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Brock Chisholm

AKA George Brock Chisholm

Born: 18-May-1896
Birthplace: Oakville, Ontario, Canada
Died: 4-Feb-1971
Location of death: Victoria, Ontario, Canada
Cause of death: Pneumonia

Gender: Male
Religion: Unitarian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Doctor, Politician

Nationality: Canada
Executive summary: First Director-General of World Health Organization

Military service: Canadian Army (1914-17, to Captain; 1942-45, to Director General of Medical Serv

Brock Chisholm was a decorated war hero in World War I, then studied medicine and child psychiatry, and had responsibility for the mental wellbeing of Canadian soldiers during World War II. As Canadian Deputy Minister of Health, he made headlines by suggesting that children should not be taught "thought-crippling myths" such as the story of Santa Claus. He was Executive Secretary as the World Health Organization (WHO) was established, and argued for WHO's constitutional definition of health as "not merely the absence of disease". He smoothly oversaw the agency's first crisis, a 1947 cholera outbreak in Egypt, and was appointed the first Director-General of WHO in 1948. In his five years helming WHO the agency sent disease-fighting crews into dozens of nations, established an epidemic-warning service, distributed modern medical information into remote areas, and launched a long-term project to catalog and standardize the names and strengths of medications used worldwide. During his tenure he was often described as "doctor to the human race". He was among the first prominent experts to voice concern about the dangers of the world's rapid population growth, and he was also an outspoken and sometimes controversial advocate for mental health, arguing that ignorance, religious intolerance, and superstition posed as much danger to health as bacteria and viruses.

Wife: Grace McLean Ryrie Chisholm (m. 21-Jun-1924)
Daughter: Catherine Anne Chisholm
Son: Brock Ryrie Chisholm

    Medical School: MD, University of Toronto (1924)
    University: Psychiatry, Yale University

    Order of Canada 1967
    Humanist of the Year 1959
    Lasker Award 1952
    Military Cross 1917
    World Federation for Mental Health Co-founder and President (1956-57)
    World Health Organization Director-General (1948-53)
    World Health Organization Executive Secretary (1946-48)
    Canadian Official Deputy Minister of Health (1944-46)
    Stroke
    Scottish Ancestry (paternal)


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