If public health is important, should the presumably ‘top job’ in the field in a particular country not be highly coveted? Not if that position is tied to the government’s discretionary decision making. Andrea Hill looks the matter of replacing David Butler-Jones, Canada’s outgoing Chief Public Health Officer, and how there is a real risk the best candidates will not throw their hat into the ring.
In the fall of 2009, Canadians were on edge about their health. The country was in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and people were succumbing to H1N1 by the dozens. Health officials begged those who were ill to stay home and thousands of people across the country spent hours in line waiting to be vaccinated.
Through it all, David Butler-Jones did his best to be Canada’s calm, relaxed face of information about the influenza, often referred to as swine flu. The chief public health officer, who had been appointed in the aftermath of the SARS crisis, appeared in regular news conferences to update Canadians about the latest H1N1 cases and the progress being made by national immunization efforts.
“During H1N1, you saw the public health agency and the chief public health officer work as they were expected to work,” said Kumanan Wilson, Canada research chair in public health policy…
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