• Myrna Driedger

Familiar Faces of the Manitoba COVID Response

Published in the July, 2021 edition of Lifestyles 55


Early in my career, I spent many years as a nurse in Winnipeg. This experience gave me a deep understanding of our healthcare system and the many important roles involved. As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed every aspect of our lives, I find myself inspired by the strength and courage our medical leaders have shown. Here is a little more about the familiar faces we see giving us the important updates.


Dr. Marcia Anderson, Public Health Lead with the First Nations Pandemic Response Co-ordination Team (PRCT)

First Nations communities in Manitoba have some of the highest percentages of vaccine uptake. Vaccines are crucial in our fight against COVID-19. Doctors like Dr. Anderson have been working tirelessly behind the scenes in this fight. Here’s a little more info about Dr. Anderson.

“She practices both Internal Medicine and Public Health as a Medical Officer of Health with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. She is the Vice-Dean, Indigenous Health and the Executive Director of Indigenous Academic Affairs in the Ongomiizwin Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. She serves as the Chair of the Indigenous Health Network of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada. She is a Past President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and Past Chair of the Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors Congress. She was recognized for her contributions to Indigenous peoples health with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in March 2011. In 2018 she was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network” (Centre for Healthcare Innovation).


Dr. Brent Roussin, Chief Provincial Public Health Officer

“Prior to becoming chief, Roussin served as medical officer of health for the federal First Nations and Inuit Health Branch, on secondment from Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living. In addition to his work as CPPHO, Dr. Roussin is an assistant professor in the department of community health sciences at the University of Manitoba. Born and raised in Manitoba, Dr. Roussin holds medical and law degrees from the University of Manitoba and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada” (Province of Manitoba).


Dr. Jazz Atwal, Deputy Chief Provincial Public Health Officer

“Previously, Dr. Atwal served as a medical officer of health for the Prairie Mountain Health region and worked, for 12 years, as a general practitioner at the Assiniboine Clinic. Born and raised in Manitoba, Dr. Atwal holds a medical degree, a master's degree in public health and a public health preventive medicine certificate all from the University of Manitoba” (Province of Manitoba).


Lanette Siragusa, Chief Nursing Officer

“In addition to her roles with Shared Health, Lanette is also co-chair of Manitoba’s COVID-19 incident command committee, helping to lead the health system’s response during the pandemic. Prior to joining Shared Health, Lanette was program director for surgery with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. Her past experience includes working in high-risk labour and delivery, community health, teaching and research. Lanette and her family lived in Edinburgh, Scotland while she was on a scholarship at Queen Margaret University enrolled in the health and social sciences doctorate program. She has also published several articles related to improvements in clinical practice and service delivery. Lanette holds a graduate degree in nursing administration from – and is an assistant professor in – the University of Manitoba’s College of Nursing in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences” (Province of Manitoba).


Dr. Joss Reimer, Medical Lead for Manitoba’s Vaccine Implementation Task Force

“Dr. Reimer graduated from the University of Manitoba medical school in 2008. She currently practices at ACCESS River East where she has a special interest in sexual and reproductive health. In addition to her clinical work in this area, Dr. Reimer works in public health with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Manitoba Health. Her focus is on sexual health, communicable diseases, immigrant/refugee health, and health equity” (WRHA).


Johanu Botha, Co-lead on Manitoba Vaccine Implementation Task Force

Johanu Botha has a PhD in Public Policy and applies his research through conducting emergency management analysis and business continuity planning for organizations across all sectors.


The fight against COVID-19 has been hard. Continue to follow the advice of these public health professionals, book your vaccine appointment, and reach out virtually to connect with those you love.


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