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York Region names new associate medical officers of health

The positions were approved by the Minister of Health on Wednesday
York Regional Council has appointed Dr. Shixin (Cindy) Shen and Dr. JoAnne Fernandes as Associate Medical Officers of Health for The Regional Municipality of York, effective immediately.

As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we welcome both Dr. Shen and Dr. Fernandes as two new Associates to our York Region team,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “Individually and collectively, their experience and expertise will be very beneficial to us and more than 1.2 million residents who call York Region home.

Dr. Shen has worked for over a year at York Region as a Public Health Physician in support of the COVID-19 pandemic response. Previously, Dr. Shen was a medical advisor at the Public Health Agency of Canada, Regional Medical Officer of Health for the Nova Scotia Health Authority and a consultant for the World Health Organization. Dr. Shen completed residency in Public Health and Preventive Medicine at the University of Toronto. She has authored and co-authored numerous publications and led presentations on various applied public health, research and medical education topics.

Dr. Fernandes has worked at York Region as a Public Health Physician since July 2020 and has provided support to the Public Health pandemic response. With recent work experience as a Public Health Physician, she previously worked at Region of Peel Public Health as an Epidemiologist in 2012. She has co-authored manuscripts and technical reports, has participated in post-graduate medical education activities and has vast teaching experience.

Under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, the Associate Medical Officer of Health positions increase the Region’s capacity to effectively respond to emerging diseases, outbreaks, infection control lapses and provide direction in the management of infectious diseases. These positions required approval from the Minister of Health and were approved on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021.

Earlier this year, Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health announced his retirement, effective Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021. Recruitment for Dr. Kurji’s replacement is underway.
“We are eager to re-establish important public health programs in the areas of health promotion, disease prevention and health protection that have been suspended or reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Richard Gould, York Region’s Acting Medical Officer of Health. “Our Associates have a large role to play in both this work and our ongoing COVID-19 response.”

The Regional Municipality of York consists of nine local cities and towns and provides a variety of programs and services to 1.2 million residents and 54,000 businesses with 650,000 employees. More information about the Region’s key service areas is available here