Meet our Primary Care Partner Table

Primary care is a cornerstone of the healthcare system and a critical foundation for OHTs with providers and organizations working together to be clinically and fiscally responsible for delivering a fully coordinated continuum of care to people of a defined population.  

The Primary Care Partner Table informs the work and decision-making of the OHT-ESO with the focus to strengthen the foundation of Primary Care in Ottawa’s health system. This group works together to:  

  • Provide guidance, foster connections and support effective engagement of primary care providers in the work of the OHT-ESO 

  • Explore and advance options and models to evolve a strong foundation of primary health care  

  • Provide effective representation and leadership at the OHT-ESO Collaborative Leadership Group  


The Primary Care Partner Table includes family doctors and nurse practitioners that work in different primary care settings with diverse patient populations. Members are systems-minded, collaborative providers who want to work with the primary care community and the 60 plus partner organizations connected to the OHT-ESO to influence the system changes that are needed.  

The table was formed through an open call for members with a group of primary care peers supporting the selection process. A call for applicants will be made in the summer 2021 seeking three new members including two representatives from family physicians working in fee for service practices. 


Members serve a two-year term.  

Dr. Alykhan Abdulla


Dr. Abdulla has three children, Adil is an articling lawyer, Iman is in in pre-med and Alim is into musical theatre. Dr. Abdulla is a badminton enthusiast, a ballroom dancer, and a movie buff. He is multi-angular in his interests and pursuits.


On a vocational angle, he is a comprehensive family doctor, palliative, sports, cosmetic and travel medicine consultant working in a FHO and FFS. He is assistant professor Department of Family Medicine and Academic Consultant Level 1 Faculty of Nursing at University of Ottawa. He was awarded the Family Physician of the Year for Eastern Ontario in 2008 and the Faculty Professionalism Award from the University of Ottawa in 2020. He mentors health sciences, medical students and family medicine residents. He was awarded the OMA Advocate for Students and Residents in 2020.


On a leadership angle, he is Chairman of the Section of General and Family Physicians. He has been President of the Academy of Medicine Ottawa and District 8 Chair. He has served on the following community boards; Eastern Ontario Regional Lab Association, Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, Bruyère Foundation, and the Shepherds of Good Hope. He was awarded the United Way Community Builder Award in 2009.


Finally, on a community engagement angle, he is involved in organizing educational events for doctors, providing interviews to radio, newspaper and TV. He is a published poet. He used to have a TV show on Roger’s community TV called Med Talks. He was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 and Valedictorian of the Ottawa ICD.D program in 2020.


NP, Joanna Binch

Joanna graduated from Queen's Nursing and after a brief time working in North Carolina, moved to Northern Ontario where she thoroughly enjoyed Northern nursing.


Returning to Ottawa for more training, completing the nurse practitioner program and MScN, she met her husband and stayed. Her first job as a nurse practitioner was with the newly formed organization Inner City Health. From there, Joanna held a position at Somerset West Community Health Centre for over 15 years, providing care in an outreach capacity to rooming houses, as well as at the CHC with a practice focusing on those who had difficulty accessing traditional health care models.


Over the years Joanna has completed a fellowship in HIV care with the Ottawa Mission, has worked in an Aboriginal Health Centre and family health team model, and continues to work casually with Ottawa Public Health. Most recently Joanna has transitioned to working at Oasis, a program with Sandy Hill Community Health Centre specializing in people living with addictions and at risk of or living with HIV and/or Hepatitis C.


Joanna is in her 4th year of the PhD program in Nursing, with her research focus on the health of rooming house residents and the social determinants of health.


When not working, mentoring students, or trying to focus on her studies, Joanna enjoys time with her husband and three children, as well dreaming of when she can return to soccer, squash and travel.

Dr. John Brewer

John is the Chief of Family Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital. He graduated from the University of Ottawa Medical school in 1983, and spent the next 25 years practicing in New Brunswick.


A past board member of the New Brunswick and Ontario Chapters, as well as a past National Board member, John has been working on Primary Health Care reform projects for 30 years. In 2005, he was awarded CFPC Family Physician of the Year for one of these projects, the establishment of a Community Health Center/ Family Practice Teaching Unit in Saint John New Brunswick.


John practiced comprehensive Family Medicine with his wife, Monica, since their graduation, until very recently. Monica and John have 3 children and one granddaughter.


Dr. Marie-Claude Gagnon

Dr. Marie-Claude Gagnon completed her medical doctorate and her family medicine residency at Université de Montréal.


After graduating in 2005, she moved to Ottawa and initially worked as a locum for a few years. She started her practice in a FHG in Blackburn Hamlet.


Ten years ago, she became a co-owner of a family medicine practice on Montreal Road and transitioned to the FHO model. She did hospital work with inpatients for many years at the Montfort Hospital and was involved with teaching to medical students and family medicine residents for fourteen years.


In the last few years, she has also been involved with the OMA and is a member of the SGFP Executive committee.

Dr. Michael Hirsh

Dr. Hirsh trained at McGill University and The University of Toronto.


He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and has been active at the faculty both administratively and academically. Areas of particular interest include Distributed Medical Education and Social Accountability.


He is currently practicing Family Medicine in a nine doctor Family Medicine Organization (West Ottawa Nepean Family Medicine Organization or WONFHO).


Dr. Riva Levitan

Dr. Levitan is a University of Toronto graduate and finished her Family Medicine training in 1995. After early years of practice in Toronto, she returned home to Ottawa with her young family in 1998 and has provided comprehensive family medicine care here since.


She is a member of the Holland Carling Family Health Group, working in enhanced Fee For Service. Dr. Levitan has become active in advocacy for FFS colleagues and is the current and founding Chair of the Fee-For-Service Family Physician Medical Interest Group at the Ontario Medical Association.


She also enjoys teaching University of Ottawa medical students in her varied practice. She is a waterski enthusiast and loves cottaging and cooking with her husband and sons.

NP, Hoda Mankal

Hoda Mankal is a Primary Care Nurse Practitioner at Carlington Community Health Centre here in Ottawa, where she has practiced for the past 13 years. Hoda graduated from Ryerson University as an RN in 2001 and completed her Primary Care NP training in 2006, at the University of Ottawa.


In addition to her work with Carlington CHC, Hoda has also worked as Director of Communications for the Nurse Practitioner Association of Ontario (NPAO) for 4 years. During her time at NPAO, she helped spear head a successful recruitment and retention campaign that saw Ontario Nurse Practitioners receive their first wage increase in almost a decade. She was also a member of the Champlain LHIN Professional Health Advisory Committee.


In her spare time, Hoda enjoys reading anything and everything, spending time with her husband and 3 children and if all of that can be done in tandem at the cottage even better! 


Dr. Benoît Robert (Lead)

Dr. Benoît Robert completed his medical training at the University of Ottawa in 1986 and has been practicing at the Greenboro Family Medicine Centre since 1988. His practice has included obstetrics, surgical assisting, and working at CHEO (ER and the Palliative care team at CHEO). He continues to provide house calls for the frail elderly and those in need of home palliative care.


He has earned additional certification in Care of the Elderly and Palliative Care. In addition, he is active in teaching with the family medicine unit at the Ottawa Hospital.


He is the Medical Director at the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, and co-medical director at the Glebe Centre.