Dr. Amanda Kamminga – Medical Director
The primary responsibility of the Medical Director role is to provide leadership within the FHT related to quality of care, access to care and efficiency of care delivery. In this role Dr. Kamminga collaborates with the Executive Director and all members of the inter-disciplinary team to provide leadership regarding Access of Care, Clinical Coverage and Support, Quality and Risk Management, as well as representing the organization at various local and regional tables. Dr. Kamminga is also currently a practicing physician at the Limestone Medical Group.
Hilary Blackett – Executive Director
As the UGFHT’s Executive Director, Hilary is responsible for the day-today management of the organization and for supporting our Board in the achievement of our strategic goals and objectives. Hilary actively supports our team and clinical programs through the development of team based, patient-centered practices that meet professional and best-practice standards of care. Hilary brings to the organization over 10 years of experience in government, not-for-profit and academic sectors. Hilary is a resident of Fergus and is passionate about improving the care and overall well-being of the population in our region. She has two young children and likes to spend her time outdoors playing sports and keeping active.
Gwen Kostal – Manager, Quality and Programs
Gwen is a quality improvement professional with many years of experience working in primary care in different clinical, leadership and quality roles. Gwen is responsible for helping Upper Grand FHT meet its commitments to quality care. She believes that striving for high-quality care is the job of everyone working in healthcare. She aims to make quality improvement support accessible to everyone at Upper Grand FHT who sees an opportunity to improve care. Gwen believes in the expertise of lived experience and values learning from patients, caregivers and clinicians. Gwen lives with her family in Fergus and can be spotted on weekends biking with her kids on the region’s beautiful trails, supporting local businesses and attending the many wonderful community events.
Niharika Kumar – EMR/IT Specialist
As EMR/IT Specialist, Niharika is responsible for providing ongoing Electronic Medical Record (EMR) support, assistance, and training to Clinicians and administrative staff. She is also responsible for coordination and implementation of digital tools and solutions within the Family Health Team and the Family Health Organization. Previously, Niharika is highly motivated healthcare professional with five years of experience in digital healthcare and health informatics with privacy training specialization. She resides in Waterloo with her family and when not at work, she enjoys gardening, cooking and dancing.
Nicole Bird – Human Resources Manager/Executive Assistant
As Human Resources Manager & Executive Assistant, Nicole is responsible for managing all aspects of human resources for the Family Health Team, as well as providing administrative support to the Executive Director, members of the Board, Medical Director and staff. She has worked in a Family Health Team since 2011 and is very happy to be a part of the Upper Grand FHT in her hometown of Centre Wellington. When not at work Nicole enjoys spending time with her family, walking and being outside, especially in the summer.
Lucy De Finis – Administrative Assistant
Lucy moved to Fergus nineteen years ago with her husband and three young children. Nine years after moving to Fergus her family added a new member to the family, a Bichon Frisée Poodle named Tiffany. She returned to the work force after sixteen years of staying at home. Lucy has been the Receptionist with the UGFHT since 2009 and couldn’t have asked for a better place to work. Her focus is to make clients feel welcomed when they enter our office, as well as answer any questions or concerns our clients may have.
Outside of working hours, Lucy’s passion is to prepare authentic Italian and gourmet meals for family and friends. In addition to her passion for cooking, she also looks forward to every spring when she plants her vegetable garden. It’s a very small garden but it’s enough to put her gardening skills to the test… evidently, to the benefit of the FHT staff, she always plants too many tomatoes!
Nicole, M – Clinical Admin
As the office’s Clinical Administrative Support, Nicole supports our clinicians in streamlining and improving processes which in turn improves our patient’s experiences. Nicole has a 10-year history working in a variety of medical fields including family practice, cardiology and travel. She joined the Family Health Team in 2022. When not in office she enjoys reading and can often be found with a book close by.
Program(s)/Service(s) offered by Addiction Workers:
Mental Health Counselors
Linda Borys, MSW, RSW
Linda has been with the UGFHT since 2012 and has worked alongside individuals for 25 years in their journeys to greater self-awareness, acceptance, and fulfilment.She was a Lecturer with The National University Of Ireland for eight years where she taught various courses with the Department Of Adult and Community Education. Linda feels it is important to live an authentic life with meaning and purpose. Professional development is always at the forefront, and Linda keeps up-to-date with current approaches.
Lindsay Long, MSc, MSW, RSW
Lindsay joined the FHT in 2019 and comes with over 10 years working with people who struggle with serious and persistent mental illness. Lindsay feels it is a privilege to walk alongside people on their path to recovery. Staying current in best practices is very important to Lindsay and she is frequently exploring new learning opportunities. In her spare time, Lindsay loves spending time with her family and exploring the trails around Fergus/Elora with her dog.
Marilyn Vaccaro, MSW, RSW
Marilyn has been with the UGFHT from the very beginning, in 2007, working as a Mental Health Therapist. She attended the University of Montreal initially and spent time travelling before moving to Waterloo to complete her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work. Keeping current professionally is very important to Marilyn and she loves learning about the best ways to help people help themselves. During her time at the FHT she has pursued professional development in Equine Assisted Therapy, mindfulness, and the neuroscience behind trauma. In her spare time Marilyn enjoys restoring by the sea, and being creative.
Natalie Carere, MSW, RSW
Natalie’s goal is to work collaboratively with clients to identify and work towards their goals. She firmly believe that she is not the expert on your life but rather an ally in your journey. She has experience working with children, youth, and adults who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, self-regulation, and relational issues. She is EMDR trained therapist and work from an attachment and trauma-focused lens to support clients towards emotional coping, wellness, and self-understanding. She is passionate about providing quality and collaborative care to the Centre and North Wellington communities. In her spare time she enjoy spending time with family and friends and gardening in the summer months.
Mary Lorentz, MSW, RSW
Mary Lorentz has had the good fortune of joining the UGFHT on June 21, 2023, the Summer Solstice, a personal treasured time of year! Her scope of practice includes a trauma informed lens, and a client-centred perspective, and incorporates mindfulness-based stress reduction principles. Mary, primarily, has worked in community hospital settings, her passion, being the ER and the ICU. She has also enjoyed employment experience with students, both secondary and post-secondary using a solution-focused paradigm; and at the onset, and height of the extraordinary misfortune that is the Covid-19 Pandemic. Mary loves to champion folks on their road to discover meaning in adversity, build and nurture their supports, and most of all, celebrate their unique strengths, wisdom and worth. A background in Percussion, a penchant for humour as a healing entity, and an enthusiast of gratitude, she aspires to assist individuals to re-write their stories, compose new chapters, and script rewarding new narratives, all while embracing the fine art of bookmarking, . . . . . . . . . . . . one page at a time.
Angela Hammond, MSW, RSW
Angela joined the FHT in 2020. She comes with over 20 years of experience working with children, youth and adults in a variety of capacities. She started her career in developmental services then moved into mental health and addictions. She has worked with individuals who have experienced: significant mental health, chronic illness and pain, addictions, low self-esteem, grief and loss, eating disorders and other chronic illnesses. Angela has a passion for working with marginalized populations. She works from a trauma informed perspective and is focused on the needs of the person. She utilizes many therapeutic techniques including: CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing, Social Focused Therapy and Mindfulness to help meet clients’ needs. Angela also teaches part time at Renison University College, University of Waterloo in the BSW program as she feels it is important to mentor the next generation of Social Workers.
Angela is currently working as our Palliative Social Worker, she works with both patients in palliative care and their family members to provide end of life and bereavement support.
Heather Kooistra, MSW, RSW
Heather completed her undergraduate education in Calgary, Alberta and later completed MSW degree in Montreal, Quebec, before returning to Ontario to be closer to family. Heather has 10 years of experience working with older adults who live with cognitive impairment or mental health. She has worked with individuals who have experienced significant mental health, chronic illness, grief and loss. She is committed to collaborative care. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time outdoors with family and friends.
Marcia Dyce, RPN – Telemedicine Nurse
Marcia is an RPN with 20 years of experience in nursing. She’s worked in various settings within primary care. She is excited about delivering timely healthcare through telemedicine and connecting those in need with efficient and effective care. She looks forward to supporting both the patient and family throughout the virtual care experience. She strives to decrease wait times while bringing together various team members working with common goals of health and wellness for the patient. Outside of work Marcia loves being outdoors, walking her dog and spending time with family and friends.
Kellie Ross, RN
Kellie Ross is a Registered Nurse who looks forward to advocating for geriatric patients and assisting those in achieving their best health outcomes as the Geriatric Nurse Specialist. She is committed to ensuring that all will receive the highest levels of service available and she will do her best to be a friendly support to those entrusted to her care. After graduating from Western University in 2014, Kellie acquired her nursing experiencing working in acute care at London Health Sciences Centre. Outside of work Kellie enjoys traveling, caring for animals on her family’s dairy farm, and spending time outdoors.
Shelley Lillie, RN, BScN, SHPCN(C) – Palliative Specialist
Shelley is the supportive and palliative care nurse who helps people in our community with life threatening illnesses. She provides pain and symptom management, navigation through hospital-community transitions, and end of life planning for the individual and families. Her qualifications include RN, BScN, and a specialized certification in palliative care, CHPCN(C).
Stephanie Pick, RN, BScN, CPMHN(C) – Chronic Disease Management Nurse
Stephanie started working as a Chronic Disease Management Nurse Specialist with the Upper Grand FHT in 2018. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster University in 2008, and has over nine years of mental health and addiction nursing experience. As a Chronic Disease Management Nurse Specialist Stephanie provides a greater continuity of care for those at risk of developing or currently living with chronic disease(s), such as pre-diabetes or Diabetes Mellitus (Adult), COPD, CHF as well as provides smoking cessation support. She is passionate about providing supportive, comprehensive and evidence based care. Outside of work Stephanie enjoys spending her time running, hiking and back country camping. She also is passionate about traveling and enjoys experience different cultures, cuisines and landscapes.
Tess Royall, RN – Chronic Disease Management Nurse
Tess graduated from Western University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and began her career in an acute care setting on postoperative recovery units. Caring for those requiring treatment due to disease inspired a move to primary care with an emphasis on preventative care and health promotion. She has specialized in chronic disease management since 2017 and brings experience with a variety of conditions including Diabetes Mellitus, COPD, CHF, as well as providing smoking cessation support. She is a certified diabetes educator and is passionate about patient-centred and evidence based care. She lives in the country just outside of Fergus with her husband, young son, and their many animals.
Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a nurse with advanced university education who works both independently and in collaboration with other health professionals to provide individuals of all ages with quality health care services. NP’s take care of the physical, emotional, mental and social aspects of their patients’ health needs. They have additional education and advanced decision-making skills in the assessment and diagnosis of acute illnesses and injuries and in the management of chronic illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension. They have the knowledge and authority to prescribe certain medications are are authorized to order laboratory tests, x-rays and other diagnostic tests, as well as refer patients to other healthcare professionals.
Amanda Froese, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Amanda Froese is a registered Occupational Therapist who earned her Bachelor of Science in Health Studies with a minor in Gerontology from the University of Waterloo before pursuing her Masters in Occupational Therapy at McMaster University.
At the Upper Grand Family Health Team, Amanda has a broad scope of practice. She works with clients of all ages and a variety of conditions to help them participate in occupations that are important to them. Occupations are more than just jobs, and include all the day-to-day activities someone wants or needs to be able to do. From children struggling with their morning routine to older adults looking to live safely at home, Amanda enjoys working together with clients of all ages to help them overcome obstacles interfering with their daily activities. She is also involved with the FHT’s Chronic Pain and Memory Clinic Programs. Outside of work, Amanda enjoys hiking, travelling and playing Ultimate Frisbee.
Nikki has been with the UGFHT since June 2015 and is an Outreach Worker with the Rural Wellington Community Team (RWCT). The Rural Wellington Community Team understands that it’s hard to reach out and find the resources you need, when you need them. They work in the community and with each rural health team to connect you to community agencies, help you to navigate social programs, and support you when family or friends can’t help. The RWCT knows that there are many factors in your life that can affect your health.
Cora Van Zutphen, RPh
Cora Van Zutphen graduated from Dalhousie University College of Pharmacy in 2004, receiving awards for Evidence-Based Clinical Practice and Natural Medicines Recognition. She was born and raised in Newfoundland and moved to Ontario to be close to family.
At the Family Health Team you can find Cora providing Asthma education, Chronic Pain assessments, medication reviews and drug information. Cora is an active member of the FHT IT/Medical Records and Quality committees. She has been a participant of the Wellington Guelph Drug Strategy Rx Drug Working Group, the Ontario Primary Care Team Pharmacists Working Group and the Ontario Renal Network initiative to improve safety of medication prescribing in patients with chronic kidney disease.
Outside of working hours Cora enjoys spending time with her family, running with her high energy canine companions and attempting Pinterest DIY projects.
Lauren Thompson, RPh
Lauren Thompson is a recent graduate from the University of Waterloo. She currently resides in Fergus but grew up in a small rural community in Huron County called Wroxeter.
Lauren currently works at the Family Health Team, at a local community pharmacy, and occasionally at Grove’s Memorial Hospital. She strives to provide compassionate, professional, and patient-centred care. Her areas of interest include chronic pain management, oncology, palliative care, and minor ailments. Outside of work, Lauren enjoys reading, hiking, and most recently, playing squash.
Physician Assistants (PA) are healthcare professionals who practice medicine as members of a team with their supervising physicians. As part of their comprehensive responsibilities, The UGFHT PA conducts physical exams, diagnoses and treats illnesses, orders and interprets tests, counsels on preventive health care, and prescribes medications.
Cathy Verity, BSc., MSc., BHsc.PA
Cathy completed her Bachelor of Sciences and Master of Sciences at the University of Guelph. She was in the second class to graduate from McMaster’s Physician Assistant Program. Cathy joined the UGFHT in 2011 and primarily works with the Geddes Medical Group in Elora. She, also, enjoys working with the Memory Clinic Team in Fergus monthly. Cathy is the proud mom of three children, of whom she loves camping, getting outdoors and listening and playing music with. Cathy is an advocate in her role as a Physician Assistant and is happy to answer any questions you may have about the profession!
Nicole Arthurs, RD, CDE
Nicole is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who has been with the UGFHT since 2010. She completed her BASc in Applied Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph and her dietetic internship with Hamilton Health Sciences. She enjoys being a member of a collaborative team and sharing her love of food and nutrition with the community. She has experience counseling clients in all aspects of nutrition, but has particular interests in the areas of Diabetes and Gastrointestinal Disease. When she’s not working she enjoys baking, trying new recipes, and spending quality time with her husband, daughter, son, and cat.
Terri Ney, RD
Terri grew up in Erin and completed her undergrad at Ryerson in Toronto. She eventually found her way to Fergus where she found her dream job working as a dietitian with the Upper Grand Family Health Team in 2007. After becoming a mom and raising children locally she became aware of areas to improve care for families using nutrition. Since then Terri has spearheaded the launch of the Breastfeeding Café and a series of Pediatric Nutrition workshops. Terri has been sought out to share her unique programs with other FHTs and is considered a leader by her dietitian peers.
Amy Waugh, RD, CDE
Amy Waugh has been a practicing dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator for many years. She previously worked in research roles with McMaster Children’s Hospital and the University of Guelph before moving to Centre Wellington, where she began working for the Family Health Team. She spent a couple of years with Waterloo Wellington Diabetes as a Clinical Resource for other clinicians working in diabetes care but is very happy to be back working in primary care sharing her love of food and nutrition with clients as a means to achieve optimal health and wellness and believes passionately in using therapeutic nutrition to support chronic disease management. She is also certified in MB-EAT, mindfulness training, to support people in overcoming problematic eating behaviours.
Jena Docking, Reg. Kin, CSEP CPT
Jena has worked in the fitness industry for over 15 years. She quickly found her calling for Fitness and Health promotion after working at a local fitness facility in her hometown of Mount Forest. Jena received her diploma From Niagara College in the Fitness and Health Promotion program and became a Certified Personal Trainer through the Canadian Society of Exercise Physiology. After graduating she began personal training clients ranging from the general public to Triple A hockey players, which sparked her interest in injury rehabilitation. Jena eventually took a position at a physiotherapy clinic which led her back to school where she pursued her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology.
Jena has been with the UGFHT since 2013 and is actively involved in walking programs, musculoskeletal rehabilitation, chronic disease management, falls prevention, smoking cessation, exercise prescription, fitness and health education, fitness assessment, program design, and much more.
Nicolas Serafini, Reg. Kin
Nick has many years of experience working in cardiac rehabilitation and has worked with a wide spectrum of cardiac related issues from heart transplants to patients with congestive heart failure. He completed his undergraduate education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, as well as his Graduate Diploma in Kinesiology.
Nick is a long-standing resident of Centre Wellington and proudly calls Elora his home. He absorbs its beautiful landscape on a daily basis through activities such as running with his dog, as well as weekend walks and hikes with his family. He is highly motivated to use his skills as a Registered Kinesiologist to give back to this remarkable community and assist its residence in living healthier, quality-enhanced lives.