Management and Executive Team

On a regional management level, Northern Health’s operations are the responsibility of an executive team, headed by CEO Cathy Ulrich. The executive team is responsible for functions that include (but not limited to):

  • Developing operational plans for objectives set out by Northern Health’s Board and making sure that those plans are acted upon;
  • Preparation of budget, capital, and human resources plans;
  • Approving consistent regional standards for programs and services; and
  • Approval of regional policies for the organization.

Most of Northern Health’s services such as hospitals, home care, and residential care run within three geographic operating divisions: the Northeast, Northern Interior, and Northwest. These are called health service delivery areas (HSDAs). A chief operating officer (COO) manages each HSDA and reports directly to Northern Health’s CEO. Our Chief Operating Officers include:

  • Ciro Panessa in the Northwest
  • Penny Anguish in the Northern Interior
  • Angela De Smit in the Northeast.
Executive Team

Cathy Ulrich, President and Chief Executive Officer

Cathy Ulrich

Cathy has held this position since 2007. From 2002 to 2007, Cathy was the Vice President, Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Officer for Northern Health. Before the formation of Northern Health, she worked in a variety of nursing and management positions in Northern British Columbia, Manitoba, and Alberta.

Cathy has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Alberta and a Master's of Science in community health sciences from the University of Northern BC (UNBC).

Mark De Croos, Vice President, Financial and Corporate Services/Chief Financial Officer

Mark De Croos

Mark was appointed to his current position in July 2010, bringing proven success in strengthening and leading organizational finance and decision support. He oversees financial operations for Northern Health and is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating the organization’s fiscal performance and ensuring its long-term financial sustainability.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta and is a certified general accountant.

David Williams, Vice President, Human Resources

David Williams

David became the Vice President of Human Resources in April 2015. He started his Human Resources career in 1985 with the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. He is a Certified Human Resources Professional and holds a Master's of Business Administration from UNBC.

David has also taught in the School of Business at UNBC.

Fraser Bell, Vice President, Planning and Quality

Fraser Bell

Fraser is responsible for strategic and operational planning as well as quality monitoring and support of improvement processes, information management and information technology. During his more than 22 years in health service management, he has held progressively more senior positions in health management consulting (PricewaterhouseCoopers and IBM), government (Ontario Ministry of Health, Huron Perth District Health Council) and health operations.

Fraser holds a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from McMaster University.

Kelly Gunn, Vice President, Primary and Community Care and Chief Nursing Executive

Kelly Gunn

A longtime resident of northern British Columbia, Kelly is a Registered Nurse. She holds a Diploma in Nursing from the College of New Caledonia, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Victoria, and a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Northern British Columbia.

She is a part-time nursing instructor in UNBC's Northern Collaborative Baccalaureate Nursing Program and has experience working as an interim Health Services Administrator.

Dr. Ronald Chapman, Vice President, Medicine

Ronald Chapman

Originally from South Africa, Dr. Chapman brings extensive experience in the health and public sectors. Beginning in 2007, he was Regional Director for the Northern Cancer Control Program, a dual appointment to Northern Health and the BC Cancer Agency. In September 2009, Dr. Chapman shared the role of Chief Medical Health Officer for Northern Health and in July 2011 became the sole holder of the title.

Dr. Chapman moved into his current role in March 2013. He has full registration as a Community Medicine Specialist with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, and has completed both the Licentiate of Medical Council of Canada (LMCC) and Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada Fellowship exams.

Nicole Cross, Vice President, Indigenous Health

Nicole Cross

Nicole Cross, Noxs Ni’isYuus, belongs to the Killerwhale Clan and the House of Niisyuus and was born and raised in the Nisga’a community of Laxgalts’ap. Nicole’s most recent position was the Assistant Deputy Minister of Indigenous Health with the MoH. She has held various leadership roles with in her 10 years at FNHA, including the role of Vice President Regional Operations. Noxs Ni’isYuus also has the honor of working as a Health Director for Tsay Key Dene and as an APLW at UHNBC amongst other health roles focusing on rural and remote health care.

Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and Psychology from the University of Victoria and a Master of Health Administration from the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, School of Population and Public Health.

Steve Raper, Chief Communications and External Relations

Steve Raper

Steve has almost 15 years of experience leading teams and managing communications, public relations, marketing and promotions, external relations, and other related functions. He has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Northern British Columbia, and a Master's in Business Administration (MBA) from Royal Roads University.

Steve also holds a certification in public consultation from the International Association for Public Participation.

Angela De Smit, Chief Operating Officer, Northeast Health Service Delivery Area

Angela De Smit

Angela has lived in the North Peace since 1997. Her experience includes working as the Health Services Administrator for the North Peace, and working as the Operational Lead for acute care planning and transition during the development of the new Fort St. John Hospital and Peace Villa.

She has also held the positions of Director of Patient Care Services and Inpatient Unit Manager at the Fort St. John Hospital and Health Centre, and has experience in nursing leadership positions in the Peace River Community Health Centre, the High Level Community Health Centre and the University of Alberta Hospital.

Penny Anguish, Chief Operating Officer, Northern Interior Health Service Delivery Area

Penny Anguish

With many years of clinical and management experience across health care sectors in both northern Ontario and British Columbia, Penny assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer of the Northwest in 2012. In fall 2016, Penny became the Chief Operating Officer for the Northern Interior. Penny holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing from the University of Victoria and a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University.

She has also completed an Advanced Health Care Leadership Program with University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management. Penny brings a strong quality improvement focus to her team's work as they strive to provide accessible and high-quality health services across the northern interior that are consistent with the strategic priorities of Northern Health.

Ciro Panessa, Chief Operating Officer, Northwest Health Service Delivery Area

Ciro Panessa

Ciro relocated to the Northwest with his family in 2014. Ciro has experience in nursing practice and leadership positions at Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health, PHSA’s BC Centre for Disease Control, and the Ministry of Health. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of British Columbia. In addition, he is a qualified, non-practicing Family Nurse Practitioner.

He is also currently an Adjunct Professor at the UBC School of Nursing. Ciro is keenly interested in health equity and designing health services that partner with communities to reach and engage people in the best possible way.

Dr. Jong Kim, Chief Medical Health Officer

Dr. Jong Kim

Dr. Kim is a specialist in public health and preventive medicine. In his role as Chief Medical Health Officer, he advises the NH executive and the Board on issues of public health relevant to populations in northern BC. Dr. Kim holds a Bachelor of Health Sciences and a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from McMaster University. He obtained his Medical Degree from Queen’s University and a Masters of Community Health Science from the University of Calgary.

He completed his residency training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Calgary and is a Fellow of the Royal College in that specialty. He lives in Fort St John.