Tuesday July 5, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends
Dr. Réka Gustafson will join Island Health in September 2022, as Vice President, Population & Public Health and Chief Medical Health Officer, as announced today by Island Health.
Dr Gustafson was previously Deputy Provincial Public Health Officer working under Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry; she will remain with the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) until September 2, 2022. The former Island Health Chief Medical Health Officer was Dr Richard Stanwick who retired earlier this year.
Pandemic and overdose crisis:
In her new role, Dr. Gustafson will lead Island Health’s population and public health teams as they continue to respond to the toxic drug supply crisis and pandemic response and recovery. She will oversee our talented team of medical health officers and work closely with senior leaders to drive quality improvements and ground strategies and initiatives throughout the organization.
“I’m excited to welcome Dr. Gustafson to Island Health” says Island Health President and CEO, Kathy MacNeil. “We are fortunate to have such an experienced provincial health leader join our organization and provide executive leadership for our population and public health initiatives.”
Communication skills top-notch:
An accomplished public health leader, Dr. Gustafson has been at the forefront of the dual public health emergencies of the COVID-19 pandemic and the toxic drug crisis in B.C., providing leadership for evidence-informed public health initiatives, planning and decisions.
She is also a skilled presenter, turning complex data and concepts into understandable information for all audiences, as was experienced at many public briefings throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adjustments at BC CDC:
Dr. Gustafson joins Island Health from the Provincial Health Services Authority where she held two senior leadership roles of Vice President, Public Health & Wellness, and Deputy Provincial Health Officer, providing leadership to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC), part of the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).
Prior to that she was the medical health officer for the City of Vancouver and deputy chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health.
Dr. Gustafson will remain with the BCCDC until September 2, 2022.
At the BC CDC Pending the outcome of a national recruitment process, the BCCDC will be led by two interim executive leaders: senior executive director, Dr. Jat Sandhu and medical director, Dr. Jason Wong.
Thanking Dr Stanwick:
“I would also like to thank Dr. Murray Fyfe, our interim Chief Medical Health Officer, for serving in an interim capacity since Dr. Stanwick’s retirement earlier this year,” MacNeil said. “I am so grateful for his contributions and leadership these past eight months.”
Dr Stanwick says farewell, lauds team efforts (January 27, 2022)
Top public health doctors defend COVID data reporting but open to doing more (May 7, 2021)
COVID Year 2: Vancouver Island at May 7 (May 7, 2021)
COVID in BC Nov 3: another 299 new cases (November 3, 2020)
Nov 2: BC CDC reports 3-day count of 1,120 COVID cases (November 2, 2020)