Senior Leadership Team

Eric J. Vandewall, 
President & Cheif Executive Officer

Eric assumed the position of President and CEO of Joseph Brant Hospital in 2009, and under his leadership, several major accomplishments have been realized at JBH.

An ongoing focus to continually improve quality care, safe care, and service excellence is evident throughout the hospital. Currently, JBH has amongst the lowest C. Difficile rates in Ontario, has improved hand hygiene rates by over 20% throughout the hospital, and achieved a balanced budget position for four straight years after a two-year deficit position. Additionally, provincial government approval for the hospital's $300 million plus hospital redevelopment and expansion was secured in August 2011. Since then, construction has steadily progressed with a completion date set for 2017/18.

Before coming to JBH, Eric served as the Senior Vice President, Trillium Health Centre, and Vice President of Planning and Corporate Services at Trillium Health Centre. Eric has held a number of other senior management positions including Director, Health Outcomes at Glaxo Welcome; Director, Health Reform Implementation Team, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care; and, Director, Health Promotion Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. He has held several other senior positions at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care over an 11 year period.

Eric is a graduate of Queen's University and holds a Master's Degree in Public Administration, Health Policy. He also has an undergraduate degree from Ryerson University in Architectural Sciences and holds a Chartered Director designation from the Directors College, McMaster University.

Susan Wannamaker,
Senior Vice President

Susan has more than 30 years of progressive leadership experience across academic and community health care settings throughout the country. She is an accomplished senior leader and is recognized by her peers as an experienced clinical and business systems leader focused on the delivery of high quality care and service.

In her role as SVP, Susan is leading several important initiatives, such as the transformation of the JBH patient experience and the implementation of LEAN management. Susan is working alongside the President and CEO and the Senior Leadership Team to enable the hospital redevelopment and associated operational readiness to deliver on the new hospital build for the citizens of Burlington.  

In previous roles, Susan has been instrumental in standardizing the provincial methodology for care model redesign based on the needs of the population. She also led initiatives to transform access to care as well as the patient experience.  Susan was an executive with the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, where she held the combined position of Vice President of Professional Practice and Chief Nursing Officer, Chief Clinical Information Officer and Executive Lead for the Regional Surgical Program. Susan's leadership skills were complemented by previous positions at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, such as Vice President, Clinical and Systems Transformation and Chief Operating Officer for the Richmond Community of Care.

Susan holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alberta, and Masters in Health Administration from the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Wes Stephen, 
Chief of Staff

Dr. Wes Stephen is the Chief of Staff of Joseph Brant Hospital. Dr. Stephen is a graduate of Dalhousie University where he received his 1985, followed
by his General Surgery Residency in 1990. He completed his Colorectal Fellowship at the University of Toronto in 1991.

Dr. Stephen is an accomplished surgeon and administrator. Prior to JBH, Dr. Stephen worked as a Colorectal/General Surgeon at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and McMaster University. During that time Dr. Stephen held multiple hospital and university administrative positions including: Surgeon in Chief at HHS, Head of Surgical Oncology at HHS, Regional Head, Surgical Oncology for Cancer Care Ontario LHIN4, Academic Head for the Division of General Surgery at McMaster University and Service Chief for General Surgery at HHS.

In addition Dr. Stephen has held several scholarly and professional roles comprising of President of the Canadian Colorectal Society and an Examiner on the Board of General Surgery with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Mario Joannette, 
Vice President - Public Affairs & Communications

Mario has served as Vice President, Public Relations and Communications of Joseph Brant Hospital since December 2009. He has a genuine caring approach and an engaging style that has helped him build a strong reputation in being able to work with others to get the job done, in sometimes very challenging times.

Mario stepped into this position at a time when the organization was embarking on a new path forward to communicate JBH's bold transformational agenda. This agenda included an ambitious $450 million plus redevelopment and expansion project, the launch of a 'new era' hospital campaign and rebrand, and an ongoing focus to continuously improve safe, quality care and service excellence throughout the hospital. 

Mario has a diversified profile of career experience in both the public and private sector, and has also spent several years working in provincial and municipal politics. Mario previously assisted former Minister of Education Gerard Kennedy as his senior advisor, and was the former Executive Assistant for the Honourable Ted McMeekin when he was first elected in 2000. Mario also spent 3 years as the Chief of Staff for Larry Di Ianni, former mayor of Hamilton, and played a pivotal role in two election campaigns, one as Mr. Di Ianni's campaign manager.

Mario is a graduate of Laurentian University and holds an Honours Bachelor of Social Work degree. He is currently enrolled in the Masters of Communication Management program at the DeGroote School of Business at McMaster University in partnership with the Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.

Nancy Casselman,
Vice President - Human Resources


Cheryl Williams,
Vice President - Patient Care Services & Chief Nursing Executive

Cheryl Williams is the Vice-President, Patient Care Services and the Chief Nurse Executive at Joseph Brant Hospital. 

Cheryl is a Registered Nurse with a background in health care operations, organizational transformation, lean philosophy and methodology, teaching, and advanced clinical practice.  Cheryl holds a PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Toronto, and is a Certified Health Executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders.

Dee Perera, 
Vice President - Finance & Corporate Services & Cheif Financial Officer

Dee is a Certified Professional Accountant (CPA), with over 20 years' business experience in both the private and public sectors leading multi-year operational and capital budgets. Her strong leadership, accompanied by genuine strive for delivering the best healthcare to patients have allowed her to lead innovation and transformation at every hospital she's worked at.

Since joining Joseph Brant Hospital, Dee has headed key initiatives to position the hospital as a leader in best practices for the community. Some of the initiatives she's headed include the Post Construction Operating plan & Capital funding negotiations, launching a Business Intelligence tool, and setting up a Business Development unit.

Prior to joining Joseph Brant Hospital, Dee was the Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer at Woodstock Hospital. During her time there, she was instrumental in supporting and adopting Health System Funding Reform changes, as well as successfully executing the Post Construction Operation plan of the hospital's redevelopment project.

Dee has a Bachelor of Commerce from McMaster University and is an Associate of the Institute of Bankers. Dee is also a Gold Medal Winner of the Dale Carnegie Institute for Leadership. She is currently an active member of Finance Executive International Golden Horse Shoe Chapter. In 2006, Dee was named a Fellow of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (FCPA), the highest honour CPA Canada bestows. Dee was recognized for her leadership in business, community service and promotion of the accounting profession. 

Anissa Hilborn, Foundation President

Anissa is an experienced executive in the not-for-profit sector and has held a broad range of leadership positions in fundraising for the past 15 years.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts, Honours from the University of Western Ontario and is a Certified Fundraising Executive. Before joining the hospital's foundation, Anissa was the President of the Erinoak Kids Foundation. She has also held roles as Vice President, at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Foundation (CAMH), Director, Community Fundraising for the Credit Valley Hospital Foundation (CVH), and Manager, Special Events for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society of Canada. 

Annissa is a resident of Burlington and is deeply invested in and giving back to her community through volunteer work with other community organizations.


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