Learn about the passionate executive leaders at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. They are dedicated to providing patient-centred care for people with some of the most complex mental health and substance use needs in the province.
Chief Medical Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Dr. Vijay Seethapathy is the chief medical officer at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) as part of the dyad leadership team with chief operating officer, Darlene MacKinnon. He provides strategic and operational oversight for medical services across BCMHSUS programs and services including the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, Red Fish Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, Heartwood Centre for Women, Correctional Health Services, Forensic Regional Clinics and provincial specialized mental-health and substance-use programs. He is also a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia, where he oversees the psychiatry residents’ addiction program.
He is one of very few psychiatrists in B.C. who specializes in treating patients with a combination of complex mental health and substance use disorders, known in the mental health community as concurrent disorders. He has a special interest in clinical systems redesign.
Vijay has bachelor’s degrees in medicine and surgery from India, and an executive master’s degree in business administration from Keele University in the UK. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK, and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.
Assistant – Jeanette Fong
Interim Chief Operating Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Dr. Connie Coniglio is the interim chief operating officer at BCMHSUS.
Connie is a registered psychologist with a doctoral degree in counselling psychology from the University of Toronto. She has a master’s degree in counselling and undergraduate degrees from Western University and Brock University, and has also completed executive leadership education at the Rotman School of Business.
Connie has over 30 years' experience developing and delivering innovative mental health and substance use programs and services for adults, youth, children and families. She is dedicated to leading safe and effective patient centred care for British Colombians with complex specialized needs.
Connie's previous roles at PHSA include clinical director for eating disorders, director of health literacy, provincial executive director of adult mental health and substance use, and provincial executive director of children and women's mental health and substance use.
Assistant – Christy Gunn
Angela joined British Columbia Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services as the Provincial Executive Director of Forensic Psychiatric Services in September, 2015. She is responsible for the clinical operations of the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and six Regional outpatient clinics. With experience as a registered nurse and in federal corrections, she is excited to join an already diverse group of leaders and dedicated professionals providing patient care in Forensic Services.
Angela began her career as a nurse, where she found her passion in correctional, then forensic nursing. After spending many years as a frontline nurse, she began her career in health care administration within the federal correction system. Since her career transition from nursing, Angela has served as a Warden to a federal penitentiary in Saskatchewan, served as a Regional Director of Operations overseeing security and intelligence oversight for 12 federal prisons in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and Manitoba. She was appointed Warden of Edmonton Institution for Women from 2012-2014, and prior to her relocation to British Columbia, resumed the role of Executive Director at the Regional psychiatric Center in Saskatoon. Angela holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and has completed numerous training and certificate course in both nursing and corrections milieus.
Executive Director, Corporate and Clinical Support Services, Mental Health & Substance Use Services
Rebecca Hahn is the executive director of corporate and clinical support services for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, where she is responsible for quality and safety, clinical informatics, virtual mental health and substance use care, facilities management, decision support and contracted clinical programs. She is also the executive lead for Clinical and Systems Transformation (CST) implementation across BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services.
Rebecca has held various senior leadership positions at Vancouver Coastal Health, PHSA and the University Health Network in Toronto. Prior to her current role, she was the chief transformation officer for CST implementation at PHSA, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care. She has a unique combination of IT, clinical, and project management knowledge and over a decade of experience leading large clinical information system implementations.
She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Waterloo.
Assistant – Áine Moran
Executive Director, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute
Dr. Jehannine Austin is the executive director of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services Research Institute, where she is responsible for leading the research strategy, overseeing principal investigators, and raising the profile of the research institute and its work.
Her research focuses on using clinical genetics to improve outcomes for people with psychiatric illnesses. Based on her research data, she founded the world's first specialist psychiatric genetic counseling service, the Adapt Clinic, which has won an award for its impact on patient outcomes.
In addition to publishing articles in peer-reviewed journals, she has written a book called
How to Talk with Families About Genetics and Psychiatric Illness. She has also won awards for teaching, leadership, and research, and has served on a number of academic and mental health societies.
Jehannine is also a professor of psychiatry and medical genetics at the University of British Columbia, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in Translational Psychiatric Genomics. She has a doctoral degree in neuropsychiatric genetics from the University of Wales' College of Medicine, a master's degree in genetic counselling from the University of British Columbia, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Bath.
Assistant – Glory Mogas
Senior Director, Adult Mental Health and Substance Use (AMHSU)
Kathryn Embacher is the senior director responsible for Adult Mental Health and Substance Use (AMHSU) at BCMHSUS. This includes the 105-bed Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction in Coquitlam and the 30-bed Heartwood Centre for Women in Vancouver, serving clients from across British Columbia.
Kathryn is a registered nurse and chartered professional in human resources, with a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from Edinburgh Business School at Heriot-Watt University. Kathryn has over 18 years of direct care and leadership experience in acute and tertiary mental health and substance use services, including at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, VGH acute psychiatry, Heartwood, and Red Fish Healing Centre.
Kathryn is dedicated to high quality, patient centered, and innovative mental health and substance use care. She has significant experience leading her clinical teams through change and transformation with the successful roll out of electronic health records and model of care redesigns to best meet changing patient needs. Kathryn was a leader in the development of the Joseph and Rosalie Segal Family Health Centre during her time as Patient Services Manager for acute psychiatry at VGH and led the operational planning for the new BCMHSUS Red Fish Healing Centre that opened October 12th, 2021.
Kathryn has dedicated her career to the development of accessible, innovative, and patient centered programs that meet the needs of complex clients with concurrent mental health and substance use challenges.
Assistant - Franca Pitassi
Medical Director, Forensic Psychiatric Hospital
Dr. Sophie Anhoury is the medical director at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, with responsibility for providing medical leadership and expertise to clinical service delivery and programming.
Dr. Anhoury completed her training in general psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital in South London and has worked in a variety of forensic settings, including corrections, women’s services and medium and high-risk security units. Prior to her current role, Dr. Anhoury was a consultant forensic psychiatrist in an acute male medium secure service and supported the development of regional forensic mental health services as a deputy lead for men’s forensic services across South London. In addition, she acted as training program director for specialist trainees pursuing forensic psychiatry on the South London training program.
She has a master’s degree in forensic psychology and psychiatry from King’s College London, U.K and bachelor’s degrees in medicine and neuroscience from the University of London, along with Membership of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Assistant – Carly Bath
Provincial Executive Director, Correctional Health and Regional Forensic Clinics
Nancy Desrosiers is the provincial executive director for Correctional Health Services and the Forensic Psychiatric Regional Clinics in B.C. An accomplished leader in health care, Nancy previously worked with Vancouver Coastal Health in various clinical operation roles for the past six years at VGH and with their community services as well as being their executive director for quality and patient safety and infection control.
Nancy has over 19 years of leadership experience in acute and community health care services in Quebec, Ontario and B.C. She is a registered nurse, actively practicing in B.C. and licenced in Ontario. Nancy also has an Executive Master of Business Administration as well as training in leadership, project management and business case analysis from the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto.
She's an active surveyor with Accreditation Canada for the last six years for acute, community, mental health and addictions, and correctional health service locally and internationally. Nancy is well-versed in best practice guidelines and assessing health and social services against standards of excellence.
Assistant – Simi Girn
Medical Director, Forensic Regional Clinics and Correctional Psychiatry
Dr. Rakesh Lamba is the medical director of forensic and correctional psychiatry at BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, with responsibility for providing senior medical leadership and operational oversight to medical services at the Forensic Regional Clinics and psychiatry in Correctional Health Services.
Dr. Lamba has almost 25 years’ experience providing assessment and treatment services in a variety of community and custodial settings. He completed his bachelor's degree in medicine and surgery in India and his psychiatry training at Dalhousie University before becoming a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada.
Since completing further training in forensic psychiatry at Queens University, Dr. Lamba has been actively involved in post-graduate training in forensic psychiatry. He is a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of British Columbia.
Assistant – Carly Bath
Medical Director, Complex Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Dr. Nickie Mathew is the medical director for complex mental health and substance use services with BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services. His portfolio includes the Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, the Heartwood Centre for Women, Ashnola at the Crossing, and Coast Rehabilitation and Recovery.
A psychiatry fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Dr. Mathew completed an addiction psychiatry fellowship at Yale University and a forensic psychiatry fellowship at the University of British Columbia. He is board certified in addiction psychiatry, addiction medicine and forensic psychiatry. He is also a clinical associate professor at the University of British Columbia and has won awards for teaching and research.
Dr. Mathew endeavours to bring evidence-based, cutting-edge treatments to the concurrent disorder population in B.C. He is a strong advocate for health care improvements for this often-marginalized population through his clinical and committee work.
Assistant – Jennifer Courtney
Medical Director, Correctional Health Services, Lower Mainland sites
Dr. Annabel Mead provides medical leadership to the Lower Mainland Correctional Health Services sites.
Dr. Mead has been practicing addiction medicine for 20 years with expertise in women’s health, concurrent psychiatric disorders and pain management. Originally trained in Australia, she has lived and worked in Vancouver, Canada for the past 16 years, providing care to patients in many community, inpatient and outpatient treatment settings. Dr. Mead is a Fellow of the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, a diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine and Clinical Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, Canada.
Dr. Mead consults on the addiction medicine consult service at St Paul’s Hospital, and is the medical lead for the BC Provincial Perinatal Substance Use program. Dr. Mead is an established teacher, mentor and educator. She is past director of the BCCSU Addiction Medicine Fellowship training program, speaks widely at conferences and continues as an Education Committee member of the International Society of Addiction Medicine.
Assistant – Jennifer Courtney
Executive Director, Knowledge, Innovation and Partnerships
Justine Patterson is the executive director of knowledge, innovation and partnerships for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services where she oversees professional practice, learning and development, patient experience and strategic initiatives.
Justine has several years’ experience in mental health and substance use as both a clinician and senior leader. Prior to joining BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Justine was executive director of the Overdose Emergency Response Centre (OERC) at the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions, where she led the province’s overdose-related activities for two years. She has also worked as the regional lead of Vancouver Coastal Health’s regional addiction program.
Justine has a bachelor of psychological science and a master of clinical psychology from the University of Queensland, Australia as well as a postgraduate diploma in organizational psychology from the University of London, U.K. Justine started her career as a registered psychologist in Australia where she worked as a clinician, owning and operating her own inter-disciplinary practice. Since being in Canada she has led clinical operations and strategy in regional health authorities, government and not-for-profit organizations.
Throughout the course of her career, Justine has been instrumental in the development and implementation of new clinical programs, business operations, large scale projects, policy and strategic initiatives.
Assistant – Haydee Tolentino