Windsor health unit losing its CEO

·2 min read
Nicole Dupuis is resigning as health unit CEO next month. (WECHU - image credit)
Nicole Dupuis is resigning as health unit CEO next month. (WECHU - image credit)

The CEO of the public health unit in Windsor-Essex is stepping down, marking the third high-profile departure at the organization since last year.

Nicole Dupuis's resignation was announced Tuesday by Gary McNamara, the chair of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) and the board of health.

"In her time with us at WECHU, Nicole has been a champion for the health and wellbeing of our community," McNamara said.

Dupuis was appointed following the retirement of former CEO Theresa Marentette at the end of June 2021.

Dupuis said her departure was due to personal circumstances related to her family.

"This is a decision for my family… there's no other reason that I decided to leave," she said.

She said her time in the role has been rewarding and she was proud to have been leader of the health unit team for the last 14 months.

"It's not me or any one specific leader who gets the job done, it's the over 200 people that are within this building that do the work, the amazing work, for the community every day," she said.

Dupuis's last day is on Sept. 23.

Health care administrator Eleanor Groh will be interim CEO until a new leader can be named. McNamara said the hope was for a permanent leader to be appointed in October.

Interim top doc, CEO

Dupuis's departure means the health unit will be led by an interim CEO and an acting medical officer of health amid the COVID-19 pandemic, an opioid crisis and as the health unit looks to set up a supervised consumption site.

Dr. Shanker Nesathurai has been serving as top doctor on an interim basis since September 2021 following the appointment of Dr. Wajid Ahmed as associate chief medical officer of health for Ontario.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

McNamara expressed confidence in the health unit's management team and Nesathurai, who he said is here for the long haul.

"It will be seamless to our residents. We're going to provide solid public health and guidance to our community," he said.

Dupuis said the supervised consumption site project and ongoing vaccination efforts were "well-positioned to continue to move forward for success."

When asked for an update on the recruitment for a new medical officer of health, McNamara pointed to the example of the health unit in the Kingston area that lost its top doctor with the appointment of Dr. Kieran Moore as Ontario's chief medical officer of health in May of last year. McNamara said Moore's position was only recently filled.

"You want to make sure that you've got the right person at the right time to fit, obviously, a great organization like ours. We do have a consultant that's working on our behalf and it's a search across the country," McNamara said.