I know that Halloween rules this weekend, and hopefully treat-or-treaters everywhere will be able to costume up and get out and gather bags of treats. However, I just discovered yesterday that along with Thanksgiving (in Canada) and Halloween, October in Canada is Women’s History Month. Talk about keeping something quiet! Come on, folks, we should have been told this in September and spent all of October celebrating Women in History.
I have discovered that there is even a theme for Women in History Month this year: Women Making History Now. Great theme, but it needed to have been promoted, folks. Please!
Anyway, better late than never. When I read this theme last night, while watching an exciting Raptors game (go, Raps!), a group of women making history now came to mind immediately, our Chief Medical and Health Officers across Canada.
The list of women without whose help we wouldn’t have made it this far through this never-ending pandemic is a long one: female healthcare providers of all stripes, female support staff in long term care homes, female service workers everywhere, female educators who have had to figure out how to provide personalized education remotely and in hybrid modes, and more. Too many heroes to name. But for me the fact that fully half of our provinces and territories have women as their Chief Medical and Health Officers, as does the federal government of Canada, speaks volumes to the responsibilities women have taken on and have carried out in these unprecedented circumstances so capably and untiringly.
Most of us have seen these women on TV … often. Because aside from working nonstop with medical and public health experts, virologists, immunologists, and research scientists to better understand the evolving characteristics of this virus and the best advice to give to their governments as the pandemic unfolds, they each appear virtually every single day at a press conference, usually with their political “partners”, to provide the daily update on current COVID conditions and any changes in protocols for their region of responsibility. And answer questions. They have done this faithfully, without fail, since March 2020. Many of them have endured verbal abuse and threats from people who wish things were otherwise, as have their families in some instances, and yet they carry on with patience, grace and determination. These women are exemplars of public service, making history now.
Without further ado, please let me present these seven impressive women, worthy of our admiration and thanks:
Dr. Theresa Tam, Chief Public Health Officer of Canada
Dr. Janice Fitzgerald, Chief Medical Office of Health, province of Newfoundland and Labrador
Dr. Jennifer Russell, Chief Medical Officer of Health, province of New Brunswick
Dr. Heather Morrison, Chief Public Health Officer, province of Prince Edward Island
Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Office of Health for the City of Toronto (largest centre of population after the provinces of Ontario and Quebec)
Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health, province of Alberta
Dr. Bonnie Henry, Provincial Health Officer, province of British Columbia
Dr. Kami Kandola, Chief Public Health Officer, Northwest Territories
Women making history now. Thank you for leading the way!
Image sources: cbc.ca, ctvnews.ca, globalnews