An elderly woman looking at a caregiver

2021

The Annual Lifelong Achievement award for 2021 was awarded to the late Dr. Ronald Bayne at the 11th Annual Update in Geriatrics. Ronald Bayne was a Canadian pioneer in Geriatrics and Gerontology, a visionary, a master strategist and a fierce, lifelong advocate for older people.

After internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal he started residency at the New England Medical Center in Boston. His experiences as a resident exposed him to the poor care which older individuals received in hospitals and in the community. From 1951-1955 he completed internal medicine residency, in England. He worked with Dr. Marjorie Warren who is revered as the “Mother of the Specialty of Geriatric Medicine.”

In the 1930s, Dr. Warren was appointed the assistant director of a huge chronic hospital and workhouse at the West Middlesex near London.  There were 2-3 thousand patients, mainly elderly, some young, all neglected.  She set about examining all the patients, introducing rehabilitation, and discharged one third of them, some even able to return to work. She then established a 180 bed geriatric unit. It was at the West Middlesex with Dr. Warren that Dr. Bayne learned the skills to become one of Canada’s first true specialist geriatricians.  He returned to Sherbrooke to begin working as a general practitioner.

In 1959 he moved to Montreal to become Chief of Medicine at Saint Anne de Bellevue veterans Hospital, a government position with a salary and benefits attached. In 1965 he established a rehabilitation ward at Queen Mary Hospital and joined the McGill faculty (in the Department of Psychiatry). In 1970 he was invited to join the Faculty of Health Sciences in the new Medical School at McMaster University.

In 1979 together with Professor Karl Kinanen he established the Office on Aging at McMaster University, a cross faculty collaboration which evolved into the McMaster Centre for Gerontological Studies in 1985, with the first degrees in Gerontology two years later. The centre eventually developed into the Department of Health, Aging and Society in 2006. 

He was based at St. Peter’s Hospital first as Medical Director and then VP of Medicine. He was responsible for many innovative architectural features in the rebuilding of the hospital.

He founded the Division of Geriatric Medicine, began recruiting the next generation of specialist geriatricians (Turpie, Patterson, Molloy) and oversaw the development of the Residency Program in Geriatric Medicine, which attracts candidates from around the world.

Together with Dr. Graham Marson, Dr. John Roy and others, he was able to secure funding to open the first Geriatric Assessment Unit in Ontario which was one of the first in Canada.  Clinics in Geriatric Medicine and Geriatric Psychiatry soon followed with a side-by-side collaborative service which continues to this day.

Together with Joyce Caygill, Dr. Bayne conceived and implemented the Assessment and Placement Service (APS), which matched individuals with services such as access to long-term care beds and day programs. The APS concept has evolved over the years into the LHIN home and community services.

In 1987 due to his leadership, McMaster University was awarded $12 million by the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities to establish the Educational Centre for Aging and Health.  This unique centre raised the national profile of McMaster to the forefront of education in geriatric and gerontology across the entire spectrum of healthcare disciplines.

Ronald and his wife Barbara established the Ronald Bayne Gerontology Award for graduate students conducting aging research, and the Barbara and Ronald Bayne Award to provide support for senior students in the Department of Health Aging and Society. A lecture ship in geriatric medicine is named for him.