1998 INDUCTEE Ray Farquharson, MD Hormones, Leadership in Organizational Development


August 4, 1887

(Claude, Ontario)


June 1, 1965


MD, University of Toronto (1922)

Awards & Honours:

1964: Medal of Honour, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers’ Association of Canada Health Research Foundation

1960: Royal Society of Canada

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Picture of Ray Farquharson, MD

Advanced medical knowledge as well as the supports available for Canadian health research

Dr. Ray Farquarson

A great physician, an inspiring teacher and an unwavering advocate for medical research

Dr. Ray Farquharson is widely remembered as a strong role model and source of inspiration for hundreds of medical students and colleagues. His research with tracking the thyroid’s secretory activity led him to discover the "Farquharson Phenomenon". This phenomenon explains that when administering external hormones, the natural production of that hormone is suppressed, causing a temporary atrophy of the associated endocrine gland. The ‘Farquharson Phenomenon’ became of the fundamental principles of endocrinology. Beyond his own research, Farquharson is remembered for contributions to the Canadian medical research landscape. An inquisitive mind and belief in research led Farquharson to play an instrumental role in the formation of the Medical Research Council of Canada.

Key Facts

Fostered vast research interests from rheumatic diseases to endocrinology

Appointed as Member of the Order of the British Empire for his distinguished and impactful service during the Second World War

Served as the first President of the Medical Research Council of Canada

Awarded 7 honorary degrees

Served as President of the Royal Society of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Farquharson’s contributions to endocrinology and his success in strengthening the foundations of Canadian medical research continue to impact the lives of Canadians. Today, the Medical Research Council’s successor, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research invests over $1 billion in Canadian medical research. This funding goes to support inquiry in areas ranging from biomedical, clinical, and health systems to the social, cultural and environment determinants of health. That this level of support for medical research in Canada is possible is due in part to the pioneering efforts of Dr. Farquharson. His passionate advocacy convinced the government to make medicine and health a priority in Canada’s research landscape.

Picture of Farquharson Life Sciences Building, York University, Toronto


  • Ray Farquharson posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Hull, Québec

  • Ray Farquharson served as the founding president of the Medical Research council for five years

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    The council was tasked to inform government about the needs of medical researchers and eventually grew to be the principal funding agency for medical research in Canada. During his tenure, Farquharson increased the Council’s budget for awards and grants from $4 million to $9 million by 1965.

  • Dr. Ray Farquharson produced the "Farquharson Report" which described the current state of medical research in Canada

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    In the report, he proposed the formation of an independent council that was solely dedicated to fostering medical research. These recommendations culminated in the creation of the Medical Research Council of Canada in 1960.

  • Dr. Farquharson became a member in National Research Council of Canada

    Leadership in Organizational Development

    The appointment highlighted his natural leadership abilities and thrust him into a position that helped him positively influence Canadian policy and improve medical research.

  • During the Second World War, Dr. Farquharson was Chair of the Penicillin Committee of Canada, which regulated the distribution of penicillin to the Allies.

    He supervised clinical experiments involving penicillin in Ontario hospitals and was appointed Director of Medicine at Christie Street Veterans’ Hospital in Toronto at the end of the war.

  • After comparing the similarities between Simmond’s disease and anorexia nervosa, Drs. Farquharson and Hyland classified anorexia nervosa as a mental disorder and not a disorder of the endocrine gland

    Hormones, Hormones

    Dr. Farquharson went on to be the first Canadian physician to draw attention to Sheehan’s syndrome, a syndrome which presents decreased pituitary gland function.

  • Along with Dr. Duncan Graham, Dr. Ray Farquharson published a report on Simmonds’ disease with three case studies


    Simmonds disease, atrophy of the anterior pituitary gland. The paper was the first report on the syndrome in North America.

  • After spending some time at Harvard to conduct research, Farquharson came back to the University of Toronto as an assistant professor of medicine.

    He was a brilliant doctor and an excellent teacher, quickly rising in ranks to become a professor of therapeutics in 1934, and chair of medicine in 1947.

  • Ray Farquarson

    Farquharson was recalled from the army to resume his medical studies

    He graduated from medicine at the University of Toronto in 1922.

  • Farquharson entered medical school at the University of Toronto in 1917

    He interrupted his studies to join Canada’s war effort during the First World War. Farquharson served in the Canadian Field Artillery and, later, as a medical consultant for the Royal Canadian Air force.


He was widely loved and was a source of inspiration.