MIDDLESEX CENTRE, ONT. -- The Chief Nursing Officer and CEO of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) Theresa Marentette has announced she intends to retire on June 30.

Marentette said in a statement she feels privileged and honoured to have been able to serve her community.

"This past year has been one of the most challenging years of my career as a nurse and a leader. With the vaccine implementation well underway, and a strong leadership team in place, it feels like the right time to start a new chapter.”

Marentette has served the region for 30 years, and been at the forefront of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WECHU Medical Officer of Health Dr. Wajid Ahmed added in a statement, “Theresa has worked non-stop for our community. She has supported our staff, our management team and myself through its most difficult times. Theresa’s focus and commitment has never wavered, her leadership in public health will be missed.”

Marentette started her nursing career at the Salvation Army Grace Hospital before joining the WECHU as a public health nurse in 1989 and moving up through management.

She was appointed  director of Health Protection and Chief Nursing Officer in 2013 and became CEO in 2017.

She has also been a mentor to public health leaders and professionals and instrumental in leading the organization through change, WECHU says.

The Board of Health will now begin the process of transitioning the WECHU to new leadership.