Dr. Bonnie Henry: Provincial health officer and globally accomplished health leader
Dalhousie is presenting eight outstanding individuals with honorary degrees during Spring Convocation ceremonies in May and June. Honorary degrees are awarded to individuals across a wide range of disciplines and achievements. They recognize people who have shown inspirational leadership; outstanding contributions to a field or discipline of study or a non‐academic area of achievement; and/or outstanding achievement at or contributions to Dalhousie. Candidates are reviewed and recommended by the Senate Honorary Degrees Committee and approved by the university Senate. The 2022 honorary degree cohort consists of five people who are already alumni and three more who soon become alumni (as all honorary degree recipients officially join our alumni community if they’re not a member already). They represent Dal’s supporters and friends, and we are grateful in the Office of Advancement for the many ways they enrich our community.
Honouring Dr. Bonnie Henry: Provincial health officer and globally accomplished health leader
Public health leaders across the country have responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with incredible dedication. Even among this outstanding group, Dr. Bonnie Henry (MD’90) has received national attention and recognition for leading British Columbia’s response with good judgment, confident professionalism and compassionate empathy.
Her work as B.C.’s provincial health officer is informed by an impressive background on the global stage. Dr. Henry’s extensive experience in public health and preventative medicine includes roles with the World Health Organization/UNICEF polio eradication program in Pakistan and the WHO’s work to control the Ebola outbreak in Uganda.
Leading with empathy
She was operational lead in the response to the 2003 SARS outbreak in Toronto and a member of the Canadian Pandemic Coordinating Committee responding to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. She has also recently introduced significant and innovative measures to confront the drug overdose emergency in British Columbia.
“Receiving this honour from Dalhousie where I attended medical school means so much to me. Dalhousie was the place where the foundation of my life’s work in public health was laid and I am so grateful.”—Dr. Bonnie Henry
A graduate of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, Dr. Henry also holds a master’s in Public Health from the University of California San Diego. Dr. Henry has written two books: Soap and Water and Common Sense and Be Kind, Be Calm, Be Safe: Four Weeks that Shaped a Pandemic. In 2022, she was awarded the Order of British Columbia and the British Columbia Medal of Good Citizenship.