The Guilford County health department has hired a new fulltime medical director, Dr. Marie Caro, who health department officials say will play a big role in plans the department has to expand its operations into the primary care of patients.

Guilford County Assistant Health Director Ken Carter said the medical director position is extremely important since that doctor oversees all department functions related to medical treatment and prescriptions. He said the importance of the position is greater than ever right now since the health department is expanding its medical operations to include more primary care services for patients.

According to Carter, in the past, the health department would focus on things like STDs and other communicable diseases, as well as issues like maternal care. However, going forward, clients of the department will see many other medical concerns addressed as well.

Guilford County Health Director Merle Green said this week that she’s delighted to have Dr. Caro joining the team and she added that Dr. Caro would play a vital role in the department’s new effort to expand its services.

“We like the fact that she will be able to move us into the next era of public health,” Green said. “We are expanding in primary care and she has a lot of experience in that. We are going to boost up our patient care – we are going to put it on steroids.”

With health problems such as diabetes and other chronic diseases more prevalent than ever in the county, Green said it’s vital her department treat those conditions in addition to the specialized set of problems county health departments have traditionally addressed.

Dr. Caro specializes in internal medicine. Most recently, she worked at a medical practice in Charlotte. Before that, Dr. Caro was the primary care physician for the Murdoch Center in Butner, NC.

Dr. Caro has an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill and earned her medical degree at the Thomas Jefferson School of Medicine in Philadelphia. She received her specialty training at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

According to an internal memo sent to Guilford County health department staff regarding Dr. Caro’s hiring, Dr. Caro “thrives when sharing creativity, knowledge, and perspectives.”

Dr. Caro’s office will be in the health department’s building at 1100 E. Wendover Avenue.