As you may have heard, I am retiring at the end of 2016, concluding my career of 40 years in medicine and 35 years in Public Health. As the year winds down and I look forward into 2017, it is a challenge to imagine a day to day life of which the Public Health landscape does not play an integral part.
I chose to dedicate my career to Public Health because I believe in the benefits of investing in preventative care to contribute to the long term wellbeing of not only individuals, but society as a whole. As many have heard me say in the past, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. At Public Health organizations across the province, employees work to prevent potential illness and injury, and promote proactive actions individuals and communities can take to achieve wellness. Through programs such as chronic disease and injury prevention, family and child health supports, prevention and control infectious diseases, enforcement of environmental health standards, and ensuring adequate preparedness for public health emergencies, immeasurable savings have been achieved for the health care system. Not only have savings been achieved, but most importantly – the work of public health aims to improve the health status of society as a whole by implementing appropriate systems, policies, and practices to support optimal health.
Decisions about the delivery of public health are not made in isolation, but are backed by data and information that identifies the needs of the local population. Programs and services delivered in Hastings and Prince Edward are specifically designed for our local community – addressing needs specific to our demographic and geography. In establishing these programs and activities, public health organizations ensure there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of these activities and that they can be monitored and measurable. Programs are designed to address public health inequities, and consider any potential consequences. These programs are delivered by an exceptional workforce of staff required to maintain and demonstrate core competencies and professional accreditation specific to public health and their area of specialization. Here in Hastings Prince Edward, as well as at other public health organizations across the province, we work to establish and maintain partnerships with many other parties within both the health sector and the community to meet the public health needs of our population.
After 11 years as MOH at Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, I have seen both the organization and the community evolve to address emerging public health challenges and opportunities. The exceptional delivery of services will continue moving forward, under interim leadership and once selected, under the direction of a new Medical Officer of Health. Often an unseen partner in ensuring our community is as healthy as possible, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health has, and will continue to, play an integral role in establishing and maintaining optimal health for our community.
It has been a pleasure to serve the community of Hastings Prince Edward as your Medical Officer of Health for the past decade, and I look forward to observing the continuous implementation of innovative public health programs as I transition into retirement.
Dr. Richard Schabas