"Father of Family Medicine" dies

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dr. Ian McWhinney, widely regarded as the "Father of Family Medicine," died Friday, September 28, in Saskatoon at the age of 85 years. Dr. McWhinney came to Canada from England in 1968 and became the first Professor of Family Medicine in Canada and the first Chair of the Department of Family Medicine at Western University.

Dr. McWhinney laid the groundwork for the establishment of Family Medicine as an academic discipline. He was the founder of the Graduate Studies Program in Family Medicine at Western in 1975. This program has received international acclaim and has graduated numerous Masters of Clinical Science students who now work in academic Family Medicine in Canada and around the world.

In 1986, he founded the Centre for Studies in Family Medicine which is known worldwide for the quality of its research. He has been the author of over 100 papers and the widely acclaimed Textbook of Family Medicine, first published in 1989 and now in its third edition.

In honour of his work, Dr. McWhinney received two honorary degrees, from the University of Oslo and The University of Western Ontario in 2000. He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1998, and was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2006.

He was predeceased by his beloved wife Betty in 2004. He is survived by his sister Pat and two daughters,Heather and Julie, and 3 grandchildren.

A memorial service to remember Dr. McWhinney and his contributions to family medicine and Western University will be held later this fall. Donations may be made to the Ian McWhinney Chair in Family Medicine through Foundation Western.