Our Primary Care Clinical Leads 

Toronto Central LHIN Strategic Plan 2015-18 outlines our four strategic priorities, one of them being transforming primary health and community care. One of the most critical ways we are moving forward on this strategic priority is through the appointment of one Physician Advisor-Primary Care Strategy and five Primary Care Clinical Leads.

Committed to Toronto Central LHIN’s mission to achieve better health outcomes for people now and in the future, these experienced physicians champion the advancement of our Primary Care Strategy and lead local primary care planning and implementation within our five sub-regions. The Physician Advisor- Primary Care Strategy, together with the five Primary Care Clinical Leads, will provide a leadership role within the community in working with local clinical and health system providers to organize, integrate and deliver health services around the needs of the local population.

This key role also acts as a key liaison between the Toronto Central LHIN and local primary care providers, and provides counsel to the Toronto Central LHIN on the advancement of its strategy to strengthen local primary care for patients. The Primary Care Clinical Leads provide leadership and local system empowerment through collaborative planning and engagement of primary care clinical providers. Strengthening the connections between primary care providers and the health system, Primary Care Clinical Leads champion patient-centred initiatives aimed to meet the needs of the local population.



Physician Advisor, Primary Care Strategy and East Toronto Sub-Region (Interim)

Dr. Jocelyn Charles

Dr. Jocelyn Charles has provided comprehensive primary care in the Family Practice Unit at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, for over 25 years. She is currently Chief of the Veterans’ Program and Chair of the Medical Advisory Committee at Sunnybrook and previously held the position of Chief of the Department of Family & Community Medicine.  She is the clinical lead for the North East Toronto Health Link which is working towards improving the identification, attachment and coordination of care for patients with complex health needs.




North Toronto Sub-Region

Dr. Yoel Abells

Dr. Yoel Abells is the Medical Director of the Forest Hill Family Health Centre. He provides comprehensive medical care with a focus on women and children, including delivering babies at Mount Sinai Hospital. He also did emergency medicine for 25 years, and was the Chief of Department of Family, Emergency and Community Medicine for seven years at hospitals subsequently merged to form Humber River Regional. For the past 4 years, Dr. Abells has been a Primary Care Advisor to the Toronto Central LHIN, representing the voice of community based primary care physicians.


Mid-East Toronto Sub-Region

Dr. Curtis Handford

Dr. Curtis Handford has worked in academic family practice in downtown Toronto since 2003 and since 2015 has been Deputy Chief of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital. Since 2010 he has been Program Director of the Family and Community Medicine (FCM) field of the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree at the University of Toronto. He is the principal author of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s 2011 clinical practice guidelines for the use of Buprenorphine/Naloxone for Opioid Dependence.


Mid-West Toronto Sub-Region

Dr. Pauline Pariser

Dr. Pauline Pariser has practiced family medicine for almost 35 years and is the founder of the Taddle Creek Family Health Team, recognized in 2011 by the Ontario College of Family Physicians as Family Practice of the year. In 2012 she was appointed Associate Medical Director at University Health Network and Primary Care Lead for SCOPE (Seamless Care Optimizing the Patient Experience) an initiative in support of solo family physicians gaining better access and integration with community and hospital services. She has led the Mid- West Toronto Health Link since 2013.


West Toronto Sub-Region

Dr. Don Smith

Dr. Don Smith is a family physician at the Village Family Health Team, a practice with a particular focus on mental health and addictions. For over 39 years, Dr. Smith has provided comprehensive primary health care in Montreal, Kincardine and Toronto.  He has held leadership positions in each of these locales, including at his current Family Health Team. Dr. Smith also is bilingual with fluency in English, French and basic Spanish.