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Dr. Ryan Sommers Named Medical Officer of Health for Northern Nova Scotia

September 9, 2013

Northern Nova Scotia has a new Medical Officer of Health. Truro area physician Dr. Ryan Sommers has recently been appointed as the regional Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Colchester, Cumberland and Pictou counties and the municipality of East Hants.

"As our medical officer of health, Dr. Sommers is providing leadership and expertise related to communicable diseases, health policy, chronic disease and preventive medicine," says Mark Scott, director of Public Health Services for the region. "We are pleased to have welcomed him to our team and look forward to working with him to advance our efforts to improve the health of our communities."

Nova Scotia's medical officers of health focus on the health of populations, leading and helping support collaborative efforts to both maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of our communities. They work with those in health care, other government departments and community groups to address major issues impacting health.

Dr. Sommers has been a valued member of the Colchester East Hants Health Authority's medical community since 2008 as a family physician.

Shortly after he began practicing in the area, Dr. Sommers helped fulfill a vital role in the health authority's response to the H1N1 flu pandemic. The outbreak was controlled through a coordinated response by public health professionals and primary care physicians that included mass vaccination clinics, flu assessment clinics and community and hospital-based treatment of H1N1 patients. Dr. Sommers was involved in front line care but was also the voice of the health authority's H1N1 education campaign aimed at raising awareness of the pandemic and the steps individuals could take to protect themselves and their loved ones.

In addition to his family practice and hospital duties, he supported planning for the new Colchester East Hants Health Centre and has been an active member of numerous committees and groups working to enhance appropriate use of antibiotic prescriptions and improve the quality of health care services.

Dr. Sommers pursued his passion for health promotion and population health by completing Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialty training through the University of Toronto. This included a residency placement with Public Health Services in Northern Nova Scotia last fall.

"Our region is faced with a number of complex health issues," says Dr. Sommers. "As medical officer of health my role is to work with Public Health Services to understand the health our communities and to act together to create conditions that will improve our communities' health."

Dr. Sommers replaces Dr. Robin Taylor who has provided strong leadership in the region since 2011. Dr. Taylor is continuing on as one of Nova Scotia's medical officers of health.

Dr. Sommers and his wife, Dr. Jan Sommers, live in the Truro Area and are proud parents of two young boys.

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Media Contacts:

Krista Wood,
Colchester East Hants Health Authority
(902) 890-4354 cellular
krista.wood@cehha.nshealth.ca

Ann Keddy,
Cumberland Health Authority
(902) 661-1090
ann.keddy@cha.nshealth.ca

Eileen MacIsaac,
Pictou County Health Authority
(902) 752-7600 ext. 1124
eileen.macisaac@pcha.nshealth.ca

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