THUNDER BAY – Having grown up in Sault Ste. Marie, Emily Groot is quite familiar with Northern Ontario.
The Thunder Bay District Health Unit’s new associate medical officer of health, Groot already has an understanding of the social determinants of health in the region, factors that impact health at the community level.
“Those are quite different in Northern Ontario,” Groot said. “If we think about things like the type of jobs that are available here, the cost of living, availability of different types of foods, educational opportunities and all of those things impact our health.”
Groot, who will work alongside medical officer of health Janet DeMille, began in the role on Aug. 8.
She has degrees from Queen’s and McMaster universities and has previously worked for the Public Health Agency of Canada, the Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario and Correctional Services Canada.
Along with addressing shifting provincial direction to public health delivery, Groot identified opioid use as a primary area of focus moving forward.
“There’s a major and growing issue with opioids in Canada and Ontario. I’m looking forward to helping support the work that’s already happening in the health unit,” Groot said.