Public Health in Focus

Public Health in Focus is a newsletter by Public Health Sudbury & Districts to inform our community on the public health issues of the day and is issued following our regular Board of Health meetings.

Words for Thought: A Special Edition

February 2024

Dear colleagues, partners, and friends,

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe

This issue marks my last Words for Thought for Public Health in Focus. With a planned year-long sabbatical and my retirement ahead of me, I have been reflecting on my role as Medical Officer of Health for the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts and I am filled with deep appreciation for the experiences, challenges, and accomplishments that have shaped this incredible chapter of my life.

I want to express my profound gratitude for the meaningful relationships forged over the years between Public Health and many organizations across sectors in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. These partnerships have been instrumental in advancing robust healthy policies to serve the diverse needs of our communities. Our partners have been pivotal in creating opportunities to tailor the delivery of Public Health services to address the social determinants of health in Northern Ontario. The people behind these partnerships have made significant impacts in our community and it has been my privilege to be able to work with all of you.

A special acknowledgement also needs to be shared with all the incredible Public Health staff I have had the honour of working with over the years. For over two decades, I have witnessed their passion and hard work undeniably and positively impact health and well-being of people of all ages. They have built on strengths and overcome obstacles to meet the ever-changing needs of our community head on. I have been filled with pride as we marked milestones, celebrated triumphs, and faced challenges to strengthen our role as a trusted and dependable public health institution. I am forever grateful for their expertise and skills, which continue to play a crucial role in protecting health, preventing disease, and ensuring the wellness of those who live, work, and play in the areas we serve.

Thank you, also, to the many Board of Health members who served throughout the years for their leadership and embodiment of our values of humility, trust, and respect. At our most recent Board of Health meeting, their governance once again set the direction for local public health into the future. This week, the Board met to deliberate the potential merger of Public Health Sudbury & Districts with Algoma Public Health. You can read more about their vote to support the recommendation to submit a merger proposal to the Ministry of Health at Both organizations maintain their commitment to providing high-quality public health services, with a shared focus on improving health outcomes across our regions.

Looking ahead to next month, I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Mustafa Hirji as the next Medical Officer of Health to the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts. I am confident the agency will continue to flourish under his leadership, following his more than eight years at Niagara Region Public Health where he served as Associate Medical Officer of Health including almost five and a half years Acting as the Medical Officer of Health and Commissioner of Public Health and Emergency Services. His enthusiasm and genuine passion for public health combined with his focus on health promotion and reducing social inequities are very much aligned with the values of Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

Thank you, everyone, for being an integral part of my over two decades at Public Health. Together, we have shown that when we collaborate, we can achieve more resilient, thriving, and healthy communities for all. I carry with me the memories of a fulfilling journey, the camaraderie of an exceptional team, and the knowledge that the future of public health in Northern Ontario is in capable hands.

With heartfelt gratitude,

Penny Sutcliffe, MD, MHSc, FRCPC
Medical Officer of Health and Chief Executive Officer

Subscribe to Public Health in Focus

This item was last modified on February 21, 2024