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Alberta names new chief medical officer of health

Dr. Mark Joffe’s interim appointment takes effect Monday
Dr. Mark Joffe will replace Dr. Deena Hinshaw as Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, the provincial government announced Monday. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)

The Government of Alberta has announced Dr. Mark Joffe is the province’s new chief medical officer of health.

“I am honoured to be asked to take on the chief medical officer of health role for our province,” Joffe said in a statement Monday.

“I have always put the needs of my patients first and foremost throughout my career, which will continue as I take on this new challenge. I want to thank Minister Copping for giving me this opportunity.”

Joffe currently serves as the vice-president and medical director for Cancer Care Alberta, Clinical Support Services and Provincial Clinical Excellence fro Alberta Health Services.

The position had been held by Dr. Deena Hinshaw since Jan. 28, 2019. Hinshaw served as chief medical officer of health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jason Copping, minister of health, thanked Hinshaw for her “service and dedication to Albertans” through the past several years. Copping also said he looks forward to working with Joffe.

“Dr. Joffe has dedicated himself to improving the health of Albertans throughout his career. He brings this wealth of experience and knowledge to the role of chief medical officer of health,” Copping said.

Joffe’s interim appointment took effect Monday and will continue until the minister of health rescinds the appointment. He will continue in his current contract with AHS, with no additional compensation for the chief medical officer of health role.

Joffe has worked with the former Capital Health and now AHS for more than 25 years. Past leadership roles include chairing the Royal Alexandra Hospital Medical Staff Society and two terms as president of the Capital Region Medical Staff Association, as well as president of the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of Canada. He is also a professor in the department of medicine at the University of Alberta.

David Shepherd, Alberta NDP health critic, said he hopes Albertans hear from Joffe “as soon as possible.”

“Albertans deserve transparency from their government on how they will address the spread of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, while hospitals continue to operate over capacity and children miss school due to illness at significant rates,” Shepherd said.

“(Premier) Danielle Smith, Jason Copping, and Mark Joffe, must all agree on the need to promote vaccination and condemn misinformation including any suggestion that COVID-19 vaccines are anything other than safe and proven to be effective at helping to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death due to COVID-19.”

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