Dr. Arlene Jean Astell
Ontario Shores Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia
In 2013, Dr. Arlene Jean Astell was appointed Ontario Shores Research Chair in Community Management of Dementia to provide leadership through research, education and exemplary practice for individuals living with complex and serious mental illness.
President and CEO of Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences
Karim Mamdani is President and CEO of Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences and has been with the organization since 2006. Prior to becoming President and CEO, Mr. Mamdani was the Deputy CEO of Ontario Shores with a focus on labour relations, employee engagement, financial and operational management, accountability, land and building development, funding systems and strategic operations planning.
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Dr. Philip Klassen
Vice-President, Medical Services
Dr. Philip Klassen brings more than 15 years of psychiatric experience to his role as Vice-President of Medical Affairs at Ontario Shores. Dr. Klassen works closely with the medical and clinical leadership teams to support the organization’s objectives within an evolving healthcare system to ensure a sustainable and comprehensive network of services. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. An active researcher and well-published forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Klassen’s particular areas of interest include violence risk assessment, clinical sexology, assessment of post-traumatic symptomatology and assessment of professional misconduct.
Director, Professional Practice and Clinical Information
Sanaz Riahi is Director of Professional Practice and Clinical Information at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores). In her role she works collaboratively with stakeholders at all levels of the organization to support corporate initiatives and/or to address program-specific needs or issues related to clinical practice. Some of her key activities include the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs to assist staff to acquire and/or maintain the knowledge, skill and clinical judgment to deliver quality, client centered and evidence-informed care.
Stella is a frank and feisty young woman originally from Halifax who now lives in Toronto. She’s a photographer, a mental health advocate and a student at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She started taking photographs when she was 19 years old, having been strongly influenced by the photojournalism work and career of her father. Initially, photography was a hobby and a way to get closer to her father. It quickly became Stella’s medium for expressing her struggles with mental illness, for helping others through teaching photography and for raising awareness.
Roxanna Bennett is the author of Uncertainty Principle: Poems (Tightrope Books, 2014) and the web editor for Matrix Magazine. She was diagnosed with complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in her mid 30s. She lives in Whitby and works full time on her mental health.
Shaina is a postgraduate student with a keen interest in learning new things each and every day. To compliment her degree in religion, she’s currently pursuing a graduate certificate in public relations and corporate communications. Between juggling classes, group meetings, individual assignments, and a busy social life, Shaina makes time to volunteer in Vocational Services at Ontario Shores. She is passionate about combatting the stigma that is frequently attached to mental health issues and prides herself on being a mental health advocate. When she’s not busy with school or volunteering, Shaina loves indulging in good food and great reads. She combines her passion for reading and writing through her blog, where she reviews books that currently occupy her bookshelf.
Manager, Volunteer Services
Liz Onley-Wiseman is the Manager of Volunteer Services and Spiritual Care at Ontario Shores. Liz joined Ontario shores in 2006 and is responsible for recruiting, coordinating and supervising volunteers to support established patient programs throughout the hospital.
Director, Communications and Public Affairs
Andrea Marshall is a seasoned public relations professional with almost 15 years’ experience in both private and public sector industries. Currently, she is Director, Communications and Public Affairs at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores). She is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating corporate communications strategies and programs in areas such as stakeholder engagement, brand and reputation management, employee communications, media relations and creative services. She leads an award-winning team and was most recently awarded with an International Association of Business Communicators Good Quill Award of Excellence for the HOPE for Mental Health Awareness Campaign.
Darryl Mathers is the Communications Officer at Ontario Shores responsible for supporting both internal and external communications initiatives as well the development and implementation of the organization’s Social Media Strategy.
Community Relations Officer
Chris Bovie is the Community Relations Officer at Ontario Shores. His role is to increase awareness of Ontario Shores, liaise with community stakeholders and leaders, support and lead initiatives that reduce stigma, build community connections, manage issues or complaints, and support hospital initiatives that connect to the communities we serve.
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Beth Brannon is an Administrative Director at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores) responsible for Patient Access and Flow, the Integrated Community Access Program, Infection Prevention and Control, CSR, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Dietitians, and the Metabolic Weight Management Clinic.
Dr. Karen De Freitas
Medical Director, Forensic Program
Dr. Karen De Freitas is a forensic psychiatrist and Medical Director of the Forensic Program at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences (Ontario Shores). Dr. De Freitas is also a member of the Ontario Review Board and a lecturer in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto
Chief Executive Officer, Ontario Shores Foundation for Mental Health
Linda Henry is a seasoned fundraising executive with more than 20 years of healthcare fundraising experience. She has led strategic fundraising programs, developed effective marketing campaigns and created innovative donor engagement initiatives.
Together with the Foundation team, Linda works to strengthen the fundraising opportunities for a number of priorities at Ontario Shores including adolescent services, dementia care, research and innovation, mental health awareness and recovery-focused facilities.
Director of Research and Academics
Michael Wasdell is the Director of Research and Academics at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences.
A sweet teenaged girl who has overcome bullying and social media bullying while learning to live with depression, anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Her daughter lives with bipolar disorder and her family was in crisis before she was greeted by staff and volunteers at our Family Resource Centre.
An immigrant who started hearing voices and became delusional shortly after settling in Canada with his wife and daughter.
Now 62 and learning to live with schizoaffective disorder, she began noticing changes in her mental health in her late 40s.
After suffering a severe intracranial hemorrhage caused by an aneurism when he was 11, he’s had to rediscover his place in the world.
A regular abuser of drugs and alcohol, things began to turn around for Brian when he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He says coming to Ontario Shores gave him a second chance in life. He’s now pursuing his goals and sharing his story.
Amanda and Jeremy
Whether it is a game, activity, music lesson or a walk along the path, Therapeutic Recreation is making a daily difference in the recovery journey of our patients.
Carly is an educated mother and wife with a demanding career. She also lives with Bipolar Disorder 2. At first, her diagnosis set her back. Now she is on her recovery journey and is determined to inspire others.
It has been a long road for Kim and her 22-year-old daughter Sarah. Through Ontario Shores’ Dual Diagnosis program Kim and her family are getting the support they need managed Sarah’s behaviours.
Child and Youth Worker
Robin is a child and youth worker and lives with mental illness. She is now an advocate and public speaker on mental health issues.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Sarah Kipping is a Masters prepared Registered Nurse who joined Ontario Shores in July 2013 and has acted in both the role of Clinical Nurse Specialist within the Forensics program and most recently as Clinical Practice Leader in Professional Practice. Prior to Ontario Shores, her experience included working as a Registered Nurse and Team Lead within an acute care Specialized Mental Health setting. Her passion and dedication to advancing mental health care are exemplified in her contributions to initiatives such as Ontario Shores' HealthCheck Patient Portal, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Safewards, and the continuing advancements of the organization's Recovery philosophy.
Recovery Research Scientist
Simone is the Recovery Research Scientist at Ontario Shores. In this role, she collaborates with clinical staff in an effort to bridge together research and practice to enhance programming and service delivery. Her research interests are grounded in both the basic and applied fields of social and health psychology, with a specific emphasis on recovery from mental illness and addiction.
Simone received her PhD in Applied Social Psychology at the University of Windsor in 2008. Research papers generated from her work have been published and presented at a variety of forums within the fields of addiction medicine, psychology and mental health.
Emilie is a Registered Dietitian. She attended Ryerson University’s School of Nutrition and completed her Dietetic Internship Program at Grand River Hospital. She has worked in long-term care, cardiology at Toronto Western Hospital, and continues to work as a private practice Dietitian specializing in sports nutrition. She has been working at the Shores since 2013, gaining permanent status in 2015. This past year she received her Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) designation. In addition to her role in the MWMC, Emilie also works in several inpatient units at the Shores. She is currently involved in ongoing research within the Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic at Ontario Shores looking at the effect of peer support on knowledge and self-efficacy in weight management. Her main clinical interests include diabetes, behaviour change and self-management, and sports nutrition.
Peer Support Specialist
Katie brings multiple lenses to her role as a Peer Support Specialist in Patience Experience at Ontario Shores.
Having entered the mental health field partly due to her extensive history living with mental illness, Katie is committed to helping others.
In her 10-plus years at Ontario Shores, Katie has worked on our Geriatric Dementia Unit and in many other areas of the hospital as a float pool nurse.
She is keenly interested in creating a stigma-free world for patients, families, volunteers and staff living with mental illness.
Joanna is a Registered Dietitian at Ontario Shores working in the Metabolic and Weight Management Clinic and providing nutrition services to several in-patient units. She attended University of Guelph for both her undergraduate degree and Masters of Applied Nutrition degree. Joanna previously worked at Rouge Valley Ajax Pickering and in Long Term Care. She has been working at Ontario Shores since 2006. Joanna is a Choices and Changes facilitator, specializing in behavior change and self-management. In addition to her work at Ontario Shores, Joanna is a certified Fitness Instructor Specialist, currently teaching Zumba in the community.
Manager of Administrative Assistants and the Corporate Executive Assistant to the CEO at Ontario Shores.
Vice-President Clinical Services
Dr. Karima Velji is a health care executive with progressive leadership experience spanning the full continuum of care. Her expertise encompasses development and implementation of innovative models of care, inter-professional practice, and quality and safety systems to foster patient-centered outcomes.
Certified Diabetes Educator, Certified Bariatric Educator
Claire Hibbert studied nutrition at the University of Guelph and completed her dietetic internship at London Health Sciences Centre, obtaining her RD designation in 2010. She then earned her Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) designation in 2014 and Certified Bariatric Educator in 2018. Claire's clinical interests include geriatrics, diabetes, bariatric nutrition, food skills, and research.
Registered Kinesiologist, Research Associate
Dr. Parminder Flora, RKin., Ph.D. is a Research Associate working with Dr. Arlene Astell, Ontario Shores Research Chair in Dementia Wellbeing. She is also a Registered Kinesiologist with the College of Kinesiologists of Ontario. Dr. Flora currently oversees technology-related projects targeting people with dementia and mild cognitive impairment at Ontario Shores.