During its first six decades, the Department of Surgery has changed dramatically and has progressed with the times. From modest beginnings, it has become a true academic entity based on the classic tripartite mission of exemplary clinical care, education and research.

Historically, in North America, the modern version of university departments started to flourish after World War II.

The Department of Surgery at the University of Ottawa is no exception and was established in 1948 at the Ottawa General Hospital.  The first Chairman was Dr. J. Burke Ewing. At the time, what is now the Civic Campus of The Ottawa Hospital was affiliated with Queen’s University. The Civic Hospital became affiliated with the University of Ottawa in 1959.

When the office of Postgraduate Education was established in 1975 under Dr. W.E Collins, the Department had only three fully accredited programs.

The landscape of teaching institutions in the Champlain region has changed dramatically in recent years. A government mandated merger occurred in April 1998 and effectively joined the Ottawa General Hospital, the Civic Hospital and the Riverside Hospital into The Ottawa Hospital, one of the largest Health Sciences Centre in the country.

The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is also an important part of the core teaching hospitals for the department. Other hospitals in the city like the Queensway-Carlton and the Monfort are affiliated to some residency programs. Furthermore, a large number of regional Centres contribute to the Undergraduate Education programs following the initiative of “distributed medical education” (DME) as the University of Ottawa Medical School class size has almost doubled to 163 students. The Medical School at the University of Ottawa is unique with the cohabitation of a Francophone and an Anglophone stream.