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Salute to Tupper at this year’s Medical Hall of Fame ceremony

Sir Charles Tupper, CMA’s first-ever president, was one of six new laureates inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) at their annual gala, held recently in Hamilton. Tupper was recognized by the CMHF for his impact on the fields of medicine, education and politics.

“For many physicians, the name Tupper has become synonymous with advocacy and the CMA, even has an award in his name and honour – the Sir Charles Tupper Award for Political Action. ” said Dr. Cindy Forbes, current CMA president, who spoke at the gala on behalf of Tupper’s descendants. “Thirteen physicians have received this award to-date and so his spirit continues to live on.”

Tupper held leadership roles in Halifax as the city medical officer, as a member of surgical staff of the provincial and city hospital, and was president of the Medical Society of Nova Scotia. Elected into the Nova Scotia Assembly in 1855, Tupper was Premier by 1864.

Through his advocacy, he helped pass the Free Education Act and led Nova Scotia into Confederation. He also chaired the committee responsible for creating Dalhousie Medical School.

Known as Sir John A. Macdonald’s ‘right hand', Tupper also had a long career as a federal cabinet minister and, ever a physician, was known for keeping his medical bag beneath his seat in the House of Commons. He is the only physician to have served as Prime Minister of Canada.

Dr. Forbes also noted that Tupper – and his induction into the CMHF – will be highlighted as part of the CMA’s 150th anniversary celebrations in Quebec City in August 2017.

The other CMHF 2016 inductees are:

  • Michael Bliss, medical historian;
  • Dr. May Cohen, women’s health pioneer;
  • Dr. Gordan Guyatt, leader in evidence-based research;
  • Dr. David Naylor, physician-scientist; and
  • Dr. Mark Wainberg, HIV/AIDS researcher.

The CMHF is a national charitable organization that celebrates individuals who have made, and are making, significant contributions to medicine and health in Canada and the world. The CMA has been a supporter of their work since their inception in 1994.

To learn more about the CMHF and this year’s inductees, visit

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