Dr. Sheela Basrur, former Medical Officer of Health 1956 - 2008

    TORONTO, June 2 /CNW/ - Mayor David Miller today extended condolences to
the family and friends of former Medical Officer of Health Dr. Sheela Basrur
and expressed gratitude for her commitment to the health of the residents of
    "We have lost an extraordinary Torontonian, a woman whose incredible
wisdom and boundless compassion helped guide our city through some of its
difficult periods in recent history," said Toronto Mayor David Miller.
    "When SARS struck in 2003, the leadership of Sheela Basrur - our then
Medical Officer of Health - calmed an anxious city by counselling residents to
confront the outbreak with knowledge instead of fear. It was the
ever-courageous Dr. Basrur who stepped forward to become both Toronto's face
and its voice to a worried world."
    "On behalf of City Council and all Torontonians, I want to express my
deepest condolences to Sheela's family, friends and everyone who was touched
by her remarkable life."
    Dr. Basrur was the first Medical Officer of Health for the newly
amalgamated City of Toronto, appointed in 1998. Prior to amalgamation, she
served for six years as Medical Officer of Health in East York. Dr. Basrur was
appointed as Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health in 2004 and resigned
from her duties in 2006 when she was diagnosed with cancer.
    "We are grateful to have had a leader like Dr. Basrur. Not only was she
committed to making Toronto a healthy city for everyone, she was a dedicated
leader who inspired her staff to be the best they could be," said Shirley Hoy,
City Manager for Toronto.
    As Medical Officer of Health for Toronto, Dr. Basrur led several
ground-breaking initiatives, including DineSafe, a program that gave the
public access to restaurant inspection results. Dr. Basrur also led the
development and implementation of Toronto's no smoking bylaw, and the bylaw
against non-essential pesticide use.
    "Dr. Basrur was an outstanding leader in the field of public health,"
said Dr. David McKeown, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto.
"She exemplified the highest standards of professional achievement in
everything she did, and she personified the attributes of hard work, good
humour and selfless dedication. We will all miss her."
    Memorial services for Dr. Basrur are being planned by her family.

    Visit our website at www.toronto.ca

For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Susan Sperling, Media Relations
Co-ordinator, Toronto Public Health, (416) 338-7974, ssperli@toronto.ca

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