Dr. Ian McWhinney (1926-2012). Born in Burnley, England, Dr. McWhinney received his medical training at Cambridge and St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. After practicing for 14 years in Stratford-upon-Avon, he emigrated to London, Ontario, where in 1967, he became the first professor and chair of family medicine in Canada at Western University. With his colleagues at Western University, McWhinney transformed family medicine worldwide from an unacknowledged subject into an academic discipline with undergraduate courses, postgraduate training and a patient-centred clinical method. In a June 2000 convocation address at Western University, he said, “It was a courageous act for Western [University] to create a chair of family medicine - creating a new academic unit in a university recognizes the existence of a distinct body of knowledge.” At that time, the body of knowledge we now call family medicine had hardly begun to be articulated. "There were many doubters and sceptics - the articulation of this knowledge has to be one of our chief tasks." In 1997, Dr. McWhinney was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has honorary degrees from the University of Oslo and Western University. In 2006, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Circa 2000 in an interview with a member of the Medicine Class of 1966, McWhinney expressed his concern about the increasing fragmentation of family medicine and the apparent erosion of continuity of care - a basic tenet of family medicine. His observations and concerns contributed substantially to the Medicine Class of 1966 Professionalism Project becoming a reality.