Canadian Medical Association

Toronto; University of Toronto, 1946; family medicine; Order of Canada; first woman to serve as president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and Ontario Medical Association; founding member, College of Family Physicians of Canada; former minister of labour, minister of education and acting minister of health, Province of Ontario; first woman to serve as chair, CMA Board of Directors; first chief, Department of Family Medicine, and former president, medical staff, Women’s College Hospital, Toronto. Died Aug. 19, 2019, aged 95. Survived by 6 children, 5 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. “Bette decided she would be a physician at age 5, and pursued that objective even though it eventually required persuading the dean of medicine at the University of Toronto to accept her into the program a year before she was eligible. She became a doctor in 1946, met and married Allan Pengelly, who was also a med student, in 1948, and, as she had planned, had 6 children. Bette practised family medicine in Willowdale, Ont., and was an active member of the medical staff at Women’s College Hospital in Toronto until 1988.” CMA President Sandy Buchman commented: “Dr. Stephenson helped modernize the CMA and raised the profile of women in Canadian medicine, and she was at the forefront of the divisive struggle to extend the reproductive rights of women. Throughout her career, she personified the principles that are emblazoned on the CMA Coat of Arms: ‘Integritate et Misericordia (Integrity and Compassion).’ ”

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