Catherine Hankins, MD PhD

A dedicated advocate for global health and health equity

Preventing infectious diseases and protecting vulnerable at-risk populations are just two of the critical public health aims advanced by Catherine Hankins, MD PhD. Dr. Hankins’ illustrious 40-year career spans many diverse roles and achievements united by her commitment to these goals: providing front-line public health services, leading novel research in response to global emergencies, and translating research findings to inform public health policy. An early advocate of determining women’s risk for HIV in Canada, Dr. Hankins established the first national cohort of women living with HIV in 1993. She also pioneered research on HIV in correctional settings that led to health-benefiting policies in Canada’s penitentiaries. As the global toll of HIV/AIDS grew, Dr. Hankins served with the United Nations as the first Chief Scientific Advisor to the Joint United Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), using modelling to inform HIV prevention policy and programs. With the advent of another pandemic, she co-chaired Canada’s COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, where she catalyzed household-based testing of immunity and research among at-risk populations. Dr. Hankins’ inspiring contributions to community medicine demonstrate how research can be harnessed to improve health and health equity around the world.

About the CMHF

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) celebrates Canadian heroes whose work advances health in Canada and the world, fostering future generations of health professionals through the delivery of local and national youth education programs and awards.

This enduring tribute to our country’s rich medical history is showcased here and in our physical exhibit hall in London, ON.