About us

The learner supports provided by the Office of Health Professions Student Affairs (OHPSA) and Office of Postgraduate Wellness are now being delivered as part of a single Office of Learner Affairs. Residing in the Office of the Vice Dean, Medical Education, the Office of Learner Affairs supports learners from Temerty Medicine’s undergraduate medical education (MD and MD/PhD), Postgraduate Medical Education (residents and fellows), Medical Radiation Sciences, Physician Assistant, and Occupational Therapy programs.  

Every effort will be taken to ensure the seamless continuation and improvement of learner services, supports and programming as the staffing structure of the Office of Learner Affairs is put into place. 

Office Location

St. George campus - C. David Naylor Building, 6 Queen's Park Crescent West, room 309

Mississauga campus - Terrence Donnelly Health Sciences Complex (2nd floor), 3359 Mississauga Road

Administrative Office hours

Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Please note all counsellors have evening hours on both campuses.

Phone

416.978.2764

See our vision, mission and values.

Leadership

Dr. Tony Pignatiello

Dr. Tony Pignatiello
Associate Dean, Health Professions Student Affairs
MD (Toronto), FRCP (C) 

I’m a child & adolescent psychiatrist and Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, and have been part of the faculty since 2002. Prior to beginning my position in the Office of Health Professions Student Affairs, I was the Associate Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Medical Director of the Telepsychiatry/TeleLink Mental Health Program at The Hospital for Sick Children. I’ve also been involved with the Medical Psychiatry Alliance as its Director of Child and Youth Health and Family Serivces. Previously, I worked in private practice and in various hospital and community-based children’s mental health services. My academic and clinical interests include models and systems of care in child and youth mental health, telemedicine and knowledge translation.

 

OHPSA head shot - Dionisi, Jonathon.jpg

Jonathon Dionisi
Administrative Assistant to the Associate Dean
BRM (Acadia)

I graduated from Acadia University in Nova Scotia in 2007-2008 with a BRM degree, and have been working in the hospital/healthcare industry in various administrative capacities prior to coming to University of Toronto in 2018.

Dr. Shauna Phillips

Dr. Shauna Phillips
Director, SCORE Program
MD (Toronto), CCFP

I am a community family physician and Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine (DFCM) at University of Toronto.  I have been formally teaching clinical skills since residency, including teaching first year ASCM/ICE for several years prior to taking over as Director of the SCORE Program.  Everyone learns a little differently and I strive to create a safe environment whereby students can explore, as well as gain confidence in their abilities to interview and perform physical exams.

Dr. Reena Pattani, Director Learner Experience

Dr. Reena Pattani
Director, Learner Experience in the Faculty of Medicine

MDCM (McGill), MPH (Harvard), FRCPC

I am a clinician-teacher in the Department of Medicine and a staff physician in Internal Medicine at St Michael’s Hospital, Unity Health Toronto. I have worked with learners at all levels on the frontlines and also served as the Internal Medicine clerkship site co-director and the General Internal Medicine Fellowship site director at my hospital. In these roles, my goal has been to help learners thrive, and not just survive, through their training. Training to become a physician is challenging in so many ways, and we have a responsibility to ensure that you have support and guidance to become the best versions of yourselves.  If you feel unsettled by something that you have experienced or witnessed, I am here for you to unpack it and determine next best steps. I will earn your trust and work hard to be your advocate. Please feel free to contact me anytime!

Counselling team

Shayna

Shayna Kulman-Lipsey
Manager of Counselling Services, Personal Counsellor
BA (Toronto), MSW (Toronto), RSW

I’ve been working in the mental health field most of my career and have been with OHPSA since 2011. My approach to personal counselling is based on the wisdom I’ve gained not only from psychotherapeutic training but what I’ve learned from those I’ve worked with. Having personally experienced many transitions in my own life, including living abroad for five years, I’m very sensitive to the numerous transitions health professional students need to adapt to. I work collaboratively with students from a strengths-based model as you work your way through these transitions and take on your new identities as health professionals.

Dr. Laila Premji

Dr. Laila Premji
Director, Career Advising System
Academic Clinician, Division of Paediatric Medicine, The Hospital for Sick Children
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
MD, FRCP (C) 

Welcome to the MD program!  I am excited to be a part of the Office of Health Professions Students Affairs as the Director of the Career Advising System.  I have been in this role since March 2019 and have been working on a variety of career advising related projects since then including our longitudinal CAP (Career Advising and Preparation) curriculum, Career Chat series, and others.  In my clinical role, I am a Paediatric Hospitalist at The Hospital for Sick Children where I work on the inpatient units as a general paediatrician.  I completed my course work in my Masters of Health Professions Education program at UIC in Chicago while simultaneously getting extra clinical experience in Child Abuse Paediatrics.  My interests in medical education alongside career advising include working with trainees in academic difficulty as well as studying issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion.  Outside of work I enjoy running and keeping busy with my two daughters.  I look forward to working with you all!

Colleen O'Connor
Career Counsellor/Coach
BA, CWC

I was delighted to join the OHPSA team in 2017 after several years in community and public sector roles providing career and employment counselling supports to diverse professionals including advisory work with internationally educated physicians and healthcare professionals at HealthForceOntario.  I understand that choosing a specialty is one of the most critical decisions you will face as a medical student. As a resource to students, I offer practical assistance for the exploration of career options as well as coaching to help you optimize opportunities throughout your years of medical education including supporting you through the residency application process.  In support of student success, I  also actively collaborate with students, staff and internal and external networks to develop, implement and deliver a range of customized career management services and events for students.

Nellie Perret

Nellie Perret
Academic Coach
BA (Toronto), MA (Toronto), PhD (Toronto)

I’ve been supporting student learning at the University of Toronto for over thirty years. In my work as an academic coach within OHPSA, I draw on this experience with the certainty that all students are capable of achieving academic excellence: the 'trick' is to adapt current learning strategies — and, where appropriate, to devise new ones — to meet the challenges of a dynamic academic environment. I work collaboratively with students, then, to help you develop and implement individualized learning plans that best serve your unique, and at times protean, needs as learners in the health professions.

Joanne Leo Personal Counsellor

Joanne Leo
Personal Counsellor
BA (York), MSW (Toronto), RSW

I have worked in the mental health field for the past ten years. Before joining the OHPSA counselling team at the University of Toronto, I worked in both clinical and research settings in hospitals, universities and community mental health agencies.  I am passionate about helping others to become more aware and accepting of their thoughts and feelings in order to engender change.  For students, medical school can be a time of significant stress.  You may be experiencing difficulty juggling the academic and professional demands of medicine while remaining healthy.  My approach to counselling is to create a safe space for students to express their challenges while encouraging them to build on their strengths, face their fears, and practice self-compassion.  My hope is to help you manage the unpredictability of life, and move toward your true values to experience meaningful lives and careers.

Carmen Bartolo headshot

Carmen Bartolo
Personal Counsellor
BSW (Ryerson), MSW (Toronto), RSW

After a lengthy and rewarding career as a hospital social worker, I am delighted to join OHPSA at the University of Toronto.  My clinical background includes work in the areas of addictions, concurrent disorders and eating disorders.   I  bring my skills in various therapeutic techniques including cognitive and dialectical behavioural therapies and motivational interviewing, as well as experience in helping individuals struggling with depression, anxiety and interpersonal stress.   In addition to providing a safe and non-judgemental environment, I offer a client-centred and collaborative approach to counselling.  Managing academic, personal and relationship stressors can be overwhelming at times. My goal is to assist students to  gain both the practical and psychological skills necessary to achieve a sense of balance,  control and self-efficacy in their lives.

Carole Sandy

Carole Sandy
Personal Counsellor
M.Ed. Counselling (Acadia), Masters in Couples and Family Therapy (McGill)

Carole Sandy is a multi-faceted clinical therapist working with individuals, couples, and families. She has worked in various clinical settings and has assisted MBA and undergrad students through some of the most difficult and exciting times in their educational journey. She is passionate about breaking generational hurts, supporting students as they transition to new careers and celebrating their strengths through supportive conversations.  Carole has worked with many individuals in post-secondary settings and the marketplace.  Through her experiences she has gained inspiration and insight from how creative and resilient many people are when facing their challenges.  
 

 

Jennifer Holland
Counselling Administrator
 

 

Operations

 

 

Mark Wlodarski  

Mark Wlodarski
Student Support Administrator - Mississauga campus
Business Administration, Marketing Management diploma (Sheridan College)

I’ve worked within the post-secondary environment since 2005 and within the University of Toronto community since 2010. In my previous job at Sheridan College, I engaged with learners on a behavioural level while managing the campus bar. This experience motivated me to pursue working with learners to support their academic growth and development in a post-secondary setting. As an administrative professional, my role here is to assist and guide learners through the process of accessing resources. I also plan events and generally try to make your time at the University of Toronto as enjoyable as possible! Most people have come to know me as the fun-loving sports enthusiast.