The Royal names Cara Vaccarino as President and CEO and Dr. Sandra Northcott as Chief of Staff

OTTAWA, November 23, 2023 -The Royal is pleased to announce the appointments of Cara Vaccarino as its new President and CEO, and Dr. Sandra Northcott as its Chief of Staff and Psychiatrist-in-Chief.  

“Cara and Sandra are both proven leaders who are passionately committed to providing excellent client- and family-centred mental health care while fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, safety and wellness for everyone at The Royal. Together, they make a dynamic leadership team that has both the skill and the vision to build The Royal’s future,” said Sharon Squire, Chair of The Royal’s Board of Trustees. 

As The Royal’s CEO and Chief of Staff respectively, Cara Vaccarino and Sandra Northcott will work closely with staff, physicians, clients, families, and community stakeholders to improve access to best-in-class care, support transformative research, and create an environment where staff and physicians can thrive.  

As CEO, Vaccarino will lead The Royal’s overall operations, environment, culture, and strategy. Working in close consultation with  Northcott, and with a commitment to innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity, Vaccarino will guide The Royal through the completion of its current strategic plan and creation of a vision for The Royal’s future.

“It’s an absolute honour and privilege to work with the incredible team at The Royal. I’m excited to help improve access and care across our community, to support research, and to nurture relationships with our system partners as we continually strive to do better for our clients and their families,” said Vacarrino.

As Chief of Staff, Northcott will lead The Royal’s medical services and academic activities    and ensure continued excellence in clinical care, quality, and patient safety. She will also work closely with our scientists and research leaders to advance treatment and outcomes for clients through innovation and discovery.

“I am looking forward to joining the team at The Royal. Their commitment to delivering excellence in specialized mental health care, advocacy, research and education really resonates with me and I am excited by the opportunity to work with this dedicated group of physicians and everyone at The Royal to realize these goals,” said Northcott.

The Royal’s Board of Trustees led the selection processes for both the Chief Executive Officer and the Chief of Staff. The selection committees included client and family representatives as well as representatives from The Royal’s leadership team, medical staff, Institute of Mental Health Research, and Foundation.  

“We conducted extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders to determine the attributes needed in our new leaders and to help select these leaders,” said Squire. “We look forward to how Cara and Sandra will work with our community to help improve our system of care and create a better future for individuals with mental health and substance use health needs.” 

Vaccarino will join The Royal on January 1, 2024 and Northcott will join the team on or before June 1, 2024.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the entire team at The Royal, I would like to express our deepest gratitude to Pierre Noel and Dr. Gail Beck for their steadfast leadership as Interim CEO and Chief of Staff, respectively,” said Squire. “Pierre and Gail have expertly guided The Royal over the past year, providing stability to our team, helping The Royal achieve Accreditation with Exemplary Standing, and ensuring that we have continued to deliver on our top priority, which is providing excellent client- and family-centred mental health and substance use health care for our community.”

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Please read their profiles to learn more about Cara Vaccarino and Dr. Sandra Northcott.

Media Contacts 

Karen Monaghan, Director of Communications
The Royal