Director, Field Service Training and Response
Public Health Agency of Canada
Samantha Wilson-Clark sees her nursing education and training as invaluable to her public health career. “Being a nurse makes me a better public health professional,” she said. “Nursing taught me how to think critically, how to work under pressure and how to be flexible and adaptable. It provided me with the theoretical foundation to think big while not forgetting the person sitting in front of me.” Samantha especially enjoys connecting with people on the job and knowing that her work has a positive impact on Canadians.
Samantha started working at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) as a graduate student. This introduced her to infectious disease prevention and control. Following graduation she was hired as a nurse epidemiologist to investigate outbreaks across Canada.
Samantha is now the Director of Field Services Training and Response at PHAC, in Ottawa, Ontario and leads a team of public health professionals, including epidemiologists, nurses, physicians and veterinarians, who build public health capacity across Canada. They develop applied outbreak response training that reflects the needs of the ever-evolving, multidisciplinary, public health environment. These teams are PHAC’s primary source of surge capacity when responding to public health events or emergencies.
“Because of my team’s connections to provincial and territorial offices, we tend to see public health through a slightly different lens,” Samantha told us. “Through our capacity building, we are able to connect colleagues from different jurisdictions to share best practices on a practical level and strengthen infectious disease and outbreak surveillance and response activities.” When working on an outbreak or large public health event response, like the tuberculosis outbreaks in northern Canada, the influx of asylum seekers to Quebec or the arrival of Syrian refugees, Samantha has found that collaboration is the key to success.
Visit Canada.ca for more information on the work the Government of Canada is doing on public health capacity building.
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