Career advancement & family life: perspectives from a Medical Officer of Health, with Lawrence Loh

hosted by:

We launched the Career Advancement and Family Life series in the last episode with our guest Lathika Laguwaran. We are big believers here at PH SPOT of learning from those who have done something before us and using their lessons and experiences to craft our own path. We want to share the stories of public health professionals at various phases of their lives and careers to get a glimpse into their way of life and thinking. We hope you will reach out to us and share your perspectives and experiences with the public health community.

Show Notes

In this episode, Sujani sits down with Lawrence Loh. You may recognize his name from two very popular posts on the PH SPOT blog: Start with Yes and Choosing impact over location: the myth of the “global health gamble”.

When we talk about career advancement and family life, TIME is an important topic. Our relationship with time changes as we progress through our careers and when we begin to build a family. This is exactly how our conversation with Lawrence begins: how time has changed for him during his career, and how this has influenced the opportunities and choices he has made.

We also get to hear about the decisions Lawrence has had to make with discontinuing clinical work, and reprioritizing where and how he uses his time. With two young daughters that mean everything to him, Lawrence is very particular with how he spends his time, and we were so grateful he said yes to sit down with us to share his perspective on career advancement and family life.

You’ll Learn

  • “Time” as it relates to building your career
  • How “time” has changed for Lawrence over the course of his career and when children came into the picture
  • How and why he decided to conduct an inventory of his activities to reprioritize his time and consolidate various activities when he was expecting his second child (for example, he decided to stop practicing clinical medicine – we talk about how that made him feel)
  • The way Lawrence sees one’s life and early career – divided by the following 5 standard phases:
    • Inquiry/questioning phase
    • Generative phase
    • Consolidation phase
    • Second generative phase
    • Second inquiry phase
  • How once he got to the consolidation phase he rediscovered his love for fictional writing (he’s even got the manuscripts written!)
  • What a typical day looks like at work and at home
  • How he set up his parental leave
  • Though it is not his lived experience, we discuss starting a family in the “inquiry phase”, rather than later on in one’s career (as was the case for Lawrence) 
  • Five career tips he wraps up the conversation with:
    • Nothing is irreversible
    • The past decisions you make often shape your future decisions (sometimes you need to walk through one door to get to the other door)
    • You’ll get something out of everything you do (every opportunity has a certain value/experience)
    • Every job has its negative aspect (every opportunity has a downside)
    • For younger millennials, don’t trust a snake oil salesman for career advice

Today’s Guest

Lawrence Loh

Dr. Lawrence Loh, MD, MPH, CCFP, FRCPC, FACPM is an Associate Medical Officer of Health at Peel Public Health and Adjunct Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

In his role at Peel Public Health, he provides strategic leadership to the Health Protection division (consisting of Environmental Health and Immunization Records), the Healthy Built Environment portfolio, and also leads the department’s digital strategy and strategic priority on advancing health equity. His work as faculty at Dalla Lana has included research into global health training experiences and teaching with the public health and preventive medicine residency program.

He completed undergraduate training and medical school at the University of Western Ontario and residency at the University of Toronto, during which he also earned a Master of Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He holds certifications in family medicine in Canada and in public health and preventive medicine in both Canada and the United States.


Other PH SPOT resources:


Before you go…

  • Do you have a topic that you would like us to cover or a guest we should sit down with? Tell us using this form.


Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on email

About the Show

PH SPOTlight: Public health career stories, inspiration, and guidance from current-day public health heroes

On the show, Sujani sits down with public health heroes of our time to share career stories, inspiration, and guidance for building public health careers. From time to time, she also has conversations with friends of public health – individuals who are not public health professionals, but their advice and guidance are equally important.

Join the PH SPOT public health community

A place where passionate public health professionals commit to take their career to the next level – there is no other place like it online!

Weekly emails, with early access to public health jobs, intern positions, upcoming posts, special bonus guides and resources. We hope to make something that sparks joy when you see it in your inbox ✨

If you’re not enjoying them, you can unsubscribe instantly. 💨


A simple template to get you started.

We will also add you to our Public Health community so that you can receive more awesome stuff from us. If you’re not enjoying them, you can unsubscribe instantly.

Hi there! Can I share something amazing with you?