Algoma Public Health. 50 years on.


Medical Officer of Health/Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Marlene Spruyt and Associate Medical Officer of Health/Director of Health Protection Dr. Jennifer Loo opened the 50 year anniversary celebrations of Algoma Public Health Wednesday, Nov. 28th with a Health Quiz.

2 teams of three were put through the paces, with 5 local media representatives and one police officer taking up the challenge. Jeffrey Ougler, Brian Kelly, Darren Taylor, Tom Parisi, Lynne Brown and Sonny Spina worked their way through 50 questions relating to public health. What we all learned, is that we don’t know everything there is to know about Algoma Public Health and global health.

The open house brought many out to APH for an opportunity to tour the building and departments that make up the large organization.

Saultonline spoke with Dr. Marlene Spruyt and Public Health Inspector Kara Flannigan during the open house on Wednesday in a featured interview in video above.

Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of the board of the successful Canadian non-profit organization 8 80 Cities, as well as Ambassador of World Urban Parks: international representative body for the city parks, open space and recreation sector was a guest speaker in the afternoon at APH.

Penalosa leads a private international consulting firm – Gil Penalosa & Associates, providing services as an inspirational keynote speaker, facilitator of strategic workshops and advisor to decision makers and community groups.


Also in the afternoon, the first Public Health Champion award was given out.

The award is provided to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to population health in the Algoma district. Their passion is rooted in helping their community live a healthier life, regardless of age, income and socio-economic background.

The 2018 Public Health Champion is awarded to André Riopel.

“When you hear Andre’s name in the community, it is often attached to cycling. He has passionately advocated for safe and active transportation,” said Ian Frazier, chair for the board of health. “He regularly promotes creating low or no cost opportunities for people to be active no matter where they live or work.”

He is also well aware of chronic disease and poor health outcomes when people are not physically active. He is all about creating a community supporting opportunity for people to stay active and be safe.

André Riopel (centre), Public Health Champion, is flanked by Algoma Public Health board chair Ian Frazier and Dr. Marlene Spruyt, APH medical officer of health and CEO. (photo courtesy APH)

André is one of the original members of the Sault Trails Advocacy Committee (STAC) that advocated for and worked with numerous partners to get the John Rowswell Hub Trail built.  He was also instrumental in the Pump Track at Esposito Park.

Other advocacy work includes working on the Sault Ste. Marie cycling master plan, signage along the Lake Huron North Channel cycle route and creating a plan for Mountain Bike Trail development, including numerous hours volunteering in the community.

Congratulations to André Riopel on winning this award. To learn more about the many programmes offered through Algoma Public Health, go here.