Search for "medicine"

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Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Established in 1994, the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) is a national charitable organization. The mission of the CMHF is to “recognize and celebrate Canadian health leaders whose work has advanced health and inspires the pursuit of careers in the health sciences.” As of 2006, up to six individuals are inducted into the CMHF annually. Laureates are featured at the CMHF’s Exhibit Hall in London, Ontario, and online through the CMHF’s official website.

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Indigenous Peoples' Medicine in Canada

Since time immemorial Indigenous peoples in Canada have been using plants and other natural materials as medicine. Plant medicines are used more frequently than those derived from animals. In all, Indigenous peoples have identified over 400 different species of plants (as well as lichens, fungi and algae) with medicinal applications. Medicine traditions — the plants used, the ailments treated, protocols for harvesting and application, and modes of preparation — are similar for Indigenous peoples across the country. In many Indigenous communities, there are recognized specialists trained in traditional medicine, and their practice often reflects spiritual aspects of healing as well as physical outcomes. In many cases, the therapeutic properties of Indigenous medicines are attributable to particular compounds and their effects on the body, but in other instances, their application is little understood by western medical practitioners. Within Indigenous communities, specific methods of harvesting and preparation of medicines are considered intellectual property of particular individuals or families.

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Vera Peters

Mildred Vera Lobb (née Peters), OC, physician, radiation oncologist, researcher (born 28 April 1911 in Thistletown, ON; died 1 October 1993 in Toronto, ON). Known professionally as Dr. Vera Peters, she conducted groundbreaking research on Hodgkin’s disease, now known as Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and breast cancer, which led to changes in the way these diseases are treated. (See also Cancer; Breast Cancer Research in Canada.) Peters was also a pioneer of patient-centered care, which prioritizes patients in the decision-making process for medical treatment, and which is now the standard model in health care.

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Alban Perrier

Alban Perrier, M.D. (born 10 January 1942 in Hemmingford, Quebec). A versatile, gifted physician, Dr. Perrier is the founder and President of the Polyclinique Médicale Concorde, established in 1973 in Laval, Quebec.

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Childbirth in Canada

Childbirth is the beginning of a child’s life and a powerful rite of passage for the mother. Methods vary according to culture and time periods. Before the 19th century, Canadians relied mostly on the help of midwives, as well as prayers and even superstitions, to face the intense pains of contractions. Advances in the field of obstetrics in the 19th and 20th centuries introduced new ways of shortening the length of childbirth and managing its pains. Those developments also resulted in the transition of childbirth from homes to hospitals. Today, the different methods of childbirth can involve the help of physicians, midwives and doulas.

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Norman Bethune

Henry Norman Bethune, surgeon, inventor, political activist (born 4 March 1890 in Gravenhurst, ON; died 12 November 1939 in Huang Shiko, China). Norman Bethune was an innovative thoracic surgeon who made significant contributions in the field, including the invention or redesign of surgical instruments. He was also an early advocate of universal health care in Canada. A member of the Communist Party, Bethune volunteered during the Spanish Civil War, where he pioneered the mobile blood transfusion unit. In 1938, he travelled to China, where he became a battlefield surgeon for Chinese Communist forces under Mao Zedong. Bethune’s commitment to the welfare of soldiers and civilians during the Sino-Japanese War made him a hero in the People's Republic of China.

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Sir William Osler

Sir William Osler, physician, writer, educator (born 12 July 1849 in Bond Head, Canada West [Ontario]; died 29 December 1919 in Oxford, England). Osler was a physician and professor of medicine who helped revolutionize medical education. He insisted that medical students spend less time in the lecture hall and more time with patients; he also developed the medical residency program. Osler was a prolific writer whose textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine (1892), was published in many editions. He was also a bibliophile and historian of medicine whose collection was donated to McGill University.

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Jennie Smillie

Jennie Smillie Robertson, physician, surgeon and teacher (born 10 February 1878 in Huron County, ON; died 26 February 1981 in Toronto, ON). Smillie is considered the first recorded female surgeon to practise in Ontario. She also performed the first major gynecological surgery in Canada.

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Jacalyn Duffin

Jacalyn Duffin, MD, FRCP, PhD, CM, hematologist and medical historian (born 9 June 1950 in Thorndale, Ontario). Duffin began her medical career as a hematologist and became a medical historian and professor of medical history. She is a champion of the medical humanities, an interdisciplinary field of study that explores the arts, humanities and social sciences as they relate to healthcare education and practice. She has published numerous books and articles in the field and was president of the American Association for the History of Medicine (AAHM) and the Canadian Society for the History of Medicine. Duffin received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the AAHM in 2019 and was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 2020.

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Theodore Drake

Theodore George Gustavus Harwood Drake, physician, historian, collector (born 16 September 1891 in Webbwood, ON; died 28 October 1959 in Toronto, ON). Drake is perhaps best known for his contributions towards the development of the infant cereal, Pablum.

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Emily Stowe

Emily Howard Jennings Stowe, physician, teacher, school principal, suffragist (born 1 May 1831 in Norwich, Ontario; died 30 April 1903 in Toronto, Ontario). Stowe was a founder of the Canadian Women’s Suffrage Association. She is considered to be the first female physician to publicly practise medicine in Ontario. She was also the first female principal of a public school in Ontario. 

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Nadine Caron

Nadine Rena Caron, surgeon, researcher, mentor, educator, patient advocate, community leader (born 1970 in Kamloops, BC). Nadine Caron was the first female First Nations student to graduate from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine. She was also the first female First Nations general surgeon in Canada. For many years, Caron has highlighted the needs and voices of northern, rural and Indigenous populations in Canada.

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John A. Hopps

John Alexander (Jack) Hopps, OC, inventor, research scientist (born 21 May 1919 in Winnipeg, MB; died 24 November 1998 in Ottawa, ON). Early in his lengthy career at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Hopps was recruited to design a cardiac pacemaker with a team of scientists at the Banting Institute in Toronto. His invention of a portable artificial external pacemaker, designed at the NRC, was successfully tested on a dog in 1950. The creation of the device was a significant medical milestone that laid the groundwork for implantable pacemakers in humans.

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George C. Ebers

George Cornell Ebers, neurologist, researcher (born 24 July 1946 in Budapest, Hungary). Ebers has published extensively with more than 300 publications in peer-reviewed journals, three books, 25 book chapters, and multiple editorials to his name. He has contributed significant medical research into multiple sclerosis (MS). A former professor at Western University and the University of Oxford, Ebers was awarded the John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.

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Wilfred Bigelow

Wilfred Gordon Bigelow, OC, surgeon (born 18 June 1913 in Brandon, MB; died 27 March 2005 in Toronto, ON). Dr. Bigelow's special contribution to surgery of the heart was the use of hypothermia to slow tissue metabolism and protect the heart and brain from damage (see Cold Weather Injuries). His research on hypothermia also led to him to co-develop the portable artificial external cardiac pacemaker in 1950. This medical innovation contributed to the development of implantable cardiac pacemakers.