Meet the Executive Team

Mahoganie Hines, President

Mahoganie is an active and ardent member of the palliative care community. She currently volunteers her time to act as the RNAO’s Policy & Political Action ENO for the Niagara Chapter and President of the PCNIG (2022-2024), sits on the CHPCA’s Nursing Group as Secretary/Treasurer, Overdose Prevention Network of Niagara (OPENN), volunteers at the local CTS and referees for Niagara Roller Derby. She co-wrote the resolution “Palliative care an issue of the public’s health” (2018) and sat on the expert panel of RNAO BPG “A Palliative approach to care in the last 12 months of life” (2020). Mahoganie currently works as a Palliative Pain and Symptom Management Consultant throughout the Niagara region and at McNally House Hospice. She is the recipient of RNAO’s President’s award for leadership in clinical nursing practice (2019) and Niagara’s 40 under 40 award (2020).

Maria Panzera Rugg, Finance executive

My name is Maria Panzera Rugg. I have been a Registered Nurse for the past 31 years spending the first half of my career clinically in pediatric nursing as a nurse/nurse practitioner with extensive experience in acute/chronic care focusing on palliative care, pain management, bereavement care and patient experience. The last 10 years my career has focused on adult palliative and psychosocial care within the acute care, cancer care, and community setting. My education is an honours nursing undergraduate degree at the University of Windsor and Master’s degree in nursing as a nurse practitioner/advanced practice nurse from the University of Toronto. This has continued with a Canadian Nursing Association National certification in palliative care since 2003 (18 years certified in 2021). I am presently a candidate for certification in the Canadian College of Health Leaders as Canadian Health Executive (CHE) for 2021.

Celina Carter, social media executive

Dr. Celina Carter is a Senior Research Associate with the SE Research Centre. As a nurse, Celina practiced in general medicine and primary care for 5 years, experiencing the challenges of supporting the end-of-life (EOL) outside of palliative care. She recently completed her PhD from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto (UofT) where she investigated how decline, dying, and death is discussed (or not discussed) in primary care settings and how nurses can become more involved in this practice. Celina also teaches and researches mindfulness-informed EOL. Celina pursues critical qualitative research and is interested in using arts-based participatory research to support nurses to become leaders in end-of-life conversations. Drawing on her journalism fellowship training at UofT, Celina is excited to be a Social Media & Information Technology Executive Network Officer to further the engagement and impact of the Palliative Care Nurses Interest Group.

Val Fiset, communications executive

Val is the Director of the Champlain Hospice Palliative Care Program.  Val completed her BScN at Queen’s University, and MScN and PhD at the University of Ottawa. She has been a nurse for over 30 years, starting out her career in the Canadian Forces. When she left the military, she transitioned to roles in oncology and palliative care before moving into post-secondary nursing education up until taking on her current role. She is passionate about decision support (helping patients and families make the best health and life decisions possible); knowledge translation (her PhD research looked at nursing students’ use of guidelines for pain and symptom management); education (preparing entry-level and practicing practitioners with the information they need to deliver high-quality palliative care); and looking at issues from a pragmatic, consultative, and interprofessional point of view. Val is excited to be joining the PCNIG executive to support the team in secretarial and communication roles. 

Deborah Francis, Policy and political action executive

Deborah is currently the Advanced Practice Leader for palliative care at SE Health. In this role, she promotes an evidence-based culture of practice through the design of education and development of processes and policies to build capacity of staff delivering palliative care. She consistently seeks ways to enhance the delivery of palliative care for clients and their families in the community through avenues of partnership and advocacy. Her interest in palliative care began as a front-line nurse and continued through various leadership roles in her decade of nursing. Deborah is also appointed as an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto (UofT). As a firm believer in life-long learning, Deborah has completed her Master’s in Nursing (MN) from UofT and has received her CNA certification in Hospice-Palliative Care. She is excited to serve on the executive team and advance the voice and work of the Palliative Care Nurses Interest Group.

Carolyn Wilson, Membership executive

Carolyn Wilson has been a Pediatric Nurse for over 10 years with a passion in patient centered care. She has worked across Pediatric centers and currently continues her career at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Her main passion is Advance Care Planning in Pediatrics and ensuring that children’s care is delivered with the underlying goal of adding life to years as opposed to years to life. Through the RNAO’s Advance Practice Fellowship she created resources and awareness on ACP in pediatrics. She is now an active member of the Hospice Palliative Care Organizations subgroup on raising awareness, resources and education on ACP for Pediatrics. She has presented locally and nationally on this topic. She is committed to advancing care to include the palliative care pathway and advance care planning to ensure that children are able to live their best lives with the most optimal supportive care.

Christina Oleynikov, Student Liaison

Christina Oleynikov is an undergraduate student studying nursing and kinesiology at Western University. She also works part-time as a PSW/DSW and participates in numerous research ventures surrounding older adults, long-term care, palliative care, and virtual connectedness. She hope to continue pursuing research in a post-graduate and doctoral capacity and working in a long-term or palliative care setting as a nurse practitioner. She has been involved with the RNAO PCNIG for the past two years, attending the HPCO in 2022 as an RNAO delegate and co-creating media posters regarding palliative care myths. She is eager to take on this new role as a student representative to further the student perspective within the organization and involve the student members of the PCNIG in the palliative care community