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CFAN Steering Committee

Last Updated: January 12, 2017


Karen Sappleton

Karen Sappleton, MSED, MSW, RSW is a mother of two boys and is the Senior Manager of Child and Family-Centred Care & Health Equity in the Centre for Innovation & Excellence in Child and Family Centred Care at SickKids.  In this capacity, she manages the Interpreter Services department, the Family Centre, and the Office of Patient and Family Experience.

Karen has been a member of the SickKids community for the last 11 years, first as a clinical social worker in the Clinical and Metabolic Genetics Program as well as the Good 2 Go Transition Program in Adolescent Medicine, and as a Clinical Research Project Manager for the Department of Social Work. Karen was also an Inter-Professional Education Specialist as a member of the New Immigrant Support Network, supporting the development and implementation of the Cultural Competence workshops at SickKids and running the Train-the-Trainer workshops throughout the province of Ontario. Karen continues to teach, present and runs workshops on health equity, social justice, child and family-centred care, and patient experience.

Prior to her career with SickKids, Karen was an educator and administrator in New York City, working predominantly with children and youth with learning disabilities and special needs. Karen is passionate about health equity, social justice, education, and supporting all of our children and families to have the best healthcare experience possible.

Scott Wilson

Scott Wilson has been a co-chair of Glenrose Family Advisory Network (GFAN) and a dedicated volunteer to
the Glenrose. He has worked with CFAN for many years and has served on the Steering Committee for the last two years.  At the Glenrose, Scott has been awarded the position of Patient and Family Centred
Care Coordinator. He has initiated the process of reviewing AHS Patient First Strategy, patient and family centred care literature and is benchmarking across other sites.


Jill Sangha

Jill Sangha joined the CFAN community in 2012 in order to learn from, and partner with, her colleagues nationally on integrating patient and family-centred care best practices in pediatric healthcare settings.  Jill works at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre as a Patient and Family-Centred Care Specialist.

Prior to her patient and family-centred care role, Jill worked as a Social Worker for 10 years.  Jill is passionate about what she has learned from clients and their families through her clinical role and believes that clients and their families are key partners in shaping our health system.  Jill is particularly interested in health equity; as quality patient and family-centred care is always equitable care.

Kate Robson

Kate’s first daughter was born in 2005 at 25 weeks, weighing 500 grams. Her 2nd daughter was a slightly more robust 32-weeker born in 2007. She has spent time as a patient and as a parent in 4 different hospitals and 3 different NICUs. She now works in one of those NICUs as a Parent Coordinator, offering support to families and helping the unit deliver family centred care.  Her background in Adult Education and Community Mediation, when combined with her personal experiences, helps her bring families and staff together as collaborators. She volunteers with the Canadian Family Advisory Network, is the Executive Director of the Canadian Premature Babies Foundation, and has had the opportunity to present at conferences such as the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference, the Gravens Conference on the Physical and Developmental Environment of the High Risk Infant, the Advanced Practice Nursing Forum, and the Annual Conference of the Australian College of Neonatal Nurses. She is also a family faculty resource for the Vermont Oxford Network.  

Sitara de Gagne BA, MFA

Sitara is a full time mom to three children. With no medical experience, she found herself wanting to add her voice to the health care discussion after her son was diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Through their journey as a family at SickKids in Toronto, Sitara and her son have contributed on lead projects and initiatives that directly impact children, youth and families, healthcare providers, and through the foundation, been involved with donors. 

Sitara is a family advisor on the Sick Kids Family Centred Care Advisory Committee and the Oncology Family Advisory Committee.

Tashmina Hall

Tashmina is a wife to a wonderfully supportive husband and mother to 2 energetic, creative and kind hearted boys.  Being a parent to a child with a chronic health condition, she can say her family has been given a good share of life’s adventures and they are travelling through them together.  Through the good times they are together, and through those heart stopping rough times they stick even closer.  Given all they have been blessed with, they try to count their blessings each day before their burdens.  

Coming from a loving family she believes love can heal in many ways.  She is a financial analyst by day and works for a great company who has respected her responsibilities and choices.  She is passionate about advocacy for children and empowering parents to help their children live their best life intended.  Maneuvering our healthcare system can be challenging, but she believes there are any good people working for the benefit of our children in need. If we all work together to guide the ship, the safe harbour can be in sight for everyone.     

Frank Gavin

Frank Gavin is the father of a son, now a young adult, who received health services throughout his childhood and adolescence in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He served on and for four years co-chaired the Family Advisory Committee to The Hospital for Sick Children and in 2002 helped found The Canadian Family Advisory Network (CFAN), serving as CFAN chair or co-chair forCFAN’s first six years. He now directs CFAN’s national activities and represents CFAN on The Canadian Child and Youth Health Coalition Executive Committee.  He is a member of the boards of both The Institute of Families for Child and Youth Mental Health and The Ontario Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Support Unit. Since September 2011 Frank has been one of two public members of The Canadian Drug Expert Committee at The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health. Since 2013 he has been a member of the advisory board of CIHR’s Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health and more recently joined the initial steering committee of NeuroDevNet’s Community for Brain Development.

Frank received the first Volunteer Humanitarian Award from The Hospital for Sick Children in 2002 and the Contribution to Child Health Award from The Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres in 2008.

For nearly 30 years Frank taught English at Centennial College in Scarborough, Ontario.

Sue Robins

Sue Robins is CFAN's Director, Communications.  She shares information through social media about patient and family centred care best practices and opportunities.  

She is the former chair of CFAN, and has been a paid staff liaison at both the BC Children's Hospital and the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton.  Sue is a speaker, writer and mom of three.  She also co-owns the health communications company called Bird Communications.  Her passions centre on motherhood, families who have children with differences, storytelling and nurturing gratitude and compassion in health care settings.  She and her family live on Burnaby Mountain in BC.  

Amy Ma

Amy Ma was motivated to harness patient and family voices as a force for positive change in the healthcare system through her experiences in accompanying one of her children through surgeries and hospitalizations due a congenital health issue. She joined the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Family Advisory Forum in 2012 and became its co-chair in December 2014. She was elected co-chair of the McGill University Health Centre’s (MUHC) Central Patients’ Committee in November 2014. In accordance with the mandate set out by the Quebec health ministry, and as a representative of the Central Patients’ Committee, Amy actively collaborates with the hospital ombudsman, administrators and clinicians to bring about improvements to quality and service. She sits on the MUHC Committee on Quality and Risk Management and regularly brings patient and family concerns to the attention of hospital management. 

Amy is a past board member of Yee Hong Centre for Geriatric Care and volunteered with the 1997 Special Olympics World Winter Games. She has a particular interest in issues involving health equity in a multicultural context, maternal health, the elderly and accessibility. She currently works as a babywearing instructor, promoting baby carriers as a public health tool for parental attachment. Amy has also taken courses in American and Quebec Sign Language with the Bob Rumball Centre for the Deaf and Institut Raymond Dewar. Prior to this, Amy held positions in fundraising with McGill University. 

Amy holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Commerce from the University of Toronto and a Certificate of Proficiency in French from McGill University. She resides in Montreal, where she runs after three kids who call her mom, and plays flute and guitar duets with her husband.

New members (biographies to come)

Charlene Prochnau
Catherine Gunn
Amir Karmali
Rachel Martens





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