Edmonton-based medical hero inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

LONDON, ON, April 24, 2014 /CNW/ - The late Dr. Walter C. Mackenzie, Edmonton-based world renowned visionary of academic medicine, was recognized as a Canadian medical hero with induction into The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame at a gathering of more than 575 Canadian health care and business leaders in Kingston, Ontario.

Annually The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame elevates a select few of our country's most brilliant health care professionals to laureate status. Laureates are those who have pushed the boundaries of discovery and innovation beyond the realm of possibility to make the world a better place.

One of six inductees, the late Dr. Walter C. Mackenzie joined the ranks of 101 Laureates before him in receiving this prestigious national honour. Nominated for his passion, innovation and visionary leadership that has improved health worldwide, the late Dr. Walter C. Mackenzie was selected for this honour by a selection panel comprising national health leaders and chaired by Dr. Alain Beaudet of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Honorary Co-Chairs Hon. Hugh Segal and Daniel Woolf, Principal & Vice Chancellor of Queen's University celebrated along with 2014 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Induction Co-Chairs Dr. Richard Reznick, Dean – Faculty of Health Sciences and Dr. Tom Harris, Vice-Principal Advancement, Queen's University.

Dr. Mackenzie was a true visionary and surgical statesman who fostered the concept of modern academic health centers to enhance education, research, and patient care during his illustrious career.   His influential, congenial and forward thinking style penetrated the spirit of the entire Faculty of Medicine as he built strong medicine and surgical programs and assumed tremendous leadership in medical education. Today, the modern Walter C. Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre sits on the University of Alberta campus so named in recognition of his vision and venerable leadership.     

Born in 1909 in Glace Bay, Cape Breton, Dr. Mackenzie received his BSc in 1927 and MD in 1932 from Dalhousie University and was honored as one of two Malcolm Honor Society Medal Winners.  He began surgery training at McGill then moved to the Mayo Clinic in 1933 to complete his MSc. In 1938 his new surgical practice in Edmonton was soon interrupted by service in the Royal Canadian Navy where he was rapidly promoted to Surgeon-Commander.  He retired in 1945 having been awarded a Star Medal, the CVSM Medal, War Medal and a Defense Medal for his service to Canada.

From instructor at the University of Alberta, Dr. Mackenzie rose to Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery in 1950. In short order he established seven sub-specialty departments and implemented rigorous standards for the selection of staff, assessing soft skills alongside research achievements, not a typical approach in the early sixties. As Dean of the Faculty of Medicine from 1959 to 1974 he transformed the medical school with a commitment to excellence, growing research funding from $500,000 to well over $4 million, attracting world class talent to work in an equally world class environment while helping to build the McEachern Laboratory and the Surgical-Medical  Research Laboratory. His proactive work with Premier Peter Lougheed inspired the concept of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research.

Dr. Mackenzie was president of 12 of the 25 medical organizations to which he belonged including the American College of Surgeons and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Conducting a very busy surgical practice in conjunction with his various medical administrative responsibilities, he published 80 peer-reviewed papers and was recognized with four international fellowships, three honorary degrees and many prestigious awards including the Order of Canada during its inaugural year and the very prestigious FNG Starr Award by the Canadian Medical Association.  

Available Resources

  1. The late Dr. Walter C. Mackenzie's full bio and high resolution photo available upon request.
  2. Laureate bios and information about The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame available anytime at www.cdnmedhall.org.

About The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 
Established in 1994 and located in London, Ontario, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is the only national Hall of Fame in the world dedicated to celebrating medical heroes. By creating an enduring tribute to those men and women who through discovery and innovation have contributed to better health in Canada and the world, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame inspires the pursuit of careers in the health sciences fostering future innovators and leaders.

SOURCE: The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

For further information: Sharon Lomas, Communications and Media Relations, 519.319.0908 / slomas@cdnmedhall.org


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