Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment at her family’s home, says she has been “inundated” with requests to stay on as chief of medicine, even though she doesn’t like leaving her bed to attend city meetings on her “day off.”
The City of Toronto has been on a hiring spree for its new chief medical officer and chief medical officer of health in the past year. But de Villa, a board-certified family physician with more than 25 years of experience, has found the public relations aspect of a job that requires a lot of travel pretty disconcerting.
“There are numerous requests for me to be available,” de Villa says. “In the past couple of weeks, I have been inundated.”
She has taken leave of absence, and will return to Toronto to take a teaching post in the fall. But she was unable to say how much longer she will continue as Toronto’s top doctor.
“I have been asked this question a lot but I just don’t feel that my leaving is a good thing,” she says. “I feel that I am being asked to leave at a specific moment and I am doing it at a specific time in the city.”
The city has posted her on the public medical officer’s website to keep the peace. But it’s hard to find any news stories about her or her departure.
“I understand that you can only say that one day is your day off,” she says. “But that is a very difficult job and I am very grateful. I am going to miss being an active participant so much. I have enjoyed the meetings with staff and the board meetings.”
De Villa says she has no plans to leave, but that she will spend significant time on the road.
“I am a public health official,” she says. “I have always said