Current and former public health officers from New Brunswick and elsewhere in Canada have stepped forward to vouch for the skills of Dr. Eilish Cleary, who was fired as New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health this month.
The reason for Cleary's dismissal haven't been stated, with provincial officials saying only that it is a personnel matter and they can't say more without clearance from Cleary.
A public letter signed by 20 current or former chief or deputy chief medical officers of health at the federal, provincial and territorial levels states Cleary "has always shown a high degree or expertise in the practice of public health and preventive medicine."
"She has always demonstrated a strong focus on evidence-based practice, been a very respectful and trustworthy colleague and shown a strong ethical foundation in her work," states the letter.
"She has always had a clear commitment to the professional obligation of all physicians to base their actions on the best interests of their patients, which for public health physicians means the whole community."
Dr. Robert Strang, the chief medical officer of health in Nova Scotia, said the doctors released the letter so the public and Cleary could see "how highly we regard her as a public health physician."
Strang said one of the doctors spoke with Cleary in advance of releasing the letter to "make sure she was comfortable with a letter like this going public, and she was."
Those who have signed the letter include Dr. David Butler-Jones, the former chief public health officer for Canada, and 19 others who have worked with Cleary since she became New Brunswick's chief medical officer of health in 2008.
Dr. Jennifer Russell, who has replaced Cleary and is the acting chief medical officer of health in New Brunswick, has also signed the letter supporting Cleary.
Other members of the public health office in New Brunswick who have signed the letter are Dr. Cristin Muecke, Dr. Na-Koshie Lamptey, Dr. Yves Leger and Dr. Scott Giffin.
Public health officials from Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Nunavut, the Northwest Territories and Yukon also gave their support to Cleary in the letter.