NOTE: This lecture will follow the Annual General Meeting of the Society which will begin at 7:30 pm.
Relevance of Sir Thomas Roddick’s leadership in Medicine in 1876-1912 to the establishment and implementation of Public Policy in Canada Today
Thomas Roddick was a son of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland who found his way into medicine through studies at the Nova Scotia Normal College and an apprenticeship with Dr. Samuel Muir in Truro, Nova Scotia. After graduating from the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University in 1868, he pursued a lifetime of leadership in the use of antisepsis in surgery, in establishing structure and procedures around casualty services for the Canadian militia, in expanding and rebuilding clinical and educational facilities at McGill and as the founder of the Medical Council of Canada (MCC). The latter was to be his most enduring innovation as it led to a fair and equitable standard for a nationally recognized qualification for medical licensure across provincial borders and the creation of a national physician registry. However, it was his persistent and tireless pursuit of the MCC that his strategic political tactics have established important lessons for the achievement of change for the public good. He excelled in the use of clear two-way communication tactics and painstaking negotiation within the restrictive framework of the British North America Act and its federal and provincial division of legislative powers. The management strategies and MCC governance format that he was able to achieve stand as a model for breaking down restrictive barriers to inter-provincial movement of goods and human resources. The concept of a national professional medical qualification within a constitutional federation became a model for the Americans. Further, the evolution of his ‘dream’ of formally linking collaborating partners within health profession regulatory and education communities has facilitated Canada’s role as an international leader in the measurement of quality of health care professionals and in emphasizing the public accountability of practicing physicians in the 21st century.