Nova Scotia

N.S. recruits top Ontario Public Health physician for new role

Nova Scotia has hired Dr. Shelley Deeks for a new job with Public Health that will focus on planning and immunizations.

Dr. Shelley Deeks will become surveillance medical officer of health

Dr. Shelley Deeks will start her new role about a month after the first COVID vaccines arrive in Nova Scotia. (Ben Garver/The Berkshire Eagle/The Associated Press)

One of Ontario's top public health physicians is moving to Nova Scotia.

Dr. Shelley Deeks will take on a new job as Public Health's surveillance medical officer of health.

Deeks has been with Public Health Ontario since 2009, and is leaving the role of chief health protection officer.

This year, she's been leading the pandemic response efforts.

"Public health is a small world and I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my colleagues in Ontario," Deeks said in a news release. "I am, however, excited for this next stage of my career and being able to contribute to public health in Nova Scotia."

Internationally recognized

The release includes a comment from Colleen Geiger, the acting president and CEO of Public Health Ontario, who described Deeks as a leader, as well as an internationally recognized expert in the field of immunization. 

Deeks made headlines in November when the Toronto Star identified her as the physician who spoke out after the Ontario government did not take Public Health's advice in determining thresholds for COVID-19 restrictions.

Nova Scotia's Department of Health said no one was available to speak about Deeks's new position.

In a brief statement, the department offered few details about her new duties but said the job will help the response to COVID-19 and other diseases.

The statement said Deeks will "lead Public Health surveillance, support epidemiologists and support Nova Scotia's publicly funded immunization program." 

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, surveillance includes data collection and analysis that is "essential to planning, implementation and evaluation of public health practice."

Deeks begins her job in February, about a month after the first COVID-19 immunizations are set to begin in Nova Scotia.