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Dr. Ruth Wilson named to the Order of Canada

  • Published Thu Jul 2nd 2015

    Ruth Wilson, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s, was named today as a Member of the Order of Canada by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston (Law’66), Governor General of Canada, for her contributions to improving primary care in Ontario and for her leadership in family medicine.

    Dr. Wilson follows in the footsteps of her mother Lois Wilson, a Companion of the Order of Canada, the first female moderator of the United Church of Canada and former member of the Canadian Senate.

    “I am very honoured to be receiving the Order of Canada,” says Dr. Wilson. “I love the motto of the Order of Canada: ‘They desire a better country.’ I do the work that I do because of my desire for a better country. This award is also significant because it extends beyond the world of medicine.”


    A leader in the Canadian medical field, Dr. Wilson joined the Queen’s in 1989 and served as Department of Family Medicine head from 1991 to 2001. She is currently vice-president of medical and academic programs for Providence Care, where her leadership has advanced the organization’s reputation as a leading provider of integrated services in the areas of mental health, aging and rehabilitative care.

    “The Order of Canada recognizes outstanding achievement and dedication to the community and to Canada,” says Principal Daniel Woolf. “As a leader in the field of health care, Dr. Wilson is deserving of this award for the enrichment she has brought to the lives of others which extends to the Queen’s community and our students.”

    In addition to her research work, Dr. Wilson is a family physician with the Queen’s Family Health Team. She also has more than a decade of experience practicing family medicine in remote areas of Canada. From 2001-2004, she served as chair of the Ontario Family Health Network, which was responsible for implementing primary care reform in the province. She has also contributed internationally to the development of primary health-care systems in areas of need.

    “What I love about my work is I’m able to bridge the continuum between caring for patients, leading change in the medical system in Canada, developing policy, and teaching the next generation,” says Dr. Wilson. “I’m a generalist. I want to join policy, patients and learners.”

    In 2013, Dr. Wilson was elected president of the North American region of the World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of General Practitioners/Family Physicians (WONCA), which works to foster high standards of care in family medicine globally.  In 2010, WONCA awarded Dr. Wilson a Five Star Doctor Award, one of two triennial awards for excellence in health care, citing her excellence as a care provider, a decision maker, a communicator, a community leader and a team member.

    Also in 2010, Canada’s Women’s Executive Network named her one of the country’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

    “Dr. Wilson is highly respected within her community, her department, throughout the Faculty of Health Sciences and, indeed, throughout the university,” says Glenn Brown, Head, Department of Family Medicine. “She has provided leadership in many important and sensitive areas, always demonstrating deep knowledge, respect and sound judgement.”

    For more information about the Order of Canada, visit the Governor General’s website.

    by Anne Craig, Communications Officer