RCHS is a non-profit, community-governed health and social service agency governed by a 12 member Board of Directors.
Janet Cosier (Chair)
Janet is an accountant by training and is now retired from the Bank of Canada where she was advisor to the Governor on strategic planning and risk management. She has extensive Board experience, currently also serves on the Queensway Carleton Hospital Board and until recently on the SE LHIN Board. She lives on Highway 43 between Smiths Falls and Merrickville. Janet and her husband, Tony, enjoy attending local theatre productions, and hiking and canoeing in the Rideau River system region.
Christopher Cummings (Vice Chair)
Chris has lived in a number of communities in Ontario but has called Smiths Falls home for the last 25 years, where he raised his two children together with his wife Linda. He has worked as a small business manager and financial advisor for some of the largest financial institutions in Canada over the last 33 years. Chris has a long history of community involvement, having sat on dozens of advisory committees, task forces and has been involved in fundraising campaigns. He was a member of the Kinsmen Club for 20 years in several communities in Eastern and South-Western Ontario, and was elected to Smiths Falls town council in 2006, where he served three terms before choosing to retire from elected office in 2018. Chris has also served as Library Trustee & Board Chair from 1998-2010 on the Smiths Falls Public Library Board, and as a member of the Smiths Falls Police Services Board from 2010-2018. Chris helped form the Smiths Falls Economic Development Board, The Smiths Falls Municipal Heritage Committee and The Smiths Falls & District Arts and Culture Council.
Terry Gilhen (Vice Chair)
Born in the Ottawa Valley, Terry Gilhen spent his childhood years as a “military brat” moving every two to three years across the country and Europe before arriving in Ottawa where he attended university, got married and settled down. His 38 year career was spent almost entirely within the local non-profit sector and was dedicated primarily to promoting access and inclusion for people with disabilities. Terry was also actively involved on several committees and networks including the City of Ottawa’s Accessibility Advisory Committee, the Ottawa Community Support Coalition and the Province of Ontario’s AODA Transportation Standards Development Committee. In 2013 Terry and his wife Dennise decided it was time to leave the City for the quieter life in Merrickville-Wolford. As a newcomer, Terry sought out volunteer opportunities recognizing that by becoming involved he would more quickly feel “at home”. He currently sits on several committees of Council including the Strategic Planning Committee. Now “semi-retired” Terry takes on the occasional consulting contract but mostly enjoys the slower pace of country life and getting to know his new community.
Sandra Shaw (Secretary)
Sandra retired to her Ontario roots after having lived in Montreal for 45 years, where she raised her son and ran her businesses. An entrepreneur at heart, she returned to McGill University in 2010 to obtain her master’s degree in Bioethics to turn her company into an organisation offering strategic and tactical development in the healthcare services and industry in Canada. Her undergraduate degree in Genetics from Guelph has served her well, allowing her to understand the complexities of health and wellness, from users’ needs to government policies. Sandra lives just outside Portland with her two huskies and the varied wildlife for which the Rideau Waterway has always provided sanctuary.
Dorothy presently lives in Perth after retiring from a lengthy career in Cochrane. Her nursing career has encompassed acute care and long term care, home care and working in a physician office. She was a Patient Care Coordinator within the hospital and a Director of Nursing/ Assistant Administrator of a long term care facility within this hospital, which she helped to design and develop. While in Northern Ontario, she was an active member and chair of the Cochrane District Health Council, as well as District Long Term Care and Mental Health committees. She was a also a member of numerous local community committees in Cochrane including accessibility and health care resources. She is one of the founding members of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital Patient Family Advisory Council and currently serves as chair. She has also been involved in other volunteer organizations within Perth.
Don Palmer has over 45 years of experience in the field of human services and business management, 35 of which have been in senior and middle management positions. His experience is very broad-based. He has managed programs and provided direct services to persons with a variety of disabilities. He has extensive experience working with and designing programs for persons with severe and multiple disabilities. Mr. Palmer has published numerous articles relating to program management, staff training, supported employment and equity employment for persons with a disability in the U.S. and Canada. Mr. Palmer was the Executive Director of Causeway Work Centre (a community economic development agency serving eastern Ontario) from 1992 until 2019, and he has been a resident of Merrickville for 27 years. Now retired, his primary activities centre around cycling and reading.
Jackie was born and raised in Smiths Falls, and currently lives outside of Perth. She spent her career of over 35 years working in the education field in the roles of teacher and principal, having had the opportunity to work in Smiths Falls, Carleton Place, and Perth High Schools. Jackie holds a master’s degree in Psychopaedagogy from Ottawa University. She is an active member of the Perth and Smiths Falls District Hospital Patient and Family Advisory Council, and pre-COVID, volunteered at the local Big Brothers Big Sisters Store in Perth. Currently retired, Jackie enjoys playing and watching sports, travelling, and spending time with her spouse, and their King Charles Spaniels.
Christine lives in the County of Leeds & Grenville with her adolescent, soon-to-be adult children. She currently works as a Health and Safety Consultant/Ergonomist for the Public Services Health and Safety Association. She has spent numerous years working with employers in the public and private sector as part of the safe work associations in Ontario and has been helping employers in improving their health and safety programs in Eastern Ontario since 1999. She particularly enjoys working with front line workers, committees and supervisor making practical, and lasting improvements that improve workers lives. Prior to this, she had worked with children with disabilities, and was later involved in returning injured workers back to work.
Christine is also currently on the Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists board and is the VP of her local union. She has past board experience on the MTJB daycare board. She is excited to join the RCHS Board to make a difference in the lives of residents within her community.
After obtaining her MSW in Community Work from Carleton University, Sandra (Sandy) Mark settled with her young family near Merrickville in 1976. At that time, she worked for the District Health Council and has stories to tell about the launch of the Merrickville Medical Centre as the first funded rural Community Health Centre. She cherishes her memories of those times and although her return from BC in 2016 was to sadly care for her son through his cancer journey, she is very happy that she was able to return permanently with her partner in 2021 to her home in Jasper. Sandy is currently Manager of Women’s Programs for the Small Scale Food Processor Association which she and her partner established 20 years ago. Her mission is to connect women food processors across Canada and ensure that their contribution to food sovereignty in Canada is recognized and properly supported. This follows a long career in Community Economic Development in Ottawa, Victoria, Vancouver Island, BC’s interior and in Carp ON working primarily in the food sector where she facilitated development of several mostly rural community organizations with people who needed a stronger basis from which to address community issues. Her underlying concern is to empower people to work together to handle common concerns. Her passion for reflection and growth led her to writing curriculum and teaching part time at the University of Victoria courses in Policy, Community Development and Economics for Social Justice. She is looking forward to reconnecting with friends and enjoying the many benefits of a rural life surrounded by family and friends.
Juli was born and raised in Perth and is very proud of her Lanark County roots. Although she currently resides in Stittsville, she spends much of her time working and playing in and around Lanark, Leeds, and Grenville. She has over 30 years in community health care starting with managing a combined family practice & walk-in clinic in Scarborough to her current role as a Manager for Home and Community Care in Smiths Falls. Throughout her career, she has been able to bring her personal passions of palliative care, inclusivity, and creativity into her work life in order to develop sustainable programs and services that support health equity using a population health approach. She has extensive leadership, quality & patient safety, joint health & safety, quality improvement, change management, resource management, and systems analysis experience. She is currently in the process of becoming a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional and looks forward to being able to advance health equity and inclusion commitments, policies, programs, and services in her community.
Stefany is experienced as a senior occupational therapist (OT) and healthcare leader in Ontario. After graduating from the School of Rehabilitation Sciences at McMaster University, she has worked as an OT working in multidisciplinary clinics and as a solo consultant. Over time she became involved in teaching opportunities with Conestoga College and more recently she has been a sessional instructor for McMaster University and University of British Columbia. Stefany has successfully lead teams from hospital to community home care programs. To date, she has held manager and director- level positions within large and complex healthcare systems in three different regions in Ontario. Stefany was born and raised in Ottawa and is currently a Director with Home & Community Care Support Services. She has years of involvement as a board member with a municipal Business Improvement Association. She is thrilled to now be involved with the RCHS where she can bring her extensive leadership skills to the board and the Rideau community.