History of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, McGill University

Cesarean section at the RVH in 1899

Originally called the "Department of Mid­wifery and Diseases of Women" the department was founded in 1823-24 in the Montreal Medical Institute, the teaching arm of the then newly-founded Montreal General Hospital. The students were taught by didactic lectures in Midwifery and Diseases of Women by Professor William Robertson (1784-1844). When the Montreal Medical Institute became the Medical Faculty of McGill University, Dr. Robertson became its first Dean. This was the first Medical Faculty to open in Lower Canada.

Just before the turn of the century, Dr. William Gardner (1895-1910) was appointed Chief of Gynecology at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He was a practical clinician and was the first gynecologist at McGill. Dr. Walter W. Chipman (1910-1929) succeeded Dr. Gardner as Chief of gynecology at the Royal Victoria Hospital. As Dr. Chipman was already Professor of Obstetrics, the two departments joined and he became the first Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at McGill in 1912. The merger of obstetrics and gynecology under a single head was a most significant change. It allowed obstetrical patients to receive all the benefits that were enjoyed by medical and surgical patients. This merger resulted in the building of The Women’s Pavilion of the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) which opened in 1926.

In 1925, a new hospital named the Hebrew Maternity Hospital was created. It provided obstetrics services to the Montreal population. This hospital eventually became the Jewish General Hospital (JGH) incorporated as healthcare institution in 1933. In 1969, McGill University affiliation was granted to JGH. Saint Mary’s Hospital (SMH) was opened in the mid-1930s and described as a “monument to English Catholicism in Montreal”. In 1997, RVH, the Montreal General Hospital, the Montreal Children's Hospital, the Montreal Neurological Institute, and the Montreal Chest Institute merged to become the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Today, MUHC, JGH and SMH are an integral part of our academic department. 

On April 26, 2015, MUHC moved to a new site at the Glen. The media called it “the largest hospital move in Canadian history”. The move was smooth and the highlight was the delivery of a healthy male baby approximately one hour after the move at 6. 17 a.m.  The academic Reproductive Centre, however did not move with the rest of the hospital. It remained at the Women’s Pavilion for over a year. On October 23, 2016, the center finally moved to Place Dupuis, another contemporary facility in downtown Montreal. MUHC houses the office of the Department Chair and the academic staff.

Chairs of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of McGill University as of 1929:

  • Dr. John R. Fraser (1929-1943)
  • Dr. Newell W. Philpott (1943-1956)
  • Dr. George B. Maughan (1956-1975)
  • Dr. Frederick Naftolin (1975-1978)
  • Dr. Frederick J. Tweedie (1979)
  • Dr. Robert A. H. Kinch (1979-1983)
  • Dr. Brian Little (1983-1994)
  • Dr. Seang Lin Tan (1994-2010)
  • Dr. Peter Gillett (2011-2012)
  • Dr. Denis Querleu (2012-2013)
  • Dr. Arvind Joshi (2014-2015)
  • Dr. Togas Tulandi (2016-present)