New top doc for Haldimand-Norfolk

·2 min read

A public health veteran is coming out of retirement to lead the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

The board of health approved the hiring of Dr. Joyce Lock as interim medical officer of health, replacing Dr. Matt Strauss, whose last day is March 31.

Lock has 45 years of medical experience, including 25 years in emergency medicine and a decade in public health.

In March 2022, she retired as medical officer of health for Southwestern Public Health, where she oversaw public health policy in Oxford and Elgin counties and the city of St. Thomas since 2014.

“I look forward to serving the community and the board and the (health unit) staff in promoting health and making Haldimand-Norfolk the best place to live from a health point of view,” Lock said after her appointment was announced at Tuesday’s board of health meeting in Simcoe.

Lock is taking the job on a temporary basis, with a six-month contract that can be extended if mutually desired. That will give staff time to recruit a permanent replacement for Strauss, said Heidy Van Dyk, Norfolk’s general manager of corporate services.

Van Dyk noted the similarities between Lock’s last posting and Haldimand-Norfolk, as both are farming communities with small and larger urban centres.

The appointment is pending the approval of the provincial health ministry.

“There’s a lot of programs and services that our health unit needs to continue to focus on, so we’re very pleased to have your expertise joining us and serving the community,” Norfolk Mayor Amy Martin told Lock.

Despite setting public health policy for both counties, the board of health is comprised exclusively of Norfolk council. Haldimand Mayor Shelley Ann Bentley and Coun. John Metcalfe were invited to sit in on Tuesday’s meeting to choose the next medical officer.

“It looks like you’re going to bring a breath of fresh air to us, and we look forward to you jumping on board,” Bentley told Lock.

Lock is no stranger to the area, having provided medical officer coverage for Haldimand-Norfolk in early 2018 before the appointment of Dr. Shanker Nesathurai.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator