Dr. Watters' speech at the Dean's Lunch

Living History
Written on: 
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Class of: 

We set out on this very retrospective study with the feeling that our class was exceptional. We may have shown that we were at least peculiar.

One peculiarity was our youth at graduation - a median age of 23 years. In those days we went straight from high school into six years of medical school. As Barney has noted, to ready us for the war, holidays were cancelled, shaving more than a year from our course. And the junior internship year was shrunk to eight months.

Not surprisingly then, when we were discharged from the armed services two years later, we felt a need for more training. A remarkable 91% of us undertook one or more years of additional residency, aided by a $50/month educational grant to veterans. Residencies were often unpaid, just bed and meals - Sick Kids did pay a four dollar a month allowance for laundry - withheld from the female residents, who were
expected to do their own.

More than half, 57% of our class, went on to Fellowship in the Royal College, with a further sixteen passing American Specialty Boards. There were nine DPHs, so that three quarters of the class were specialists - needed as patterns of care were changing.

And we were an academic bunch. Fifty-five of our class of 127 held university appointments, including 26 full professors, 18 university department and division heads, and five deans and associate deans of medicine.

Eleven of the class were presidents of national associations. There were too many other distinctions and awards and honorary degrees to list now - they are in the book. I will mention that we had four members of the Order of Canada, two of whom are here with us today.