Governance of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (CRPPHE)

Housed within CIHR, the CRPPHE is well positioned to work across the organization and its 13 Institutes, and collaborate with other federal departments and agencies as well as domestic and international stakeholders.

Its governance model includes an executive director with relevant scientific expertise and experience, and a steering committee.

Steering Committee


The CRPPHE Steering Committee will play a fundamental role both during emergencies and during ‘peace time’ in identifying and coordinating priorities, investments, and knowledge mobilization across member organizations by providing scientific and/or mandate expertise and advice to the CRPPHE. During health emergencies, the Committee will be asked to advise on implementation of directives from the Government of Canada as appropriate. The Executive Director of the CRPPHE holds primary accountability for decision making related to the CRPPHE and the operationalization of the strategic advice provided by the Steering Committee.


The Steering Committee is comprised of individuals from various governmental and non-governmental organizations involved in public health and health emergency response in Canada. Members have expertise and/or a mandate responsibility related to pandemic and/or health emergency research and/or knowledge mobilization, and one or more of the CRPPHE cross-cutting themes (including but not limited to equity, diversity, and inclusion; Indigenous self-determination; global health; building interdisciplinary teams; life course approaches; and innovative systems). The cumulative Committee expertise covers a breadth of relevant and complementary subject matter; however, the membership can be expanded with emergency-specific expertise when needed.

Steering Committee Members

Katherine (Kate) Frohlich (Chair)
Scientific Director of the Institute of Population and Public Health, CIHR

Dr. Frohlich is Professor at the School of Public Health (ESPUM), as well as a research associate at the UdeM-affiliated Centre for Research in Public Health (CReSP) at the Université de Montréal. She co-holds the Myriagone McConnell-UdeM Chair on Youth Knowledge Mobilisation with colleagues from UdeM's Faculty of Arts and Science. Kate began her mandate as Scientific Director of the Institute of Population and Public Health at CIHR on September 1, 2023. Kate holds an Honours BA from McGill University in Political Science and Masters and PhD degrees in Public Health from the Université de Montréal.

Éric Bastien
Director of the Research Partnerships Portfolio, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council

Mr. Bastien is the Director of the Research Partnerships Portfolio at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) since 2018 and has been working for SSHRC for 25 years. Éric’s main responsibilities have been the development and management of funding opportunities and joint initiatives that support partnerships between Canadian postsecondary institutions and organizations of our society, in Canada and abroad, in public, private and not-for-profit sectors.

Marisa Creatore

Dr. Marisa Creatore is CIHR’s Executive Director of the Centre for Research on Pandemic Preparedness and Health Emergencies (CRPPHE). Marisa was previously the Associate Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Population and Public Health (CIHR-IPPH). Since joining CIHR-IPPH in 2016, she has helped develop and implement key initiatives including the Healthy Cities Initiative and the UN Research Roadmap for COVID-19 Recovery. She has also established key relationships with many federal, provincial, and international partners. Prior to CIHR, she was the inaugural Director of Research and Analytics at BlueDot, a company focused on pandemic preparedness and delivering insights to governments on global infectious disease outbreaks including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Dr. Creatore has held various research-related positions at both the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. She is an epidemiologist by training with a Master’s degree from Queen’s University and a PhD from the University of Toronto, where she holds an Assistant Professor status appointment in Epidemiology at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Masha Cemma
Chief Science Advisor Representative

Dr. Cemma is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of the Chief Science Advisor (OCSA) and is the lead on the emergency preparedness file. In this capacity, she co-organized the Canada-UK-US Science Advice in Emergencies simulation exercise and established the Chief Science Advisor COVID-19 Expert Panel. Her other contributions include the development of the Roadmap for Open Science, organizing the Open Science Dialogues and planning the inaugural Science Meets Parliament program. Prior to joining the OCSA, Dr. Cemma supported a newly-established international network of high-containment laboratories, BSL4ZNet. In that role, she worked with partners to foster international cooperation, knowledge translation and exchange among high-containment laboratories with the goal of strengthening preparedness for high-consequence pathogens.

Dr. Cemma holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Toronto. She has also been recognized as an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity Initiative fellow by Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security and an Action Canada fellow by the Public Policy Forum.

Kristen Chenier
Global Affairs Canada

Ms. Chenier is the Director of Policy, Infectious Diseases and Pandemic Preparedness within Global Affairs Canada’s Health and Nutrition Bureau. She leads GAC’s policy engagement in global health fora including the WHO, G20, and G7 and is responsible for GAC’s investments and engagement in combatting infectious diseases, as well as pandemic preparedness.

She joined the Government of Canada via the Canadian International Development Agency in 1999 and has worked in various roles in multilateral affairs and international assistance, including as Head of Cooperation in Jordan (2009–2012), as Chief of Operations in Mozambique (2009–2012), and Health Counsellor at Canada’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations in Geneva (2016–2021). She also spent over a decade on humanitarian policy issues and response managing Canada’s responses to a wide variety of protracted crises and disasters, and working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Bangladesh. She has degrees in Political Science and International Development from the University of McGill and Ottawa.

Bonnie Henry
Provincial Health Officer

Dr. Bonnie Henry was appointed as British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer in 2018. As BC’s most senior public health official, Dr. Henry is responsible for monitoring the health of all British Columbians and undertaking measures for disease prevention and control and health protection. Most recently Dr. Henry has led the province’s response on the COVID-19 pandemic and drug overdose emergency.

Bev Holmes
National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Funders (NAPHRO) Representative

Dr. Bev Holmes is the President & CEO of the Michael Smith Health Research BC. She is a health research system leader with expertise and experience in and passion for the funding, production and use of research evidence to improve health. She sits on research advisory groups across Canada and internationally, is an associate editor at Implementation Science Communications and participates in the National Alliance of Provincial Health Research Organizations.

An adjunct professor at SFU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, she is also a Chartered Director (Degroote School of Business, McMaster University). She has held several management positions in non-profit agencies.

Dr. Holmes received her MA and PhD from SFU’s School of Communication. She and partner have four children and one grandchild; they gratefully make their homes on the traditional, unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations.

Montasser Kamal
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Dr. Kamal is the Director of Global Health at IDRC. He re-joined IDRC in 2016, having previously worked at the Centre from 2000-2. He has more than 35 years of experience in international development, including in the civil society, government and philanthropic sectors. He led IDRC’s Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa (IMCHA) initiative and the Centre’s Health Research Partnerships. Montasser was formerly the deputy director for Global Health Policy and Research at Global Affairs Canada. He also worked at the former Canadian International Development Agency, as team leader of Health Specialists, and he also served as a reproductive health policy advisor and manager of Multilateral Health Institutions and Partnerships. Between 2007-14, at the Middle East and North Africa Regional Office of the Ford Foundation, he supported research, policy advocacy and programming related to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as HIV/AIDS.

He is an MD with Diploma and holds MSc and PhD degrees in medicine, international development and medical anthropology from Egypt, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Charu Kaushic
Scientific Director, Institute of Infection and Immunity
Steering Committee Equity Champion

Dr. Kaushic has 23 years of experience working in infectious diseases and immunity. As a trained immunologist who has worked on understanding and developing vaccines against viral and bacterial infections, her background and expertise have been very useful for CIHR during COVID-19. She has represented CIHR for both subject matter expertise and strategic linkage in the Immunity Task Force and the HC DM’s Variants of Concern Leadership Group. She has been invited frequently to participate in Chief Science Advisor’s Experts Consultations, made presentations to the Vaccine Task Force, COVID-19 Forum, and other key decision- making tables. She has provided briefings and updates to the CIHR President and Science Council and has been invited to provide insights and information on COVID-19 in special all- staff meetings multiple times in last 2.5 years.

Dr. Kaushic has led CIHR’s participation in Pandemic Preparedness and Response internationally since 2018, first in her role as Co-Chair of GloPID-R, and since Oct 2020 as the Chair. In this role, she engaged in strategic discussions internationally with partners from 32 countries and 7 observers including WHO, CEPI, European Commission, Wellcome Trust among many. The mandate of GloPID-R is to coordinate pandemic preparedness and response among funders. As Chair of this meta-organization, she has a unique insight into the global activities and coordination in pandemic space. During the past 2.5 years, GloPID-R has played a key role in coordinating research response. More recently, GloPID-R is working closely with G7 and WHO on Clinical Trial Charter Implementation, building a pandemic tracker and regional hubs to increase capacity in LMIC. A lesson learned from COVID-19 pandemic is that global coordination is absolutely required to do better in future emergencies, regional outbreaks, and global pandemics.

Lakshmi Krishnan
National Research Council

Dr. Lakshmi Krishnan was appointed as the Vice President of Life Sciences as of April 1, 2022. In this capacity, she oversees the Human Health Therapeutics, Aquatic and Crop Resource Development and Medical Devices CRPPHEs.

As a globally recognized Life Sciences researcher, Dr. Krishnan has been a leader for driving innovation in vaccine technologies and novel biologics for the improvement of human health. Over the course of her career, she has represented NRC and government of Canada at various national and international joint committees and has been invited as guest speaker on many occasions. In her current role, she is committed to health innovation and sustainable bio-economy.

Dr. Krishnan joined the NRC in 1997 and, as a scientist, built expertise in immunology research at the Institute for Biological Sciences (IBS), in the areas of vaccine adjuvants and host pathogen interactions. Prior to her current appointment, she was the Director General (DG) of the Human Health Therapeutics (HHT) CRPPHE (2018–2022), Program Lead for Vaccines and Immunotherapy (2015–2018), Director of R&D for Immunobiology at HHT (2016–2018), and a research officer (1997–2014) at IBS and HHT. Over the course of her career, Dr. Krishnan has been the recipient of numerous competitive research grants from various agencies including the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR), CIHR, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH – USA). She has published over 75 primary research articles in peer-reviewed journals in the field of vaccine technologies, host-pathogen and cancer immunity, and is listed as an inventor on several patents. She has significant experience in technology transfer to industrial clients and at the same time has a strong academic background, having mentored several graduate students who have all gone on to have successful research careers. She is member of the board of the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance, National Synthetic Biology Steering Committee and has also chaired the Federal Vaccine Research Innovation and Development DG committee, which consists of membership from 13 different federal departments across the Government of Canada.

Jeff Moore
Associate Vice-President, Government and External Relations, CIHR

Mr. Jeff Moore is currently the Associate Vice-President, Government and External Relations, at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Mr. Moore joined CIHR in April 2022 from the Privy Council Office’s Public Service Renewal Secretariat, where he served as the lead for the Lessons from the Pandemic exercise.

Prior to joining PCO, he was Senior Assistant Deputy Minister for Policy and Strategic Direction with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. He is Algonquin and a member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation. A senior executive with over 30 years of experience in the federal public service, Jeff has also served in senior level positions with Health Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and Infrastructure Canada.

Mr. Moore brings extensive experience in leading complex, horizontal policies and programs related to health research, Indigenous peoples, infrastructure, skills training, technology development, and economic development. During his career, he has built productive relationships and partnerships with a wide range of stakeholders and partners including in the private sector, post-secondary institutions, provinces/territories, and Indigenous organizations. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, a Bachelor of Science in Physiology, and a Master of Science in Physiology, all from the University of Ottawa.

Jeffery Nerenberg
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC)

Mr. Nerenberg is the Director of Manufacturing, Communications, and Technologies at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). Jeffery co-leads NSERC’s flagship partnership program, Alliance, which supports Canada’s university researchers working in close partnership with organizations from the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors. Jeffery’s past experience with NSERC has included leading NSERC’s national network of Regional Offices, the development and implementation of Automotive Partnership Canada, as well as delivering a range of other partnership programs. Prior to joining NSERC in 2003, Jeffery spent several years in the R&D department of a company specializing in personal protective equipment for landmine and explosive disposal. He started his career as a production engineer within the steel industry. Jeffery holds a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University and is a licensed Professional Engineer.

Cory Neudorf
Municipal Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Neudorf is the Interim Senior Medical Health Officer with the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan. He received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Health Science degree (Community Health and Epidemiology) from University of Toronto, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with Certification in the specialty of Public Health & Preventive Medicine. He has held various leadership roles in Public Health at the national level in Canada, including:

In 2020, he was awarded the R.D. Defries medal by the Canadian Public Health Association for outstanding contributions in the broad field of public health. He is currently serving on the editorial board of the Canadian Journal of Public Health and the Strategic Analytic Advisory Committee of the Canadian Institutes for Health Information. He is President of the Urban Public Health Network of Canada and is a liaison member with the Regions for Health Network (WHO Europe).

His research interests include: intervention research to improve health equity; public health systems and services research; health status indicators and surveys; and integrating population health into health system performance improvement and strategic planning.

Charles Nfon
Laboratory Network Director, National Centres for Animal Disease (CFIA)

Dr. Charles Nfon is the Laboratory Network Director for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s National Centres for Animal Disease (NCAD/CFIA), with laboratories in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Lethbridge, Alberta. He oversees the management of containment level 2 – 4 laboratories responsible for research and development as well as diagnostics for foreign animal diseases and production-limiting endemic diseases.

Prior to this, Dr. Nfon was a research scientist and head of the Vesicular Diseases Unit (VDU) at the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease. As head of VDU he led and managed research and diagnosis of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and its differentials. He is the designated expert for the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Reference Laboratory for foot-and-mouth disease. Dr. Nfon was also acting director for NCFAD in December 2019 to January 2020.

Dr. Nfon obtained his PhD from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool, England in 2004 and then completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), USDA, New York, and the University of Manitoba. He joined the NCFAD in 2009 during the pandemic H1N1 influenza outbreak and was in charge of characterizing swine influenza viruses circulating in pigs in Canada. He subsequently worked on teams that developed and tested vaccines for avian influenza (H5N1, H5N2 and H7N9), Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) and capripox virus. He also participated in studies of Ebola virus in pigs and traveled to Guinea in 2015 to assist in Ebola virus diagnostics in the Public Health Agency of Canadian mobile diagnostic laboratory. Dr. Nfon is also an adjunct professor in the Animal Science Department, University of Manitoba.

Jasmine Pawa
Rural/ Remote Medical Officer of Health

Dr. Jasmine Pawa is a Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist physician. She works as a public health physician consultant to a range of public sector organizations and is the President of the national specialty society, Public Health Physicians of Canada.

She also supports the health care and operations teams in Nunavut as a Senior Medical Advisor within the Department of Health, with a focus on preventive care and population health. Prior to this, she provided coverage for the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer (DCPHO) role for the territory, including increased support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She completed medical school at the University of Alberta before moving to Toronto for the public health residency training. She holds a master’s degree in health policy obtained in the UK jointly from LSHTM and LSE. She has academic appointments with NOSM University and the University of Toronto which involve research as well as teaching medical students and residents.

Her professional focus is on health policy and health systems, particularly at the intersection of health care and public health, and she has additional experience in qualitative methods. She’s committed to working with teams on integrating population health and medical expertise with the insights of community members—and shifting decision- making accordingly.

Beate Sander
National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI)

Beate Sander, RN MBA MEcDev PhD, is an internationally recognized leader in infectious disease economics with extensive expertise in health economics and simulation modeling. Dr. Sander holds a Canada Research Chair in Economics of Infectious Diseases. She is a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, where she directs the Population Health Economics Research (PHER) group, and holds appointments as Professor, IHPME, University of Toronto, and Adjunct Scientist at ICES and Public Health Ontario.

Dr. Sander’s research program in economics of infectious diseases addresses challenges to economic evaluation methods by advancing scientific methods for the economic evaluation of infectious disease interventions at the population level, while developing critical evidence to inform policy making in important disease areas.

Dr. Sander contributes substantively to federal/provincial policy decision-making, serving as an expert to advisory bodies, including Canada’s National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI), where she also chairs the Economics Task Group and the Economic Guidelines Task Group– developing national guidelines for the economic evaluation of vaccines, which will set standards for conducting economic evaluations for vaccines in Canada. She is serving as a Steering Committee Member for EPIC (Emerging and Pandemic Infections Consortium). Dr. Sander co-chaired the Ontario COVID-19 Modeling Consensus Table and was a member of the Ontario Science Advisory Table.

Dr. Sander has lived and trained in Germany, Australia and Canada, and holds degrees in Nursing (RN), Business Administration (MBA), Economics of Development (MEcDev), and a Doctorate in Health Services Research (PhD).

Supriya Sharma
Health Canada Chief Medical Advisor (HC)

Dr. Supriya Sharma became Health Canada's Chief Medical Advisor in August 2015. She added these responsibilities to those in the role of Senior Medical Advisor in the Health Products and Food Branch, a role she has had since March 2013. The Health Products and Food Branch has the responsibility to regulate pharmaceuticals, medical devices, biologics, vaccines, natural health products, veterinary medicines and food. Prior to that, Dr. Sharma has held a number of positions in Health Canada over the past decade in both the pre-market and post-market health product regulatory areas including most recently Director General of the Therapeutic Products Directorate, which had the regulatory responsibility for pharmaceuticals (prescription and non-prescription) and medical devices. She has also worked as a Senior Policy Advisor as part of the National Pharmaceuticals Strategy in Health Canada. Recently, she has returned to Health Canada following a leave of absence to work in an academic research group focusing on health innovation adoption in the Canadian Health system.

Trained as a pediatrician in both Canada and Australia, Dr. Sharma was a research fellow in hematology focused on clinical research relating to thalassemia and sickle cell disease and has worked on a number of large multi-center clinical studies, including research in collaboration with Oxford University on a project in Sri Lanka. She then went on to complete a Masters of Public Health at the Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in International Health and an interest in Health Policy.

Sarah Viehbeck
Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Reporting to the President, Dr. Sarah Viehbeck is the Chief Science Officer for the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). In this role, she is responsible for providing strategic leadership to oversee and support science excellence, science-policy integration and science promotion, as well as re-energizing the scientific vision and capacity toward “Strengthening the Voice of Science” across the Agency.

Prior to this, she was the Associate Vice-President Research - Evidence Integration at CIHR. In this role, Dr. Viehbeck was responsible for all science-related strategy and policy development. There, she led the design of a comprehensive suite of programs and initiatives to support CIHR’s mandate, with a priority focus on equity, diversity and inclusion as well as growing and maintaining a strong and sustainable Canadian health research workforce. She also played a key leadership role in the Agency’s COVID-19 response.

Dr. Viehbeck is a former adjunct faculty member at University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health and Health Systems and the University of Ottawa’s Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences and former Board member of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health.

She has been recognized for her contributions by the Senior Women Academic Administrators of Canada, the Ontario Tobacco Research Unit, the Canadian Public Health Association, and through a CIHR President’s Award of Excellence.

Jennifer Unger
Emergency Management and Programs Branch, Public Safety Canada

Jennifer Unger is Director of the National Search and Rescue Secretariat and Emergency Management Transformation Division. She draws upon her more than 15 years of service at Public Safety Canada in the emergency management (EM) discipline including in regional operations, EM training, strategic planning and transformation, policy development and stakeholder engagement. In this capacity, Ms. Unger has been proud to have served Canadians through her leadership on notable initiatives which include: Supporting Canada’s Public Safety Personnel: An Action Plan on Post-Traumatic Stress Injuries; the Government of Canada’s $170 million program Supporting the Canadian Red Cross’s Urgent Relief Efforts Related to COVID-19, Floods and Wildfires; Canada Strong - Supporting the Families of the Victims of the Flight PS752; and Supporting Air Rescue: National Investment to Support Shock Trauma Air Rescue Services in Western Canada.

A seasoned manager with 25 years’ experience in the federal public service, she has also served with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED). Her work experience has also extended outside the federal public service, where she worked six years at Colleges and Institutes Canada on international bilateral and multilateral skills development projects.

Ms. Unger is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and four Deputy Minister Awards for her service to Canadians. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Tom Wong
Indigenous Services Canada

Dr. Thomas Wong, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC is the Director General for the Office of Population and Public Health. He is also the Chief Medical Officer of Public Health and the Chief Science Officer at the First Nations and Inuit Health Branch of Indigenous Services Canada. He is trained in family medicine, internal medicine, infectious diseases and public health at McGill, Harvard, and Columbia. His public health work includes engagement with Indigenous communities, HIV, hepatitis C, sexually transmitted infections, tuberculosis, influenza, vaccine preventable diseases, antimicrobial resistance, chronic diseases, mental health, addiction, and health disparities. Dr. Wong sits on multiple national and international committees and has academic appointments at both the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto.

Date modified: