Canadian Medical Association

Dr. John Dossetor

Dr. John Dossetor

As a pioneer in nephrology and bioethics, Dr. John Dossetor has helped establish Canada as a world leader in both fields.

In 1958, he organized the first kidney transplant from a living donor, and he subsequently established the first kidney transplant program at McGill University in 1964 — the same year he co-founded the Kidney Foundation of Canada. He has been described as a mentor, leader and role model for a generation of Canadian nephrologists.

Dr. Dossetor also broke ground in Canada as a bioethicist. He was the first professor in the field at the University of Alberta; in 2008, its bioethics centre was renamed in his honour. He was also a founding member of the Canadian Bioethics Society and has consulted nationally on a number of fundamental ethical issues in medicine including abortion, AIDS and HIV treatment, and end-of-life care.

His accomplishments have been acknowledged with many prestigious awards, including the Order of Canada, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and the Canadian Bioethics Society Lifetime Achievement Award. The CMA Medal of Service will mark the second honour Dr. Dossetor has received from the CMA; in 2007, he was the first recipient of the Dr. William Marsden Award in Medical Ethics.