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Wolfe, Sam (1923–93)

Wolfe was born in Toronto on June 6, 1923, and received his MD there in 1950. For six years he was an exemplary family doctor at Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan. A Rockefeller scholarship led to his Doctorate in Public Health from Columbia University in 1961. A long-time supporter of universal, public medicare, he was appointed as one of the first members of the Medical Care Insurance Commission. When in 1962 the doctors went on strike, he helped organize the airlift of ninety doctors from Britain. He resigned his professorship, under protest, from the Department of Social and Preventative Medicine and joined the Saskatoon Community Clinic as its first Medical Director. He promoted a community-based, team practice of primary health care. He encouraged the establishment of a Drug Formulary which became the model for the Saskatchewan Prescription Drug Plan. He presided over and enjoyed the defence against the harassment of the Clinic by the medical establishment. As Professor of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry University, Nashville (USA), he established in 1968 a Community Health Centre in the Black ghetto; he then had a distinguished career as Chair of Health Administration and Public Health at Columbia University. He published extensively, and wrote two books with Robin Badgley: Doctors’ Strike and The Family Doctor. He died in New York City on December 10, 1993.

John Bury

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