I have the honour to present Dr. Cecil George Sheps, M.D., M.P.H., presently Taylor Grandy Distinguished Professor of Social Medicine and Professor of Epidemiology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Dr. Sheps was born in Winnipeg and received his high school education at St. John's High School in the North End, the background of many Canadian leading medical educators and scientists. He obtained his M.D. degree from this University in 1936 and, following internship and residency training and four years of urban and rural practice and service in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, he joined the Department of Public Health, Province of Saskatchewan in 1944. During the years 1946-48 he played a major role in the early developments that led to universal hospital insurance in that Province, a program that was extended in due course to all other provinces. Dr. Sheps is recognized as one of the "founders" of our Canadian health care system.
Dr. Sheps proceeded to formal training in public health, receiving his M.P.H. from Yale University in 1947. He then joined the School of Public Health at Chapel Hill where he became Research Professor of Health Planning, the first individual in the United States to hold such a title and establishing him as a pioneer in the study of the organization of health services. His books and articles during this period focused on hospitals, not only as institutions that care for the sick, but as centers that have a responsibility for the health of the community that they serve.
When Dr. Sheps left Chapel Hill to become Director of a teaching hospital in Boston in 1953 his research and writing continued to focus on the need for an expanded role of the hospital and on the need for changes in the pattern of medical care and methods of paying for it. These interests continued when he Left Boston in 1960 to join the University of Pittsburgh as Professor of Medical and Hospital Administration, and his publications throughout this period continue to identify issues and problems in health care many years before they became the subject of public policy and debate.
In 1968, he returned to Chapel Hill where he established and directed its Health Services Research Center until he became Vice Chancellor for Health Services in 1971. After six years in that position he returned to full time academic responsibilities as Taylor Grandy Distinguished Professor of Social Medicine. This era of his professional career was characterized by extensive writing on the future of education in public health,and on the role of academic medical centers culminating in his book The Sick Citadel: The American Academic Medical Center and the Public Interest.
Common elements in his nearly 150 articles and books have been his extraordinary vision, his sensitivity to changing social and economic circumstances in North America and the rest of the world, and his concern that established institutions respond to the health care needs of the population. It is these qualities that have earned his international reputation as a pre-eminent scholar, researcher, and spokesman for the field of public health.
Madam Chancellor, it is an honour and a privilege for me to ask in the name of the Senate that you confer upon Dr. Cecil George Sheps the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.