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Marcia DeSantis, Senior Director, Population and Public Health

Marcia DeSantis | BScN RN MPH

Senior Director, Population and Public Health

Home Base: Home in Middle Sackville, mostly… I do have an office space at Mellor Avenue but haven’t been there much since the pandemic began.

What roles have you served in Public Health/Nova Scotia Health?

  • Worked in various leadership capacities in Public Health since 1995
  • Former CDHA, Manager Understanding Communities Unit (2013-2016)
  • SSP Manager Health Protection (2016-2018)
  • CZ Director (2018-2022)

What should people know about you and your role? 

About me: I am very hopeful for and passionate about Public Health. My pandemic experience has been very taxing and challenging, it tested my resolve and made me question my future in PH. I spent time making a conscious decision to pursue and take on this role of Senior Director. I feel humbled to be given this opportunity and I am fully committed to our people and our work.

About the role: The Senior Director, Public Health role was created when we merged into one health authority in 2016; I am the third person to hold the role. In a new approach, I will co-lead with Dr. Sommers and work very closely with Department of Health and Wellness Public Health. Our roles as co-leads are to ‘provide public and population health direction for provincial Public Health approaches including the development and delivery of services that are based on leading PH practice, population health theory, standards, protocols and legislation

What is your hope/vision for the next year in Public Health?

For the next year our focus will be on the Recovery and Renewal for our staff and our programs. This will involve:

  • working with system partners to incorporate the many lessons learned and leverage the system supports to create new opportunities and efficiencies for Public Health;
  • supporting our teams in reconnecting with our communities and external partners;
  • modelling a strong a co-leadership relationship for Public Health.

How do you practice Work Life Balance? 

  • I love to read, it serves to get my mind elsewhere and often I learn something new. I also love the beach and have been known to travel to ends of the province to visit beaches, the ocean is magical and healing for me. During the pandemic I took up indoor plants as a hobby and now my house is full, like full-full (much to my husband’s dismay since he dislikes ‘clutter’).

What is a fun fact about you? 

I am a bit of a cow-girl at heart. I grew up on a farm that was home to mostly horses but occasionally goats, and once a donkey (who was loud and obnoxious but also very cute). I was able to experience all that farm life had to offer, including lots of mud, dirt bikes and occasionally chasing horses that found a way to escape their stalls or paddocks. I love country music and while I can’t play any instrument beyond the spoons, I have sung in some theatre productions.


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