Toronto General Hospital. Social Service Department

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Corporate body

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Toronto General Hospital. Social Service Department

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Medical social service at the TGH began in 1911 with the founding of the Social Service Department, largely at the instigation of the medical staff, particularly Dr. Helen MacMurchy. The Department was administered by the Hospital but was largely supported by volunteer groups who raised funds to subsidize the salaries of Department staff. In particular, the Department was supported by a group successively called the Ladies’ Committee (1911-1921) and the Social Service Association (1921- ). Department staff provided in-home medical follow-up and counseling assistance for patients in various TGH departments, particularly the various Out-Patient clinics, including the Maternity Department (providing service to “illegitimate” births) from 1914, the Psychiatric Clinic (1920-1926), the Special Treatment (Venereal Disease) Clinic from 1915-1943, the Diabetic Clinic from 1924, and the Radiology Clinic and Ontario Institute of Radiotherapy from 1929.

Norah Holman (1911-?), Jane Grant (?-1918), Mabel Knisely (1919-1945), Isobel Deeth (1946-1955) and Margaret Reid (1955-?) served as Director of the Department.

The 1950s, in particular, were a period of growth in the Department: in 1950 the staff consisted of the Director, 11 medical social workers, and 3 clerical assistants; by 1958 it included the Director, 25 social workers and 5 clerical assistants.


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Toronto General Hospital (1819-1986)

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The Social Service Department was one of the departments of the Toronto General Hospital.

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University Health Network Archives

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Last Updated: March 26, 2013. Added to Archeion March 26, 2013.


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