City medical officer moves to head office

A physician who played a lead role in pandemic planning for Central Alberta is leaving for a top job with Alberta Health and Wellness.

Martin Lavoie

A physician who played a lead role in pandemic planning for Central Alberta is leaving for a top job with Alberta Health and Wellness.

Martin Lavoie, medical officer of health for the central zone of Alberta Health Services, will become the senior provincial medical officer of health in Edmonton on Sept. 28. He’ll work alongside André Corriveau, Alberta’s chief medical officer of health.

Lavoie, a physician who specialized in community medicine, will work on various public health programs from a provincial perspective.

“It’s never a dull moment in public health,” said Lavoie, 41.

The native Quebecer moved to Red Deer in July 2002 and over the course of seven years, fulfilled a role that was both exciting and challenging.

He enjoyed working with various staff and doctors within the former David Thompson Health Region, plus municipal partners and others.

Lavoie will never forget when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) struck. It started in China in November 2002 and then spread to various places including Toronto. By the time it was finished in July 2003, there were more than 8,000 known infected cases and 774 deaths.

“That was quite an undertaking to connect all the emergency rooms and make sure everyone was on the same page, so people knew what to do if someone fit the definition of SARS,” Lavoie said.

Pandemic planning was another huge task for Lavoie, who had to ensure the health region was ready.

“It was great, but also challenging when people didn’t have much time to do this,” he said. “We were also supporting other partners in their planning process so they could understand what a pandemic was and its potential impact.”

His position will be shared by two doctors. Laura McLeod, former deputy medical officer of health for the David Thompson Health Region, and Gerhard Benade, former medical officer of health for the East Central health region, have already started working in their new roles.

“I think the central zone is in good hands with these two people,” said Lavoie, who is using the end of his contract for holidays.

With provincial reorganization, the David Thompson and East Central regions merged to form the central zone.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Thousands to attend funeral service for officers killed in Fredericton shooting

FREDERICTON — Hundreds of people have lined the route of a funeral… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month