Born in the United Kingdom in 1943, Dr. Perry Kendall completed his undergraduate medical training at University College Hospital Medical School in 1968 and interned at the Seaman’s Hospital in Greenwich, before spending a year as Senior House Officer at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. In 1972, he moved to Toronto, Ontario and spent two years working in general practice and at Toronto’s Hassle Free Clinic.
In 1974, he moved to Vancouver and worked for the Vancouver Health Department’s Pine Free Clinic and East Health unit while acquiring a Master’s Degree in Health Care Planning and Epidemiology and a Fellowship in Community Medicine. In 1984, he returned to Ontario and was the Manager, Disease Control and Epidemiology Services with the Ontario Ministry of Health, until 1987. He then returned to BC as Medical Officer of Health for the Capital Regional District, in which capacity he opened one of Canada’s first needle exchange programs. In 1989 he took on the role of Medical Health Officer for the City of Toronto, a position he held for six years during which time he pioneered programs for AIDS/HIV and drug abuse prevention, established Harm Reduction as the official City policy for substance abuse and was involved in developing and promoting the City’s comprehensive tobacco control by-laws.
In 1993, Dr. Kendall spent a year on secondment to the Deputy Minister of Health as Special Advisor on Long Term Care and Population Health. In March 1995, he was appointed President and CEO of the Addiction Research Foundation of Ontario, one of six academic health science centres in Toronto and a WHO Collaborating Centre, a position he held until the Foundation’s amalgamation with three other hospitals to form the Addiction and Mental Health Services Corporation on January 23, 1998. In April 1998, he took on the position of Vice-President, Seniors’ Health, with the Capital Health Region in Victoria. May 3, 1999, Dr. Kendall was appointed to the position of Provincial Health Officer for the province of British Columbia. During his term as BC’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Kendall received a variety of awards and recognition. In particular he was awarded the Order of BC in June 2005, he received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award in June 2013 and the BC Premier’s Legacy Award in October 2015.