Building our health organizations and systems Women in Medicine

The presence of women in medicine, particularly in surgery and as physicians, can be traced to earliest human history. However, it was only at the start of the 20th century that most countries began to provide women with equal access to medical education and subsequent practice.  Our women CMHF Laureates have helped, and continue to help, pave the way for future generations of women health heroes in Canada.

Surgeon Doctor and patient
  1. 1910

  2. 1920

  3. 1930

  4. 1931

    Elizabeth Bagshaw became Director of the Planned Parenthood Society

  5. 1932

    Elizabeth Bagshaw founded Canada’s first birth control clinic

  6. 1936

    Dr. Maude Abbott published her ATLAS OF CONGENITAL CARDIAC DISEASE in which she outlined a new classification system for congenital heart diseases

  7. 1940

  8. 1950

  9. 1950

    Dr. M. Vera Peters published her landmark study that suggested early-stage Hodgkin’s was potentially curable with radiation therapy

  10. 1951

    World’s first non-commercial cobalt-60 therapy unit went into operation at the University of Saskatchewan

  11. 1960

  12. 1970

  13. 1970

    Dr. Bette Stephenson was elected President of the Ontario Medical Association, the first woman to hold the position in its 90-year history

  14. 1971

    Lucille Teasdale-Corti became a war surgeon in Uganda

  15. 1973

    Dr. Stephenson was elected President of the Canadian Medical Association, the first woman to hold the position in its 106-year history

  16. 1975

    Dr. Peters published the first controlled study to demonstrate that lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy had success outcomes equal to or better than more radical procedures

  17. 1975

    May Cohen led a federal government workshop on women’s health care, as part of the Canadian government’s response to International Women’s Year

  18. 1980

  19. 1983

    Roberta Bondar was chosen from more than 4,000 applicants for Canada’s astronaut program

  20. 1988

    As a skilled administrator, Dr. Jean Gray became Associate Dean of Post-Graduate Medical Education at Dalhousie University

  21. 1988

    Dr. Jacalyn Duffin became the Hannah Chair in the History of Medicine at Queen’s University

  22. 1990

  23. 1992

    On the space craft DISCOVERY, Dr. Bondar circled our planet at thirty thousand kilometres per hour, situated three hundred kilometres above Earth

  24. 1995

    Dr. Judith G. Hall’s medical expertise and capacity for leadership was well-respected internationally

  25. 1995

    The Ottawa Health Decision Center was founded by Annette O'Connor and her team

  26. 2000

  27. 2001

    Connie Eaves became the first researcher in Vancouver to commence investigations of human embryonic stem cells (ES) and human induced pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)

  28. 2001

    When the Canadian Institutes of Health Research was formed, Dr. Jean Gray was asked to chair the Institute of Gender and Health Advisory Board

  29. 2010

  30. 2012

    Dr. Rockman-Greenberg was named one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women for her work supporting vulnerable communities.

  31. 2020

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.