Peterborough’s medical officer of health announces plans to retire

Dr. Rosana Salvaterra, medical officer of health for Peterborough Public Health, plans to retire later in 2021. Global News Peterborough file

Peterborough Public Health‘s medical officer of health has announced her plans to retire from the health unit later this year.

In a release issued Thursday morning, Dr. Rosana Salvaterra says she informed the health unit board of her intention to retire after serving in the role since 2008.

Salvaterra has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region as she has held weekly media conferences updating the public on the pandemic, testing, outbreaks and most recently vaccination rollout plans.

Read more: First round of COVID-19 vaccination completed for long-term care residents in Peterborough area

“Serving the communities of Curve Lake, Hiawatha, the County and City of Peterborough as their medical officer of health for what will be 13 years has been such a privilege,” she said.

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“I am grateful to the Board of Health for offering me this opportunity. I will cherish forever the outstanding team of dedicated public health champions at Peterborough Public Health with whom I have had the good fortune to work, literally day and night. Together, I think we have been strong and effective advocates for the health and wellbeing of our communities.”

Andy Mitchell, Selwyn Township mayor and the health unit’s board chair, says the board is “deeply grateful” for Salvaterra’s “tireless service and passionate leadership” for public health in the region.

“Thousands of local lives are better off thanks to her care, and the Board’s focus now is to recruit her replacement as soon as possible so the successes can continue,” he said.

Mitchell reassured the community that despite the ongoing pandemic, operations at Peterborough Public Health will not be affected. The board has struck a search committee to recruit a new medical officer of health.

Salvaterra noted she is eligible to retire as early as July but will stay in her role until the board has recruited a successor.

“That means I don’t have a fixed departure date in mind at the moment — I am prepared to stay until the end of the year if needed,” she said.

Salvaterra has continued to practise clinical medicine in the health unit’s sexual health clinic and is an active guest lecturer at Trent University and is chairperson of the Peterborough Food Action Network. In November 2013, the Ontario College of Family Physicians bestowed an Award of Excellence to  Salvaterra in recognition of her outstanding service.

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“Retirement will be bittersweet,” she said. “Being a medical officer of health has been more than a full-time job, especially for the past year. I welcome the time and space to pursue other interests and projects. But there are so many people that I will miss deeply. I am hoping these relationships that I have forged over the years will endure and thrive.”

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