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, Jennifer Duff. 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: Rajika Prabhakar
Chief Operating Officer, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services
Jennifer Duff is the chief operating officer at BCMHSUS.
Jennifer holds an executive MBA and an Americas MBA for Executives certificate from Simon Fraser University, as well as a Master’s degree in health administration and a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, both from the University of British Columbia. She also currently serves as adjunct professor in UBC’s School of Population and Public Health.
Jennifer has over 20 years of experience in progressively senior health care leadership roles spanning clinical, operational, regional and provincial/ministerial levels. These include roles in mental health and/or substance use at Providence Health Care, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and the Ministry of Health.
Notable projects including the development of the ‘HUB’ and Vancouver Police Foundation Transitional Care Centre at St. Paul’s Hospital, the opening of the Granville Youth Clinic and the multiple joint efforts to open new addiction treatment spaces regionally, Assertive Community Teams, and new acute-hospital based services such as the St. Paul’s Hospital Acute Behavioral & Stabilization Unit. She also led the planning for the implementation of the Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions’ injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT) program across BC health authorities.
Assistant: Eleni Papavasiliou
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.
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 for Forensic Psychiatric Services
Blaine Bray is the provincial executive director for Forensic Psychiatric Services. He leads Forensic Psychiatric Services in its mission to balance service to the courts with ensuring public safety, in addition to providing excellent care for clients who receive treatment at Forensic Psychiatric Hospital and/or the Regional Clinics. Blaine is also leading improvements and the development of enhanced quality metrics and outcome measures, in partnership with the respective medical leadership and teams across Forensic Services provincially.
Blaine has worked exclusively in mental health and substance use for more than 30 years. He is a registered psychiatric nurse and has a Masters of Arts Degree in Leadership from Royal Roads University.
Early in his career, Blaine spent nine years working clinically as a registered psychiatric nurse at the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, followed by more clinical work in the Vancouver Jail. Most recently, Blaine worked with Providence Health Care, where he was the program director of Acute and Tertiary Mental Health/Inner City Youth-Foundry Vancouver Granville.
Assistant: Miranda Kidd
Executive Director, Correctional Health Services and Community Transition Teams
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.
Senior Director, Inter-Professional Practice
Justine provides inter-professional practice leadership at BCMHSUS, strengthen the focus on evidence-based practice, improving models of care, clinical practice standards, and collaboration across practice and operations.
A registered psychiatric nurse for over 25 years, Justine has worked in the field of complex mental health and substance use both in the UK and Channel Islands before moving to B.C. in 2009. During her time with BCMHSUS, Justine has held a number of leadership positions including program director, Adult Mental Health and Substance Use Services and senior director, Inter-professional Practice.
In addition to her registered psychiatric nursing credentials, Justine has earned an Honours Bachelor Degree in Forensic Mental Health Care from University of Sheffield, a Post Graduate Diploma in Addiction from University of Leeds, and a Master of Science in Nursing Leadership from Oxford Brookes University.
Executive Director, Adult Mental Health and Substance Use (AMHSU)
Kathryn Embacher is the executive director responsible for Adult Mental Health and Substance Use (AMHSU) at BCMHSUS. This includes Red Fish Healing Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, Heartwood Centre for Women, Provincial Assessment Centre, and Provincial Specialized Substance Use Treatment Program for Adults.
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 20 years of direct care and leadership experience in acute and tertiary mental health and substance use services.
Kathryn is dedicated to high quality, patient-centred, 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 Vancouver General Hospital, and she led the operational planning for the new BCMHSUS Red Fish Healing Centre that opened October 12, 2021.
Kathryn has dedicated her career to the development of accessible, innovative, and patient-centred programs that meet the needs of complex clients with concurrent mental health and substance use challenges.
Assistant: Franca Pitassi
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.
Medical Director, Forensic Regional Clinics
Dr. Rakesh Lamba is the medical director of Forensic Regional Clinics 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.
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
Director, Complex Concurrent Disorders
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: Monique van Oord
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 over 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 over 20 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 Senior
Medical Director 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: Monique van Oord
Executive Director, Indigenous Health & Cultural Safety
Rose is responsible for providing leadership and support BCMHSUS in its work to eradicate Indigenous-specific racism, advance cultural safety and support a collective commitment to reconciliation, leading a team of Indigenous Health leaders to expand Indigenous thought leadership and focused, impactful Indigenous specific anti-racism work.
With Sťuxtéwsemc (Secwépemc) and mixed white settler ancestry, Rose is informed by Secwépemc ways of knowing and being and holds a Bachelor of Nursing from Thompson Rivers University (TRU) and a master's degree in nursing with a focus on Indigenous nursing leadership and research. Rose brings 15 years of health care experience, with 8 years of progressive Indigenous leadership experience working with health systems, First Nations, Métis and Urban Indigenous organizations.