Island Health chief medical health officer to retire next month

Dr. Richard Stanwick, chief medical health officer for Island Health, receives his COVID-19 vaccine in December 2020. || B.C. government photo
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After more than 25 years of service in the Island Health region, Dr. Richard Stanwick will be retiring as Island Health’s vice-president and chief medical health officer effective Dec. 31.

“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,” said Adrian Dix, health minister.

Stanwick took on many campaigns over the past 25 years — first in 1995 as the medical health officer for the Capital Regional District, from 1997 as medical health officer for the Capital Health Region and Island Health’s chief medical health officer since 2001. 

“Many of these campaigns faced criticism, and even opposition, when he began to advocate for change. However, as we look back now at the change over the space of time, we know these changes made a substantial improvement in population health,” reads a release from Island Health.

Island Health said it will begin an international search for a new 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 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.”

Stanwick came to B.C. in 1995 from Manitoba, where he spent five years as the medical health officer for the City of Winnipeg.

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