What is a Public Health Physician?

The role of Public Health Physician includes: physicians with a career dedicated to public health such as a Medical Officer of Health in a health unit; physicians who perform select services in the public health setting (a family physician who works in a sexual health clinic or an infectious disease internist who works in a travel clinic); all physicians who contribute to public health goals, such as those who diagnose, treat and report infectious diseases, and those who provide quit smoking services.

What is a Medical Officer of Health?

The Medical Officer of Health performs roles as identified in the Health Protection and Promotion Act and include: assessing, monitoring and reporting on the health of the public, disease prevention, health protection, and health promotion.

What do you need to become a Medical Officer of Health?

You need a medical degree and training in public health such as: a Royal College Certification in Community Medicine or Public Health and Preventive Medicine or a master’s of public health or equivalent experience and training. Medical Officers of Health are regulated by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. They may also be members of these professional associations: Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, College of Family Physicians of Canada, Ontario Public Health Association, Canadian Public Health Association, Ontario Medical Association.

In what program areas does the Medical Officer of Health work?

They work in all areas of public health.

What is the best part about being a Medical Officer of Health?

The variety: every day is different!

What is the most challenging part about being a Medical Officer of Health?

Public health work is complex. It takes team work (with team members coming from within and outside of the organization), time, persistence and patience.

Thinking about becoming a Medical Officer of Health?

Go for it! It is challenging and rewarding.