John McCrae to be inducted into Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Guelph’s John McCrae is one of six “medical heroes” being inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2015 for contributions to the field of medicine and health sciences.

An event to honour the late McCrae and five other inductees will be held on April 23, 2015 in Winnipeg.

Guelph Museums partnered with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada to create a compelling nomination that highlighted Dr. McCrae’s medical career.

“We’re very pleased and proud that John McCrae will be inducted in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2015,” says Bev Dietrich, curator at Guelph Museums and co-author of the nomination. “It is so fitting that this honour is happening 100 years after he wrote the famous First World War poem ‘In Flanders Fields.’”

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame honours innovators and pioneers in the field of medicine and health sciences whose contributions significantly improve the state of health and healthcare in Canada and the world.

“Guelph is very proud to be the birthplace of John McCrae. Most of us know about his contributions as a poet and soldier, but this honour shines a new light on his tremendous contributions as a doctor,” says Mayor Karen Farbridge.

McCrae was an incredibly accomplished physician in his lifetime, and his research significantly advanced an understanding of tuberculosis, scarlet fever, nephritis and lobar pneumonia. He received his medical degree in 1898 from University of Toronto before completing an internship at Johns Hopkins University, and a pathology fellowship and laboratory training at McGill University.

He served as a medical officer during the First World War, writing ‘In Flanders Fields’ on May 3, 1915, following the Second Battle of Ypres. The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame nomination letter observes, “the fact that in 1915, Dr. McCrae wrote ‘In Flanders Fields,’ the most famous Canadian poem of the First World War, while resting from his dressing station duties gives one pause, for since 1915, the ‘torch’ of dedication and leadership in wartime medical service has impelled Canada to the forefront during subsequent wars.” McCrae died in 1918 of pneumonia and meningitis.