The Aitken Memorial Lecture Series

The Aitken Memorial Lecture series was established in 1991 through an endowment from Drs. Ron and Elizabeth Aitken, anesthesiologists operating out of London, Ontario. It is held annualy by the Departments of Clinical Neurological Sciences and Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine. Traditionally, the invited speaker gives a talk at both Anesthesia Grand Rounds and CNS Grand Rounds.

The Aitken name is closely associated with the development of anesthesia as a specialty in London. Dr. Ron Aitken’s father, Dr. George W.A. Aitken, was a general practitioner and one of the first physicians in London to limit his practice to anesthesia (1924-58). Ron Aitken graduated from Western in 1943. His junior internship at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto was devoted to anesthesia, and after he was commissioned to the RCAMC (May 1944), he had various postings in Canada as an Anesthetist. On discharge, he became the first official resident in Anesthesia at Victoria Hospital (1947-48).

In 1949, after a final year’s residency in Vancouver under Dr. Digby Leigh, he was appointed to the teaching staff at Victoria Hospital. In 1950, Dr. Aitken married his fellow resident, Dr. Elizabeth Johnson of Winnipeg. Both served as exemplary models to the medical community in London until retirement in 1983. Dr. Ron Aitken worked closely with Dr. Charles Drake while Dr. Drake was developing his revolutionary surgical approaches to difficult intracranial aneurysms. Dr. Aitken provided the neuro- anesthetic techniques, especially induced hypotension, that made this difficult surgery possible and that established neuro- anesthesia as a specialty at Western.

During his 30 years of practice in London, Dr. Ron Aitken was highly esteemed as a superb clinician and clinical teacher and as a pioneer of clinical neuroanesthesia. The Aitken Lecture was established to highlight developments in the science and practice of neuroanesthesia.


The 2018 Aitken Memorial Lecture will be given at CNS Grand Rounds. Dr. Brambrink’s lecture will look at “Sedatives and anesthetics during brain development: evidence from the non-human primate laboratory.”

Date: Tuesday November 13th, 2018, Time TBD

Location: University Hospital, Auditorium A

Objectives for the CNS lecture:


The 2017 Aitken Memorial Lecture in Neuroanesthesia will be given at Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine Grand Rounds. Dr. Brambrink’s lecture will look at “Neurobehavioral effects of anesthesia & surgery early in life: what do we currently know.”

Date: Wednesday November 14th, 2018, 7:15 a.m.

Location: University Hospital, Auditorium A

Objectives for the Anesthesia lecture:

  1. The participants will learn the effects of anesthesia on the brain of infants and children.
  2. After the lecture, the participants will be able to the name several important studies related to this topic in the field of anesthesiology.


Past Lectures

2017 - Kim Burchiel

2015 - Pirjo Manninen

2014 - Jeanne Teitelbaum

2013 - Beverley Orser

2012 - M. Shazam Hussain

2011 - Andres M. Lozano

2010 - Adrian W. Gelb

2007 - Michael M. Todd

2006 - Garnette Sutherland

2004 - G. Bryan Young

2003 - William L. Young

2002 - A. Leland Albright

2001 - Henry J.M. Barnett

2000 - Claudia S. Robertson

1999 - Per-Olog Grände

1998 - Graham M. Teasdale

1997 - John Drummond

1996 - Ludwig M. Auer

1995 - Arthur M. Lam

1994 - Robert L. Martuza

1993 - William L. Lanier, Jr.

1992 - Ronald R. Tasker

1991 - David S. Warner

1990 - Robert L. Grubb, Jr.

1989 - James Cottrell

1988 - Antoine Hakim

1987 - William Fitch

1986 - Jens Astrup