Our Regional Experts

Want to learn more about the latest in cancer care in our community? The Central East Regional Cancer Program has a number of experts available to speak to you and your group about a variety of cancer and health care-related topics.

To arrange a speaker, contact our Communications Department at 905-576-8711, ext. 34317 or communications@lh.ca

Patti Argier, Regional Psychosocial Oncology Lead

Sari Greenwood

As our Regional Psychosocial Oncology Lead, Patti helps us define local and regional opportunities and strategies that focus on a whole-person approach to cancer care.

Patti participates with the Provincial group in the implementation of the Psychosocial Oncology standard of care.

She also helps us collaborate with psychosocial and palliative care teams in our region to identify priority areas of focus and address gaps.  




Debbie Devitt, Regional Patient Education Lead

Debbie Devitt

Debbie Devitt is the Regional Patient Education Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program and has been in the role of Patient Experience Lead at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre since 2013.  She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree and national certification in both oncology and palliative care. Debbie has certification from the Michener Institute in Plain Language for Patient/ Public Health Communication as well as a green belt in Lean Healthcare.

Debbie has been with Lakeridge Health since 1986. She was with the Palliative Care Program at the Durham Regional Cancer Centre/Lakeridge Health for over 20 years. For 11 of these years, Debbie was in a Consultant role with the Regional Palliative Care Program. In this role, Debbie organized and facilitated numerous courses and workshops in palliative and end of life care as well as organized two annual conferences. Debbie worked closely with the Regional Palliative Care Physician Lead to co-facilitate the Learning Essential Approaches to Palliative and End of Life Program (LEAP). She was involved in the development of an oncology course at Ontario Tech University and a palliative care certificate program at Durham College.  Debbie continues to co-facilitate the oncology course at Ontario Tech. Read more about Debbie Devitt....


Dr. Medhat El-Mallah, Regional Radiation Therapy Lead


Dr. Julia Jones. Regional Surgical Oncology Lead

Dr. Jones

Dr. Jones is the Regional Surgical Oncology Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program. She is a general surgeon and a surgical oncologist with a special interest in breast and thyroid cancer. Dr. Jones has a BSc. From Queen’s University. She attended medical school and completed her general surgery training at University of Toronto (U of T) which included a Master of Science as part of the Clinical Investigator Program. She has completed fellowship training in Surgical Oncology at U of T which included training at the University of California in San Francisco.

Dr. Jones also shares her knowledge with surgical residents and other medical learners from Queen’s University where she is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Clinical Teaching for the Department of Surgery.  Read more about Dr. Julia Jones... 

Dr. Hugh Kendall, Regional Colorectal Screening and Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy Lead

Dr. Kendall

Dr. Hugh Kendall is the Regional Colorectal Screening/Gastrointestinal (GI) Endoscopy Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program. He is a general surgeon and president of the Durham EndoSurgery Centre in Ajax, where his practice focuses on consultation, colonoscopy and gastroscopy.

A graduate of McGill University Medical School, Dr. Kendall is a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. He completed his surgical residency in General Surgery at the University of Toronto and has worked at Toronto General Hospital, Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and Rouge Valley Health System, Ajax and Pickering Hospital.

Dr. Kendall has been interested and involved in creating system-wide quality management for Endoscopy providers and out-of-hospital facilities as both a front-line provider and peer assessor for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). He is a former co-chair of the CPSO’s Out of Hospital Facility Task Force, and a former premises inspector for its Out of Hospital Inspection Program. Today, Dr. Kendall co-chairs the CPSO Quality Assurance Committee. Read more about Dr. Hugh Kendall....


Darrilyn Lessels, Regional Nursing Lead


Dr. Avnish Mehta, Regional Primary Care and Cancer Screening Lead

Dr. Nnorom Dr. Avnish Mehta completed his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and a Family Medicine Residency at the University of Toronto (UofT). He is the Medical Lead for the Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and Primary Care Sub-region Lead for Scarborough South within the CE LHIN.

Dr. Mehta has a wealth of experience at the local and regional level and across various health sectors in both the community and hospital setting.

Read more about Dr. Adnish Mehta....


Dr. Jason Pennington, Regional Indigenous Cancer Lead

Dr. Pennington

Dr. Pennington is the Regional Indigenous Cancer Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program. He is a general surgeon with a special interest in proctology and colorectal surgery and currently works at the Scarborough Health Network.  Dr. Pennington obtained both his undergraduate, medical and surgical degrees from the University of Toronto (U of T) where today, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. Recently he was a conference committee member of the Inaugural Indigenous Health Conference for the Continuing Education and Professional Development Program at U of T.

A member of the Huron-Wendat community of Wendake, Dr. Pennington has been active in the Aboriginal community with a strong focus on Aboriginal Health.  Early roles included volunteering and tutoring in some of Toronto’s Indigenous Organizations.  Currently he is a member of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada (IPAC) and active on several committees including the Indigenous Health in Specialty Postgraduate Medical Education Steering Committee (RCPSC) and the Indigenous Health Conference organizing committee (U of T). Read more about Dr. Jason Pennington... 

Dr. Nathan Roth, Regional Colposcopy/Cervical Screening Lead

Dr. Roth is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto and is completing a Law degree at Osgoode Hall in the fall of 2021. He is the past Medical Director of the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Scarborough Hospital Birchmount.

He is the Regional Colposcopy and Cervical Screening Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program and is the Chair of Section of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He is the Medical Advisor overseeing Quality Assurance for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and acts as a reviewer, coach and mediator.

Dr. Rola Shaheen, Regional Breast and Cancer Imaging Lead

Dr. Rola Shaheen Dr. Rola Shaheen is the Regional Breast and Cancer Imaging Lead for the Central East Regional Cancer Program.  Dr. Shaheen is the Chief of Radiology and Medical Director at Peterborough Regional Health Centre since 2015.

Dr. Shaheen received her MBBS degree from the University of Jordan and completed her residency training in Radiology at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Shaheen is a fellowship trained women’s imaging/breast imager from Harvard University and is currently pursuing a Global MBA in Healthcare and Life Sciences from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management.

Dr. Shaheen is passionate about multidisciplinary cancer care and multimodality imaging strategic planning with a focus on quality improvement.  Dr. Shaheen was the Provincial Lead for the Mammography Quality Management Partnership between CCO and CPSO from 2016-2019.  During this time, Dr. Shaheen was part of the team that developed informative provincial, regional and facility-level quality reports which included key performance indicators with targets and benchmarking to guide for continuous quality improvements.  Read more about Dr. Shaheen