Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment
TORONTO – Toronto’s chief public health officer, Dr. Eileen de Villa, will be stepping in as the city’s new executive director on September 9.
For the next six months, Dr. de Villa will be in a position to make decisions about the city’s public health, which in the short term will include the city government and the Toronto Public Health Department and its employees.
Dr. de Villa’s six-month departure is a result of her doctors’ recommendation that she take leave of absence to undergo a liver transplant. (Photo: Dr. Eileen de Villa)
She will remain in charge of public health during her leave of absence.
“I’m going to be really focused on health services and public health as part of the decision,” said Dr. de Villa. “I’m going to be doing public health in the way we’ve always done it, which is working with partners to improve the health of everyone in public or on behalf of the individuals of public.”
She also said she is committed to working with staff and stakeholders, including the community.
“We have to engage not only the public, the community, and the public health agencies, but we also need to have people who are working with the system and trying to improve it,” she said.
In addition to her role at the public health level, Dr. de Villa will also continue to do the day-to-day work of the department, which means she will also be on leave until September.
This will mean the department has one less lead public health officer and public health nurse.
Dr. de Villa said she is also working on a transition plan that will see her stepping back as executive director on September 9.
Dr. de Villa’s last day as acting executive director of the public health department is September 15.
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