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Leadership Team

Dr Peter Fitzgerald Hon BA, MA, MD, FRCSC

President, McMaster Children's Hospital

Dr. Peter Fitzgerald began this new leadership position in January of 2009. His other Hamilton Health Sciences leadership roles include the Executive Lead of the Women's Health and Newborn Care Program and the Executive Lead of McMaster University Medical Centre site.

Dr. Fitzgerald is a distinguished surgeon with a national and international reputation for his innovative work and leadership in minimal access (keyhole) surgery and reconstructive chest wall surgery. He has been integral in establishing the minimal access pediatric surgery program at MCH. He has been an active pediatric general surgeon at MCH for the last 20 years and continues his important clinical work in conjunction with his leadership roles.

Dr. Fitzgerald is also a professor of surgery at McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and has made significant contributions to undergraduate surgical education, particularly in the development of evaluation standards. He believes in getting back to the basics of providing good quality care and is instilling that belief in the next generation of health care professionals. He is also committed to opening avenues of recruitment worldwide to bring the best and brightest talent in pediatric care to Hamilton.

After graduating from the University of Ottawa with an Honours Baccalaureate of Arts in Psychology (Gold Medalist) and a Master of Arts in Experimental-Theoretical Psychology (Neurosciences), Dr. Fitzgerald attended McMaster University's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. He completed his postgraduate training in General Surgery in Hamilton and in 1990 moved to Halifax to continue subspecialty training in Pediatric General Surgery. Since returning to Hamilton in 1992, Dr. Fitzgerald has held positions as the Head of Pediatric General Surgery, Head of Pediatric Surgery and the role of Medical Director for McMaster Children's Hospital.

Dr. Fitzgerald knows the pediatric health care system from both the frontline and administrative perspectives. In his capacity as the medical director of MCH for five years and chief of pediatric surgery, he has unique insight into the complexity of running a children's hospital that is committed to striving for the highest quality of care for every child and family, every day, without exception.



Sheri Findlay, MD, FRCPC

Interim Chief of Pediatrics, McMaster Children's Hospital

Dr. Sheri Findlay was appointed Interim Chief of Pediatrics at McMaster Children's Hospital, and Acting Chair of Pediatrics at McMaster University in May 2015. She joined the faculty at McMaster University in 1999, and is currently an Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of Clinical Services in the Department of Pediatrics.

After graduating from McGill University, Dr. Findlay completed her pediatric residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, followed by her Fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Dr. Findlay is responsible for establishing the Division of Adolescent Medicine at McMaster, and advocated to have the field of Adolescent Medicine recognized as a specialty by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, awarding her the Founders Designation for Adolescent Medicine in 2011. Since joining McMaster, Dr. Findlay has held a number of leadership positions, including Division Head of Adolescent Medicine and acting Head of Neonatology, as well as Medical Director of the Eating Disorder Program. Her interests are in adolescent health with a focus on eating disorders.

Contact Dr. Findlay by email at


Dr. Helene Flageole MD, MSc, FRCSC, FACS

Chief, Pediatric Surgery, McMaster Children's Hospital

Dr. Flageole, a pediatric surgeon, joined the Children’s Hospital in 2007 after spending 11 years in the Department of Surgery at McGill University in Montreal. She is the first Chief of the newly created Department of Pediatric surgery at McMaster Children's Hospital, HHS. She brings to this new role considerable administrative experience from her years at the Montreal children’s Hospital and as a former Chief Examiner with the Royal College. Her clinical interests are in neonatal surgery, oncology and inflammatory bowel disease.

Dr. Flageole is currently a professor in the Department of Surgery with a joint appointment in the Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Flageole is the Program Director for the Pediatric Surgery fellowship and is a member of the McMaster Pediatric Surgery Research Collaborative.  She has published 59 peer-reviewed articles, written several book chapters and is on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Pediatric Surgery.

Contact Dr. Flageole by email at


Colleen Fotheringham


Colleen Fotheringham joined McMaster Children's Hospital as the Director, Autism, Child & Youth Mental Health and Developmental Pediatrics and Rehabilitation in 2008. In this role, Colleen has built strong and cohesive teams that deliver evidence-based and family-centred care with an emphasis on patient safety. 

In 2006, Colleen was appointed Interim Director of the Child & Youth Mental Health Program at MCH. She worked closely with the program to develop their vision for mental health services in our community in the years to come. Colleen was instrumental in the planning and development of the new child and youth mental health inpatient unit, day hospital, regional outreach and urgent access services at MCH. 

Prior to joining McMaster Children's Hospital, Colleen was the Administrator of the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University and was an employee at the university for 25 years. In her role as Administrator, she was responsible for budgeting operations, financial and strategic planning and overseeing staffing and physician recruitment. She also served as the Business Manager for the McMaster Pediatric Medical Association and Hamilton Academic Pediatrics Associates.

Contact Colleen by email at


Donna La Force, RN, BScN, MBA


Donna La Force is the Director of Critical Care and Ambulatory Services. Her portfolio includes Children’s Emergency Services, Neonatal Intensive Care Services, Neonatal Transport, Pediatric Intensive Care Services, Pediatric Palliative Care, Simulation and Outreach Services and Outpatient Clinics.

Donna holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) and a Master of Business Administration (MBA).  Donna has also completed post graduate training in Lean Methodology from the University of Michigan. During her career, Donna has held leadership positions within Paediatric and Adult Critical Care, Critical Care Transport and Paediatric Outreach Services.   

Donna was seconded to lead the McMaster University Medical Centre and McMaster Children's Hospital capital redevelopment planning in 2001.  In this role, Donna liaison with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Capital Branch to implement the directions of the Health Services Restructuring Commission.  While in this role Donna led the capital planning for the redevelopment of several hospital projects including the expansion and revitalization of several ambulatory clinics, the creation of a new Child and Youth Mental Health Unit and the establishment of a dedicated Paediatric Emergency Department at the Children's Hospital.  As a result of her work in Hospital Redevelopment, Donna was part of the team that brought Ontario's first Ronald McDonald Family Room to McMaster Children's Hospital.  This room provides a quiet respite for families of children being treated at the Children's Hospital.

As an active member of the community, Donna enjoys spending her time supporting a variety of community improvement initiatives. 

Contact Donna by email at


Karen L.  Prine, RN, BHlthSc.(Nurs.), MHSM


Karen Prine is the Director of the McMaster Children's Hospital medical/surgical inpatients units. In addition, Karen has extensive responsibilities as Director of the Women's Reproductive Health and Newborn Care Program, Adult Ambulatory Services, Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre, and site administrator at the McMaster University Medical Centre.

Karen graduated from the Mohawk College Diploma Nursing Program - Dean's Honours List and was a College Bronze Medal Winner. In 2001 Karen was awarded an Alumnae of Distinction Award. Karen has also completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Nursing) as well as a Master of Health Services Management. Karen holds a cross appointment with the McMaster University, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing.

Prior to joining Hamilton Health Sciences in 2008 Karen was Director, Clinical Programs at St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton. Karen led a variety of areas during her career there including: the regional Kidney/Urinary Program, the regional Chest program, the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health Clinic, Respiratory Therapy Department, Head and Neck Program; Surgical Step-Down Unit; Emergency and Perioperative Services.

Karen has demonstrated exemplary leadership and management skills in a variety of roles across the healthcare spectrum. Karen's commitment to her profession, to academics and to her community is amply demonstrated through participation in numerous professional and ministerial committees; advisory groups; scholarly activities and community volunteerism.  


Contact Karen by email at


Lori Issenman, BA,BSW,MSW,RSW

Director (Interim), Child and Youth Mental Health, Adolescent Medicine, Eating Disorders and Child Advocacy and Assessment Program

 Lori began her career at McMaster Children’s Hospital in 1987 as a Pediatric Social Worker in medicine, surgery and critical care.  Prior to this, she worked in Child Protection and Child and Youth Mental Health. 

 Lori completed her undergraduate degrees at McMaster University graduating with joint degrees in Political Science and  Social Work.  She was the recipient of the Social Work Prize (highest standing).   Lori received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship for her Master of Social Work  at University of Toronto.

 Lori’s leadership roles at Hamilton Health Sciences have crossed the spectrum of both child and adult services. After 14 years as the Chief of Social Work Practice across all sites of HHS, Lori returned to McMaster Children’s Hospital as the Chief of Interprofessional Practice where she supported all professional disciplines at McMaster, Chedoke and the McMaster Family Health Teams.   This leadership role brings Lori back to her professional roots working with children and youth.

Contact Lori by email at 


McMaster Children's Hospital - caring for our future

Hamilton Health Sciences • Hamilton, Ontario • 905.521.2100

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