Recent News

Recent News

VHA Client Partner Sonya Lockhart helps select VHA’s new board members

June 23, 2023
Photo of Board Meeting

Involving the client voice to help design new services or make quality improvements has been key to VHA’s success in providing spectacular client-centred care. Client partners bring a wealth of experience and expertise, and their unique healthcare journeys offer invaluable insights.

This year, Client Partner and new Co-Chair of VHA’s Client and Carer Advisory Council, Sonya Lockhart, helped select VHA’s newest Board members.

Having completed the maximum term of nine years on the Board, Sheree Davis, Joseph Mayer, and Catherine Wiley retired from their duties creating openings for three new Board members. Following a thorough recruitment process involving Sonya, these vacancies were filled by Sarah Downey, President and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Bryan Dinh, Chief Commercial Officer for Switch Health, and Rob Lee, Vice President Digital Health and Chief Information Officer at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. 

“It was very interesting for me,” said Sonya, commenting on her involvement in the selection process. “It was really a privilege to work alongside VHA President and CEO Kathryn Nichol and Board Chair Ian Brunskill. We got to know each other, and I felt they understood my experience and recognized that I brought value to the process.”

In her work with VHA, Sonya draws from a wide range of experience. A VHA client herself and primary care provider to her late husband and mother, she knows very well the kinds of struggles clients and families face every day and the types of needs they have. She also brings a rich professional skillset from her former careers working as a Human Resources Manager and Humber College Instructor.

“We obviously don’t have the same range of medical knowledge,” she said, speaking in general about VHA Client Partners. “But we have a perspective and that’s why we’re invited.”

“I think it’s almost like due diligence,” she said, commenting on the impact Client Partner can have when involved in decision making processes. “It’s like I’m there looking out for the little guy.”

“In terms of the candidates we saw, we selected people who represent different specialties. As a client, I got what I was looking for, which was leaders from a variety of disciplines. I feel that the Board can tackle the areas we need to understand. It’s all there, very well represented.”

Serving as a Client Partner for a year and a half, Sonya became Co-Chair of the Client and Carer Advisory Council in early 2023. In addition to her work on the Board selection committee, she frequently offers her expertise on VHA hiring panels for various roles and will serve as Co-Chair for VHA’s Accreditation process in 2024 during which VHA will once again aim to achieve Exemplary Status from Accreditation Canada. In addition to her work with VHA, Sonya also volunteered with Dorothy Ley Hospice and CultureLink.

Sonya’s inclusion on the Board selection committee is testament to the extent of VHA’s commitment to incorporating the client perspective, integrating client voices at all levels of its operations to offer the best possible client-centred care.

If you are interested to know more about becoming a Client or Family Partner at VHA, send an email to