Medical Health Officers

Medical Health Officers (MHOs) derive their powers and duties from the Public Health Act. They have legislated responsibilities under a number of Acts and regulations. They have the responsibility to comply with established professional standards in the quality of their work, and are reviewed by the Chief Medical Health Office or Provincial Health Officer.

For a list of B.C.'s Medical Health Officers, see:

Some of the duties and responsibilities of MHOs include:

Statutory

  • Responsibility for carrying out legislated requirements under the Public Health Act, Community Care and Assisted Living Act, Drinking Water Protection Act, School Act, and other Acts and related regulations. 
  • Responsibility for directing the public health response to local public health threats (Public Health Act section 81).
  • Responsibility for advising and reporting on local public health issues, and sometimes for annual reporting (Public Health Act section 73).
  • Responsibility for carrying out statutory functions for a geographic area of a Health Services Delivery Area of a Health Authority.
  • Responsibility for carrying out specific functions of a focused nature e.g. communicable disease control, facilities licensing.

Management

  • Working with and providing direction to managers and health professionals (e.g. public health nurses, environmental health officers, licensing officers, nutritionists, audiologists, speech language pathologists, dental hygienists, psychologists and social workers).
  • Budgeting expenditures and resource allocation.

Community Medicine Consultant

  • Providing evidence-based opinions to physicians, municipal councils, school boards, regional health boards and the community on a wide variety of health issues including communicable diseases, environmental health issues and complex health related social and behavioral problems of individuals or groups.
  • Working collaboratively with the board, and other agencies and boards in the community (such as local governments, school boards, mental health, social services, water boards, mental health and problematic substance use services, Ministry of Environment and other ministries and volunteer community groups) to assist in esolving health related problems.

Population Health

  • Responsibility for monitoring and assessing the health status of the community, making recommendations for strategies to address health issues to the board and implementing immediate actions when necessary to protect the health of the public.
  • Responsibility for the collection of data and statistics over a broad range of health and health related issues, analyzing trends and  problems, interpreting these concerns and preparing reports, briefs and profiles on the significant health and health-related issues affecting the community.

Community Health Planning, Evaluation, Research and Program Development

  • Responsibility for assisting the board in the evaluation of the effectiveness of health programs and the planning and evaluation of programs designed to address emerging health issues.

Advocacy

  • Responsibility to the board for advocating on behalf of the public's health. Speaks on behalf of vulnerable and marginalized members of the community, and those at risk.
  • Communicating directly with the public through the media and other means and with board members and elected officials on health issues affecting the community
  • Advising the board about health concerns and contributing to health planning for the region.
  • Promoting a high standard of health, public health services, and health care in the community.

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