Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment.
The medical appointment that began in December 2018 ended today, and Dr. Eileen de Villa is no longer Toronto’s public health chief.
The mayor made the announcement today at a media availability at City Hall.
De Villa will return to her role as a professor at the University of Toronto’s Scarborough campus in the fall.
The reason for the decision to take a leave of absence is unclear. It was first reported by the Toronto Star and confirmed by de Villa’s boss.
“This was an internal decision made by Dr. de Villa,” Dr. Marie-France Lalonde said in an email statement to the Toronto Star. “We thank her for her service to the citizens of our city and to his colleagues.”
De Villa was appointed to the post in June 2018 and left in March 2019.
At the time, de Villa said that she felt she needed to “slow down and take a break.”
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Health Minister Christine Elliott said the appointment of Dr. Eileen de Villa as Toronto’s public health chief is “not something we would consider” in this government, CBC Toronto reported July 29.
In the interim, the city has had Toronto Public Health acting as the lead agency since then.
After de Villa started taking leave, the chief was temporarily assumed by Dr. Diane Blain, public health’s secretary. At the time that was how her job was carried out.
However, she was put on medical leave later that month.
Blain was eventually reassigned by De Villa to another department and she returned to public health.
In announcing her appointment as Toronto’s public health chief, de Villa said she wanted to help reverse the city’s obesity and diabetes rates.
This goal includes increasing the city’s physical activity through the creation of community fitness hubs, as well as increasing access to healthy food