Our team

The Hub for Project ECHO® Ontario CYMH is at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO). CHEO is an academic medical centre affiliated with the University of Ottawa and provides pediatric family-centered patient care, performs pioneering breakthrough research, and the training of future health care professionals. 

Meet the Hub:

The Hub Specialists are from several domains in the system of child and youth mental health care. Other types of expertise will be added as needed for a particular case or if our spokes identify a gap in what support they need from us. 
Kathleen-Pajer.jpg Psychiatrist/Co-Director: Dr. Kathleen Pajer, M.D., M.P.H.
Dr. Pajer is from the U.S. and has been a researcher and psychiatrist for over 30 years, spending much of that time working in child psychiatry. She is passionate about finding better ways to deliver care to children, youth, and families, and finding effective treatments for girls with severe behaviour problems. Dr. Pajer spends her time outside of work writing, reading, and traveling around the U.S. visiting her five children (an activity she shares with Co-Director Dr. Gardner – her husband).


Psychologist: Dr. Simone Kortstee, C. Psych
Dr. Simone Kortstee is a child psychologist with special interests and experience in brain-behaviour relationships and who thrives to empower children, youth and their families in the process of overcoming mental health and neuropsychological challenges. She has worked as a psychologist in various pediatric health care settings. Currently, she leads professional practice in psychology at CHEO. Simone loves being with her family and friends, and she enjoys painting, music, sewing, and gardening.

System Navigators: Cindy Dawson, CYC (Cert.)
Cindy is a Certified Child and Youth Counsellor who works at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario as the Team Leader of Centralized Mental Health Intake. Cindy has joined project ECHO as the Systems Navigator due to her extensive mental health experience in working with community partners, families and high risk youth. Cindy is a strong advocate for self-care, balancing family and her passion for running. Cindy has set a personal goal to complete her first marathon.

System Navigators: Ghyslaine Paquette, CYC (Cert.)
Ghyslaine is a Child & Youth Counsellor for the past 20 years with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Her career exploits include in-patient mental health, the Eating Disorders Day Treatment Program, Outreach, Mental Health Intake, Tele-Mental Health Service and Project ECHO® Ontario CYMH. Ghyslaine is passionate in assisting families and community mental health providers’ access services and education in their local communities across the province of Ontario. She is an avid traveler, a fun spirit and a football mom.

Substance Use and Mental Health Social Worker: Hayley Masterson, M.S.W., RSW
Hayley is a Mental Health and Addictions Social Worker from The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. A graduate of the University of Toronto Masters of Social Work program, Hayley specialized in mental health practice and completed an internship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Hayley brings three years of experience in community-based addictions counselling with the Jean Tweed Centre in Toronto where she developed a passion for improving harm reduction approaches to treatment and support for people with concurrent disorders.
Other Hub Specialists Include:
Psychiatrist: Dr. Hazen Gandy
Psychologist: Dr. Allison Kennedy


Operational Team:

You’ll get to know the operational team throughout your experience with Project ECHO® Ontario CYMH. These individuals work behind the scenes to ensure everything runs smoothly, but you may see them during a TeleECHO™ clinic session and communicate with them from time to time.

Co-director: Dr. William Gardner, Ph.D.
Manager: Josée Blackburn, M.S.W., RSW
Administrative Assistant: Roxanne MacKay
IT Support: Dale Hammond, CSP
Training and Development Specialist (on leave): Veronica Hoch, B.A.Sc.


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