Lives of the fellows

John Reginald Martin

b.11 April 1922 d.29 April 2013
BSc McGill(1944) MD(1945) MRCP(1949) FACP(1964) FRCP(1989) FRCPC

John Reginald Martin was professor of medicine (rheumatology) at Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, and a pioneer of occupational medicine in the region. He was born in Dublin, Ireland, the son of Cecil Percy Martin, a veteran of the First World War and a lecturer in anatomy at Trinity College, and Kathleen Mathilda Martin née Humphries, a housewife. In 1936, the family moved to Montreal, Canada, where Cecil Martin became professor of anatomy at McGill University. John Martin attended the High School in Dublin, Montreal West High School and then Lower Canada College. He went on to study at McGill University and gained a bachelor of science degree in 1944 and his MD in 1945.

From 1944 to 1946 he served in the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps. He was subsequently an intern at Montreal General Hospital and Queen Mary’s Veterans’ Hospital. In 1947 he went to the UK for further studies at the Postgraduate Medical School of London, Hammersmith, and in the pathology department of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

He returned to Canada as an assistant resident in medicine at Queen Mary Veterans’ Hospital and subsequently at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal. From 1951 to 1952 he was a research fellow in the clinical investigation unit, Queen Mary Veterans’ Hospital. He then became an assistant resident in psychiatry at Queen Mary Veterans’ Hospital.

Between 1953 and 1954 he was a research fellow in rheumatology at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. He then served as director of the arthritis clinic at Montreal General Hospital and as clinical assistant professor of medicine at McGill University.

In 1971 Martin became professor of medicine (rheumatology) at the new medical school at Memorial University, St John’s, Newfoundland, becoming the first rheumatologist in the province. He later developed an interest in occupational health and was director of the Northern Medicine and Health Program, professor of occupational health and chief occupational medical officer for the Province of Newfoundland (from 1984 to 1992).

He was a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American College of Physicians and the Royal College of Physicians.

He was president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, on the board of directors of the Canadian Medical Association, and a member of the council of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

He wrote two books, Leonard Albert Miller: public servant (Markham, Ontario, Fitzhenry and Whiteside, c.1998) and The fluorspar mines of Newfoundland: their history and the epidemic of radiation lung cancer (Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012), as well as articles and other publications.

Outside medicine he was a leader at the Faith Bible Chapel in St John’s for over 40 years. He also enjoyed history and spending time in nature – gardening, hiking and berry picking near his cabin on Snows Pond.

He was survived by his widow, Claire née Connor, whom he married in 1959, their children (Richard, Jennifer and Christopher) and six grandchildren (Kathleen, Charlotte, Addison, Norah, Henry and Sophia).

RCP editor

[Memorial University of Newfoundland: the early days of the medical school biographical sketch Dr John R Martin – accessed 2 April 2017; The Globe and Mail 29 April 2013 – accessed 1 April 2017; The Globe and Mail 22 May 2013 – accessed 2 April 2017]

(Volume XII, page web)

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