Dr. Tom Hutchinson graduated in Medicine from the National University of Ireland with honours in 1971. He trained as an Internist and Nephrologist at McGill University from 1972-1976. From 1976 to 1978 he was a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University with Dr. Alvan Feinstein. Dr. Feinstein led a revolution in medical research that included patients’ subjective experience and reported symptoms as a source of research data. In 1978 Dr. Hutchinson returned to McGill where he combined clinical practice of Nephrology and Internal Medicine with research on the clinical determinants of survival in patients with kidney failure. Concern for the lived experience of patients with kidney and other chronic diseases, as well as for their caregivers, led Dr. Hutchinson to meet pioneering therapist Virginia Satir in 1986, to complete a 4 year training course in Family Therapy at the McGill Institute for Community Psychiatry in 1995 and to publish a book on the stories of kidney patients in 1998.
In 2002, in order to enlarge his focus on the quality of patients’ lived experience, Dr. Hutchinson changed his clinical practice to Palliative Medicine and joined Dr. Balfour Mount in developing McGill Programs in Whole Person Care. The Programs are aimed at enlarging the Western Health Care mandate from cure and prolongation of life to an equal concern with patients’ quality of life. The Programs seek to study, understand and promote the role of health care in relieving suffering and promoting healing in acute and chronic illness as a complement to the disease focus of biomedicine. Since 2005, the Programs have taught healing in medicine to all medical students throughout all 4 years of the new Physicianship Curriculum at McGill. Dr. Hutchinson edited the first academic book on Whole Person Care that was published by Springer in 2011, “Whole Person Care: A New Paradigm for the 21st Century”. In 2012, he was named to the Faculty Honour List for Teaching Excellence at McGill in recognition of “outstanding contributions to education in the Faculty of Medicine”. In 2017, Dr. Hutchinson published a new single author book outlining the vision and implications of whole person care “Whole Person Care: Transforming Healthcare” published by Springer, and in 2019, he co-authored with Dr. Stephen Liben a book on Mindful Medical Practice course which offers a comprehensive approach to teaching pre-clerkship medical students -- as well as residents and even experienced physicians -- about the transformational impact of mindful medical practice, or mindful whole person care.
Dr. Hutchinson chairs the biennial International Congress on Whole Person Care, sponsored by McGill's Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences.