North West LHIN Executive Team

laura kokocinski

Laura Kokocinski, CEO

Laura was appointed CEO on September 1, 2010. She previously served as the Senior Director, Planning, Integration and Community Engagement since January 2006. In her current role, she is chairing and leading several provincial initiatives.

Laura’s extensive background in the integrated delivery of health services in Northwestern Ontario has given her a solid understanding of our region. In addition to having held the positions of Vice President, Health Services at the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, the Executive Director of the Community Care Access Centre of the District of Thunder Bay and the Director of Continuing Education with Confederation College, she brings a strong background in leadership, education, policy development and research.

Laura holds the degrees of Doctorate of Education, Master of Education and Bachelor of Science of Nursing from Lakehead.

In addition, Laura has been actively engaged as a community volunteer serving as Vice Chair and Chair, Education and Training with St. John Ambulance, Thunder Bay branch; and on the Board of Northern Ontario Medical Education Award Fund, Advisory to the Boards of Registered Nurses Association of Ontario and Canadian Nurses Association. Laura was also the inaugural Chair and President of the Canadian Nurse Education Association and held the position for four years. She is also the recipient of the Order of St. John and the Nursing Leadership Dorothy Wylie Award.


susan pilatzke

Susan Pilatzke, Vice President of Health System Strategy, Integration and Planning

Health systems everywhere are undergoing dramatic transformation, shifting focus and adapting policy to better reflect and respond to patient needs. As Vice President of Health System Strategy, Integration and Planning for the North West LHIN, Susan Pilatzke is responsible for creating an integrated health care delivery system that keeps pace with these changes. Her portfolio includes identifying and addressing local health system planning priorities, promoting leading practices in business and health care management, and providing leadership in devising measurable, results-driven improvement strategies.

"My job is to work with health care leaders and stakeholders across the region to design and implement better care delivery systems," she says. "The idea is to make them efficient, responsive, and above all make them person-centred."

Susan has been involved in the design and development of health care delivery systems throughout her entire career. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration from the University of Minnesota, a certificate in Executive Management from Carlson School of Management, and an Honours Bachelor Degree in Nursing from Lakehead University. Prior to joining the LHIN in 2007, she was Director of Clinical Oncology for the Integrated Cancer Program at Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre.

"I am passionate about the need for better public health leadership, and building a system that is better able to improve outcomes for patients," she says. "So from my point of view, this is my dream job."


Brian Ktytor

Brian Ktytor, Vice President of Corporate Services

Brian Ktytor is Vice President of Corporate Services for the North West LHIN. He provides strategic leadership in system performance, funding, community engagement, eHealth, enterprise projects and change management. Put more simply, he works to optimize the performance of the health system in Northwestern Ontario in order to obtain the most value for the people who use the system and for the taxpayers of Ontario who fund the system.

Brian received his Master’s in Business Administration from Dalhousie after graduating from Lakehead University with a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) and an Honours Bachelor of Commerce. Prior to joining the LHIN, he was the Dean of the School of Aviation and Director of Marketing, Communication and External Relations at Confederation College and was a senior commercial banking account manager with RBC Royal Bank.

Brian says his experiences within the business and education sectors were the perfect preparation for the job he now holds. He works closely with team members and stakeholders across the region, bringing a decidedly business and systems point of view to a critical health care function – making the system high-performing and sustainable.

"I love this job because of the purpose that I have," he says. "I can't think of a higher contribution I could make than helping my fellow Ontarians be healthy, and helping sustain the health system for future generations."

rakib mohammed

Rakib Mohammed,Vice President of Home and Community Care

Rakib is a seasoned professional, with a proven track record of delivering results in environments of change. He is a strategic leader with experience in coalition building and the ability to empower and mobilize others to achieve common goals and patient care outcomes. He brings with him strong analytical, problem solving, project management skills and experience in implementing legislative policy as well as leading integration objectives across multiple healthcare sectors and organizations.

Rakib has extensive clinical and leadership experience in healthcare including people management, physician engagement, quality improvement, relationship building and financial planning. Prior to joining the North West LHIN, Rakib held the position of Provincial Director for Clinical Telehealth Services with the Alberta Health Services. Earlier in his career he held various leadership roles within the seniors and community care division of Alberta Health Services.

Rakib holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Physiotherapy from McGill University, a Master of Science in Rehabilitation from the University of Toronto, and an MBA from the University of Calgary, Haskayne School of Business. He is also a published researcher. As a part of his graduate work he engaged various community care agencies in Ontario to establish a decision making framework for the allocation of therapy services. The recommendation generated from his work was peer reviewed and published in Physiotherapy Canada.

chrysta burns

Chrysta Burns, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Development

Chrysta Burns provides strategic leadership, direction and oversight for the development, implementation and evaluation of human resources and organizational development strategies to promote alignment and enable employees to deliver client care.

Chrysta brings substantial experience from the private sector with a portfolio that focuses largely on employee relations and organizational development, talent management, recruitment and retention, leadership development and performance management.

In 2007, Chrysta joined the North West Community Care Access Centre, and spent many years leading Human Resources and Organizational Development, with accountability for labour relations, employee relations, occupational health and safety, performance management and the development of an effective overall HR strategy.

Chrysta is passionate about Human Resources and Organizational Development. Chrysta believes in the strength and value of collaboration and in building strong partnerships.

“I have spent my entire career dedicated to Human Resources and the employees we serve,” says Chrysta. “It is so tremendously rewarding. It is a privilege to be part of a team dedicated to making Northwestern Ontario a healthier place to live!”

Dr. Sarah Newbery

Dr. Sarah Newbery, co-Vice President of Clinical

Dr. Newbery is an avid champion of rural medicine, and a well-known family physician in Northwestern Ontario. For the past 21 years, Dr. Newbery has been a family physician in Marathon, and has been part of the Marathon Family Health Team since it’s inception as a first wave FHT in 2007.She has been Chief of Staff at Wilson Memorial General Hospital for the past 12 years and is currently Chief of Staff of the newly integrated North of Superior Health Care Group (NOSH). She is an associate professor in the Division of Clinical Sciences at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, and is actively involved in curriculum development and teaching. Dr. Newbery is also a member of several provincial health care related committees, and is a past president of the Ontario College of Family Physicians.

petronilla ndebele

Petronilla Ndebele, Director of Communications and Engagement

Petronilla Ndebele was appointed to the position of Director of Communications and Engagement on February 25, 2015. In her current role, Petronilla provides strategic leadership in communications and community engagement to ensure the people of Northwestern Ontario share their views and advice on health system delivery and transformation to better serve their needs.

“I’m passionate about a storytelling approach to communications,” says Petronilla. “In particular, stories that make a difference to the socio-economic well-being of the constituents we serve.”

Before joining the North West LHIN, Petronilla was Director of Communications for kidsLINK, a children’s mental health agency. Between 2012 - 2014, she was at the City of Guelph asthe Public Affairs Officer in the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer and Communications Assistant in the Office of the Mayor.And before joining the North West LHIN, Petronilla was the Communications and Media Relations Lead at the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network.

In addition to her Master’s in International Communications and Development, City University, UK, Petronilla holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing Communications from the Graduate School of Marketing, Institute of Marketing Management in South Africa. In 2014, Petronilla was Accredited in Public Relations by the Canadian Public Relations Society.

Rhonda Ferguson

Rhonda Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer

Rhonda Ferguson has worked with the North West LHIN for the past 6 years. In her previous role of Administrative Assistant to the Senior Director of Health System Transformation, she has been involved with many committees and program implementations. In previous years, Rhonda has worked in various types of administrative roles, such as Legal Assistant (family law, estate planning, litigation, real estate) and Engineering Office Manager. She enjoys reading, hiking and biking, but her true passion is her love for animals.

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