July 2, 1942

(Redhill, England)


BSc Chemistry, University of Alberta (1963)

MD, University of Alberta (1967)


Awards & Honours:

2013: Distinguished Service and Education Award from the Canadian Society of Pharmacology and Therapeutics

2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award

See All Awards
Picture of Jean Gray

Championed evidence-informed prescription practices

Portrait of Jean Gray

An accomplished scientist, educator, administrator and leader in medical policy

Dr. Jean Gray, Professor Emeritus of Medical Education, Medicine and Pharmacology at Dalhousie University, has championed rigorous studies of drug safety and effectiveness to improve prescribing practice. She has held many leadership positions and served with distinction in several medical organizations helping to foster excellence in health care in Canada and the world. She has been president of several organizations including both the Canadian and American Societies of Clinical Pharmacology. She has also served as president of the Canadian Institute of Academic Medicine and the Canadian Association of Medical Education, President of the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation (1997-98), chair of the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation (2008-14), chair of the Cochrane Canada Advisory Board (2009-12) and chair of the Institute of Gender and Health Advisory Board of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  Her reputation as a skillful and courageous leader guarantees that her influence will remain long-lasting and widespread.

Key Facts

Served as a valued scientific advisor to the Government of Nova Scotia and Health Canada

Developed tools to better evaluate residents in training and in educating physicians about the appropriate use of medications

Became a role model and mentor for an entire generation of students who have gone on to study and practice medicine throughout Canada

Provided important health-related guidance to individual practicing physicians and informed guidance in the development of public health policy, including work with the Nova Scotia Commission for Drug Dependency and Alcoholism

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

In 2019, more than 600 million prescriptions were written in Canada. As a champion of clinical pharmacology, Dr. Gray’s legacy helps to ensure that Canadians receive the best medicine possible according to evidenced-based research. In addition, primary care physicians across Canada, half of whom are women, continue to benefit from pioneers like Dr. Gray who persevered under difficult conditions and worked to change problematic realities for women in medicine. Over a long and courageous career Dr. Gray has helped to promote equity and excellence in health care for all Canadians.

Picture of medicine


  • Jean Gray inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Virtual Ceremony (originally scheduled to be in Vancouver, BC)

  • After retiring from Dalhousie in 2002, Dr. Gray continued to expand the reach of her insights and influence

    In 2009, she became a member of the World Health Organization’s Panel on Essential Medicine.

  • Dr. Gray served as a member and chair of the CMAJ Journal Oversight Committee from 2006 to 2015

    Her service of more than a decade helped establish the CMAJ as the leading medical journal of the country.

  • When the Canadian Institutes of Health Research was formed, Dr. Jean Gray was asked to chair the Institute of Gender and Health Advisory Board

    Women in Medicine

    Beginning her career at a time when maternity leave provisions were virtually unknown, Dr. Gray became a powerful advocate for supporting women in medicine.

  • Dr. Jean Gray began working with the Canadian Pharmacists Association to develop a comprehensive handbook for primary care practitioners designed to support therapeutic decision-making

    Patient Care

    The book, Therapeutic Choices, went through five editions before transitioning to an electronic prescribing guide tailored to the needs of pharmacists and providers in primary care.

  • As a skilled administrator, Dr. Jean Gray became Associate Dean of Post-Graduate Medical Education at Dalhousie University

    Health and Medical Education & Training, Women in Medicine

    Following this position in 1996, she was appointed Associate Dean of Continuing Medical Education. Dr. Gray’s influential leadership is a contributing factor to the prestige of the university and its medical faculty.

  • Created and edited Drugs and Therapeutics for Maritime Practitioners from 1977 to 2002 which developed a national and international profile in spite of a shoestring budget

    Published 6 times a year, the objective, evidence-based newsletter provided balanced information about new drugs heavily marketed at that time.

  • Dr. Gray was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and Pharmacology

    The following year she became the founding Head of the Dalhousie Division of General Medicine.

  • Following an internship at Toronto Western Hospital and a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford, Dr. Gray moved to Halifax, NS

    She came to Dalhousie to complete her residency and began a decades-long association with the University.

  • After graduating with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Alberta, Jean Gray pursued research experience with microbiologist William J. Whelan at the Lister Institute of Preventative Medicine in London

    In the fall, she returned to Alberta to study medicine and graduated with distinction in 1967.


If the legacy you leave is one of kindness, that is the ultimate legacy isn’t it?