Dr. Ann C. Macaulay CM MD FCFP, steps down as Director of Participatory Research at McGill

Published: 28 October 2013

I want to take this opportunity to honour and thank Ann C. Macaulay, CM MD FCFP, who was the founding Director of Participatory Research at McGill, for her decades of service and commitment to primary care and community health.  I am delighted that Ann continues on in our Department as Professor of Family Medicine and that we will continue to benefit from her mentoring, expertise, and experience.

Following her medical training in the UK, Ann came to Canada in 1969 to pursue a career in family medicine. Almost immediately she was drawn to Indigenous health and served as community physician then medical director for the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) community of Kahnawake – roles she held on and off over the next 40 years. She trained and mentored two notable Kanien’keha:ka physicians and founded the internationally recognised and ground-breaking Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project, of which she served as Scientific Director from 1994-2006.  Ann has held an appointment in the McGill Department of Family Medicine since 1983 and has been full professor since 2004.  In 2006, as another step in her career-long advocacy of community-motivated research, she became the Inaugural Director of Participatory Research at McGill (PRAM), a centre of research and service to the McGill community.

Ann always worked where the need was greatest, and we see this in her ample record of published research, her service and mentorship in Indigenous and community health. Anyone who has worked with her recognizes her softly spoken but absolutely committed and uncompromising advocacy for respectful ways of working with communities. Whatever our disciplines and specializations, we can all learn from this and strive to follow her example. Over the years, countless students and colleagues have benefitted from Ann’s wisdom, guidance and mentorship. 

Ann's many accolades are testimony to her role as a leader in contemporary medicine, or what contemporary medicine should be. Among the honours, Ann was inducted to the Order of Canada (for service to Aboriginal Health), and the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academies (for contributions to diabetes prevention). She was the College of Family Physicians of Canada’s Family Medicine Researcher of the Year for 2009, and then honoured with a CFPC Lifetime Achievement Award in Family Medicine Research, as well as receiving the North American Primary Care Research Group’s Wood Award for lifetime achievement in primary care research. Ann has throughout her career sat on numerous advisory panels, most notably as Institutional Advisory Board member for the CIHR Institute of Aboriginal People’s Health. And in 2010, the Kahnawake Schools Diabetes Prevention Project was recognised with CIHR’s Partnership Award. These accolades are all thoroughly deserved but in some ways fall short of expressing the depth and breadth of her full contribution.

Through 44 years of work at the forefront of health care, Ann has become an icon by following community priorities and accompanying communities as they develop their own solutions. In building PRAM into the McGill University Faculty of Medicine, she opened an area of excellence and specialization that has huge implications for the way primary care and community research get done, by assuring the sustained capacity-building of McGill faculty and students. We acknowledge her tremendous contributions to research and service, and to McGill University itself.

Dr. Howard Bergman, MD, FCFP, FRCPC
Chair, Department of Family Medicine

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