Dr. Harold Merskey to receive honorary degree from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Harold Merskey is a champion of patient care, civil rights and psychological pain research. He has devoted his professional career to scientific excellence and is one of the world’s leading pain specialists.

Dr. Merskey graduated with a bachelor of medicine, bachelor of surgery from Oxford University in 1953. He also holds a doctorate in medicine from Oxford. He began his medical career in the United Kingdom, assuming medical and surgical roles at several hospitals, including as a consultant psychiatrist at Saxondale Hospital in Nottingham and as a physician in psychological medicine at the National Hospitals for Nervous Diseases in London.

He moved to Canada in 1976 to join the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry as an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry. In the same year, Dr. Merskey took on the roles of director of education and director of research at the Parkwood Institute, positions he held for more than a decade.

During his time at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, Dr. Merskey held cross appointments with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Facial Pain Research Unit at Schulich Dentistry. He also served as an associate scientist at Robarts Research Institute from its founding in 1986 and led the Dementia Study Group at Western University from 1987-1994.

An accomplished researcher, Dr. Merskey greatly advanced the field of pain research. Through his work, he demonstrated the connection between pain, physical illness and psychology. As a scholar, he has published and co-authored 10 books and more than 460 book chapters, articles, invited editorials and scientific letters on neurological aspects of psychiatry, chronic pain, false memory syndrome and social psychiatry.

Dr. Merksey has made significant contributions to a number of national and international organizations. He is the founding chair of the International Pain Classification Committee and the founding editor of Pain Research & Management, the Canadian Pain Society’s peer-reviewed journal for research and clinical studies in pain management. Dr. Merskey’s involvement with the Canadian Pain Society has spanned his career in Canada, and he served as president of the Society from 1988-1991.

Throughout his career as a physician and researcher, Dr. Merskey has advocated for patients suffering from pain and dementia, as well as publicly denounced human rights abuses taking place in the former Soviet Union under the guise of psychiatric diagnoses.

For his significant accomplishments, Dr. Merskey has received a Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Career Award from the Canadian Pain Society. He is recognized as a member of the Royal College of Physicians of London, and an honorary member of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, American Academy of Oral Medicine and the International Association for the Study of Pain.

In 1994, Dr. Merskey retired and assumed the position of Professor Emeritus at Western University. He continues to contribute to scientific literature and remains a strong advocate for psychiatric patients.

The Medicine Convocation Ceremony is taking place at Alumni Hall on Friday, May 13 at 9:30 a.m. Bookmark the Livestream channel to watch the Ceremony online.