Preceding budget discussions at this week’s Board of Health Meeting, I was thrilled and honoured to officially introduce Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa Public Health’s newest Acting Medical Officer of Health.
Dr. Etches will be taking over for Dr. Isra Levy, the outgoing MOH who announced last month his resignation from the role to embrace a new role as Vice President, Medical Affairs and Innovation of the Canadian Blood Services (CBS).
Dr. Levy leaves OPH in a position of great strength. Since his arrival, OPH has seen the establishment of the Ottawa Board of Health, been granted Exemplary Standing by Accreditation Canada, and consistently improved programs and services to meet the needs of the community.
OPH staff and myself bid our farewells to Dr. Levy on Thursday, December 14th at a celebration of his achievements.
Dr. Etches is the former Deputy MOH and has served with Ottawa Public Health for the last 8 years.
Prior to joining OPH in 2009, Dr. Etches worked at the Sudbury & District Health Unit (SDHU) after completing her specialty training in Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 2005. At the SDHU, she served as an Associate Medical Officer of Health and the Director of Clinical Services and acted as the MOH for a one year period.
As a Deputy MOH for OPH, Dr. Etches supports the organization to deliver quality, client-centred services and contributes to knowledge transfer, population health assessment, surveillance, program evaluation and applied public health research.
Dr. Etches is responsible for the management of teams that provide clinical services to prevent and treat sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne illnesses as well as clinical services to prevent and treat dental health problems. Other teams she supervises provide reproductive health counseling, promote breast feeding and carry out home visits to new parents to support positive parenting skills. Public health inspection, environmental health and programming related to the control of communicable diseases and infection prevention and control are also part of her responsibility.
On behalf of OPH, I would like to wish Dr. Etches a warm welcome to the position and the absolute best as she begins to make the role her own. Congratulations, Dr. Etches, and best of luck for the future, Dr. Levy!