History of Our Ophthalmology Residency Program

2017 is the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Department's residency program.

Dr. Mark Marshall, who was the Department's chairman at the time, was also the Director of Graduate Medical Training at the University of Alberta (U of A) and played a major role in setting up Residency Training at the University. In 1944, Marshall (then Levey) was also a member of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Nucleus Committee in Ophthalmology which was organizing to begin offering Certification (1946) and Specialist (1947) exams in Ophthalmology.

At the U of A, Marshall custom-designed the first programs, carefully selected the residents, and saw to it that they received the best training possible - both at the U of A and at other institutions in the US and Canada if needed. By 1949 (the earliest date recorded) the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada University of Alberta Hospital was certified for full training in Ophthalmology and several other specialties (Anesthesia, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics, Gynecology, Orthopedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Bacteriology, and Urology).

The Residency Training Program at the U of A was set up with the needs of returning Veteran physicians in mind. The Department's first resident, Dr. John Winston 'Wint' Duggan, was one of this initial cohort and he began his training in 1946. He was part of the accelerated medical program at the U of A during the Second World War and graduated in September 1943 before serving in the Royal Canadian Army Corps. After the war Duggan returned to Edmonton and became one of the first individuals enrolled in the residency training program. He trained at the U of A Hospital from 1946-1948 and then in 1949 (as arranged by Marshall) Duggan traveled to Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he completed his residency training in 1950 and earned a Master of Medical Science (M.M.S). He certified in ophthalmology in 1950 and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada in 1952.

After completing his residency training, Duggan returned to Edmonton and joined the Department where he was appointed an Instructor in Ophthalmology. He remained with the Department teaching and carrying out clinical research. In 1960 Duggan replaced Marshall who had resigned and was appointed Director of what was now the Division of Ophthalmology. Duggan resigned from this post 1 January 1964 to move to the US where he continued to practice. (Dr. Boyd in turn became Director of the Division of Ophthalmology in 1964 and Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology in 1969.)

So in that way Duggan (along with Marshall himself) was one of the first students of ophthalmology at the U of A who trained there, and abroad, and returned to share their knowledge with future generations of students.