This evening, in Halifax, Memorial Universitys medical school founder, the late Dr. Ian Rusted, will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. The annual ceremony honours laureates whose medical accomplishments have contributed significantly to the advancement of health care and health research in Canada and around the world; Dr. Rusteds contribution to health care in this province is immeasurable.
At a time when medical schools were almost all located within larger, resource-rich cities, Dr. Rusted was inspired by the need for physicians with the interest and skills needed to serve rural patients. As well, he overcame fierce opposition to help establish Memorial Universitys medical school in 1967.
Without Dr. Rusteds vision and untiring work there would be no medical school in Newfoundland and Labrador, a medical school that has proved to be a leader in medical education to this day, said Dr. James Rourke, dean of Memorials Faculty of Medicine. The strong ethos inspired by Dr. Rusted is a legacy that exists in Memorials over 2,000 medical graduates who endeavour to serve the needs of humanity wherever they are most needed.
The impact of Dr. Rusteds legacy in the medical school extends far beyond the school itself. Currently, medical graduates of Memorial make up half the provinces doctors. The development of the medical schools faculty has contributed directly to the dramatic improvement in the health care that was able to be provided in Newfoundland and Labrador. Research has also flourished in the province as a result of the Medical School, with particularly notable accomplishments in the areas of genetics, and inter-professional education and rural distributed medical education.
One of the great health-care challenges around the world then and today is training doctors to serve in rural communities. Memorial Universitys Faculty of Medicine has been recognized many times as a world leader in that regard. Most recently, the Society of Rural Physicians of Canada honoured the school with the Keith Award in April 2013 for the largest number of graduates practicing in rural areas 10 years after graduation. This is the fourth time Memorial University has received the societys prestigious award since it was introduced in 2000. Memorial has also received the societys Rural Education Award in 2009 in recognition for excellence in producing MD graduates headed to a career in rural medicine.
The impact of Dr. Rusteds legacy of building a medical school to meet the needs of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians lives on. The great success of his vision is demonstrated every day by the work of Memorials medical graduates in communities across Canada and around the world, especially those in rural and remote underserved communities.