Dr. Jennifer Russell has announced that she’s stepping down from her role as New Brunswick’s chief medical officer of health later this fall.
In a statement released Friday afternoon, Russell, who became a familiar face for New Brunswickers during the province’s COVID-19 response and has occupied the lead public health position since 2015, described her lengthy tenure as an “honour and privilege.”
“It has been a pleasure to serve my province, utilizing my clinical experience as a family physician, as a hospitalist and (my) addictions and mental health experience, combined with my passion for upstream prevention and improving population health,” she said, adding that spearheading the pandemic response was one of her “proudest moments.”
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“Throughout the pandemic, I asked the public to be kind, to be compassionate, and to support one another.”
Although leaving the role of chief medical officer of health, Russell declared her candidacy for the role of president-elect of the Canadian Medical Association.
“I look forward to sharing more details about my plans in the near future,” she said.
In response to the announcement, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs shared his gratitude for Russell’s work in a social media post on Friday.
“Dr. Jennifer Russell has been a significant force in serving New Brunswickers and their healthcare throughout her time as Chief Medical Officer of Health for the province,” Higgs said in a post on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I had the honour of working closely with her throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented global healthcare crisis, and I want to thank her for her dedication and service to the people of this province.”
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Russell said she was proud of the work of her team and the outcomes that New Brunswickers had achieved during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russell became well known to New Brunswickers as she appeared on daily, live-streamed briefings at the outset of the pandemic in 2020. She received the Order of New Brunswick in 2021.
— with files from The Canadian Press
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