It was announced late last week by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care that after a successful recovery from a lengthy illness, Frank McGee is retiring from the Ontario Public Service. “Frank has been at the forefront of Ontario’s response to HIV” it said. “His contributions have helped Ontario become a leader in HIV/AIDS in Canada.”
His retirement comes at a difficult time; new HIV infections in the province have risen in each of the last three years on record, where other jurisdictions have seen an improving trend.
Mc Gee was well liked by some for his ability to protect AIDS funding in Ontario. He was often engaging and funny. Others felt his sometimes blunt management style and cautious approach to new prevention and testing methodologies, for example, required a more progressive voice to lead the provincial government’s response to HIV, and latterly Hep C.
McGee has been on sick leave for many months. An acting manager, with the assistance of Joanne Lush, Acting Team Lead, AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs has lead the small department within the Ministry since that time.
McGee’s involvement in HIV work goes back many years. Says the official announcement “Frank’s initial HIV-related position in the ministry (1988) was in the Public Health Division. In 1991, he joined the newly formed AIDS Bureau under the direction of Dr. Jay Browne. After Dr. Browne’s retirement in 1998, Frank became the AIDS Coordinator. Approximately ten years later his responsibilities changed to include HCV, and he was given a new title, Manager, AIDS and Hepatitis C Programs.”
The announcement lists these highlights of his long career:
• Frank supported the work of the minister’s Ontario Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS, and its development of three provincial HIV/AIDS strategies including the current strategy "Focusing Our Efforts”.
• He developed ground-breaking HIV testing initiatives, including the anonymous HIV testing program, opt-in prenatal HIV testing and the implementation of Canada’s largest HIV point-of-care testing program
• Frank’s vision led to the development of key programs including the Ontario Organization Development Program, the provision of infant formula to new mothers living with HIV and the Provincial Priority Population Networks that support community agencies in their work with populations most at risk of HIV in Ontario.
• He served as the provincial co-chair of the F/P/T Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS for more than 12 years.
PositiveLIte.com wishes Frank well in his retirement years.