Doctor who broke glass ceiling for women in medicine inducted to Order of Nova Scotia
Dr. Noni MacDonald served as dean of Dalhousie's medical school from 1999 to 2004
November 26, 2019, 6:23 pm ASTLast Updated: December 19, 2019, 11:06 am
The first woman in Canada to become dean of a medical school was awarded Nova Scotia’s highest honour on Tuesday.
Dr. Noni MacDonald was inducted into the Order of Nova Scotia after an illustrious career that included serving as dean of Dalhousie University’s medical school from 1999 to 2004.
“I’m proud of you,” said Premier Stephen McNeil, who awarded MacDonald her medal. “You’ve now made room for my daughter at any medical school across the country. Well done.”
After receiving her MD from the University of Ottawa in 1975, she went on to specialize in pediatrics. She worked as a practicing clinician at the Ottawa General Hospital and as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Ottawa until being recruited by Dalhousie.
“It was appalling that it wasn’t until 1999 that there was a woman dean of medicine in Canada,” MacDonald told The Signal after the ceremony.
She pointed out that enrolment at medical schools is now more than 50 per cent women.
MacDonald also contributed to the study and growth of vaccines in Canada. She founded the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology in 2004, and is involved in the World Health Organization’s immunization work.
Vaccines are an issue MacDonald is still passionate about. She stressed that the rise of the anti-vaccine movement isn’t a black and white issue.
“A lot of people are not anti-vaxxers,” said MacDonald. “There are many people out there that are worried about a specific vaccine or some parts about being immunized like the pain of immunization.”
She said it’s important to educate the public on the benefits of vaccines.
She currently teaches a class at Dalhousie that deals with these issues called Addressing Evidence Denial in Public. In December, she’ll be travelling to England and France to give lectures on immunization and vaccine hesitancy.
Have a story idea? Let us know