Women's College Hospital - Health Care for Women, Revolutionized

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Who Was Dr. Henrietta Banting?

From 1958 to 1971, Dr. Henrietta Banting held the position of director of the Cancer Detection Clinic at Women's College Hospital, the first clinic for women of its kind in Ontario. She was also a lifelong advocate of women in the field of medicine, and urged young women to consider careers as doctors rather than nurses.

Henrietta (Ball) Banting graduated from Mount Allison University in 1932, with a bachelor's degree and a specialization in biology. She remained in New Brunswick pursuing clinical work in hospitals for a few years, before continuing her education at the Banting Institute in Toronto. She earned a master's degree in medical research from the University of Toronto in 1937. The following year, she married Sir Frederick Banting (co-discoverer of insulin), who shortly after their marriage was killed while on active duty with the Canadian Military in 1941.

Only months after her husband's death, Lady Banting entered the medical school of the University of Toronto and joined the wartime class of 1945. Like all medical classes in the wartime years, she was also simultaneously enlisted in the Royal Canadian Amy Medical Corps.

After the war, Dr. Banting continued her education by enrolling in a post-graduate course in obstetrics and gynaecology in London, England. Dr. Banting was then offered a teaching position at the medical school of the University of Hong Kong, which she held from 1949 to 1950. The following year, she returned to Canada and began a private practice in Toronto. In 1957, Dr. Banting joined the staff of Women's College Hospital. One year later, she was appointed director of the Cancer Detection Clinic, a position she held until her retirement in 1971.

Dr. Banting died of cancer at Women's College Hospital on July 26, 1976. Shortly after her death, the Henrietta Banting Breast Care Centre was established at the hospital, as well as the Henrietta Banting Memorial Fund, both in Dr. Banting's memory. The memorial fund supports lectures and projects related to the Centre. The memorial fund is used for advancement in prevention and detection of breast cancer and the education and treatment of breast cancer patients at Women's College Hospital.

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