Lambton’s top doctor leaving to lead public health in Yukon

Dr. Sudit Ranade

Tara Jeffrey

Sometimes an opportunity comes along at just the right time.

“And I think this might be one of those times,” says Dr. Sudit Ranade, Lambton’s Medical Officer of Health.

Ranade is leaving at the end of this month to take a new job as Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

“I’ve always wanted to work at different levels of the system, so this is a chance to be embedded right at the provincial/territorial level, and a chance for me to do some good work.

“There’s only 13 Chief Medical Officers of Health in Canada,” he added. “So those things don’t come along all of the time.”

September would have marked 10 years since Ranade took the reins at Lambton Public Health, following the 22-year tenure of Dr. Chris Greensmith.

Ranade, a Toronto native, was drawn to Sarnia-Lambton’s small-town feel after earning a Master of Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, as well as a Master’s in Business Administration from Johns Hopkins Business School.

“I remember we were able to do so much in a day — we saw four or five houses, went to the beach, had lunch with friends — you couldn’t do that in the GTA in one day,” he said with a laugh.

“This is a beautiful part of Ontario; we started our family here. Those are the things I’m going to be thinking about.”

Looking back, Ranade said he’s most proud of the way his public health team navigated an unprecedented global pandemic — something he had trained for but never really anticipated.

“I mean, we all had these programs and services we were routinely doing, and a lot of it had to be put on hold and everyone was directed towards this larger COVID-19 response,” Ranade said.

“The fact that everybody did it, and they did it so well, reaching out to community partners and engaging with everyone and really, how much care I saw from our team — I will never forget that.”

Dr. Ranade will work closely with the Government of Yukon, First Nations, physicians, non-government organizations and other public health stakeholders.

“He will be responsible for providing evidence-based advice to the Government of Yukon on the territory’s ongoing response and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and other public health matters such as the substance use health emergency,” a government release noted.

Ranade also has a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Ottawa, and completed residency training in Family Medicine and in Public Health through Queen’s University.

Andrew Taylor, Lambton’s general manager of public health services, said Ranade was instrumental in developing and implementing the health unit’s first strategic plan.

“His ability to lead and transform our organization over the past decade and through a global pandemic has set us up for success for years to come.”

Ranade took a leave of absence to run unsuccessfully for the Liberals in Lambton-Kent-Middlesex in last year’s federal election. He also served on the board of the directors at St. Clair Child and Youth.

“I’ve learned all about what makes this community special and how interconnected people are,” said Ranade, who begins his new role in the Yukon on July 4.

“We built a lot of great relationships here both personally and professionally; this process of saying goodbye to a lot of people is going to be really hard.

“And, gosh, I’m going to really miss all of the summer warmth.”