Brock Chisholm

Brock Chisholm

Overview
George Brock Chisholm, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, MC & Bar
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 (18 May 1896 – 4 February 1971) was a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 First World War veteran, medical practitioner, and the first Director-General of the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO). He was a strong advocate of religious tolerance and often commented that man's worst enemy was not disease, which he felt was curable as long as men worked together, but man himself.

Chisholm was born in Oakville
Oakville, Ontario
Oakville is a town in Halton Region, on Lake Ontario in Southern Ontario, Canada, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area. As of the 2006 census the population was 165,613.-History:In 1793, Dundas Street was surveyed for a military road...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, to a family with deep ties to the region.
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Quotations

Children must be free to think in all directions irrespective of the peculiar ideas of parents who often seal their children's minds with preconceived prejudices and false concepts of past generations. Unless we are very careful, very careful indeed, and very conscientious, there is still great danger that our children may turn out to be the same kind of people we are.

The world was sick, and the ills from which it was suffering were mainly due to the perversion of man, his inability to live at peace with himself. The microbe was no longer the main enemy; science was sufficiently advanced to be able to cope with it admirably. If it were not for such barriers as superstition, ignorance, religious intolerance, misery and poverty.

Instead of bringing our children up according to our own preconceived rules of good and bad we must teach them to question everything. Tell your child you believe in God, point out that some people don't.

The re-interpretation and eventually eradication of the concept of right and wrong which has been the basis of child training, the substitution of intelligent and rational thinking for faith in the certainties of the old people, these are the belated objectives of practically all effective psychotherapy.

To achieve world government, it is necessary to remove from the minds of men their individualism, loyalty to family tradition, national patriotism, and religious dogmas.

Encyclopedia
George Brock Chisholm, CC
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

, MC & Bar
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 (18 May 1896 – 4 February 1971) was a Canadian
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 First World War veteran, medical practitioner, and the first Director-General of the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

 (WHO). He was a strong advocate of religious tolerance and often commented that man's worst enemy was not disease, which he felt was curable as long as men worked together, but man himself.

Chisholm was born in Oakville
Oakville, Ontario
Oakville is a town in Halton Region, on Lake Ontario in Southern Ontario, Canada, and is part of the Greater Toronto Area. As of the 2006 census the population was 165,613.-History:In 1793, Dundas Street was surveyed for a military road...

, Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, to a family with deep ties to the region. Under Sir Isaac Brock, after whom Chisholm was named, his great-grandfather fought against the Americans
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 during the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

. His great-grandfather's brother was also Oakville's founder.

As an 18-year-old at the start of the First World War, Chisholm joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force
Canadian Expeditionary Force
The Canadian Expeditionary Force was the designation of the field force created by Canada for service overseas in the First World War. Units of the C.E.F. were divided into field formation in France, where they were organized first into separate divisions and later joined together into a single...

, serving in the 15th Battalion, CEF as a cook
Cook (profession)
A cook is a person who prepares food for consumption. In Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Canada this profession requires government approval ....

, sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

, machine gun
Machine gun
A machine gun is a fully automatic mounted or portable firearm, usually designed to fire rounds in quick succession from an ammunition belt or large-capacity magazine, typically at a rate of several hundred rounds per minute....

ner and scout
Reconnaissance
Reconnaissance is the military term for exploring beyond the area occupied by friendly forces to gain information about enemy forces or features of the environment....

. His leadership and heroism were twice rewarded: with a Military Cross
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

 for his efforts in a battle outside of Lens, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

; and the Bar. He rose to the rank of captain, was injured once and returned home in 1917.

After the war, Chisholm pursued his lifelong passion of medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, earning his M.D.
Doctor of Medicine
Doctor of Medicine is a doctoral degree for physicians. The degree is granted by medical schools...

 from the University of Toronto
University of Toronto
The University of Toronto is a public research university in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, situated on the grounds that surround Queen's Park. It was founded by royal charter in 1827 as King's College, the first institution of higher learning in Upper Canada...

 by 1924 before interning in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where he specialized in psychiatry
Psychiatry
Psychiatry is the medical specialty devoted to the study and treatment of mental disorders. These mental disorders include various affective, behavioural, cognitive and perceptual abnormalities...

. After six years in general practice in his native Oakville, he attended Yale University
Yale University
Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

 where he specialized in the mental health of children. During this time, Chisholm developed his strong view that children should be raised in an "as intellectually free environment" as possible, independent of the prejudices and biases – political, moral and religious – of their parents.

At the outbreak of the Second World War, Chisholm rapidly rose in stature within the Canadian military and government. He joined the war effort as a psychiatrist
Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. All psychiatrists are trained in diagnostic evaluation and in psychotherapy...

 dealing with psychological aspects of soldier training, before rising to the rank of Director General of the Medical Services, the highest position within the medical ranks of the Canadian Army. He was the first psychiatrist to head the medical ranks of any army in the world. In 1944, the Canadian Government created the position of Deputy Minister of Health. Chisholm was first the person to occupy the post and held it until 1946.

That same year, Chisholm took his views to the international scene, becoming the Executive Secretary of the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization
World Health Organization
The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations that acts as a coordinating authority on international public health. Established on 7 April 1948, with headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the agency inherited the mandate and resources of its predecessor, the Health...

, based in Geneva, Switzerland
Switzerland
Switzerland name of one of the Swiss cantons. ; ; ; or ), in its full name the Swiss Confederation , is a federal republic consisting of 26 cantons, with Bern as the seat of the federal authorities. The country is situated in Western Europe,Or Central Europe depending on the definition....

. He was one of 16 international experts consulted in drafting the agency's first constitution. The WHO became a permanent UN
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 fixture in April 1948, and Chisholm became the agency's first Director-General on a 46–2 vote. Chisholm was now in the unique position of being able to brings his views on the importance of international mental and physical health to the world. Refusing re-election, he occupied the post until 1953, during which time the WHO dealt successfully with a cholera
Cholera
Cholera is an infection of the small intestine that is caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The main symptoms are profuse watery diarrhea and vomiting. Transmission occurs primarily by drinking or eating water or food that has been contaminated by the diarrhea of an infected person or the feces...

 epidemic in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, malaria
Malaria
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases...

 outbreaks in Greece
Greece
Greece , officially the Hellenic Republic , and historically Hellas or the Republic of Greece in English, is a country in southeastern Europe....

 and Sardinia
Sardinia
Sardinia is the second-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea . It is an autonomous region of Italy, and the nearest land masses are the French island of Corsica, the Italian Peninsula, Sicily, Tunisia and the Spanish Balearic Islands.The name Sardinia is from the pre-Roman noun *sard[],...

, and introduced shortwave epidemic-warning services for ships at sea.

Chisholm was a controversial public speaker who nevertheless had great conviction, and drew much cynicism within the Canadian public for comments in the mid-1940s that children should not be encouraged to believe in Santa Claus
Santa Claus
Santa Claus is a folklore figure in various cultures who distributes gifts to children, normally on Christmas Eve. Each name is a variation of Saint Nicholas, but refers to Santa Claus...

. Calls for his resignation as Deputy Minister of Health were quelled by his appointment as Executive Secretary of the WHO, but his public perception as "Canada's most famously articulate angry man" lingered.

Chisholm was an Honorary President of the World Federalists of Canada, President of the World Federation of Mental Health (1957–1958) and an Honorary Fellow of a number of prestigious medical associations. In 1959, the American Humanist Association
American Humanist Association
The American Humanist Association is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that...

 named him Humanist of the Year. He received numerous honorary degrees, and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada
Order of Canada
The Order of Canada is a Canadian national order, admission into which is, within the system of orders, decorations, and medals of Canada, the second highest honour for merit...

 in 1967.

Chisholm married Grace McLean Ryrie on 21 June 1924, and had two children, Catherine Anne and Brock Ryrie. He died on 4 February 1971, in Veterans' Hospital, Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria, British Columbia
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...

, after a series of strokes. He was a Unitarian
Unitarianism
Unitarianism is a Christian theological movement, named for its understanding of God as one person, in direct contrast to Trinitarianism which defines God as three persons coexisting consubstantially as one in being....

.

External links