Dr. Natalie Bocking officially began her role as the new medical officer of health for the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit on Tuesday (April 6).
“I am looking forward to building relationships with our partners, our stakeholders, and our board so that we can work together and continue to make a difference in the communities that we serve,” says Dr. Bocking in a media release.
Over the past few weeks, she has been sitting in on meetings, meeting with health unit staff, and learning more about the area and the health unit’s pandemic response. Now that she has officially assumed the role, she says she is is eager to meet more of the community partners who work with the health unit.
“Community partners are vital to the work that we do,” she says. “This is a team effort. A lot of the problems that public health is tackling are huge and it would be impossible without our community partners.”
Dr. Bocking is a public health and preventive medicine specialist who was certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2015 following the completion of her specialty training at the University of Toronto. Her academic training also includes a medical doctorate from McMaster University and a master’s degree in international public health from the University of Sydney in Australia.
Dr. Bocking spent four years working as a public health physician with Thunder Bay District Health Unit and Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority. In her role, she supported the development of a community-based First Nations governed public health system for 31 rural and remote First Nations. This included overseeing tuberculosis and hepatitis C programming, population health assessment, and maternal and child health support.
VIDEO: Introducing Dr. Natalie Bocking
“I went into public health because I thought that some of the issues or health problems I was seeing in family medicine really could have been addressed so much more effectively at a population level,” she says. “That was really where public health fit for me.”
In addition to her work in public health, Dr. Bocking has also worked as a locum family physician in northwestern Ontario. She has published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at provincial and national conferences.
A native of London, Ontario, Dr. Bocking is married with two children. Her family moved to her husband’s family farm, which he now operates, in the City of Kawartha Lakes in 2019.
Dr. Bocking replaces the former medical officer of health Dr. Lynn Noseworthy, who retired in December 2020. Dr. Ian Gemmill served as acting medical officer of health prior to Dr. Bocking assuming her new role.
The catchment area of the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit including the City of Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland County, and Haliburton County.