David Wright



Canada Research Chair in the History of Health Policy

Tier 1 - 2012-10-01
McGill University
Social Sciences and Humanities

514-398-1292
david.j.wright@mcgill.ca

Research involves


Using archives, government immigration documents and oral history to investigate the transnational migration of physicians in the 20th century.

Research relevance


This research will shed light on the immigration of foreign-trained doctors, one of the most important and controversial topics in Canada’s healthcare system.

The Migration of Physicians in the 20th Century


The immigration and emigration of physicians and other highly-trained professionals are often raised as examples of brain drain. However, there has been little historical study on the history of a brain drain and Canada’s place within a complicated web of health care worker migration.

Dr. David Wright, Canada Research Chair in the History of Health Policy, is analyzing the complex patterns of physician migration during the 20th century.

In particular, Wright is examining the extent and nature of the immigration of international medical graduates to Canada after the Second World War. Wright is looking at where the physicians came from, where they settled, and their social and professional characteristics. He is also analyzing the impact of physician migration on their new countries and on public health infrastructures. As well, he aims to understand how countries responded to the emigration of their physicians and how the loss of doctors affected their domestic health policies.

In addition, Wright is exploring the roles foreign-trained doctors have played in the evolution of national health policies and medical services in their adopted countries, including the establishment and evolution of universal health care in Canada.

Wright’s research will lead to an improved understanding of the history of Canadian medicine, health policy and immigration within the larger context of globalization.