Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment
Toronto Public Health took the extraordinary step on Thursday of informing the city’s chief medical officer of health that Dr. Eileen de Villa has left her position as the department’s public health official.
In a statement, Dr. Eileen de Villa said she was “discharged at her own request” from the hospital on Thursday morning “and was not aware of any emergency situation.” She did not disclose the nature of her medical condition.
Dr. de Villa, who has spent the last few years helping to oversee the city’s public health and aging services agencies, said she is returning home to Florida to recuperate.
A city source familiar with her medical situation said she is at home recovering from a recent surgery.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon, Dr. Eileen de Villa confirmed her departure and her “medical leave of absence” for the time being. She did not elaborate or answer questions about her medical condition, but said she is not seeking a permanent leave from her job.
“The last three years have been very challenging. But after more than two years in active leadership, I felt it was the right time for me to take a medical leave of absence,” Dr. de Villa said.
“I have received an outpouring of support from staff. They have been very supportive. But it has become clear that in order to be able to continue to focus on my work, I need to take a break from my responsibilities to Toronto Public Health,” she said.
In her statement, Dr. de Villa said that she had “a great deal of respect for Toronto Public Health.”
“Through my years in this agency, I have worked directly with people on a daily basis, and I appreciate the hard work that is undertaken by the agency,” she said. “I am greatly saddened to leave this position at such a critical time for