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

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Who Was Dr. Marion Hilliard?

Dr. Marion Hilliard

Dr. Marion Hilliard graduated in Medicine from the University of Toronto in June 1927. She joined the staff of Women's College Hospital in 1928 as assistant to Dr. Marion Kerr, chief of the department of obstetrics and gynecology. The hospital was then located on Rusholme Road. She was appointed chief, department of obstetrics and gynecology in 1947 until her retirement in 1956.

Dr. Hilliard studied abroad at the Queen Charlotte Lying-in-Hospital in London, England and at the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin, majoring in obstetrics. During a leave of absence in 1934, she went abroad again for post-graduate studies, this time to the Polyklinic in Budapest where she specialized in methods of overcoming sterility in women.

Following her return, the hospital moved to its present location in 1936, which provided modern facilities and equipment for women physicians to treat their patients. Dr. Hilliard was among those who developed a simplified procedure for detecting early symptoms of cancer, particularly of the cervix, in 1947. She lobbied for and enthusiastically supported the establishment of the Cancer Detection Clinic at the hospital which opened in April 1948, the first of its kind in Canada.

Dr. Hilliard was chairman of the doctors' committee in the hospital's building campaign in 1952. To encourage fund-raising, she persuaded the CBC to broadcast on radio the live tape-recording of the birth of a baby, which was run on November 30th, 1952.

One of Dr. Hilliard's greatest desires was to have Women's College Hospital become a teaching hospital. She was very much involved with the negotiations that finally led to the hospital becoming affiliated with the University of Toronto's department of obstetrics and gynecology. Teaching status was achieved in her department in 1956. Dr. Hilliard retired as head of her department in 1956 in order to meet the university requirements regarding the qualifications of that office.

Dr. Hilliard was well known through her writings and publications: A Women Doctor Looks at Love and Life, Women and Fatigue, and was author of numerous articles for Chatelaine. The proceeds from her publications were turned over to the hospital's fund-raising campaign. When Dr. Hilliard retired in 1956, the Marion Hilliard Trust Fund was established to be applied to any medical project she might designate. She was also presented with a beautiful white leather book containing signatures of over twelve hundred grateful patients.

Dr. Hilliard passed away on July 15, 1958, at the age of 56. By serving in the field of gynaecology, obstetrics, in addition to prenatal and postnatal care of the mother, Dr. Hilliard contributed in many ways to the total health of women.

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