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N.B. still looking for next chief medical officer 7 months after Dr. Russell’s departure

Former New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Russell is pictured. (Source: CTV News Atlantic) Former New Brunswick Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Russell is pictured. (Source: CTV News Atlantic)
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New Brunswick’s Department of Health is still looking for its next chief medical officer of health, more than seven months after Dr. Jennifer Russell officially left the position.

Dr. Russell left in early December. Dr. Yves Léger has been acting as chief since then, from Moncton.

The province is also short a deputy chief medical officer, a role currently being filled by Dr. Arifur Rahman.

Despite a CTV Atlantic request, the department wouldn’t confirm a timeline on when it’s hoping to fill the position.

“The recruitment process to hire a new chief medical officer of health is ongoing,” a department spokesperson said in an email. “The Department of Health is working with an executive search firm to conduct a thorough search for this critical position.”

“This is too long. The position of chief medical officer of health is really important. It's really essential to the population health of New Brunswickers,” said Green Party health critic Megan Mitton.

A waiting room is pictured. (Source: CTV News Atlantic)

Mitton says the position also needs to regain independence that’s been lost over the last decade.

“It’s now more and more under the minister, deputy minister, almost at an assistant deputy minister level,” she said. “Several years ago, before the Higgs government, I believe it was during the Gallant government, they kind of like busted up public health and actually sent different pieces of it to different departments...those should all be together, properly funded and independent so they can do their job.”

The department said once the search for a chief is complete, it will begin the process to find a deputy chief.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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