Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) 5 Members

New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador

Member of Council

Kara Laing, MD, FRCPC, CCPE

Kara Laing, MD, FRCPC, CCPE


Ravi Pullela

Ravi Pullela, BSc (Hons), MD, FRCPC (Sydney, NS)
Dr. Ravi Pullela is an attending Anesthesiologist at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital in Sydney, Nova Scotia. He completed his medical degree at St. George’s University, Grenada and his Anesthesiology residency at Dalhousie University, Halifax. He is an assistant professor at Dalhousie University.
His medical interests include teaching and advocacy for practitioner well –being. Dr. Pullela is a strong believer in work-life balance.
His non-medical interests include aviation, travel, and technology.

Michael Saunders, MD, FRCPC

Michael Saunders, MD, FRCPC (Charlottetown, PEI)
Dr. Mike Saunders is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and specializes in General Internal Medicine, currently working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. After completing medical school at Dalhousie University, he completed his residency at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the University of Alberta. His practice interests include Cardiology and Critical Care Medicine, in addition to General Internal Medicine.

Lauren Smithson, MD, FRCSC (St. Anthony, NL)

Lauren Smithson, MPhil, MD, FRCSC, FACS (St. Anthony, NL)
Dr. Lauren Smithson is a General Surgeon and in St. Anthony, Newfoundland & Labrador, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery at Memorial University. Her interest in rural populations started in her hometown of Dunrobin, Ontario, and evolved to rural medicine with her clerkships in Blackburn, UK, through the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine. She completed her residency in Southfield, Michigan, which allowed for her involvement in the Advisory Council for Rural Surgery to the American College of Surgeons, of which she is now Vice-Chair. She has an interest in international rural surgery, working with the Provincial Surgeons Association in Australia, and started the Society for Young Rural Surgeons as a platform for trainees looking towards a career in rural medicine. Her passion for excellence in rural medicine has led to her work with the Royal College of Surgeons to improve access to specialty care for rural Canadians.

Kirstin Weerdenburg, MD, FRCPC

Kirstin Weerdenburg, MD, FRCPC (Halifax, NS)
Dr. Kirstin Weerdenburg is a Pediatric Emergency Physician at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, NS, as well as an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University. She also completed fellowship training in Pediatric Emergency Point-of-Care Ultrasound (POCUS) which led her to become actively involved in undergraduate, postgraduate and staff physician education and training on POCUS, mostly locally but also nationally and internationally through course/conference teaching.

Paul B. Yaffe

Paul B. Yaffe , BSc, BSc (Med), MD, MSc, CIP, FRCSC, CCM (Wolfville, NS)
Dr. Paul Yaffe is a Colorectal and General Surgeon, and Intensivist at Valley Regional Hospital in Kentville, NS since 2015. He completed his medical degree at the University of Manitoba and his General Surgery residency, Master’s degree in the Clinical Investigator Program, and Critical Care fellowship at Dalhousie University. After 3 years in practice, he returned to the University of Manitoba for a Colorectal Surgery fellowship. He is an assistant professor at Dalhousie University. Medical interests include medical student and resident education. Non-medical interests include reading, running, and mostly spending time with his family.

University Representative

Jennifer Leonard, MD, FRCPC

Jennifer Leonard, MD, FRCPC (St. John’s, NL) – Memorial University
Dr. Jennifer Leonard is a Gastroenterologist / Hepatologist who has had an active Gastroenterology and Hepatology practice in St. John’s, NL since 2007. She is an Associate Professor at Memorial University. She completed her medical degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and continued there with her Internal Medicine Residency. She then attended McMaster University for 2 years of Gastroenterology, and then completed a Transplant Hepatology Fellowship at Mayo Clinic Rochester.

In recruitment

In recruitment

CPD Educators

Ford Bursey, MD, FRCPC (St. John's, NL)

Ford Bursey, MD, FRCPC (St. John's, NL)
Dr. Ford Bursey has been Assistant Dean for Professional Development in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University since 2004. As Assistant Dean, he oversees professional development for family medicine physicians and Royal College specialists, faculty development, and the Clinical Skills Assessment and Training Program for physicians who need to upgrade their skills. More

Jo-Ann Talbot, MD, FRCPC (Saint John, NB)

Jo-Ann Talbot, MD, FRCPC (Saint John, BC)
Dr. Jo-Ann Talbot is an emergency medicine specialist who works at the Saint John Regional Hospital Emergency Department. She teaches the evidence-based medicine course for the Dalhousie University emergency medicine residency program. She also teaches at the New York Academy of Medicine, Teaching Evidence Assimilation for Collaborative Health Care (TEACH) and at the McMaster Evidence Based Clinical Practice Course. More

Contact Your RAC
G. Robert LaRoche, MD, FRCSC, Chair
(RAC Chair email inboxes are monitored by Royal College staff)