Announcement of Honorary Degree at RMC’s 123rd Convocation


Dr. Bonnie J. Henry, OBC FRCPC – Convocation Speaker

Dr. Bonnie Henry was appointed as Provincial Health Officer for the Province of BC in 2018. As BC’s most senior public health official, Dr. Henry is responsible for monitoring the health of all British Columbians and undertaking measures for disease prevention and control and health protection and promotion. Most recently, Dr. Henry has led the province’s response on the COVID-19 pandemic and toxic drug emergency.

Dr. Henry’s experience in public health, preventive medicine and global pandemics has extended throughout her career. Prior to her current role, Dr. Henry was the deputy provincial health officer and served as the interim provincial executive medical director of the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC).

She was the medical director of Communicable Disease Prevention and Control and Public Health Emergency Management with the BCCDC and medical director for the provincial emerging and vector-borne diseases program, as well as a provincial program for surveillance and control of healthcare associated infections from 2005 to 2014.

Dr. Henry joined Toronto Public Health in 2001 as Associate Medical Officer of Health, where she was responsible for the Emergency Services Unit and the Communicable Disease Liaison Unit. In 2003, she was the operational lead in the response to the SARS outbreak in Toronto. 

Dr. Henry is a specialist in public health and preventive medicine and is board certified in preventive medicine in the U.S. She graduated from Dalhousie Medical School and completed a Masters in Public Health in San Diego, residency training in preventive medicine at University of California, San Diego and in public health and preventive medicine at University of Toronto. Early in her career, Dr. Henry served as a General Duty Medical Officer, Diving Medical Officer and Flight Surgeon in the Canadian Forces including serving as Fleet Medical Officer onboard HMCS Provider. She has worked internationally including with the WHO/UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan and with the World Health Organization to control the Ebola outbreak in Uganda.

Dr. Henry is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine. She is the past chair of Immunize Canada and a member of the Canadian National Advisory Committee on Immunization and the National Infection Control Guidelines Steering Committee. She chaired the Canadian Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Task Group and was a member of the Infection Control Expert Group and the Canadian Pandemic Coordinating Committee responding to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.

She has been involved with planning, surveillance and response to mass gatherings in Canada and internationally, including with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. She is also the author of “Soap and Water and Common Sense” a guide to staying healthy in a microbe filled world and co-authored with her sister Lynn Henry, “Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe” four weeks that shaped a pandemic.

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