has also been for many years a volunteer at the board, committee and front-line levels with a diverse group of organizations and looks forward to serving on the Central East LHIN’s Patient-Family Advisory Committee.


Andrew Lee, Scarborough

Andrew resides in Scarborough and was a young caregiver for his grandmother. He volunteers extensively for the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital as a Patient and Family Advisor, serving on their Patient and Family Advisory Committee, Quality of Care Committee, and the Emergency Department Program Leadership Committee. He is committed to improving the quality of care in his community by embedding the patient/family voice into hospital policies and care delivery. 

He works as a researcher in the field of male infertility, seeking to improve current diagnostic assays and developing new ones. He has presented his work at international meetings in numerous countries. His experience working at the cutting-edge of translational medicine in human reproduction will carry over well to his role on the PFAC in supporting patient-centered innovation in the provincial healthcare system. 

He envisions a modernized, seamlessly connected healthcare system in Ontario accessible to all and through his participation on the Central East LHIN PFAC, he hopes to continue to integrate patient-centered care into the system and build towards this future.

 craig Craig Lindsay, Toronto

Craig Lindsay was born and raised in Scarborough. Having worked previously in Emergency Health Services, he is a recent kidney and pancreas transplant recipient.  Craig is active as a volunteer, chairing the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Home Dialysis Peer Support Program and co-chairing the Scarborough Regional Nephrology Program Patient and Family Advisory Council. He has served as a member of the Scarborough and Rouge Hospital Community and Patient Advisory Council, actively embedding the patient voice in care planning and delivery within the hospital. He enjoys volunteering with the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Ontario Branch. 




 ann Ann MacLeod, Peterborough

Ann MacLeod has practiced nursing in a variety of hospital and community-based settings in urban and rural areas in Canada, New Zealand and the United States, which spurred her interest in health promotion and community-based research. Using the lens of the social determinants of health and primary health care principles, she spent a decade building capacity for health promotion in North Eastern Ontario small urban, rural and First Nation communities. Her belief in citizen rights and responsibilities underpins her service as a member of boards of directors over the years including the Central East LHIN Seniors Care Network and the Peterborough 360 Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic. She has been a leader in volunteer-based community initiatives, such as support of Syrian newcomers and Age Friendly Peterborough, of which she is currently the Acting Chair of the Advisory Committee.

Engagement and pragmatism underlie Ann’s practice, service involvement, research, and teaching approaches. She taught Social Change in Communities at the University of Michigan and Nursing Research at Lake Superior State University. Since relocating to Peterborough in 2000, she has taught clinical and theoretical courses focusing on care of the older adult, community health, and primary care in the Trent/Fleming School of Nursing since its inception. Her qualitative community-based research approaches study the intersection of the arts and health promotion, and the interface between the community health nurse, the volunteer sector and paraprofessionals in promoting health of older adults. Her program of research is informed by her personal experiences as a nurse and caregiver for family members, neighbours and Syrian newcomers. 


Art Seymour, Cobourg

Art is a graduate in Electronics Engineering Technology and has formal training and experience in all aspects of senior and executive management, such as corporate governance, policy and standards development, team building, labour relations, financial management, organizational structures and conflict resolution.

In his career he has presented on aviation topics on several international conferences and panels, and has conducted a nationwide system safety audit for the Australian Aviation Authority. His experience in overall system safety management is an asset to him in pursuing improvements in the health care system.

Art has served on for-profit and non-profit boards and various health-related committees. He is committed to helping make improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of our health care system with emphasis on meaningful patient input to create pragmatic changes.

He participated in the Change Foundation’s Patients Advancing Transitions in Health (PATH) Project at Northumberland Hills Hospital, where he helped develop their Patient and Family Advisory Council. For nine years he has raised well over $22,000 for selected local charities in the medical field with his wife Yvonne, a retired nurse and Volunteer Director. To some degree, his participation in the Central East LHIN Patient and Family Advisory Committee will be augmented with input from Yvonne, who is also an advocate for improvements with our health care system.


Amy Stephenson, Scarborough 

Amy Stephenson’s personal health journey as a patient and provider continues to motivate her to work in the field to better the system
for all. She brings personal, academic, and professional experiences to the Central East LHIN. Seeing the value in social and behaviour changes to promote well-being and health at all ages. Specifically the use of exercises as medicine. As a coach she uses dragon boat as part of prompting holistic well-being for youth, seniors, and breast cancer survivors. Amy has volunteered with various seniors centers, the Alzheimer’s Society, and the Canadian Center for Activity and Aging to support a holistic well-being in a geriatric population. 

Academically Amy holds a Bachelors in Kinesiology and Masters in Aging and Health equipping her with the comprehensive background in
human physiology.

Lived experiences a patient she has navigated transitioning between specialist and various care providers and across regional boarders.
Advocating and being accountability for communication between providers and the self-care task associated with mental and physical concerns. She has acted as a family care partner with her grandfather post stroke and formal provider as an aid for individuals with cognitive disability. 


Patricia Teskey, Lindsay

Patricia has been an advocate for people with mental health problems and their families for more than 20 years. She volunteered with mental health organizations in Toronto before moving to the town of Lindsay in rural Ontario in 2008 where she joined the Board of Directors of the local branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association. In 2016 Patricia coordinated and led a family group that successfully advocated for a family caregiver to be appointed to the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

In 2000 Patricia made a presentation at the Government of Ontario’s public hearings for proposed changes to the Mental Health Act. In 2009 she made a presentation at public hearings of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, tri-party Select Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, which was developing recommendations for a comprehensive mental health and addictions action plan for Ontario. She also speaks to community groups to promote awareness and inclusion of people with mental health problem and their families.

As a professional writer and editor, Patricia’s articles in the health field have been published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal; Schizophrenia Magazine; Anchor: Overcoming depression, bipolar and anxiety; and the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario’s A Reason to Hope.


Kerrianne Thompson, Whitby

Kerrianne brings her knowledge as a patient, family caregiver, and Registered Nurse to this committee. Kerrianne’s family caregiver experience with her father, took her through both the long-term care and hospital settings from fall 2013 till spring 2017. Kerrianne has practiced as a Registered Nurse for over 13 years, and has a nursing diploma from Durham College, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Ryerson University. She is currently pursuing a Master of Nursing degree from Athabasca University. Her nursing experience includes both hospital (Medicine and Telemetry) and public health nursing (Infectious Disease Prevention and Control, Chronic Disease Prevention, and Prevention of Injury and Substance Misuse). Kerrianne is currently employed as a Public Health Nurse for the Regional Municipality of Durham.

Kerrianne currently volunteers as a workplace liaison for the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, and is a Patient and Family Experience Advisor for Lakeridge Health. In addition, she is a volunteer with the Program Advisory Committee for Practical Nursing, Personal Support Worker and Critical Care at Durham College. She has held previous volunteer roles at Hearth Place Cancer Support Centre, and as a nursing preceptor assisting various post-secondary institutions.

Kerrianne is a Whitby resident, and has resided there for the last 12 years.

*Kerrianne’s membership role on this committee is personal in nature, and is not affiliated with the above-mentioned organizations.


Harry van Bommel, Scarborough

Harry was a caregiver to his parents and grandfather at home until they died. That was in the early-to-mid 1980s. Since then, as a patient, family, friend caregiver and patient advocate he has researched, written and taught healthcare professionals and volunteers from a patient-family perspective. 

Harry has published 26 books and teachings in the fields of healthcare leadership and staff development, home and hospice care, patient navigation of healthcare and others systems, and the mutual gift of care. Harry is President of PSD Consultants and Executive Director of the not-for-profit Resources Supporting Family and Community Legacies Inc. which provides free access to their published books for online reading and printing. 

Harry gives voice to the extensive research done on what patients and families need from their health care. He helps people look at the results of that care and how to use data to enhance patient-centred care. He always comes back to the needs of his parents and grandfather in the 1980s and all his loved ones, friends and neighbours he has supported since then — one person at a time.


Terms of Reference

Based on its Terms of Reference, the PFAC will both advise and collaborate with the Central East LHIN, its leaders, HSPs and staff regarding system-level policies, practices, and strategy, planning, and delivery of patient- and family-centred care within the Central East LHIN region as members to:

  • Identify and advise on opportunities to incorporate the patient’s perspective in initiatives to better integrate care across the region and across the health care system.
  • Establish a strategy to increase meaningful patient and family engagement and advance the culture of patient and family centred care within the Central East LHIN.
  • Provide advice on recommendations about health care access or service delivery improvements from the patient and/or family caregiver perspective.
  • Provide input on LHIN policies and standards guiding LHIN initiatives, particularly regarding patient care and patient engagement.
  • Recommend strategies and practical ideas for improving patient care, and caregiver recognition and support.
  • Work in partnership and engage in co-design with the LHIN CEO, LHIN staff, service providers and partners.
  • Link and collaborate with other patient and family advisory groups within the LHIN and across the province as appropriate.

Patient and Family Advisory Committee (PFAC) Expression of Interest 

The Central East LHIN is seeking additional community members to participate in its PFAC. At present, the PFAC includes geographic representation from a number of the LHIN’s sub-regions with individuals with a variety of lived and professional experiences. We are currently encouraging patients and their family/caregivers who live within the Central East LHIN’s Haliburton County sub-region and/or people who self-identify as a member of the francophone, indigenous, and/or new immigrant communities to complete and submit this Expression of Interest for consideration as a member of the Central East LHIN Patient and Family Advisory Committee.  

In addition to completing the EOI form, applicants may also submit a current resume (if applicable) for consideration. Please submit this Expression of Interest to Robin Russell via email robin.russell@lhins.on.ca, facsimile at 905-444-2562 or by mail/in person at Central East LHIN, 920 Champlain Court, Whitby ON, L1N 6K9.

For more information on the establishment of the provincial Patient and Family Advisory Council, please visit the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care website - Public Information.