Photo: Nicolas Morin
Photo: Nicolas Morin

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of a true McGill legend, Dr. Wendy MacDonald, who passed away peacefully on August 28.

A graduate of McGill’s medical school, Dr. MacDonald’s remarkable career spanned nearly four decades with the Faculty of Medicine during which time she became synonymous with undergraduate medical education in pediatrics.  Dr. MacDonald completed her specialty training at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and obtained certification in pediatrics from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons and from the American Academy of Pediatrics. A few weeks after completing her training, she was appointed Director of Undergraduate Education in Pediatrics at McGill, a position she held for 35 years.

Long before medical education was a topic for discussion and serious consideration, Wendy fashioned a curriculum and evaluation standards that provided every medical graduate at McGill a core clerkship experience that gave them the basics in child health, no matter what eventual career path in medicine they chose to pursue.  As much as she loved clinical medicine, the mentoring and teaching of students became her passion. Her excellence in teaching was renowned as exemplified by her receipt of no less than four Osler Awards from the graduating class. This award is given to the Faculty member recognized by the class as their best teacher in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Her multiple Osler Awards are without peer at McGill.

In 1992, Dr. MacDonald developed a program to monitor and evaluate the performance of the 1150 Residents and Fellows in all post-graduate training programs in the Faculty of Medicine.  The document she wrote, which provided the rules and regulations which govern the evaluation and promotion of these Residents and Fellows remains in effect to this day.

Dr. MacDonald became one of the first people appointed to the Faculty of Medicine Honour List for excellence and outstanding contributions to medical education at McGill in 1998. Within the Faculty, Dr. MacDonald was always appreciated for her lack of pretention and her straight-forward pragmatic approach to all issues. Her advice was constantly being sought out and frequently when there was a difficult task to undertake, the Faculty would turn to her knowing that the job would get done fairly and efficiently.

A McGill Chair, endowed by the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation has been set up in her honour. “The Wendy MacDonald Chair in Pediatric Medical Education” will be dedicated to medical education in child health.

On September 3, the day of her funeral, McGill lowered its flag in mourning of Dr. MacDonald’s passing.