Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“If you don't stand tall enough, you won’t see far enough.”

© Steve Tracy and CMHF
2015 Inductee

Bernard Langer, MD

May 23, 1932, Toronto, Ontario
MD - The University of Toronto
Bernard Langer is recognized as a true innovator, gifted surgeon and respected teacher. A mentor and role model for his colleagues, his reputation for clinical excellence was unsurpassed during his surgical career. His pioneering policies and programs transformed a strong clinical department at the Toronto General Hospital into one that remains highly, academically productive. Considered a global pioneer of hepatobiliary/pancreatic (HPB) surgery, Dr. Langer developed a world leading academic HPB and liver transplant service. His growing legacy of more than 70 fellows practicing HPB & transplant surgery throughout the world is tangible evidence of Dr. Langer’s truly remarkable global influence.

Upon completion of his medical degree, Dr. Langer completed postgraduate surgical training in Toronto, Houston and Boston.  He joined the Toronto General Hospital as a staff surgeon in 1963 and was appointed head of the division of general surgery in 1972. During his 17 year tenure, this division evolved from a broad-based clinical and teaching service to one with focused interests in specialty areas, placing equal importance on clinical care, teaching and research.  

In 1982 Dr. Langer was appointed the Col. R.S. McLaughlin Professor and Chair for the Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Revolutionary in its time, he established the Surgeon Scientist Program, which provides structured high quality research training for surgical residents interested in careers in academic medicine. This is now a widely recognized and emulated model for training academic surgeons in Canada and in other countries. As a result of this program, numerous surgeons who graduated from the University of Toronto with combined training in surgical specialties, as well as advanced research training, now occupy leadership positions in departments of surgery across Canada and elsewhere.  

As a member of council and then president of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Dr. Langer was instrumental in the creation of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Clinician Investigator Program and in the formation of the Canadian Patient Safety Institute.

Dr. Langer was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002.

Learn More: 

The Story of Bernie Langer: UHN Oral History Project