William Osler (1849 – 1919)

Creator of Modern Medical Training

Osler has been called a man who “revolutionized the teaching of medicine.” He believed students should learn medicine by working at the bedside rather than just through lectures. He brought higher standards and scientific methods into general practice, improving both the training of future doctors and the care of patients. A graduate of McGill Medicine (1872), he returned to the University as a lecturer after studies in Europe, and went on to teach at the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and Oxford. His work The Principles and Practice of Medicine, published in 1892, is considered the first great textbook of modern medicine. Osler is the Greatest McGillian because of his profound influence on modern medicine, both directly and through those he taught.