Peel Medical Officer of Health Dr. Lawrence Loh quits

Dr. Lawrence Loh, Medical Officer of Health for the Region of Peel, is stepping down to become Executive Director and CEO of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

Loh, who led the public health response in one of the regions hardest hit by the pandemic, will take up his new role in September.

The college, which represents more than 42,000 doctors, cited Loh’s leadership during the COVID-19 crisis in its announcement of his appointment, noting the decisions he made as Peel’s top doctor “saved lives. “.

While he was the area’s top doctor, Loh imposed public health measures, such as banning large wedding receptions and closing non-essential businesses, that often came earlier and went further than those taken by the province.

In April 2021, as COVID burned through Peel and virus patients overwhelmed its hospitals, Loh issued a directive ordering the closure of businesses with five or more COVID cases. A month earlier, Loh had ordered the temporary closure of an Amazon warehouse that employs around 5,000 workers due to an outbreak at the facility.

“His work with the Peel Public Health team has been nationally recognized for working collaboratively with the community and making tough evidence-based decisions that have saved lives and limited the impacts of the pandemic in one of the hardest hit communities in Canada,” the college said.

In an interview, Loh said it has been “an honor and a privilege to serve Peel Region” during a difficult time. He said the public health team he relied on during the pandemic is still there and he “leaves the area in very good hands.”

In its statement, the college said, “Loh brings with him established medical leadership, teaching, research and administrative experience spanning five government agencies at all three levels of government in two different provinces.

Loh said he looks forward to the challenges of “making sure we can continue to promote health through a strong family medicine community in Canada.” He also said that public health and family medicine are similar in that they are the “outsiders” of health care.

“I’ve always said that public health and primary care may not necessarily garner the same kind of flash as some of the biggest specialties (in medicine), but they certainly do daily miracles for the community and their patients. .”

Bonnie Crombie, Mayor of Mississauga tweeted it thanks to the doctor, saying the city “will be forever grateful to Dr. Loh for his leadership and guidance during a difficult and uncertain time in our history.”

Loh, who began his medical career as a family physician in Brampton, joined Peel Public Health in 2016 as an Associate Medical Officer of Health. He had trained in the health unit while completing the University of Toronto’s public health and preventive medicine residency program.

Prior to COVID, Loh focused on chronic disease and creating healthy environments at Peel Public Health, often traveling by bus to the health unit’s Mississauga office from her home in Toronto.

Loh became Peel’s acting medical officer of health at the start of the pandemic, just days before Premier Doug Ford declared a provincial emergency on March 17, 2020.

For a 2021 profile, Loh told The Star it was upsetting when people blamed Peel and Brampton residents for fueling the pandemic.

“The people of Peel have been made sick by this virus – some have lost their lives – as they did their jobs and worked to keep everyone in the province safe,” he said in May. 2021.

“Any emergency response is ultimately played out on the ground it lands on. An earthquake hitting a desolate desert area is very different from an earthquake hitting San Francisco, the same way a landfall is pandemic in a rural area is different from landing in a densely populated GTA area.

In its statement, the college said Loh was its sixth executive director and CEO. Loh will succeed Dr. Francine Lemire, who is retiring after 10 years at the helm.

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