Gordon Richards graduated in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1908 and subsequently served as medical officer in a mining camp in British Columbia. While in the west, he developed an interest in the new fields of radiography and radiotherapy. He joined the staff of St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver as a radiologist in 1912. From 1914 to 1917 he served as a radiologist in the Royal Army Medical Corps in the Middle East.
Dr. Richards was appointed the first head of the Department of Radiology at Toronto General Hospital and devoted his subsequent career to the improvement of radiotherapy and cancer services in Canada. He established radiotherapy as a medical discipline in Canada through his publications on the efficacy of radiotherapy in treating cancer, collaboration with physicists and engineers to improve the technologic basis of treatment, and promotion of radiotherapy as a unique specialty. In 1923 he set up the first training program in radiology in Canada, and in 1937 he founded the Canadian Association of Radiologists. Dr. Richard’s unwavering belief in the importance of centralization of cancer services culminated in his appointment in 1945 as the first managing Director of the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. In 1946 he was appointed the first president of the National Cancer Institute of Canada. Dr. Richards will be remembered as the father of Canadian radiation oncology.
Image: Gordon Richards, source: canadian association of radiologists (CAR)