Cape Breton University is honoured to celebrate the stellar career and outstanding accomplishments of Ronald D. Stewart, a Cape Breton doctor, community activist, teacher and pioneer in emergency medicine, who has had an exemplary impact on the health care system of North America.
Dr. Stewart was born in North Sydney, NS and raised in the neighbouring community of Sydney Mines. He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science degree from Acadia University and the degree of Doctor of Medicine from Dalhousie University.
After receiving his medical degree, Dr. Stewart took up general practice in Neil’s Harbour in northern Cape Breton. After several years there, he entered the residency programme in emergency medicine at the University of Southern California (USC) and became the first medical director of paramedic training for the County of Los Angeles. He remained on the Faculty of Medicine at USC until accepting an offer from the University of Pittsburgh, where he established the Centre for Emergency Medicine. He was appointed the Medical Director for the Department of Public Safety of the City of Pittsburgh. That city, as well as the city of San Francisco, Calgary and the County of Los Angeles, have recognized Dr. Stewart for his contributions to emergency medicine.
Returning to Canada, he first went to the University of Toronto, before taking on duties in emergency medicine and anesthesia at Dalhousie University. In 1993, he was elected as a member of the Nova Scotia Legislature as a Liberal MLA for the riding of Cape Breton North. He was appointed as the Minister of Health and Registrar General for the Province until 1996. He remained a member of the legislature until 1997.
Currently, Dr. Stewart is Professor Emeritus in Medical Education within the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University as well as in the Faculty of Health Professions. He also holds joint appointments as professor in the Departments of Emergency Medicine, Anaesthesia and in the Faculty of Health Professions. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Medical School of the University of Pittsburgh, which honoured him in 2008, by creating the Ronald D. Steward Research Chair in Emergency Medicine.
Dr. Stewart has received many accolades and awards for his contributions to the medical field and for his humanitarian efforts. In 1993, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, in 2006, he was named a Member of the Order of Nova Scotia and in 1989, he received the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Farrington Award, for a physician who most contributed to pre-hospital clinic care and education in the United States. It was the first time the award was ever presented to a foreign physician.
Astoundingly, Dr. Stewart found time to give to humanitarian efforts. He has worked to eradicate land mines and was a delegate to the Ottawa Conference at which the International Treaty was signed to ban these weapons and he distinguished himself as an advocate on tobacco control. He has written over 200 publications in the art and science of medicine and is the founder of Music-in-Medicine, an initiative of the Medical Humanities Program at Dalhousie.
Cape Breton University conferred the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, on a Cape Breton man who has and continues to make a difference in emergency medicine, enriches the lives of students with his experience and knowledge and who gives back to the communities in which he has lived by sharing his talent, Ronald D. Stewart.