Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“He is a pragmatic visionary with enormous talent.”

© Steve Tracy & CMHF
2015 Inductee

Duncan Sinclair PhD

November 2, 1933, Rochester, New York
DVM, VS - Ontario Veterinary College; MSc - The University of Toronto; PhD - Queen's University
Duncan Sinclair is an internationally recognized leader in health care reform. He has been a trusted advisor and counsellor to students, faculty, alumni, principals, premiers and prime ministers, all of whom hold him in the highest of esteem. The first non-MD to be Dean of Medicine in Canada, Dr. Sinclair led the creation of North America’s first alternative funding program for academic medicine, viewed as a gold standard in Canada for academic physician compensation.

Dr. Sinclair graduated from the University of Toronto, Ontario Veterinary College (DVM and VS) in 1958, where continued studies led to a masters of science in agriculture in 1960. Dr. Sinclair completed a PhD in physiology at Queen's University in 1963, followed by a Meres Senior Scholarship in Medical Research at St. John’s College, Cambridge University from 1963 – 1965. He then joined the faculty at Queen’s University in 1966 as a Markle Scholar in Academic Medicine.

After serving as Dean of Arts and Science from 1974 - 1983, Dr. Sinclair was then appointed to three vice principalships ‐ institutional relations, services, and health sciences. The latter appointment included a second deanship leading the faculty of medicine. As dean he redefined regional health care education, expanding and strengthening ties with partner hospitals.  In 1989, he received an Honorary Fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in recognition of his contributions to medical scholarship and education. 

Dr. Sinclair’s astute and pragmatic leadership was called upon in health care reform. He led the governance subcommittee of the Steering Committee for Review of the Public Hospitals Act in Ontario and achieved national recognition as a member of the National Forum on Health. As chair of the Health Services Restructuring Commission (HSRC) of Ontario (1996‐2000), his rational, courageous and diplomatic leadership led to a re‐defined health system in Ontario. This restructuring of hospitals and new alignment of health care institutions was necessary, but the environment was challenging. Planning principles and recommendations based upon the HSRC blueprint remain contemporary, with recent commissions echoing the call for similar implementation. 

Dr. Sinclair was founding chair and acting CEO of Canada Health Infoway/Inforoute Santé du Canada, an organization designed to foster the development of a national capacity for health information management. He continues contributions to scholarship, teaching and policy development as a Fellow of the School of Policy Studies of Queen’s University.