The Board’s role is to provide direction to the Centre on behalf of the community. Board members provide leadership and support the Centre to ensure it meets its goals. They oversee the organization and work with the Executive Director who performs operational duties. The Board extends its support for collaboration by working in partnership with staff and the community to carry out the Centre’s mission.
Board Members 2020-2021
Sacha Baharmand, Chair, (Term – June 25, 2019 – June 2021)
Sacha is a lawyer with the Department of Justice Canada. Prior to joining the public service, he conducted and managed litigation in the Federal Government as well as private practice both in Ottawa and in Toronto. In his current role, he helps craft access to justice policy, drawing upon his particular expertise relating to official language minority communities. Sacha is a proud francophone member of the Centretown CHC Board of Directors, having been first elected in 2015. He has gained considerable experience in community governance and leadership notably as a member of the Board of CHEO-OCTC, as a former member of the Board and Chair of Carlington CHC, as well as being an active volunteer with both Entraide budgétaire Ottawa and the Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre. He is a firm believer in health equity and of the concept that good health is much more than a visit to the clinic. It is something that begins in our homes, schools, workplaces and communities. These shared values are the source of his passion for Centretown’s work and why he is grateful for the privilege to continue to serve on its Board.
Mandeep Ahluwalia, Director (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Mandeep was formerly trained as a physician outside of Canada. With the difficulty of foreign trained physicians obtaining a medical licence in Canada, Mandeep chose to help his community in other ways.
For the past 12 years, Mandeep has been a Police Officer in Toronto and now in Ottawa where he strives to break down community barriers and promote inclusivity. In his current role as a Police Officer, Mandeep is working in the recruiting section to help equalize representation of the police force to better reflect the community it serves.
Mandeep is quadrilingual and can speak English, Punjabi, Hindi and Urdu. Being a visible minority himself, he believes inclusivity, education and acceptance are the key to strengthen society as a whole. He has always had goals to support health, wellness and humanity.
Leah Bartlett, Vice Chair, (Term – June 25, 2019 – June 2021)
An epidemiologist by training, Leah Bartlett has worked for nearly two decades in population health and community health. She has had the wonderful opportunity to work at CCHC and receive primary care services from SWCHC. As a Health Planner with the local health region, she worked for years with community health centres across the region with chronic disease planning. Leah continues to be impressed by the passion and excellence of the CHC staff and their commitment to supporting and engaging everyone in the community with high quality care. Though always a Maritimer in her heart, Leah has become a proud Centretowner, settled in the community and connecting with neighbours on the daily walks with her dog.
Charlie Brenchley, Director, (Term – June 25, 2019 – June 2021)
Charlie’s professional background spans the political arena, the labour movement and the not-for-profit sector. He currently works at the national office of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. Born and raised in Montreal, Charlie now calls Ottawa home since, having moved to the nation’s capital in 2015. He has been a client of the CCHC since his arrival and is now very happy to call the vibrant community of Centretown home. Charlie currently sits on the board of Gay Ottawa Volleyball and is passionate about engaging folks across different communities. He is a proud English, French and Spanish speaker. If you see him around the community on his bike or walking his dog, please feel free to flag him down and strike up a conversation in either of these languages. He is eager to help advance the vital work going on at the CCHC.
Mike Bulthuis, Director, (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
In April 2017, Mike became Director of Making the Shift, a Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, an initiative co-led by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) and A Way Home Canada. Over 15 years, in professional and voluntary capacities, Mike has worked in various positions at the intersections of policy, research and community practice. Prior to joining the COH, Mike served for 3.5 years as the Executive Director of the Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness, after spending over ten years with the federal public service (2002-2013) in policy and reporting units addressing homelessness, social infrastructure and Canada’s cities. He has also offered policy support as a consultant with the national Vibrant Communities Initiative and the City of Ottawa’s Community Development Framework. From 2006 to 2011, Mike engaged in doctoral studies in social geography, following an earlier completion of an MA, Political Science, with a focus on Canadian and European social policy. Mike has lived in Ottawa since 1999, after growing up in Hamilton, Ontario.
Darcy DeMarsico, Treasurer, (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Darcy DeMarsico works at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, where she leads a unique industry – government collaboration to jointly tackle bottlenecks to economic prosperity. Before joining ISED, Darcy spent six years at Rideau Hall, was chief of staff at the Federal Secretariat for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and managed Canada’s post-conflict support to end the use of landmines in the Balkans. She has experience as a board member and volunteer on community and athletic organizations, and has been a client at CCHC for 40 years. When it is time to recharge, she can be found singing in a local choir or knitting socks for her kids.
Meseret Haileyesus, Director (Term September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Meseret is a social entrepreneur, community builder, and founder of both the Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment and Maternity Today. With a background in midwifery, economics, and public health, she drives social change by advocating for high-quality and accessible sexual and reproductive healthcare for women on a global scale, with a goal of ending gender-based violence. Her passion for gender equality has led her to spend over 16 years working with various national and international non-profit organizations on dozens of projects centered on issues of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Public Health Research, Communicable Disease, Maternal Child and Newborn Health, Economic Justice and building community capacity to take action to advance social justice initiatives.
As the CEO of the Canadian Center for Women’s Empowerment, she inspires research, advocacy, and policy for economic justice in Canada with a keen interest in addressing systemic barriers and other challenges that prevent women and girls from fully realizing their human rights. Meseret is a member of multiple UN and World Health Organization programs, where she produces strategies to reinforce the maternal and newborn health components for health sector reform programs. She is also the Director for End Female Genital Mutilation Canada Network and Maternity Today an organization that strengthens maternal and child health through superior advocacy, research, innovation, and education. She is supporting the Centretown Community Health Centre’s grass-root community in Ottawa while building her plant-based wellness and lifestyle brand, Nacre Organics. She is the proud mother of one beautiful daughter who inspires and motivates her every day.
Chantal Krantz, Director, (Term – June 25, 2019 – June 2021)
Chantal is a bilingual Centertown resident. She has worked at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) for the past 25 years and is currently the Manager of Development and Rehabilitation. She brings expertise in complex care coordination, system navigation and spearheading collaborative partnership to support vulnerable populations. Chantal has been a volunteer on the CCHC Board of Directors for the past 3 years and has previous experience as Chair of the board for the Parent Resources Center in Ottawa. She is most passionate about teamwork and partnering with community to improve care for children and youth, integrated system of care, client engagement/consultation to resolve complex problems.
Patrick Ladouceur, Director, (Term – June 25, 2019 – June 2021)
Patrick (he/him) is a proud advocate for CCHC and for healthy communities for all. Patrick is an activist and a PhD Candidate in Social Work at the University of Ottawa. He has an academic background in social work, political science and law. For his day job, Patrick is privileged to be working as a Research Coordinator and a Part-Time Professor at the University of Ottawa’s School of Social Work. His main interests include social justice, community development, domestic violence, violence against women and La Francophonie. Before starting his graduate studies, Patrick worked and volunteered in community development for 10 years and worked for the Federal Public Service for 8 years. He currently serves on the City of Ottawa French Language Services Advisory Committee and is a Member of the Feminist Anti-Violence (FemAnVi) Research Collective. Patrick was first elected to CCHC’s board in June 2015. He proudly served as Vice-Chair of the board from 2018 to 2020 and has been an active member of different CCHC committees, with a special interest in ACAT (Avocacy and Communications Action Team).
Valerie Repta, Secretary, (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Valerie works as a clinician-researcher. She has master’s degrees in psychology and social work, and has worked in social service and health care settings, both directly with clients and at the system/provincial level to provide evidence-informed practices to improve mental health care services. She values connecting direct intervention services with research and evaluation practices to improve client outcomes. Valerie has collaborated on new community and health care initiatives to support developing partnerships between sectors. She has lived in Centretown since 2009 and served on the Board since 2016. Valerie is proud to share the Centre’s values of engagement, inclusion, advocacy and diversity.
Charlie Thompson, Director, (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Charlie has worked in several roles related to public policy and public health in both political and non-partisan roles. Most recently, he has worked in healthcare advocacy and policy at HealthCareCAN – a non-profit organization that represents healthcare organizations on federal policy issues. These include antimicrobial stewardship, healthcare cyber security, and advancing principles of Reconciliation in healthcare among several others. In a previous life, he held positions at the Ontario Legislature and at Canada’s parliament in roles closely connected to the health portfolio at federal and provincial levels. Charlie has been based in Ottawa for the past seven years and enjoys close ties to the Centretown community both as a resident and as a CCHC patient. He holds a BAH in political studies from Queen’s University as well as a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Health from the University of Auckland, and he is on the precipice of defending his graduate thesis towards an MSc in Health Systems at the University of Ottawa. His research concerns reimbursement decision-making for medications in Canada’s provinces.
Dave Zackrias, Director, (Term – September 29, 2020 – June 2022)
Staff Sergeant David Zackrias believes that inclusion is key to public safety, and that celebrating, encouraging and respecting diversity makes Ottawa safer and stronger. A twenty-year veteran of the Toronto and Ottawa Police Services (OPS), he heads up the Ottawa Police Diversity and Race Relations Section, helping to build cohesion between Ottawa Police and the community.
Staff Sergeant Zackrias, who immigrated to Canada from India with his family at the age of 15, is passionate about building strong inter-community relationships whether he’s on or off the job. He serves as a board member with CCHC and volunteers as a Conflict Coach with Community Mediation Ottawa.