New doctor hailed as welcome addition

Duane Hicks

FORT FRANCES—Dr. Cynthia Saliba joined the Nelson Medicine Professional Group as of Wednesday and is now working with the Fort Frances Family Health Team.
And Dr. Saliba, who moved here from Thunder Bay with her husband, Dave Van Dyk, is being met with open arms.
“We are very excited that Dr. Saliba is coming to Fort Frances to begin her practise,” enthused Maureen Gartshore, who chairs the Fort Frances Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee.
“She will be a great addition to the medical group at Nelson Medicine, and provide much-needed relief in serving the primary health-care needs of the residents of Fort Frances and surrounding area,” Gartshore added.
“The Physician Recruitment & Retention Committee is very happy to welcome Cynthia and Dave to our community.”
Appointments for Dr. Saliba may be made by calling 274-7741.
Fort Frances Coun. Andrew Hallikas, who sits on the recruitment and retention committee, and was credited by Mayor Roy Avis and Coun. Ken Perry on Monday as “the driving force” in getting Dr. Saliba to come here, said he’s “very excited and pleased” that she and her husband have decided to become residents.
“Our community is really fortunate to be able to attract young professionals like these people,” he remarked.
Coun. Hallikas took Dr. Saliba and her husband on a tour of the town when they visited here earlier this summer.
“One thing that struck me, on their initial visit here, both of them commented on the beautiful surroundings of the town and how much they really enjoyed the town,” he recalled.
“And that was a big factor, I think, in their coming here.”
Coun. Hallikas added both also were impressed with the first-rate medical and educational facilities Fort Frances boasts.
“I think that speaks well of our town,” he said. “We’re just so fortunate to get people like this, and let’s hope we can continue.”
Coun. Hallikas said Dr. Saliba and her husband are “active, dynamic people, with lots of energy,” and are looking forward to enjoying what Fort Frances and the surrounding area has to offer in outdoor activities.
“They really like the town. Fort Frances is getting some pretty good press out there from people who have been here,” he remarked.
“I think we all know there’s been a shortage of doctors in our community for many years, and it’s good to see a young family elect to come to this community and practise,” echoed Mayor Avis, adding he wishes Dr. Saliba and her husband the best and hopes that local residents give them a warm welcome.
Mayor Avis commended the recruitment committee for the effort and work that was put forward in attracting Dr. Saliba here, and in fact has been put forward over the last four years in trying to get a new doctor to practise in Fort Frances.
He added town council financially supported the Family Health Team in the past in the hope it would bring more doctors to the community.
“I think we are starting to see that pay off at the present time,” the mayor said.
Mayor Avis said he feels Fort Frances offers high-quality amenities for a community of its size, and the town’s location is a tremendous asset when it comes to attracting new professionals.
“When you see new people coming to town, and look at our infrastructure—a new library and next to it the sports centre, a nice waterfront—this all has something to do with attracting young professionals to this community,” he reasoned.
“This is great news,” said Dr. Robert Algie, adding it’s “a huge morale boost” to the recruitment and retention committee.
“[It] shows that the government’s investment in additional training spots for family medicine is paying off,” he added.
“Increasing opportunities for northern students to enter medicine will hopefully help our issues in the north.”
Dr. Saliba, who could not be reached for comment prior to press time, recently completed her medical training at the University of Ottawa.
Her husband is an elementary school teacher and avid golfer.
Dr. Saliba and her husband will be welcomed to the community at an invite-only meet-and-greet Wednesday evening at the Little Beaver Cultural Centre.
This event also is being held to welcome two new medical students from the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Brienne Lowey-Bodkin and Jacqueline Edwards will be completing their third year 30-month clerkship in Fort Frances from September until April.
(Fort Frances Times)