Island Health is searching for a new Chief Medical Officer after Dr. Richard Stanwick — Vice-President, Population Health and Chief Medical Health Officer — announced his retirement.
Dr. Stanwick has been working within the Island Health Authority for more than 25 years and has decided to call it a career, effective December 31, 2021.
Dr. Stanwick came to B.C. in 1995 from Manitoba, where he spent five years as the Medical Health Officer for the City of Winnipeg.
“On behalf of the province, I’d like to thank Dr. Stanwick and acknowledge his contributions to Island Health and our health system as a whole,” said Adrian Dix, Health Minister. “Dr. Stanwick has played a pivotal role in keeping our community safe through our province’s two ongoing health crises – the COVID-19 pandemic and the toxic drug supply. You need tenacity to make change, and you have led with tenacity.”
Dr. Stanwick became the Medical Health Officer for the Capital Regional District in 1995 and then stepped into the role as Island Health’s Chief Medical Health Officer in 2001.
“Richard’s passion, compassion and relentless drive to improve the health of all people we serve – and in particular his respect for and commitment to underserved and vulnerable populations – has intertwined to the point that they are just simply part of his DNA,” said Kathy MacNeil, Island Health’s President and CEO. “I am deeply grateful for all he has done to make our communities a better place to work, live and play, and Island Health a better organization through his contributions.”
Island Health says that Dr. Stanwick’s initiatives within the authority made “substantial improvements” in population health.
“Dr. Stanwick’s well-considered, insightful perspectives, wisdom and, at just the right times, much-valued humour have made a positive and lasting impact, not only during the COVID-19 pandemic and toxic drug crisis we are currently facing, but in the many years that all of us in public health have had the honour of working with him. It is with heartfelt gratitude that I thank him for his public service and invaluable contributions to the health of all people in our province,” said Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer.
Dr. Stanwick has co-led the COVID-19 response on Vancouver Island during the pandemic and served as a “trusted voice” to help people and communities understand the challenges, according to Island Health.
Over the next two months, Island Health says it will launch an international search for the next individual to fill the role of Chief Medical Health Officer.
“Right now my focus continues to be on our dual public health emergencies of the drug poisoning crisis and our COVID-19 response, and this will continue to be to be my focus until my retirement at the end of December,” said Dr. Stanwick. “I very much appreciate the kind words I have already received and I look forward to publicly sharing some reflections on my career as we get closer to the end of December.”