Born:

April 17, 1851

(Farmersville, Ontario)

Died:

June 30, 1925

Education:

MD, University of Michigan (1876)

Awards & Honours:

Order of the Double Dragon

Picture of Leonora King

Became Canada’s first female medical missionary to China

Dr. Leonara King

A pioneer for women in medicine and a champion of care for those in need

After graduating with her MD, Dr. King spent almost fifty years as a Methodist missionary doctor in the northern Chinese province of Chihli. Besides practicing medicine and teaching public health – she devoted her work mainly to the care of women and children – she exerted her influence with local nobles to set up dispensaries, hospitals, and even a Government Medical School for Women, which trained doctors and nurses in Tientsin. At a time when foreigners were viewed with suspicion in China, Dr. King fostered international understanding in an exemplary way through her medical work and her sacrifice of self for the benefit of others.

Key Facts

Was one of only 39 female students in a medical class of 314

The second woman to practice medicine in China

Became the first Western woman to be honoured as a Mandarin

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

In not fearing the unknown and by choosing to care for those society dismissed, Dr. King has become a true inspiration. The hospitals she established and the medical training program she developed improved the lives of many, especially women and children. As of 2011, more than fifty percent of students at China Medical University were women. Today, Dr. King’s life serves as a powerful model for those who challenge the status quo, pursue new ideas, and strive for selfless devotion to patients in need.

Picture of Leonora King

2001

  • Leonora King posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    London, Ontario

  • The WFMS opened a new Isabella Fisher Hospital

    A room was named in honour of Leonora King.

  • With the financial support of Lady Li, Leonora King established a medical school for women

    Patient Care

    Opened in Tienstin, the school aimed to provide medical education for Chinese women to become doctors and nurses.

  • During the war with Japan, King treated hundreds of wounded soldiers.

    This care gained the attention and respect of Chinese royalty.

  • King established the Government Hospital for Women and Children

    The Early Days - Health Care Pioneers

    This hospital was opened with the support Lady Li.

  • The Methodists opened the Isabella Fisher Hospital

    King became the manager of the hospital until her marriage to Alexander M. King of the London Missionary Society in 1884.

  • King began attending to Lady Li Hung Chang, wife of the Viceroy

    Patient Care

    Impressed by her skills, she asked King to stay and establish a women’s ward at the medical dispensary in Tianjin.

  • King travelled to present-day Beijing

    Her travel and work in China was supported by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

  • After being denied entry into medical school in Canada, King was accepted at the University of Michigan.

    She graduated with honours in 1876.

1872

She was a dedicated, courageous and professional woman.

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