I am writing to let you know that after considered reflection Dr. Donald Low has informed me that he will be leaving his position as Medical Director of the PHO Laboratories at the end of June 2012. Since 2005, Don has been our part-time Medical Director as well as the part-time Microbiologist-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital, in addition to extensive teaching, researching and travel. He will be returning to Mount Sinai and the University Health Network on a full-time basis. We appreciate his invaluable contribution to PHO and look forward to collaborating with him in the future.
Don has a long history as an internationally recognized expert in infectious diseases. He played a key role in supporting Ontario’s response to SARS. Since then, Don has been a respected leader in the renewal of public health in Ontario. Under his direction, the public health laboratories transitioned from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to Public Health Ontario and began a process of revitalization and capacity building, including:
- Recruitment of scientists and microbiology staff from all over the world to expand PHO’s scientific and technical capacity. From real-time development of new methodologies for testing on the H1N1 virus, to New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase identification, Don’s leadership has helped our laboratories anticipate and respond more quickly and effectively to public health challenges;
- Implementation of a comprehensive laboratory information system for faster processing, more efficient tracking and enhanced surveillance data;
- New technologies and operational innovations such as high-volume testing platforms for increased efficiency and improved test turnaround times;
- The pending relocation of the Toronto laboratories to the MaRS II Discovery District in downtown Toronto to enable strong PHO relationships with academic, research and health care partners in the downtown core.
In addition to his many contributions to the laboratories, he was an essential part of the team that created and built this organization. He worked with MOHLTC staff prior to our creation in setting the ambitious vision for the organization. He worked with our founding Board before it had staff and was a member of the selection committee for my position.
We are deeply grateful for all that Don has done to further PHO’s success. This has been a time of rapid and significant change and we appreciate his commitment, passion and talent.
Don will remain in his current role and assist in transition planning until the end of June 2012, working closely with Chief Laboratory Operations Officer Mike Mendaglio, Associate Medical Director Fran Jamieson, incoming PHL Research Director David Farrell and other PHO staff. Celebrations will be planned to thank and acknowledge Don’s many contributions.
We will be conducting an international search to find a suitable successor as we continue our work to build a world-class laboratory system for the 21st century. Please join me in thanking Don and congratulating him on his return to Mount Sinai on a full-time basis in June.
President and Chief Executive Officer