Paula Carere, NP-PHC BScN MEd- Clinical Lead
Paula is a recognized advocate for Nurse Practitioner integration into Ontario’s health care system. After graduating from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Paula developed clinical and leadership expertise through clinical nursing and educator roles. She has held positions within the region including Director of Nursing, Vice President of Patient and Resident Services, Clinical Coordinator and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. In addition, she has consulted with programs such as Specialized Geriatric Services and the Region’s Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinics. Paula is the founding Lead of Waterloo Region NP Led Clinic. In this capacity she has supported patient centred care and program development for medically and socially complex clients and has been a champion of full scope, interprofessional team practice. Paula served on the Executive of NPAO as Treasurer and President, is currently an Executive member of the Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic Association and participates at a leadership level in both Cambridge North Dumfries and KW 4 OHTs. A firm believer in the adage “a sound mind in a sound body”, Paula takes the time to indulge in her love of the outdoors by participating in a wide variety of sports.
Leanne Terry, Administrative Lead
Leanne has a Bachelor of Arts degree, Social Services Diploma and Medical Office Administration and Policy Development Certificates. She had worked primarily in hospital settings and Orthopaedics in an administrative capacity until joining the WRNPLC team in 2013. Leanne is committed to professional growth and development in areas of Quality Improvement, Human Resources, and Leadership and Management and is currently working towards her Masters in Leadership. She believes strongly in the patient-centered, collaborative model of WRNPLC and its benefits to our communities.
Krysta Cameron BScN MN-ANP NP-PHC, Primary Care NP Lead
Krysta graduated from Laurentian University in association with Sault College with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 2009. Afterword she began her nursing career working as a Surgical Float nurse with a home unit of vascular surgery at the Ottawa Civic Hospital. Soon after she specialized in emergency nursing through the novice nurse education program at the Ottawa Hospital. Over the next years she continued to work in Emergency in Timmins and then Guelph before graduating from Athabasca university with a Master of Nursing Advanced Nursing Practice. She began working at the WRNPLC in 2017 as a Nurse Practitioner while still working occasionally as a NP in the ER. Krysta’s medical areas of interest include minor dermatologic procedures, women’s health and education facilitation. Outside of work she loves to travel and spend time with the family.
Sarah Cleland, NP-PHC MScN BScN
Sarah graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Western Ontario in 2008. She began her career working as a Registered Nurse on the Nursing Resource Team for University Health Network in Toronto. With an interest in cardiac care, she pursued specialized coronary care certificates and transitioned to a position as an RN on a cardiac short stay unit at Toronto General Hospital. While in Toronto, Sarah’s passion for health promotion and disease prevention led her to complete her Diabetes Education Certificate through the Michener Institute. In 2012 she returned to school and completed her Master’s of Nursing and Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program. Prior to coming to the Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic, she gained valuable experience working as a Nurse Practitioner with both the Thames Valley Family Health Team in Woodstock, and with a local Family Health Organization in Kitchener. Sarah joined the team in May 2016, and is excited to be working with such a collaborative group to deliver holistic and responsive primary care services.
Sahar Haji, NP-PHC BScN MScN
Sahar graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2012. She began her career as a Registered Nurse on an Internal Medicine unit at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Hamilton and later, went to pursue a career in Primary care. Her experience as a Registered Nurse with the Hamilton Family Health Team sparked an interest in further expanding her scope of practice in primary care. In 2015, Sahar decided to return to school to pursue her Master’s of Nursing and Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner Certificate from McMaster University. She started her career as a Nurse Practitioner at the McMaster Halton Family Health Center and after moving to Kitchener in 2018, she joined the Waterloo Region Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic. She is proud to be a part of this wonderful team which focuses on person-centered, integrated, and accessible primary care. Her experience here has been very rewarding and valuable
Sheryl Tigchelaar, BScN MN-ANP NP-PHC FNP-C
Sheryl graduated from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. From 1993 until 2013, she worked in a variety of acute care settings in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota and Ontario. These included inpatient respiratory, surgical, surgical ICU, medical ICU, trauma ICU, interventional cardiology, emergency, and maternity. During this time, she obtained and maintained her Critical Care Nursing Certification and worked as both staff nurse and charge nurse; she ended her first chapter as an RN as a part time nursing supervisor at the Renfrew Victoria Hospital. In 2013 she graduated from Athabasca University with Master’s in Nursing: Advanced Nursing Practice. After graduating, she obtained certification to practice as a family NP in Ontario and in the United States. Her experience as an NP (chapter 2) has involved working for 3 different Family Health Teams and working privately for several local physicians. Since joining the WRNPLC in May 2019, she has been working with individuals who struggle with opioid and alcohol addiction in the RAAC at the Cambridge location and working in the primary care setting at the Pioneer Park Location. She has also precepted NP students from University of Toronto and from Athabasca University. Sheryl is on the Primary Care Council for the KW4 OHT and is excited to see how NPs will play an important role in the coordination and care of KW4 patients. Chapter 3 (retirement) is still in the distant future; but for now, she loves working with her amazing colleagues at the WRNPLC!
Olga Baleca, NP-PHC MScN BScN, Addictions Medicine NP Lead
Olga is a Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner, with an expertise in addiction medicine. She graduated from York University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2011. She has worked on various units throughout her RN career that sparked her interest in health care accessibility and continuity of care. In 2014, Olga returned to her alma mater and earned her Master of Science in Nursing and Nurse Practitioner Certificate in 2016. Prior to coming to the NPLC in January 2018, Olga worked in East End CHC in Toronto and Chatham-Kent CHC in Chatham where she provided primary care services to patients of all ages and various complexity. Olga has been always passionate about mental health and addictions. In 2018, she became the first NP in our region to take on the role of Nurse Practitioner specializing in addiction medicine. She leads the Cambridge Rapid Access Addiction Medicine Clinic on Mondays and Fridays. In January 2021, Olga accepted the role of Regional RAAM Clinical Lead. She is very proud to be part of the NPLC team which focuses on accessible and comprehensive primary care. In her spare time, Olga loves to travel, spend time with her family, friends and pets.
Karen Bento, BA BScN MN NP-PHC
Karen has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Guelph and then went on to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McMaster University. She began her career as a Registered Nurse on a medical/surgical unit at Brantford General Hospital. With an interest in intensive/critical care, she went on to pursue a specialized certificate in critical care nursing and transitioned to working as a RN in the critical care units at Brantford General Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital. After six years of working as an RN she decided to return to school in 2016 to pursue her Masters of Nursing and Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner Certificate from the University of Western Ontario. Prior to working with the WRNPLC, Karen started her career as a new NP with the Guelph Family Health Team where she gained some valuable experience. As a new member of the WRNPLC she is enthusiastic about being a part of a collaborative organization that is continually working to deliver holistic patient centered care.
Janet Okrafka, NP-PHC
Janet graduated from McMaster University in association with Conestoga College with her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing in 2014. She began her nursing career at the Wilfried Laurier University Health Centre with a specialized focus on sexual health and mental health care. Soon after Janet began specializing in women’s health working as a sexual assault nurse and Coordinator of the Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care and Treatment Centre within the Brantford General Hospital. Janet completed her Masters of Nursing and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner certificate at McMaster University joining the WRNPLC in early 2021. Janet’s medical areas of interest include women’s health, addictions, and trauma specialized care. Outside of work Janet loves to read, hike and spend time with her family.
Colleen Mott, RPN
Evgenia Oreshkin, B.Sc Phm. RPh. Clinical Pharmacist
Evgenia has been a practicing pharmacist for 5 years, and she graduated from the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. She has had experiences in different settings of pharmacy practice, including retail pharmacy, hospital pharmacy and in a Primary Care setting. Her experience as a clinical pharmacist comes from working at Summerville Family Health Team, the largest Family Health Team in the Mississauga-Halton LHIN. Her interests are in helping patients understand and empower them with knowledge about their conditions and the purpose and use of their medications – specifically, how the medications fit in with their overall health. She is a strong supporter of patient-centered, interprofessional care that delivers the best possible individualized care to patients of different backgrounds and health statuses. She has experience organizing and leading patient education groups such as Heart Health, Arthritis and Diabetes groups. She worked to create partnerships with community programs and ministry-level committees to enhance the patient-centered care at her places of practice. Evgenia works part time at the Waterloo Region Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic, and also works a few shifts a month at a retail pharmacy in Waterloo. She has been living in Kitchener for three years (and really likes it after living in Toronto), and enjoys being involved in community events, discovering nature trails, visiting the Elora Gorge and exploring the forests and lakes around the area with her family.
Diane S.- Administrative Assistant
Diane graduated from Mohawk College’s Medical Office Administration program in 2010. She spent three years as an administrator for a Family Health Team in Hamilton. Following a move to Waterloo Region in 2014, she joined the team at WRNPLC in May 2014. She is proud to be a member of a team with a strong focus on a holistic approach to family medicine. Outside of the clinic, Diane enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Deanna B.- Medical Office Assistant
Ashley L- Medical Office Assistant
Ashley graduated from Conestoga College with an Ontario College Certificate in General Arts and Science in 2014, she then pursued further education receiving a diploma in Health Office Administration in 2016. She has primarily worked within clinical settings with extensive hands-on experience in providing administrative support to complex medical groups and healthcare facilities. She joined the Waterloo Region Nurse Practitioner Led Clinic in October 2020 and enjoys working with such a collaborative team. Ashley’s passion is working in the healthcare setting providing support to her community. When she is not in the office, she’s exploring the lovely outdoors.