Women on the Front Lines
Written and illustrated by Christine Moon, Meds '23
Since December 2019, the global viral pandemic of SARS-CoV2, has been assaulting the health of people all over the world. Here at home: in our nation, in our province, and in our own school, we rely on leaders to mobilize resources, communicate important scientific information, and protect the population. Here are the profiles of four women who are doing just that.
Dr. Theresa Tam, BMBS
Role: Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
Training: BMBS (University of Nottingham), Residency in Pediatrics (University of Alberta), Fellowship in Pediatrics Infectious Diseases (University of British Columbia)
As head of the Public Health Agency of Canada, Dr. Tam is responsible for leading her organization and indeed the nation, in times of crisis. In the past, she has been a leader during the SARS, H1N1, and Ebola outbreaks. Now, her daily updates, informed by clinical science and epidemiology, help inform both the public and health professionals across the country.
Role: Co-chair of the Ontario Medical Students’ Association (OMSA)
Training: MD-MSc (Epidemiology, Queen’s University)
As co-chair of the Ontario Medical Students’ Association, Sharon supports medical students province-wide in their efforts to aid with the COVID-19 pandemic. She works with the Ministry of Health to find opportunities for students to be involved in contact tracing and public education. She has developed a central online hub through the OMSA for volunteer opportunities and medical student initiatives across Ontario, and has been instrumental in connecting medical student initiatives (for example, initiatives to gather donations of PPE), encouraging collaboration and idea-sharing. Sharon is not only a leader at Queen’s but also for medical students province-wide.
Dr. Michelle Gibson, MEd, MD
Role: Assistant Dean, Curriculum for UGME at Queen’s
Training: MD (Memorial University of Newfoundland), Residency in Family Medicine & Care of the Elderly (Queen’s University), MEd (Queen’s University)
You know her as a beloved professor of geriatrics, but in recent weeks she has been the voice of support for students as we navigate a move to online learning. Her cheery update emails (and reassurances on Zoom), filled with concern for our well-being, make these scary and unpredictable times a little less so. We appreciate her efforts behind the scenes to make our online transition as smooth as possible and we all can feel a little more comfortable, knowing that she is doing everything in her power to support us.
Dr. Eileen de Villa
Role: Medical Officer of Health for City of Toronto
Training: MD (University of Toronto), Residency in Public Health and Preventative Medicine (University of Toronto), MHS – Health Promotion (University of Toronto), MBA (York University)
As the leader of Toronto Public Health in the province’s capital, Dr. de Villa has been a leader in Ontario’s public health since her appointment in 2017. Her harm-reduction approach for personal use drugs, as well as her outspoken advocacy against the Ford government’s cuts to the health budget, has made her a household name in the last three years. Her continuing voice of reason (sometimes in the face of political crosswinds) makes her a great advocate for the health of all during this uncertain time.
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