Message from the Chief Executive Officer

Photo of Dr. Ken Blanchette, Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Ken Blanchette 
Chief Executive Officer

2022 was a year of new opportunities for our organization.

As we strive toward our vision of Healthy People in a Healthy Community, there is a growing sense of stability and optimism about the future of our organization and the ways in which we can serve our region.

Driving this optimism is the return to our core programs and services following the urgent and long-lasting pandemic response. The 2022 calendar year involved the reorientation of many of our staff to their pre-pandemic work and reintroduced our community to the core functions and services of the local public health unit which have been provided by the WECHU for over 100 years. New moms and families were cared for in their homes through our home visiting program. Children and older adults were welcomed into our offices to receive dental treatment. Dedicated onsite mental health supports were implemented in our schools. New programs and services such as SafePoint, the region’s first safer consumption site, were initiated in our highest needs communities.

Adding to this momentum was the formulation of a partnership with the University of Windsor which has positioned our organization to spearhead the future of public health in Ontario. The relocation of the WECHU’s Windsor operations to the university campus will allow for better client service, shorter wait times, and a more accessible facility within a high priority neighbourhood. The colocation will also bring new opportunities in research, teaching, student experience, development of local talent, and collaboration which will directly benefit the entire region.

As the incoming Chief Executive Officer, I am very proud to be part of the organization who led our community through the most challenging public health event of our lifetimes. I commend the team that preceded me, including former Chief Executive Officers, Nicole Dupuis and Theresa Marentette, as well as Medical Officers of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai and Dr. Wajid Ahmed, for their dedication to our community.

Lastly and most importantly, I want to acknowledge and thank the frontline staff, including our team of nurses, other health professionals, and managers, who worked tirelessly in their response to the pandemic. I am overjoyed to see this talented group return to the work they are passionate about and look forward to serving our community in new ways in the years to come.