Charles (Chuck) Gordon Roland was a physician, writer, medical historian, and the first Hannah Chair for the History of Medicine at McMaster University. Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 1933, Dr. Roland studied at the University of Toronto before completing his medical degree at the University of Manitoba. He was a general practitioner in Tillsonburg and Grimsby, Ontario from 1958 to 1964. Following this, Dr. Roland took various roles in teaching, writing, and editing in America, including senior editorship at the Journal of the American Medical Association, lecturing at Northwestern University, and assisting in developing the Mayo Clinic’s medical school, initially holding associate professorship prior to chairing its Department of Biomedical Communications. He became the inaugural Hannah Professor for the History of Medicine at McMaster University in 1977, and retired in 1999. Dr. Roland passed on June 9, 2009, at the age of 76.
Dr. Roland’s research and writing produced a large corpus of work, and he was involved with various associations during his career, including the Toronto Medical History Society and the American Osler Society. Dr. Roland conducted over three hundred oral history interviews pertaining to the history of medicine in wartime, in Canada, and the formation of McMaster University’s School of Medicine. His extensive work regarding wartime medicine in particular produced two monographs about the clandestine Warsaw ghetto medical school, and the experiences of Prisoners-of-War in the Pacific Theater of the Second World War. His other research interests included the medical histories of Canada and Hamilton, and Sir William Osler.
Dr. Roland’s published works include biographies of notable figures in Canadian medical history, Courage under Siege: starvation, disease, and death in the Warsaw ghetto, Long Night’s Journey into Day, bibliographies in the history of Canadian medicine, and many publications related to his research on Sir William Osler. Dr. Roland edited and/or wrote for the Journal of the American Medical Association, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, Clinical Cardiology, Canadian Bulletin of Medical History, the Journal of Anesthesia and Analgesia, and various other medical journals.