Western University celebrates Dr. Ian McWhinney, the founding father of family medicine

From kitchen tables to hospital boardrooms and government offices, the future of family medicine is one of the most talked about discussions taking place in Canada.

On September 23, 2015, Western University’s Schulich Medicine & Dentistry is welcoming medical professionals, students, community members and internationally renowned experts to celebrate the life of Dr. Ian McWhinney – the founding father of family medicine in Canada – with the inaugural Dr. Ian McWhinney Lecture Series.

The study of family medicine was developed by Dr. McWhinney who believed that the foundation between doctor and patient was the basis for better health for the individual. The knowledge, relationship and trust shared between patient and doctor was as fundamental to patient health as a blood test, examination or prescription.

The McWhinney Lecture Series is an opportunity for citizens and medical professionals alike to gain insight into the impact of Dr. McWhinney’s contribution to the practice of family medicine, not just in local communities, but internationally.

“The Dr. Ian McWhinney Lecture Series is a way of honouring Dr. McWhinney’s memory and recognizing the birthplace of family medicine here in London,” said Dr. Stephen Wetmore, chair, Family Medicine. “Family medicine is focused on patient-centred care, designed to lead to healthier communities. Family physicians are part of their cities and towns, with a responsibility and commitment to see not just the illness, but the patient and environment around them.”

“Dr. McWhinney believed that a patient’s experience of illness is as important as the doctor’s education and knowledge,” said Dr. Thomas Freeman, professor, Family Medicine. “The patient-doctor interaction is one that both people should come to as experts – patients as the experts in their own illness and doctors as experts in treating illness.”

Guest speakers include, Dr. Michael Kidd, president, World Organization of Family Physicians (WONCA), and the inaugural McWhinney Lecturer, and Dr. Ryuki Kassai, professor and chair, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Fukishima Medical University.

Dr. Kassai studied the principles of family medicine with Dr. McWhinney and founded the first medical department of family medicine in Japan. He authored a blog about his experiences in caring for his local community after the Fukishima disaster in 2011.

Media may schedule interviews with Dr. Wetmore, Dr. Kidd and Dr. Kassai by contacting Tristan Joseph.


Dr. Ian McWhinney Inaugural Lecture Series

September 23, 2015, The Western Centre for Public Health and Family Medicine

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. “Family Medicine in Japan: A Journey with Dr. Ian McWhinney”

Speaker: Dr. Ryuki Kassai, professor and chair, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Fukishima Medical University

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Panel Discussion: “The Intersection of Family Medicine and Public Health around the World”

Speakers: Dr. Michael Kidd, president of WONCA, Heather Lokko and Joanne Simpson, Middlesex London Health Unit, and Dr. Cathy Faulds, President of the Ontario College of Family Physicians and adjunct faculty member in Schulich Medicine & Dentistry’s Department of Family Medicine.

Followed by a moderated Q&A, discussion involving panel and audience

2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Inaugural Dr. Ian McWhinney Lecture: “The Importance of Being Different”

Speaker: Dr. Michael Kidd

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Wine and Cheese Reception, Atrium


MEDIA CONTACT: Tristan Joseph, Media Relations Officer, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University, t. 519.661.2111 ext. 80387, c. 519.777.1573, tristan.joseph@schulich.uwo.ca


Western delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.


The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University is one of Canada’s preeminent medical and dental schools. Established in 1881, it was one of the founding schools of Western University and is known for being the birthplace of family medicine in Canada. For more than 130 years, the School has demonstrated a commitment to academic excellence and a passion for scientific discovery.

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