KITCHENER -- Waterloo Regional Council says it's applying to the Ministry of Health to make Dr. Hsiu-Li Wang permanent medical officer of health for the region.

Council has also appointed Dr. Wang as Commissioner of Public Health and Emergency Services, effective Wednesday.

Dr. Wang joined the region as associate medical officer of health in 2004. She was appointed to acting medical officer of health due to an extended medical leave of Dr. Liana Nolan.

“I am very pleased that Dr. Wang has been appointed to this position,” Regional Chair, Karen Redman said in a news release. “Hsiu-Li is well-known and highly respected in this community and she has done an exceptional job safeguarding the health of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The release says Dr. Wang played a large role in the community's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She also worked on the successful application for a safe consumption and treatment centre.

“I am most grateful to be able to serve my community in this capacity,” Dr. Wang said. “I look forward to building on the work that our dedicated Public Health and Paramedic Services teams have done to promote and protect the health and well-being of Waterloo Region residents.”

Dr. Wang grew up in Quebec and completed her medical and residency training in Quebec City. She now lives in Waterloo with her husband.

The region said Dr. Liana Nolan, the former medical officer of health, will move into another role when she returns to work.