July 14, 1946

(Vancouver, British Columbia)


MD, University of British Columbia

Awards & Honours:

2020: Order of Canada - Member

2018: Honorary Doctor of Science, Western University

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Innovative health care educator and mentor promoting equitable and accessible health care for all.


Provision of equitable and effective publicly-funded health care is a pressing challenge of our time. Carol Herbert, MD was a pioneer in addressing social determinants of health by developing services for victims of sexual assault, both adults and children, and delivering community-based health care. Vancouver’s Sexual Assault Service, in continuous operation since 1981, was the first dedicated service of its kind in Canada. A passionate advocate for social justice, her integrated interdisciplinary research and practice embrace family violence and sexual assault; clinical health promotion and patient-physician decision-making; participatory research on ecosystem health issues in aboriginal communities, and health care and health professional education as complex adaptive systems. She is internationally known and honoured for her leadership in primary care research and for her innovations in health care education, notably as Dean of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario. Mentor to a multitude of individuals, recipient of numerous awards, author of important guidelines for participatory research in health promotion, member and fellow of many boards and institutes, Dr. Herbert has championed physician advocacy, citizen participation in health care and improved access for underserved and marginalized populations.

Key Facts

Cofounded Vancouver Sexual Assault Assessment Service as a response to identified community need, initially for medical assessment of children with suspected sexual abuse and then a 24/7 emergency service for adults who reported sexual assault.

Pioneered Family Medicine and primary care research in Canada and internationally.

Led building of distributed regional family practice network in BC and distributed medical education network in Southwestern Ontario (SWOMEN), including Windsor campus of Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.

Mentored academic development and fostered leadership opportunities, especially for women in medicine.

Co-authored Guidelines for Participatory Action Research in Health Promotion.

Introduced community-engaged participatory research to international primary care research community.

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Community-based healthcare addressing social determinants of health has delivered effective care to populations often underserved by centralized healthcare institutions.  Dr. Herbert’s ongoing Vancouver Sexual Assault Service provided an early model for community-oriented care. Community-engaged participatory research, promoting evidence-informed, patient-centred care, has become central to primary care research internationally. A new generation of primary care researchers mentored by Dr. Herbert now provides ongoing leadership in medical education and research.

Herbert Carol head shot


  • Herbert induction

    Carol Herbert inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

  • SFU Logo

    Member, Board of Governors of Simon Fraser University

  • AUC

    Chair of the Board of Trustees of AUC (American University of the Caribbean), Board member since 2012

  • uwo

    Retired from Western University and appointed Professor Emerita

  • Senior Associate, In-Source Research Consulting, a research partnership that applied complex adaptive systems thinking to health care issues

  • CIHR

    Member of CIHR Gender and Health Scientific Advisory Board

  • Co-author of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences major assessment report: “Transforming Care for Canadians with Chronic Health Conditions: Put People First, Expect the Best, Manage for Results”.

    Patient Care, Women in Medicine

    (Nasmith L., Ballem P., Baxter R., Bergman H., Colin-Thorme D., Herbert C., Keating N., Lessard R.,,Lyons R., McMurchy D., Ratner P., Rosenbaum P., Tamblyn R., Wagner E., & Zimmerman B. (2010)

  • Founding Fellow of Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Women in Medicine

    Served as a board member from 2009-2019 and president from 2015-17

  • Dr. Herberts chairs the National Expert Committee, Health Canada Interprofessional Education (IPE) for Patient-Centred Collaborative Care which funded many innovative IPE projects.

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Women in Medicine

    One of many committees and Task Forces she chaired or served on over decades

  • Board Chair - CMHF

  • Visiting Overseas Scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge University

  • Dr. Herbert serves as Dean, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University.

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Women in Medicine

    Continued to teach throughout term as dean, both PBL groups and a course on Advocacy

  • Co-editor of Patient Education & Counseling, the international journal. Continued to serve on Editorial Board until 2018.

  • Co-Principal Investigator of Haida Gwaii Diabetes Project, one of the first participatory research partnerships with Canadian Indigenous communities.

    Health Policy, Women in Medicine

    Developed innovative written agreement on ethical research with Haida Gwaii community partners.

  • Co-developed Guidelines for Participatory Action Research in Health Promotion

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy, Women in Medicine

    Review and Recommendations for the Development of Participatory Research in Health Promotion in Canada. UBC and the B.C. Consortium for Health Promotion Research, for the Royal Society of Canada (Green, L.W., George, M.A., Daniel, M., Frankish, C.J., Herbert, C.P., O'Neill, M.)

  • Dr. Herbert is a founding member of UBC Institute of Health Promotion Research

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy, Women in Medicine

  • Royal Canadian Legion Professor and Head of Family Practice, UBC

  • Dr. Herbert serves as the president of North American Primary Care Research Group, most influential primary care research organization in the world.

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Women in Medicine

  • Dr. Herbert becomes the founding co-director of Sexual Abuse Assessment Pilot Project

    Patient Care, Women in Medicine

  • Dr. Herbert serves as the founding co-director of Vancouver Sexual Assault Assessment Service (still operating in 2023)

    Patient Care, Women in Medicine

  • Dr. Herbert was a pioneer in community-based primary care research, with research questions arising from practice and grounded in patient and community care needs.

    Patient Care, Women in Medicine

    Established and ran autogenic training groups for stress management. (Herbert, C.P., and Gutman, G., Practical Group Autogenic Training for Management of Stress-Related Disorders in Family Practice in Clinical Hypnosis in Medicine, Yearbook Medical Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, 1980;109-117)

  • Worked as full-service family physician at REACH Centre, one of the first community health centres in Canada, which was established in 1969 and is still operating in 2023. REACH was established as a community teaching site for medical students and residen

  • ubc logo

    Obtained MD degree from UBC and completed rotating internship at St Paul's Hospital in Vancouver. Completed UBC Pediatrics resident (Jan-July 1971)

  • Obtained Honours BSc in Biochemistry concurrently with completing first year Medicine at UBC


An ideal role model for all, particularly for aspiring female scholars considering careers in academic leadership in higher education