Message from the Chair of the Board of Health

Photo of Fabio Costante, Chair of the 2022 Board of Health

Fabio Costante 
Board of Health Chair

2022 brought transition and change for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU). While we continued supporting the health of Windsor and Essex County residents with updated guidance and access to vaccinations for COVID-19, the Health Unit resumed public health programs and services that were on hold during the pandemic. Being able to shift our focus and resources back to other important public health programs and services was a very encouraging sign for the Board of Health. It meant that the organization and the community were able to move forward and learn to live with COVID-19.

On August 25, 2022, a key milestone occurred for the organization when the strategic partnership between the WECHU and the University of Windsor was announced. The partnership is designed to support collaboration and provide numerous opportunities to expand research and community connections which will benefit residents of our community. Planning for all partnership aspects including the relocation of the health unit’s Windsor operations is now well underway.

On October 12, 2022, Dr. Ken Blanchette was welcomed as the new CEO of the WECHU. Ken joined the organization with over 10 years of executive level leadership and board governance experience, having previously served as Vice-Chair on the Board of Health many years ago. Dr. Blanchette immediately hit the ground running by supporting several large projects, including the final phases of approval for SafePoint, the region’s first safer consumption site.

I would like to acknowledge the Board of Health members, as well as the leadership team and staff at the WECHU for their unwavering commitment to the health of our community. A special thank you to Dr. Shanker Nesathurai, who provided stability and leadership as the Acting Medical Officer of Health during the year while a new, permanent Medical Officer was being recruited.

Finally, I must thank Gary McNamara for his leadership with the Board of Health over the last 24 years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. His tireless efforts and dedication to promote, protect, and improve the health and well-being for all people in Windsor and Essex County is remarkable and exemplary.

I am proud of the important work which has been done to date and am excited to be part of the future.