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North Shore’s new public health doctor quickly settling into job
The North Shore’s new public health doctor, on the job for less than a month, is busy getting acquainted with this diverse community.
“The North Shore is a healthy and affluent community, but there is still inequality in how resources and health care are distributed,” says Mark Lysyshyn, who holds a medical degree from Queen’s University and a master’s from Harvard School of Public Health.
From his office in Lower Lonsdale, Lysyshyn is taking a broad look at the needs of North Shore residents that will influence future policy decisions.
He knows the health of young families will be one priority after just three weeks on the job.
“Some children are still found to be vulnerable when they enter school. There is still more that can be done,” he tells The Outlook over coffee at Starbucks in central Lonsdale.
Since the North Shore has a large seniors popular, the health of elderly residents will be examined closely. The environment also tops the list because of North Vancouver’s heavy industry on the waterfront.
Lysyshyn, 40, is a relatively young public health doctor but highly educated and experienced.
After completing a residency in public health and preventative medicine at UBC, he worked with homeless people and addicts at St. Paul’s Hospital in downtown Vancouver, among other jobs.
“Many of them were at the end of their lives when they came in. They were very sick.
“We invest all this money on them now instead of preventing what’s happening in the first place. We could start, for example, when they’re children.”
It was this experience that cemented his interest in public health. He now sets policies that influence how hospitals are run.
While Lysyshyn misses the fast-paced environment of clinical work, he says the problems he works on in public health are challenging and more broad in scope.
“It’s difficult to do both clinical and public health — you have to pick one. With clinical work, you have to do it right then so public health gets pushed to the side.”
A competitive gymnast in his youth, Lysyshyn likes to stay healthy, in particular through yoga and CrossFit, a popular strength and conditioning program.
“I spend most of my time doing this outside of work. I like it because it incorporates gymnastics, weights and lifting.”
North Shore health survey
Since North and West Vancouver have such diverse communities, Lysyshyn is urging residents to take an online health survey that breaks down the area into separate neighbourhoods.
“We don’t often get neighbourhood-level surveys. This information will help develop the next official community plan,” he says. “It will provide information, for instance, on whether we need more lights in parks for when it’s dark out.”
Take the survey at myhealthmycommunity.org.