Frontiers of Medicine: A History of Medical Education and Research at the University of Alberta

By Elise A. Corbet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 2
The Years of Struggle

The twenties and the thirties

THE YEARS immediately following the war were exciting ones for the young school, even though fraught with tension, problems and concern about its future. There were high points: the Class A rating, the opening of the Medical Building, an endowment of half a million dollars from the Rockefeller Foundation, the extension of the programme to a full-degree course, and the pride and excitement of having one of its own faculty members involved with the dramatic discovery of insulin.

Several major events took place during this postwar period to solidify and strengthen the role of the Faculty of Medicine within the framework of the University of Alberta. Construction of a building specifically for the school itself spelled stability and progress, as did the appointment of new faculty members, some on a full-time basis. When the Department of National Defence gave up its lease on the Strathcona Hospital in 1922, Tory's vision of a university teaching hospital was finally realized. Changes in the curriculum at Toronto's and McGill's medical schools necessitated changes in Alberta's curriculum as well, and gradually the clinical years were added to the programme. The first class to earn an M.D. ( Alberta) graduated in 1925.

All these developments will be explored in this chapter, but first they have to be set within the framework of the political and economic situation in Alberta. In 1921, Albertans went to the polls and elected a new

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