Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Recognizing and celebrating Canadian heroes whose work has advanced health, here and around the world, and inspiring the pursuit of careers in the health sciences.

Honouring Excellence. Preserving History. Connecting Generations.

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Dr. Chisholm, who began his medical career as a physician in private practice, effectively became “Doctor to the World,” with a practice embracing 3 billion people, helping build the cooperative international institutions that sustain the world today.Born in Oakville, Ontario in 1896, Dr. Chisholm enlisted as a soldier in 1915, serving in France where he was twice wounded and decorated for heroism.  He later earned his MD from the University of Toronto in 1924, interned in England specializing in psychiatry, and continued his studies in children’s mental health at Yale, where he embraced the impact of the social determinants of health. Establishing Toronto’s first private psychiatric practice in the height of the Depression, Dr. Chisholm would accept ‘payment in kind’ from his patients who could not pay in cash.During the Second World War, he served as Director General of Medical Services, the Canadian Army’s highest ranking medical position, and in 1944, was named first Canadian Deputy Minister of Health.  In 1946, Dr. Chisholm declared in a WHO planning meeting that health should be defined as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  This enlightened summary is now enshrined in the WHO’s constitution.Dr. Chisholm’s career was not without controversy. He was a fiercely independent thinker with strong views on children’s education and social justice, and he was sometimes accused, at a time when such accusations were common, of communist sympathies for his passionate internationalism and his advocacy of secular scientific reason. He was a profound critic of the dangers of nuclear war, and one of the first to warn about industrial pollution and uncontrolled population growth.Dr. Chisholm had seen war firsthand, as a soldier in the First World War, and as a medical administrator in the Second. He knew the devastation and cruelty of war as both a common soldier and a high-ranking officer. He held considerable power from 1945 to 1953, and he used that power to promote one of the most durable and positive international organizations the world has ever known. He believed in the possibility of enlightened international cooperation, and he helped to achieve it for all of us.
2019 Inductee
For several decades, as Secretary General and President of ISHR, Dr. Dhalla has worked to internationalize research in basic cardiovascular science, helping to extend its health benefits globally, an objective powerfully reinforced by the community health focus of the IACS.  Together, these organizations have significantly strengthened cardiovascular research in both Canada and the world.In a career spanning more than 50 years, Dr. Dhalla has served as Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry” and Associate Editor of the “Canadian Journal of Cardiology,” while serving on many editorial boards for other distinguished national and international publications.  He has received hundreds of honours and awards, served for 19 years as Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Science at St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba, edited/authored more than 50 books, trained more than 150 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows as well as visiting scientists, and presented at more than 500 conferences worldwide.  Through these prodigious efforts, Dr. Dhalla has individually advanced the knowledge and resources of cardiovascular science.In 2001, Dr. Dhalla was instrumental in bringing more than 2000 professionals to Winnipeg for a meeting of the World Heart Congress, helping to establish Canada as a centre of cardiovascular science and research.  In recognition of his service both to Canada and in the world community, Dr. Dhalla was elected Honorary Life President of the IACS in 2014, and was awarded Honorary Doctorate Degrees from different Universities.  He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and Member of Order of Canada and Order of Manitoba.          For ordinary citizens, the work and accomplishments of this devoted scientist means significant improvements in medical treatment and health.  As people live longer, they are increasingly likely to experience challenges of cardiovascular disease.  As more people face these challenges, the work of Dr. Dhalla holds out promise for better quality of life, as well as longer life.  The internationalization work promoted by Dr. Dhalla helps to ensure that the benefits of scientific knowledge will be shared worldwide, which strengthens the world community.  The organizational skill, achievement, and tremendous energy of great scientific internationalists like Dr. Dhalla builds the networks of scientific exchange and brings knowledge into communities and the lives of individual men and women.
2019 Inductee
Born in rural Saskatchewan, Dr. Dosman grew up with firsthand experience of the challenges of farming and the demands of rural work. As a physician and specialist in respiratory medicine, he early encountered the effects of dust exposure among grain workers in Canada, which led to the establishment of a nationwide database supporting research and training, later emulated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the United States. Dr. Dosman went on to develop the Centre for Agricultural Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, which became the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture, Canada’s only diversified centre for research, teaching, prevention and service related to agriculture and rural life. Working with local governments in rural municipalities, Dr. Dosman formed the Agricultural Health and Safety Network, bringing health care knowledge into rural communities, serving many thousands of farm families.Dr. Dosman’s work to improve the health and safety of Canadian farmers eventually led to improvements worldwide. His development of the Canadian Coalition for Health and Safety in Agriculture (now Canadian Agriculture Safety Association) helped secure ongoing federal funding for the Canadian Agriculture Safety Program, and as a crowning achievement, Dr. Dosman led the ILO effort to design an international code, Safety and Health in Agriculture (Geneva: ILO, 2011), bringing health care standards to millions of farmers and agricultural workers worldwide. He currently serves as President and CEO of Agrivita Canada Inc., a non-profit company he helped form, promoting research, public health and safety in agriculture through the Canadian AgriSafety Applied Research Program.Dr. Dosman has been much honoured. His research, publications, organizing skill, influence in developing regional and national policy, and contributions to global agricultural health standards constitute an enduring legacy for agricultural workers and farmers in Canada and the world.
2019 Inductee
A haematologist and historian, Dr. Duffin has assured that thousands of physicians and nurses appreciate the broader cultural and social contexts of their professions.  Modern medicine emphasizes mastery of scientific and technical information, but Dr. Duffin argues that the humanities, notably history, form part of balanced, effective training.Dr. Duffin’s research has addressed a wide array of topics, sources, places, and time periods: diagnostic technology, rural practice, drug development, disease concepts and health policy including an exploration of medical miracles in the Vatican archives. She runs an activist website about the current drug shortage crisis and an online collaboration to translate an important author of seventeenth century Rome. Her classic textbook, History of Medicine: A Scandalously Short Introduction, reprinted five times since its publication in 1999, and now in its second edition (2010), is read by students and lay audiences throughout the world. It presents encapsulated histories of medical specialties, featuring the cultural and social factors involved in their development. Concise and accessible, it introduces complex ideas about the social definition of illness and the moral ambiguity of discoveries and treatments.  Dr. Duffin has observed that “diseases are ideas,” an insight fundamental to all her work.Over a long and distinguished career, Dr. Duffin has written several books, published numerous articles, delivered many lectures, and received many professional and academic honours.  She is a much-admired and beloved teacher whose students established both an award for advocacy and a conference for humanities in her name.  Her passionate devotion to historical understanding as an inseparable element of humane practice inspires students, educators, and members of the general public.  Dr. Duffin invoked Clio, the ancient Greek muse of history in her anthology of essays by physicians who apply history in their clinical work.  In a sense, Dr. Duffin has served that role herself in the medicine of our time.
2019 Inductee
Dr. Eaves’ work, spanning four decades, has provided meaningful insight into the biology of leukemia and breast cancer. Her discoveries have advanced curative therapies for patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and identified “quiescent” CML stem cells, the first recognition of this cellular state as a hallmark of many types of chemo-resistant cancer stem cells.  The full import of this discovery has yet to be fully realized with continuing implications for ongoing cancer research.  Dr. Eaves has also pioneered robust methods for quantifying primitive hematopoietic and mammary cells from both mice and humans that have become “gold standards” and the basis of standardized reagents with significant commercial applications. These discoveries have had profound and internationally recognized impact on bone marrow transplantation treatments for both leukemia and breast cancer.Dr. Eaves has served as President of the National Cancer Institute of Canada, Associate Scientific Director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network, President of the International Society of Experimental Hematology, and on boards of the International Society of Stem Cell Research, the American Society of Hematology, Genome Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society.  She has published more than 500 papers, mentored more than 100 post-graduate trainees, and received numerous national and international awards and honours.  She is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Experimental Hematology.The work of Dr. Eaves exemplifies the new war against disease in the developed world.  We see increasing progress in understanding and treating diseases once considered irremediable.  Maintaining and advancing this work involves the life-time dedication of many thousands of scientists accumulating incremental discoveries over generations, which are finally translated into therapies and cures.  If leukemia and breast cancer are finally overcome, it will be due to the determined and sustained efforts of devoted basic researchers like Dr. Eaves.
2019 Inductee
Dr. Quirion has summarized the scope and purpose of his position and the role of research: “Research helps us to understand the social, economic, medical and environmental phenomena that surround us. It can also guide the decisions of governments, companies, public agencies and citizens. Research leads to incredible medical advances, ever more sophisticated and greener technologies, and the development of public policies and practices adapted to meet our needs.” Scientist-administrators like Dr. Quirion help insure that these great projects of science, grounded in basic research, will continue to generate social and economic benefits for Canada and the world.Dr. Quirion began his career with a PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Sherbrooke with a thesis focused on the role of neurotensin in cardiovascular and brain diseases. He then pursued postdoctoral training at the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, MD working on the mechanism of action of drugs of abuse including phencyclidine and opiates, and neuropeptides in the brain. He moved to the Department of Psychiatry at McGill and soon began development of the Douglas Hospital Research Centre (DHRC), which earned international recognition for research on Alzheimer’s disease and neuropeptide physiology as it relates to mental disorders.  The DHRC is currently Quebec’s largest mental health research institute.  His work at DHRC helped to elucidate the roles of the cholinergic system in Alzheimer’s disease, the neuropeptide Y in depression and memory, and the calcitonin gene–related peptide (CGRP) in pain and opiate tolerance.  In addition to his scientific research,  Dr. Quirion has served as Vice-Dean for Science and Strategic Initiatives at McGill, first Science Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA), and as Executive Director of CIHR International Collaborative Research Strategy for Alzheimer’s disease. With over 750 publications, Dr. Quirion is one of the world’s most frequently cited neuroscientists.  He has also trained almost a hundred graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, helping to build and nurture the next generation of young scientists. He has been much honoured nationally and internationally for his many scientific and administrative achievements.         As Chief Scientist, Dr. Quirion now chairs the boards of directors of the three Quebec Research Funds and advises the Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation on research and scientific development issues. He is the representative of scientific research to the public of Quebec, and of Quebec to the world.
2019 Inductee