Dr. Shannon Waters is the Cowichan Valley’s new medical health officer. (Submitted)

Dr. Shannon Waters is the Cowichan Valley’s new medical health officer. (Submitted)

New medical health officer for Cowichan region

Dr. Shannon Waters is Island Health’s new representative for the Cowichan region.

Dr. Shannon Waters is Island Health’s new representative for the Cowichan region.

Dr. Paul Hasselback had been the medical health officer for Central Vancouver Island and he remains in that position, however he will now split the territory and concentrate on the regional districts of Alberni-Clayoquot and Nanaimo, leaving the Cowichan Valley up to Waters.

The moves come as populations have steadily increased in both areas over the last 15 years, according to an Island Health press release.

“We are very pleased that Dr. Waters is joining our team,” Hasselback said. “Dr. Waters has extensive knowledge of the local Cowichan community and Aboriginal health, and her passion for public health will benefit residents.”

A Coast Salish physician, Waters is a member of Stz’uminus First Nation whose family ties to the area span generations. The Duncan resident was a family doctor for two years before going back to school to specialize.

Since then she has served as Island Health’s medical director for excellence in maternal care for Aboriginal women and families in the North Island region, where she also led the work for excellence in cultural safety. She was also the Aboriginal health physician advisor to the provincial health officer and held various positions with Health Canada and the First Nations Health Authority including director of health surveillance and acting senior medical officer.

“I am honoured to take on this role in a community I know well,” said Dr. Waters. “I am committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of people living in the Cowichan Valley.”

Waters began her role on Sept. 1.