Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s public health chief, taking leave of absence for medical treatment, has given all her professional work time and effort to the fight against COVID-19. She should be given his or her own private space to recuperate and work on her new book.
What she wrote about herself in The Fight for Life and a Public Health Vision of the Future could have been a book of her own.
She describes her early life and upbringing on Ontario’s Niagara peninsula, the first of four children. She grew up in a home of a loving family and a very healthy lifestyle. She was an athletic and active child who enjoyed sports and music.
Born in Hamilton, she was not expected to make a difference but, with her love of working with young people, she decided to pursue medicine.
“Although I had no desire to become a doctor, I did have a strong interest in working with adolescent and child populations. When I finished school, I started working part-time at a family planning clinic. This job was incredibly fulfilling and I found myself constantly talking to patients and other staffers about their lives. It reminded me of my own life. I felt like I had found my way—that I wasn’t a typical doctor, someone who only dealt with bodies. I have always had a passion for working with people and finding their stories.”
The Fight for Life and a Public Health Vision of the Future provides an intimate account of her life and describes her commitment to public health through her work. It takes up her early life as student, clinician and mother to look at how she arrived at the profession she now holds in high esteem.
She was passionate about social justice and equality—she came from a family of people of colour.
She was raised as a daughter of immigrants and her education gave her the values of integrity, ethics and commitment.
A Public Health Vision of the Future explores her thoughts