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Our Organization

Leadership Team

Karen Stone KC

Karen Stone KC

CEO (Interim)

Karen Stone KC

CEO (Interim)

Karen Stone, K.C., is the chief executive officer (interim) of NL Health Services. She is guiding the provincial health authority as it continues to improve health-care delivery and support the well-being of the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

She has considerable experience in health-care leadership and from January 2019 to December 2021 served as Deputy Minister of Health and Community Services with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. In this role, Karen played a prominent role in helping the province respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the development of a health-in-all policies approach, and contributed to the work of Health Accord NL, a framework to guide the transformation of health care.

She has also served in deputy minister roles in Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation and Immigration, Population Growth and Skills. In the later role, she worked closely with NL Health Services to help facilitate the recruitment of internationally trained health professionals to the province.

Karen began her public service career in 1995 as a solicitor at the Department of Justice, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. She provided legal advice to numerous government departments before joining the Department of Health and Community Services in 2005 as its legislative consultant. She holds a law degree from Osgoode Hall, and a Bachelor of Arts and Certificate in Public Administration from Memorial University. She also holds a Certificate in Alternate Dispute Resolution from the University of Windsor.

Karen is from St. John’s but loves spending time on the Eastport Peninsula. She and her very patient husband, Andy, are proud parents to three adult children, Alexander, Bridget and Andrew. She enjoys travelling, rug hooking, gardening, reading and good food.

Lynette Oates

Lynette Oates

Chief - Public Engagement and Communications

Lynette Oates

Chief - Public Engagement and Communications

Lynette Oates has executive accountability for public engagement and communications at NL Health Services. She is an experienced communications executive with over 20 years of experience in managing complex files for federal and provincial governments and agencies.

In addition to directing the corporate communications strategy for NL Health Services, she has accountability for strategic communications planning, public affairs, employee communications, issues management, crisis communications, digital communications, and graphic design services, among other areas. Currently, she is leading the development of a new public engagement framework for the organization as outlined in Health Accord NL.

Lynette enjoys collaborating on projects with diverse teams and has spent over 10 years of her career with the Eastern Regional Health Authority, most recently as the chief communications officer. In this role, she also supported international relations with St. Pierre-et-Miquelon (SPM) through a longstanding agreement to provide SPM residents with health-care services. Before this, she was director of public relations and director of corporate communications at Eastern Health.

Lynette holds a Bachelor of Public Relations from Mount Saint Vincent University, a Certificate in French for Non-Francophones from the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, and a Bachelor of Arts (French major, Spanish minor) from Memorial University. She is also a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Lynette and her husband, Perry, are parents to one daughter, Ariana. When not working, they enjoy spending time together, whether discovering scenic hiking trails close to home, hanging out at the rink, or exploring new travel destinations.

Joanne Pelley

Joanne Pelley

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Central, and Provincial Chief Nursing Officer

Joanne Pelley

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Central, and Provincial Chief Nursing Officer

Joanne Pelley is the vice president and chief operating officer for Central zone, and the provincial chief nursing officer. Joanne has been working in the health-care system for 28 years, with 20 years spent in progressive leadership positions across the system.

Joanne previously worked with the Central Regional Health Authority at the senior management level. Since 2014, she has served in several positions including regional director of surgical services, vice president of maternal child and population health, executive director of acute care and vice president of patient services – chief nurse.

Her most recent position was vice president of integrated health and chief nursing executive with responsibility for clinical service programs including critical care, emergency, and medical services; surgical and ambulatory services; families, children, and population health; laboratory medicine services; primary health care and community services, among others. Joanne was also the chief nursing executive at Central Health for six years and was responsible for the nursing practice within the organization.

Joanne is a registered nurse and holds a Bachelor of Nursing and Master of Nursing from Memorial University. She is engaged in many quality improvement initiatives and is committed to system improvement and enhancing the collaborative team approach to delivering quality person and family-centered care.

Joanne and her husband Gary, are parents to three sons, Isaac, Caleb, and Noah. They enjoy spending quality time together as a family, and traveling in and outside the province when opportunity allows.

Ron Johnson

Ron Johnson

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Urban

Ron Johnson

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Urban

Ron Johnson is the vice president and chief operating officer for Eastern Urban zone. Ron has approximately 30 years of progressive career experience in health care from front-line delivery to executive management.

Ron was previously vice president, innovation, and rural health at the Eastern Regional Health Authority. Prior to becoming a member of the executive team at Eastern Health, Ron held the position of chief technology officer where he had senior accountability for information management and technology, privacy, performance, biomedical engineering, and health information management. Previously, he was the organization’s director of materials and biomedical equipment support with responsibility for supply chain management and biomedical engineering.

Ron holds a Diploma of Technology from College of the North Atlantic and a Bachelor of Technology and a Master of Employment Relations from Memorial University. He has also completed diplomas in Health Service Management and Modern Management from the Canadian Healthcare Association. Ron is certified in Change Management and has the professional designations of Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and Certified Health Executive (CHE).

Ron is a sessional instructor at the Marine Institute of Memorial University teaching courses in the Bachelor of Technology and the Master of Technology Management programs.

Ron and his wife, Heather, are proud parents to one daughter, Mya. As a family, they enjoy most of the outdoor activities Newfoundland and Labrador has to offer.

Debbie Walsh

Debbie Walsh

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Rural

Debbie Walsh

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Eastern Rural

Debbie Walsh is the vice president and chief operating officer for Eastern Rural zone. She most recently held the position of vice president, clinical services, and chief nurse at the Eastern Regional Health Authority. In this role, she had responsibility for various clinical programs including surgical services, perioperative services, medicine program and clinical efficiency, the Centre of Nursing Studies, and the provincial cancer care program.

Debbie began with Eastern Health in 1990 and has held more responsible leadership roles throughout her career. She has worked at the senior management level since 2013, starting as director of the regional perioperative program, director of rural health, director of the regional medicine program and executive director responsible for regional surgical services, perioperative services, and the regional medicine program.

Debbie is a registered nurse and holds the designation of Certified Health Executive (CHE). She has a Diploma in Nursing, a Bachelor of Nursing, and a Master of Health Studies (leadership). She has completed Eastern Health’s Learning Leaders’ Program (executive stream) and is currently a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL). Debbie is also an Accreditation Canada surveyor.

Debbie and her husband, Tom, are proud parents to two sons, Andrew and Michael. They enjoy spending quality time together and travelling.

Teara Freake

Teara Freake

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Western

Teara Freake

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Western

Teara Freake is the vice president and chief operating officer for Western zone. Over 25 years, she has held various progressive leadership positions at the Western Regional Health Authority. Since 2018, she has held executive positions including vice president clinical – patient services and, more recently, vice president – corporate services. She has also held various director positions including senior director of new facility planning, director of patient services – medicine, and regional director of rehabilitation.

Teara began her career as a registered dietitian with the former Central West Health Care Institutions Board and has worked with the former Avalon Health Care Institutions Board before relocating to the West Coast to continue her clinical experience. She moved into management as regional manager of nutrition services, a position she held for eight years.

Teara holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Business Administration in Health Care Management and has completed her Certified Health Executive (CHE) designation through the Canadian College of Health Leaders. Teara has led many initiatives to improve health care delivery within the western region and has a strong commitment to patient and family-centred care.

Sandy Penney

Sandy Penney

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Labrador-Grenfell

Sandy Penney

Vice President and Chief Operating Officer – Labrador-Grenfell

Sandy Penney is the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer for the Labrador-Grenfell Zone. Prior to assuming this role, she occupied the position of executive director with NL Health Services. She has had a lengthy career in health care which started with the Labrador-Grenfell regional health authority in 1992.

At Labrador-Grenfell Health, Sandy held various leadership roles including the positions of senior director of operations for rural and remote health and regional director for the mental health and addictions program. She was also the senior director responsible for primary health care and community services (interim). In this role, she had responsibility for all related programs, including primary health/chronic diseases, mental health and addictions, intervention/rehabilitation services, rural and remote health and long-term care.

Sandy is a registered social worker and holds a Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work from Memorial University. She is committed to the individuals, communities and partners residing in the Labrador-Grenfell Zone. Sandy also remains committed to improving access to care, enhancing the collaborative team approach and further developing person- and family-centered care in the zone.

Sandy and her husband, Glenn, are proud parents to two sons, Ryan and Matthew. They thoroughly enjoy spending time together and travelling.

Kenneth (Ken) Baird

Kenneth (Ken) Baird

Vice President – Clinical Supports and Transition

Kenneth (Ken) Baird

Vice President – Clinical Supports and Transition

Kenneth (Ken) Baird is the vice president – clinical supports and transition at NL Health Services. Prior to this, Ken held the position of president and chief executive officer (interim) of the Eastern Regional Health Authority from June 1, 2022 through March 31, 2023.

Ken has over 40 years of progressive clinical and administrative experience within the Canadian health system, having worked in leadership positions within the health-care systems in Alberta, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

He joined the Eastern Health in 2016 as vice president – quality, process improvement and clinical supports, with accountability for medical imaging; pathology and laboratory medicine; pharmacy; paramedicine and medical transport; quality, safety and risk management, and process improvement.

Ken began his career in health care as an X-ray technologist and completed his clinical training at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital. Following seven years of clinical work in Alberta as a radiographer, Ken returned to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1987 to begin his health management career in Marystown.

Ken holds a Master’s in Business Administration and a Graduate Diploma in Management from Athabasca University; a Certificate in Health Services Administration from the University of Saskatchewan; and a Diploma of X-ray Technology from College of the North Atlantic. He is a Certified Health Executive (CHE) with the Canadian College of Health Leaders, an EXTRA fellow with the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada.

Ken and his wife, Karen, are parents to two grown sons, Ian and Stephen. They enjoy family time together, winter getaways to warm destinations, and socializing with family and friends.

Scott Bishop

Scott Bishop

Vice President – Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Scott Bishop

Vice President – Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer

Scott Bishop is the vice president – corporate services and chief financial officer at NL Health Services. He is a finance professional with over 20 years of progressive work experience in both the public and private sectors. In his role, Scott holds accountabilities for all aspects of financial services, budgeting, and financial reporting, as well as other corporate services including supply chain/procurement, legal services, protection services, and capital planning/engineering.

Prior to this, Scott worked with the Eastern Regional Health Authority since 2010, where he held progressive finance leadership roles, most recently as vice president of corporate services and chief financial officer. Before his time with Eastern Health, he held several finance leadership positions in the software development industry in Ontario.

Scott holds a Bachelor of Commerce (co-operative) from Memorial University and is also a member of the Association of Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA). He is currently a member of the Canadian College of Health Leaders (CCHL) and holds the designation of Certified Health Executive (CHE).

Steve Greene

Steve Greene

Vice President – Digital Health and Chief Information Officer

Steve Greene

Vice President – Digital Health and Chief Information Officer

Steve Greene is the vice president – digital health and chief information officer at NL Health Services. Steve has 26 years of progressive career experience in the private and public sectors. In his role, Steve is responsible for privacy and security, biomedical engineering, health information management, information technology, eDocsNL, clinical e-health programs, virtual care, data and information services and the provincial project management office.

Prior to this, Steve held the positions of chief information officer, chief data officer and director of IT services at Memorial University. Steve is excited to return to health care, where he previously spent 12 years at the Eastern Regional Health Authority.

Steve holds a Bachelor of Science (double major in Computer Science and Statistics) and a Master’s in Education (Information Technology) from Memorial University. Over his career, he has held many professional designations and certifications in project management, business continuity and change management.

Steve is originally from Placentia and enjoys sports, volunteering and travelling with his wife, Trina.

Dr. Gena Bugden

Dr. Gena Bugden

Vice President – Medical Services

Dr. Gena Bugden

Vice President – Medical Services

Dr. Gena Bugden is the vice president – medical services at NL Health Services. She practices emergency medicine in St. John’s, NL and, since 2016, has held various medical leadership positions within the Eastern Regional Health Authority, including the position of vice president of medical services.

Gena is a graduate of the Memorial University School of Medicine and holds a certificate of special competency in emergency medicine. She is also a fellow of the College of Family Physicians.

Gena and her husband, George, have two dogs, Marley and Maggie, who are the light of their lives. They enjoy golf and travelling to sunny destinations, with many bucket list trips yet to explore.

Kelli O’Brien

Kelli O’Brien

Vice President – Quality and Learning Health Systems

Kelli O’Brien

Vice President – Quality and Learning Health Systems

Kelli O’Brien is the vice president – quality and learning health systems at NL Health Services. She has over 30 years of progressive clinical and leadership experience in health care. In her role, Kelli has provincial responsibility for various program areas including quality, safety, and risk management; strategic planning, performance measurement and analytics; research and evaluation; and process improvement. In addition, she has responsibility for the provincial cancer care program.

Prior to this, Kelli served as president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph’s Care Group, a health-care organization in Northwestern Ontario, offering programs and services in mental health and addictions, rehabilitation, and seniors’ health.

Between 2005 and 2021, Kelli held various senior leadership roles at the Western Regional Health Authority including vice of president quality and research, vice of president long-term care and rural health, and vice of president people, quality, and safety. In each role, Kelli was recognized for her ability to effectively develop partnerships and networks, her commitment to excellence, continuous improvement, and high-quality, value-based care.

Kelli holds a Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from Dalhousie University, a Master’s in Science in Rehabilitation from Queen's University and is currently a PhD candidate at Memorial University. She is both an EXTRA fellow with the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation and a peer surveyor with Accreditation Canada. Throughout her academic training, she has been focused on improving care for older adults. Most recently, in 2023, Kelli was appointed to the province’s expert advisory panel for the Long-Term Care and Personal Care Home Program Review.

Kelli and her husband, Kevin, live in Corner Brook. When not at work, Kelli loves spending time with her family and friends, travelling (especially to visit her children), and weekend hikes.

Debbie Molloy

Debbie Molloy

Vice President – Human Resources

Debbie Molloy

Vice President – Human Resources

Debbie Molloy is the vice president – human resources at NL Health Services. Debbie is an executive leader with over 25 years of experience in government, health care, energy and hospitality sectors. In her role, Debbie is focused on ensuring that the provincial health system provides a caring and engaging workplace for the many dedicated professionals who work in the health system.

Debbie has worked in both the public and private sectors and brings a broad understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing today’s competitive, fast-paced work environment. Her career path has allowed her to develop expertise in leadership, organizational effectiveness, talent management and employee relations.

Debbie holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Co-operative) and Master’s in Education (post-secondary studies) from Memorial University. She has also completed the Rotman Directors Education Program and holds the ICD.D designation.

Debbie enjoys being outdoors and active but on a cold winter day you will find her curled up on the couch with her dogs enjoying a good book.

Darla King

Darla King

Vice President – Transformation (Well-being)

Darla King

Vice President – Transformation (Well-being)

Darla King is the vice president – transformation (well-being) at NL Health Services. Through applying a population health approach, Darla’s focus is to strengthen community-based, upstream models of care and work with key stakeholders to improve population health status and health equity in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Darla is responsible for correctional health services, the provincial public health program, and the regional social and health networks. She supports priority areas such as Indigenous health, primary health care, seniors’ care, child and youth community health, and mental health and addictions through leadership of clinical networks, family care teams, and other strategies to facilitate transformational change.

With 30 years of experience at the Western Regional Health Authority, Darla has held various leadership positions with responsibilities for medical services, public health, rehabilitation services, primary health care, chronic disease prevention and management, and childcare services.

Darla holds a Bachelor of Science (Occupational Therapy) from the University of Western Ontario and a Master’s in Science (Occupational Therapy) from Dalhousie University.

Darla lives in Corner Brook with her husband Brian where they enjoy curling, playing pickleball, and spending time at the family cabin in Bonne Bay Pond. They are proud parents of two children, Bethany and Nathan.

Cassie Chisholm

Cassie Chisholm

Vice President – Transformation (Health Systems)

Cassie Chisholm

Vice President – Transformation (Health Systems)

Cassie Chisholm is the vice president – transformation (health systems) at NL Health Services. In this role, she is responsible for provincial programs including emergency health services, cardiovascular care, and clinical efficiency, and strategic clinical networks including stroke and critical care.

During the transition to a provincial health authority, Cassie will work with senior leadership to lead the development of new provincial programs and the establishment of strategic clinical networks. This includes transitioning to a core set of evidence-based policies and procedures for clinical service delivery; implementing innovative approaches to service delivery; using virtual and digital technology; and supporting quality of care by advancing the learning health and social system within the provincial health authority.

Over the course of her career, Cassie has held progressively more responsible leadership positions within the Department of Health and Community Services and the Eastern Regional Health Authority including director-level positions in primary health care and digital health and, most recently, as director of cardiac and critical care.

Cassie was trained as a physiotherapist at Dalhousie University and holds a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology from Memorial University. She has worked for over 20 years in health service delivery in both clinical and administrative roles.

When not at work Cassie enjoys spending time with her family especially in the great outdoors. She loves to run, hike, and can often be found cheering on one of her three girls on the edge of a sports field or hockey rink, or walking their dog, Arlo.

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