“The Health Sciences Centre isn’t built on a foundation of technology or of buildings. The success of this place rests very squarely on the shoulders of people who have been around for decades, who constantly and consistently put in that extra effort and energy. These are the people who don’t get a lot of press or get mentioned in books, but they’re the ones who get things done for patients.”

In Healing and Hope – A History of Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg, pg. 159

We have gathered together some of the “who’s who” of women’s and maternal health. Though not exhaustive, contained in this section are biographies of some of the pioneers and leaders in the care and development of women’s and maternal health at Health Sciences Centre. Where programs are the products of creative effort, these are the individuals who helped make them happen.

Though this list recognizes some of the innovators in the field of women’s and maternal health, we cannot forget the efforts of the unnamed doctors, nurses, volunteers, students, social workers, bedside staff, engineers, and support personnel – people committed to excellent care and expertise, often putting patient needs well above their own. These individuals and many others have put in countless hours looking after women and their families.  To all members of HSC staff – the heart and soul of patient care – we thank you.

Elinor Black, MD

Dr. Elinor F.E. Black, 1968. HSC Archives/Museum HSC MISC

Elinor Black was born in 1905 in Nelson, British Columbia. Her family moved to Winnipeg twelve years later.  Black attended the University of Manitoba Medical School in 1924 and graduated in 1930. After completing her internship at Winnipeg General Hospital, she furthered her studies in hospitals in London, England and returned to Winnipeg to practice in 1931. In 1933, Black worked as a Demonstrator at the University of Manitoba’s Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and as an Assistant in Obstetrics and Gynecology at HSC. She did further work and training in England, and in 1938, became the first Canadian woman member of the British Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Black was instrumental in opening the new Women’s Pavilion in spite of the Flood. In 1951, Black became head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Manitoba, the first woman to achieve that position in a Canadian university.  At the same time, she became Obstetrician and Gynecologist-in-Chief at Winnipeg General Hospital, with consultant appointments to St. Boniface General Hospital, Grace General Hospital, and Children’s Hospital. In 1961, she became the president of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Black retired from HSC in 1964, but continued to work for the University and in her private practice until only two days before her death on 30 January 1982.

For a more detailed account of the life of Elinor Black, please visit the University of Manitoba’s Medical Personalities exhibit: http://medheritage.lib.umanitoba.ca/?page_id=1158, or read Julie Vandervoort’s biography, Tell the Driver: A Biography of Elinor F.E. Black, M.D.

Richard Boroditsky, MD

Dr. Richard Boroditsky, 1975. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Richard Boroditsky has been a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Manitoba since 1973 and head of the university section of gynecology. He was instrumental in the development and implementation of Pregnancy Counselling and Termination Services and the Roulston Room strategy at HSC. Along with Beth Brunsdon-Clark and Teri Ibbott, Boroditsky founded the Mature Women’s Program at HSC, particularly the H-Alt (Hysterectomy Alternative) program. From 2006 to 2017 he was Medical Director Mature Women’s Center and Hysterectomy Alternative Program.

John Maxwell Bowman, MD

Dr. John (Jack) Bowman, 1973. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Dr. John (Jack) Maxwell Bowman was born in 1925. He graduated from the Manitoba Medical College in 1949. In 1957, he joined the Pediatric Department in the Manitoba Medical Clinic, accepted a position working part-time with Dr. Bruce Chown in the Winnipeg Rh Lab, and became a part-time member of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba.

Bowman took over as Medical Director of the Winnipeg Rh Lab in 1961. In 1967, he left the Manitoba Medical Clinic to become a full Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba.

Bowman is associated with performing fetal transfusions. With the advent of fetal transfusions, babies did not have to be born before receiving a blood transfusion. The first fetal transfusion in Canada took place in 1964, performed by Bowman and Dr. Rhinehart Friesen. Bowman also developed advanced diagnostic techniques, which allowed health professionals to predict the Rh disease status of unborn babies by examining amniotic fluid.

Further, he developed an Rh immune globulin (WinRho) using human blood plasma, which is still considered standard medical practice. Bowman worked with Dr. Bruce Chown to commercialize the vaccine, which is now marketed as WinRho SDF (The “Win” stands for Winnipeg).

By 1972, Dr. Bowman became a professor of Pediatrics at the University of Manitoba, and remained so until his retirement in 1996. He also maintained his position as medical Director of the Manitoba Red Cross Blood Services. In recognition of his accomplishments, Bowman was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1983. He passed away in 2005.

Beth Brunsdon-Clark, Director Women’s Health

Beth Brunsdon-Clark. HSC Archives/Museum

Beth Brunsdon-Clark worked in the field of Women’s Health from 1992 to 2001. In that time, she managed Ambulatory Care, which included the Outpatients Clinics, Clinical Practice Unit, and Fetal Assessment Unit. She became Director of Women’s Health in 1995 and was appointed the first HSC Director of Women’s Program in the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority from 2000 to 2001.

As Director of Women’s Health, Brunsdon-Clark developed many Nurse-Managed Clinics, such as the Prenatal High Risk Clinic, Mature Women’s Program, and Extended Pregnancy Counselling Clinic. Brunsdon-Clark was also instrumental in securing funding from the Manitoba Government to develop and implement the first Midwifery service in Manitoba in the form of the Midwifery Upgrade Program. The Midwife Program provided midwives with access to medicinal and practical training under the supervision of nurses and doctors. In her final year as Director of Women’s Health, Brunsdon-Clark helped to establish the LDRP Low-Risk Birthing rooms, which changed the service delivery method to a more homelike environment.

Ann Thomas Callahan, RN

Anne Thomas Callahan, 2007. HSC Archives/Museum

Ann Thomas Callahan was born on the Peepeekisis First Nation in southern Saskatchewan, 1935. She entered the School of Nursing in Winnipeg in 1955 and became one of the first Indigenous graduates from the program in 1958. From 1958 to 1973 she worked in the gynecology ward in the Women’s Hospital, including the position of Head Nurse. After leaving Health Sciences Centre, she worked with a home care agency in Winnipeg’s core area and as an instructor and counsellor with the Southern Nursing Program at Red River College. She retired from nursing in 1996.

To commemorate her outstanding work, the new critical services building at HSC was officially named the Ann Thomas Building in 2006.

Bruce Chown, MD

Dr. Bruce Chown, 1949. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Dr. Bruce Chown was born in Winnipeg in 1893. He was the son of Dr. H. H. Chown, a surgeon on the staff of the Children’s Hospital, who later became Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba.

Chown obtained his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in 1922. He trained as a pediatrician at Johns Hopkins, Cornell, and Columbia universities before taking a position as a pathologist at Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.

Chown began work at the University of Manitoba in 1925, assuming a number of positions, and became Head of the Department of Pediatrics in 1949. In 1944, he received a grant of $1,200 from the Canadian National Research Council to study human blood groups and Rh Disease. With this money, he hired Marion Lewis and established the Winnipeg Rh Laboratory.

In 1935, Chown first identified the disease, infantile hypophosphatasia or “renal rickets”. Today, HSC is one of the only hospitals in the world that treats the disease. In 1967, Chown, along with Dr. John Bowman and Dr. Alvin Zipursky, developed an Rh antibody processed from the plasma of Rh negative women, which produced an Rh immune globulin. Chown organized clinical trials of the Rh immune globulin, which was licensed for use in Canada in 1968. With this discovery, mothers could receive treatment for Rh disease before giving birth.

Dr. Chown retired in 1977 and passed away at the age of 93 on 3 July 1986.

For a more detailed account of the life of Bruce Chown, please visit the University of Manitoba’s Medical Personalities exhibit: http://medheritage.lib.umanitoba.ca/?page_id=1377

Henry Havelock Chown, MD

Dr. H.H. Chown. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Henry Havelock Chown was born 16 February 1859 in Kingston Ontario, to a family distinguished in church and state. He was educated at Victoria College and Queen’s University where, in 1880, he obtained his degree in medicine. 43 years, later his Alma Mater granted him the honorary degree LL. D (Doctor of Laws in English). Coming to Winnipeg, he was attending physician to the Children’s Home (1883-1907), and a member of the honorary attending staff of the Winnipeg General Hospital (1885-1917). He was a Professor of Anatomy in Manitoba Medical College (1885-1892), Professor of Surgery (1892-1917), and Dean of the Medical College (1898-1917). Chown was the first in Western Canada to perform an ovariectomy and a gastro-enterostomy. In 1901, he was President of the Canadian Medical Association. He performed obstetrics at the Winnipeg General Hospital alongside Dr. John Sidney Gray. For years he was medical referee for the Great West Life Assurance Company, and after his retirement from active practice he travelled extensively. He died 12 October 1944.

Doris Sawatzky-Dickson, RN & Clinical Nurse Specialist

Doris Sawatzky-Dickson, 2017. HSC Communications

Doris Sawatzky-Dickson was a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Neonatology and Clinical Lead for the new NICU in the Women’s Hospital Redevelopment Project (HSC Women’s Hospital). She received her diploma in nursing from the Grace Hospital School of Nursing and her Bachelor and Master’s degrees in nursing from the University of Manitoba. She holds a certificate in teaching evidence-based practice from McMaster University and is a board certified Lactation Consultant.

As a Clinical Nurse Specialist, Sawatzky-Dickson consulted on clinical problems, including breastfeeding support and coordination of care, developed practice guidelines and research projects, provided continuing education to staff, and Chaired the Neonatal Patient Care Team and the HSC Research and Evidence-Informed Practice Committee, in addition to numerous other committees and working groups. She co-developed the Winnipeg Assessment of Nursing Needs Tool that is now in use across Canada and other parts of the world. She worked with the Nursing Leadership Team and helped the Project Management Team, architects, and design team for the new HSC Women’s Hospital. Sawatzky-Dickson was on the board of the Canadian Association of Neonatal Nurses for many years including serving a term as president. She contributed to the creation of the first Canadian Nurses Association Neonatal Nursing Certification Exam. Sawatzky-Dickson retired in 2018 after more than 30 years of service at HSC.

Rhinehart Friesen, MD

Dr. Rhinehart Friesen, 1983. HSC Arcihves/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Rhinehart F. Friesen was born 6 January 1914 in Gretna, Manitoba to Jacob and Maria Friesen. He graduated from the Mennonite Collegiate Institute at Gretna in 1930, and attended Normal School in Winnipeg from 1931 to 1932. He took his first teaching job in Winkler, Manitoba where he boarded at the home of Dr. Cornelius Wiebe, who inspired him to pursue medicine. He graduated from the University of Manitoba Medical School in 1944 and served as Captain in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps during the Second World War.

After the war, while doing his residency at Royal Victoria Hospital in Halifax, he contracted tuberculosis. After spending a year recovering at Ninette Sanatorium, Friesen accepted the position of Medical Director of the Manitoba Cancer Relief and Research Institute, a position he held until 1953 when he made the decision to restart his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Manitoba. He was awarded his F.R.C.S.C. (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons) in 1957. From 1957 to 1979, Friesen worked in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Departments at the Winnipeg General Hospital, St. Boniface General Hospital, and Grace General Hospital.

Friesen worked closely with Dr. Jack Bowman and performed the first successful intrauterine transfusion saving babies threatened by Rh disease. Friesen became an international expert in the technique and lectured extensively. He devoted much research towards blood transfusions, specifically centred around preventing Rh disease. Dr. Friesen was a respected leader of the Manitoba medical community as a physician, teacher, and innovator.

Dr. Friesen passed away on 6 February 2009.

John Sidney Gray, MD

Dr. J.S. Gray, 1850-1917. HSC Archives/Museum 2009.11.17, Safeguarding Motherhood Official Opening of Maternity Pavilion Booklet, 1950, pg. 38

John Sidney Gray was born near Heckton, Ontario, on 26 January 1850, and graduated in Medicine from McGill University in 1876. After practicing in Ontario he came to Winnipeg in 1881. He studied gynecology in England under Lawson Paige and on his return taught that subject in Manitoba Medical College. For almost thirty years Gray was Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba. When the Medical Council of Canada was formed in 1912, he was a representative for Manitoba. He died 11 February 1917.

Kathy Hamelin, RN & Clinical Nurse Specialist

Kathy Hamelin at the ICU 50th Anniversary, 2016. HSC Archives/Museum

Kathy Hamelin grew up in a military family, moving across Canada in her youth, until eventually settling in Winnipeg where she graduated from High School. She became a registered nurse in 1971 when she was 19 years old. After 20 years in neonatal nursing, Hamelin completed her Master of Nursing degree, and was hired by HSC as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in neonatal care. In this capacity, she was instrumental in several nurse-led programs for newborns and their families at HSC, including the Kangaroo Care Program, breastfeeding support, and home phototherapy.

Hamelin was one of the first persons in Winnipeg to receive her Lactation Consultation Certification in 1994 after studying at Georgetown University in Washington DC. Hamelin started a self-study program at Women’s Hospital to assist nurses to be certified as Lactation Consultants. By 2000, 26 nurses on staff had received their lactation consultant certification. Throughout her time at HSC, Hamelin provided breastfeeding support, encouragement, and advice to new mothers at Women’s Hospital, NICU, ICN, and Children’s Hospital (for babies that may have been re- admitted after being discharged from Women’s Hospital).

In addition to clinical work, Hamelin has participated in and published the results of several research projects, primarily focusing on neonatal care and breastfeeding. She was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Manitoba, educating nurses in the care of newborns and their families.

Hamelin retired in June 2014.

Nicolette Holling-Kostiuk, RN

Nicolette Holling-Kostiuk entered the School of Nursing at the University of Manitoba immediately after high school. She worked as a bedside Labour and Delivery nurse in South Florida for two years after which she did the same at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg (HSC). After thirteen years, she wanted to expand her nursing role. In addition to working in Labour and Delivery part-time, Holling-Kostiuk taught in nursing programs in Winnipeg and Steinbach for twelve years. In 2008, Holling-Kostiuk was invited to help plan the Obstetrical Triage area for the new HSC Women’s Hospital. By 2010 the position became permanent, with a clinical role for the planning and design of the entire HSC Women’s Hospital. She completed a Certificate of Project Management at Red River College, which was an asset, in her role in planning and preparing for the opening of the new HSC Women’s Hospital.

Grace E. Johnson, RN

Grace E. Johnson, 1933. HSC Archives/Museum

Grace E. Johnson was the first director of nurses at the Maternity Pavilion when it opened in 1950. Born in Manitoba, Grace graduated from the Winnipeg General Hospital School of Nursing in 1933. She was head nurse in the maternity department at Winnipeg General Hospital (WGH) from 1934 until she enlisted with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps in 1940. She served as a nursing sister in Canada and England with the neurological and plastic surgery units. Following her discharge, Johnson was the assistant Superintendent of Nurses at WGH for a year before furthering her education at the McGill School for Graduate Nurses. There, she obtained her Bachelor of Nursing degree in 1949 – majoring in administration of schools of nursing.  In 1954, she moved to Fort William (now Thunder Bay) to become Director of Nursing at McKellar Hospital. In 1962, Johnson became a consulting nurse for Veterans Affairs in Ottawa.

Garry Victor Krepart, MD

Dr. Garry Krepart, 1993. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Dr. Garry Victor Krepart graduated from the University of Manitoba and continued his studies at University of British Columbia before completing his specialty training in Gynecologic Oncology in Houston.

Krepart returned to Winnipeg and established the first Fellowship for Gynecologic Oncology in Canada. For many years it remained one of only two programs available in the country. Fellows of the program populated Canadian medical schools and hospitals as deans and department heads and shaped gynecologic oncology education and practice across Canada and internationally.

Krepart’s contributions saved many lives and elevated gynecologic oncology education, research, and practice in Canada. When he began his practice as Gynecologic Oncologist at HSC Women’s Hospital, he was one of only two such specialists in Canada. He was a surgeon, professor, consultant, and clinician. He served for many years as Chief Examiner and designed the final gynecologic oncology examinations for all of Canada. He also wrote several ovarian cancer staging protocols for the Cancer Institute of Canada and co-authored and produced research into ovarian and endometrial cancer.

Prior to retirement, he was Head of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences department at HSC Winnipeg and Head of Gynecological Oncology at CancerCare Manitoba.

Dr. Krepart passed away on 8 October 2015. In 2018, Krepart was selected for WinnipegRealtors Citizens Hall of Fame. A bronze sculpture of Dr. Krepart was installed at the Citizens Hall of Fame site in Assiniboine Park.

Marion Jean Lewis, Laboratory Technician

Marion Jean Lewis on right with sister, Helen, 1948. HSC Archives/Museum Children’s Hospital Collection Box 2 File Labe and Xray

Marion Jean Lewis was born in Windsor, Ontario in 1925. In 1943, she graduated from Gordon Bell High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba and went on to train as a medical technician at Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1944, she and Dr. Bruce Chown opened the Rh Laboratory in Winnipeg to study and eradicate Rh disease. While Dr. Chown retired in 1977, Lewis continued on in the field of blood group gene mapping and eventually branched out into the field of genetics. She and her colleagues at the Rh Laboratory, including Hiroko Kaita, became internationally renowned for their work.

Lewis also taught at the University of Manitoba. Even though she only possessed a Bachelor of Arts degree, her experience and expertise allowed her to rise through the ranks. From 1973 to 1977, Lewis was Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Manitoba. In 1977, she was promoted to Associate Professor. In 1984, she was promoted to full Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, and two years later became a Professor in the Department of Human Genetics. Over the years, she authored or co-authored over 100 articles.

Throughout her career, Lewis has been given a number of awards and honours. In 1971, she was awarded the Karl Landsteiner Memorial Award by the American Association of Blood Banks (AABB) and in 1986, the Teddy Award for Research from the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg. In 1986, she received an honourary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Winnipeg and in 1993 was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (Academy of Science). In 1995, she was given the Emily Cooley Memorial Award by the AABB and, in 1996, was named Professor Emeritus by the University of Manitoba.

Frank Manning, MD

Dr. Frank A. Manning, 1992. HSC Archives/Museum

Frank Manning was born on 6 March 1946 in Virden, Manitoba. He completed his pre-med at Brandon College (1964-1966) and obtained his medical degree from the University of Manitoba in 1970. Manning completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at University of Manitoba, and then a perinatal Fellowship at the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research at Headley Way, Headington, Oxford, England. He also received a Master of Science Degree from the Oxford University. Manning held a teaching appointment at the University of Southern California, School of Medicine from 1976 to 1979, then returned to Manitoba to set up the Fetal Assessment program at the University of Manitoba. In 1984 he became head of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, University of Manitoba – a position he held until 1993.

Manning is best known as the originator of the fetal biophysical profile score, a fetal assessment technique that is now used worldwide and includes congenital abnormality screening, alpha-fetoprotein screening, genetic amniocentesis, prenatal detection of Down’s syndrome and screening for Rh immunization. In 1980 he published the book: “Fetal Medicine: Principle and Practice” where the biophysical profile was discussed in great detail. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles and several books.

He is also recognized for his original work in the management of Rhesus iso-immunization and intrauterine growth retardation, and the study of fetal breathing movements.

He and his team in Manitoba performed the first (of more than 1,000) intravascular transfusion in North America and the first ultrasound guided fetal surgery in Canada and possibly in the world. The Maternal-Fetal Medicine Fellowship program that he developed in Manitoba was the first of its kind in Manitoba and became a model for Canadian programs.

In 1993, Manning joined the New York Presbyterian Medical Center, University of Columbia, where he served from 1996 as the director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Clinical Obstetrics, and as Virgil Damon Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Women’s Health. Until recently, he was Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Co-Director, Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York. As of 2018, he has two practices in the United States. He has lectured widely and been a recipient of numerous awards.

Frederick G. McGuinness, MD

Dr. Frederick Gallagher McGuinness was born in Ottawa, Ontario. He moved to Manitoba in 1900 and graduated from the Manitoba Medical College in 1917. During World War One, McGuinness served in France with the Royal Army Medical Corps as Medical Officer to the Ninth Royal Irish Fusileers.

After the war, McGuinness completed his post-graduate work in Rotunda Hospital, Dublin and the Royal Maternity and Women’s Hospital, Glasgow. He returned to Winnipeg General Hospital and joined the Department of Obstetrics as Clinical Assistant Obstetrician in 1922. Between 1922 and 1946, he held a variety of positions including lecturer, Assistant Professor, and Professor. When the departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology were amalgamated in 1946, he was appointed Professor Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, and Director of the Department. For many years prior to his appointment as Director, he advocated for separate accommodation away from the main hospital for maternity patients. He was instrumental in the planning and ultimate establishment of the Maternity Pavilion that opened in 1950.

Dr. McGuinness retired in 1951 due to the age limit ruling. He was also suffering from Parkinson’s disease. He died in Winnipeg on 21 May 1968 at the age of 77.

Savas Menticoglou, MD

Dr. Savas Menticoglou has been an Obstetrician, Perinatologist, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, in the Section of Maternal Fetal Medicine at the Women’s Hospital since 1987.

Dr. Menticoglou completed his medical degree and residency in obstetrics and gynecology at McGill University. Following residency, he practiced for two years in rural New York State. There, he developed an interest in perinatology and did his fellowship in Maternal – Fetal Medicine in Winnipeg, with Dr. Frank Manning in 1987.

Lisa Merrill, RN & Clinical Nurse Specialist

Lisa Merrill graduated from St. Boniface School of Nursing as a Registered Nurse in 1990 with a specialty in neonatal intensive care. After ten years as an RN she decided to further her education with a Bachelor and then Master in Nursing at St. Boniface School of Nursing.

During her Master’s degree, Merrill began exploring barriers to prenatal care for inner city women. She was inspired by newborn babies who had been exposed to substances in utero. Merrill was instrumental in the development and implementation of the Partners in Inner-City Integrated Prenatal Care in 2012.

See Open Letter to nurses in the Winnipeg Health Region spotlight on Lisa Merrill: http://www.wrha.mb.ca/extranet/openletter/1405-spotlight-merrill.php.

Margaret Morris, MD

Dr. Maggie Morris, 2009. HSC Communications

Margaret (Maggie) Morris obtained her MD from the University of Saskatchewan in 1979. She completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Health Sciences Centre Winnipeg in 1984. Twice she won the Teacher of the Year award, first the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics (APGO) in 1999 and then College of Medicine in 2003. Morris received her Master of Education in 2010. In the same year, she became Medical Director of Women’s Health Program.  Morris is currently Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Medical Director, Women’s Health Program, and Department Head of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. She is the first woman to hold the Department Head position since Elinor Black retired in 1964.

In addition to medical and educational work, Morris has participated in and published the results of several research projects, primarily focusing on obstetrics, bone health in women who had teen pregnancies, and the educational environment in obstetrics and gynecology.

Irvin Peever, MD

Dr. Irvin C. Peever, 1983. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Irvin Peever obtained his MD in 1954. He later studied at the University of Manitoba and the University of Pittsburgh for certification and fellowship in obstetrics and gynecology. Peever joined the Manitoba Clinic in 1963 where he practiced until his retirement in 1990. He acted as the Clinic’s chairman for 14 years and taught part-time as Assistant Professor at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Medicine, until his retirement.

During his association with Health Sciences Centre, Peever served on Active Staff and Departmental Committee at the General Hospital (1963-1990) and as Vice-Chair Medical Advisory Committee (1986-1987). A member of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba from 1974 to 1990, he served as President (1983-1984) and Chairman (1988-1990). Peever also served on the Medical Appointment Review Committee, Medical Advisory Board, and Manitoba Cancer Society and Faculty Council – Medicine. He was a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (1965-1990) serving as Chairman of the Manitoba Section (1976-1979), and was a Fellow of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Canada. Peever passed away in 1991.

Peter Pan Club, Children’s Hospital

The Peter Pan Club was established in May of 1977 by Beth Phillips and Pat Scorer. It was a volunteer-driven organization, designed to meet the needs of patients, parents, and staff not covered by the HSC Children’s Hospital’s budget by encouraging voluntary support through gifts, time, or funds. Through charity events, public outreach, and grants, the Club raised money for programs (including the Neonatal Transport Program), equipment, toys, furnishings and general comforts for both patients and parents at the HSC Children’s Hospital and Children’s Burn Ward. Eventually, the Club decided to include educational efforts to prevent the hospitalization of children through such programs as the Firefighters’ S.A.F.E. Baby program. Volunteer efforts were expanded to include such tasks as escorting patients / parents to various places within the hospital, babysitting, tending to babies and children, and conducting tours. The Club dissolved in 2010.

Max Rady, MD

Born Avraham Radishkevich, Max Rady immigrated to Manitoba from Russia in 1893. He worked as the secretary at Talmud Torah School and put himself through medical school at the University of Manitoba, graduating from the College of Medicine in 1921. After graduation, Rady focused on obstetrics and gynecology and when this area became a specialty he was ‘grandfathered in’ as an Obstetrician Gynecologist.

Rady passed away in 1964 at the age of 70.

To commemorate his outstanding work, the college from which he graduated now bears his name. The Max Rady College of Medicine is one of five colleges within the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

Henrique Rigatto, MD

Dr. Henrique Rigatto, 1985. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Dr. Henrique Rigatto obtained his medical and pediatric training from the University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, before moving to San Francisco in 1967 to complete Fellowships in pulmonary physiology and respiratory control at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. In 1972, he accepted the position of Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at HSC Winnipeg. His work focused on the regulation of breathing in newborns and infants.

In the early 1970s, a lab was built in the Women’s Centre (Hospital) beside the premature nursery, specifically to investigate the control of the respiratory system during the neonatal period. Rigatto was the lead, conducting research into the relationship between period breathing, apneaic spells, and sudden infant death (SID) during the early months of life.

In 1979, Rigatto went to the Nuffield Institute for Medical Research in Oxford, England to expand his studies in the fetal area. It was there that he initiated important studies of fetal behaviour in utero. Upon his return to Winnipeg, Rigatto established a window technique where the fetus could be observed closely while still in utero.

Within the growing field of neonatal medicine, Rigatto created an internationally renowned academic program in Winnipeg, attracting trainees from all over the world. Rigatto was cross-appointed to the University of Manitoba Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and was also Adjunct Professor of Physiology from 1984.

He founded the Neonatal Transport Program (based out of HSC) in July 1981.

As Director of Neonatal Research from approximately 1985 to 2003, Rigatto’s investigations into fetal breathing in fenestrated pregnant sheep established Winnipeg as a leading centre for respiratory physiology on an international scale. In the 1990s, he established an innovative neuronal respiratory centre lab. This research became crucial to the basic understanding of fetal and neonatal respiratory control. Dr. Rigatto has also been a lead investigator for several clinical trials funded by National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Rigatto retired from active clinical practice in 2003 to concentrate on ongoing scholarly activities.  Dr. Rigatto passed away in September 2019.

Thomas Meryn Roulston, MD

Dr. T.M. Roulston, 1971. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Thomas Meryn Roulston was born on 30 July 1920 in County Down, Northern Ireland. After graduating from Queens University, Belfast, he moved to London to acquire his Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (1943), Doctor of Obstetrics at Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1948), and Member, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (1949). He came to Canada in 1954, becoming the first full-time head of the newly established Obstetrics and Gynecology at Winnipeg General Hospital in 1964 and was responsible for introducing ultrasound to the department. Roulston was a long time affiliate and lecturer for the University of Manitoba, also serving as the Head of the Faculty of Medicine, and advocate for the importance of training hospitals.

Roulston was a prominent figure and spokesperson for Family Planning throughout his career. He was instrumental in initiating a family planning program in 1965 in Manitoba, which operated through the Outpatient Department at Women’s Hospital. He was also a founding and life member of Planned Parenthood of Manitoba and its President (1966-1969), as well as the first President of the Canadian Federation of Family Planning (1970). He worked abroad as Vice President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation and later as an honorary consultant, visiting developing countries. A life-long advocate for widespread education about birth control and the responsibilities of both men and women regarding sexual activity, Roulston frequently wrote to local papers calling for greater distribution of related materials amongst lower income peoples, and advocated for improving the status and education of women in developing countries. The Northern Medical unit was built upon his efforts to train and assign nurses to isolated stations.

Among numerous acknowledgements, Roulston was a recipient of the Allan Guttmacher Medal (1971) and the Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1978). Dr. Roulston retired from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Manitoba in August of 1987 and was awarded the Ottho Award for outstanding contribution to family planning in Canada in 1990. He died peacefully on 18 June 1994 at the age of 73.

Molly Seshia, MD

Dr. Molly Seshia, 1997. HSC Archives/Museum Negative Collection Bio file

Dr. Molly Seshia, a physician with over two decades of academic mentorship and commitment to the health and well-being of newborns, completed her pediatric and neonatal training in Scotland and spent two years working in India before immigrating to Canada. She has spent her career as an academic neonatologist at the University of Manitoba. Seshia was the section head of neonatology in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Medicine for over 25 years. Under her leadership, the department matured into a program recognized worldwide for its cooperative teamwork and excellence in teaching, research, and clinical expertise.

In 2009, Seshia received the Distinguished Neonatologist Award from the Canadian Pediatric Society.

Dr. Seshia is directing the effort to integrate neonatal services at the new HSC Women’s Hospital.

Edith Evelyn Turner, RN

Edith Evelyn Turner was born on 18 March 1907 in Abernethy District, Saskatchewan to Austin Edwin and Mary Ann Turner, and graduated from the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg School of Nursing in 1929. On graduation she joined the nursing staff of the Winnipeg General Hospital on the Children’s Ward (K Flat) where she worked as Head Nurse for 25 years. During this time she designed, and was awarded a U.S. Letters Patent, for the SIMPLEX Nipple Sterilizer which was distributed through Fisher & Burpe Limited, a Surgical Instruments Company.

In 1959, when the pediatric ward of the Winnipeg General Hospital was closed and all children went to the Children’s Hospital, she became supervisor of orthopedics, neurosurgery, and gynecology. In 1962, she moved to the Nursing Office where she worked as a Nursing Supervisor, Assistant Director, and finally, Staffing Coordinator. Although she officially retired on 1 September 1975, she continued to volunteer as an advisor to the Director of Nursing. Edith Evelyn Turner died in Winnipeg on 1 December 1999.

White Cross Guild

In 1872 the ‘Ladies of the Province’ began to raise money to build a hospital on the land donated by Andrew McDermot at the corner of Sherbrook Street and McDermot Ave. Eleven years later this group of women – Mrs. Aiken, Mrs. Brydges, Mrs. Pinkham, Mrs. Denison, Mrs. Pitblado, Miss Mingaye, Miss Drever, Mrs. Kennedy, Mrs Leggo, Mrs. Lynch, Mrs. Rowan, Mrs. Tupper, Mrs. Tuttle, Mrs. Whitla and Mrs. Whiteford – became the Women’s Aid Society of the Winnipeg General Hospital. They raised money and provided many things for the hospital including furniture, bedding, linen, vegetables, meats and preserves, as well as providing a lending library service for the patients.

The Surgeon’s wives joined the Guild in 1890 and their services increased to include preparing surgical dressings, rolling bandages, and making layettes – a set of clothing, linen, and sometimes toiletries for a newborn – as well as raising money for the purchase equipment for the hospital.

In 1946, with help from the Central Volunteer Bureau and at the request of the Board of the Winnipeg General Hospital, the White Cross Guild was created out of the Women’s Aid Society. At the time it was the only Guild of its kind in Canada and the third of its kind in North America.

In 1950, the Guild expanded its support to the newly opened Maternity Pavilion. Over 120 White Cross Guild volunteers assisted nurses to direct visitors and serve as guides for public tours for three days after opening. The White Cross Guild sold roses for the opening of the Pavilion and used the proceeds to donate 100 copper vases to the Pavilion the following year. They raised funds through gift shop and baby photography sales, among other enterprises, and helped nurses coordinate discharge services.

The White Cross Guild employed the First Director of Volunteers who coordinated all volunteer services in the hospital including aiding nursing staff with routine duties as well as providing additional services. Although the business portion of the Guild’s efforts became Volunteer Enterprises in 1989, they continued to provide services to patients and their families and to assist hospital staff in admitting, outpatients, emergency, ICU, and surgical waiting rooms. By the late 1990s, the Guild had eight programs which they ran at HSC: the Keepsake Program, Intensive Care Unit lounge, the Layette program, Christmas stockings and gifts on the Maternity floor, Library services for all patients, a clothing depot, Patient radios, and a Humour cart. They also provided substantial financial support to programs at HSC, including the Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Transport Program.

In 2004, the White Cross Guild re-assessed their role at HSC and approached the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the hospital with a proposal for a Thrift Shop to raise money to purchase equipment and other necessary items for the hospital. In 2005, they opened the Just Like New to You Thrift Shop on Portage Avenue and discontinued providing any other services to the hospital. All funds raised by the thrift shop go toward purchasing items for HSC. In less than ten years the shop raised enough money to donate over $200,000.00 to HSC for much needed equipment. They continue to raise funds to purchase special equipment for the new HSC Women’s Hospital.