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O'Neil, M.K. (2020). Patricia White 1924-2019. Canadian J. Psychoanal., 28(1):135-137.

(2020). Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis, 28(1):135-137

Patricia White 1924-2019

Mary Kay O'Neil

Patricia White, a physician, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and training analyst, was extremely proud of each of her professional roles and a pioneer in all. Pat was one of only 15 women to graduate in 1947 from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. Fifteen was a small number compared to the numerous men in the class but this was a significant increase over the then miniscule number of women trained in medicine. It was wartime and more doctors were needed. Pat's desire to become a doctor, awakened at age 14, was finally fulfilled. Having met this very personal challenge, she then became the first woman intern at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, BC, where from 1948 to 1950, she held a Poliomyelitis Research Fellowship. Her subsequent clinical work contributed to the understanding of the epidemiology of polio and earned her an MA from the University of Toronto. Later, after marrying Peter Gordon White, a United Church minister, in 1950, and giving birth to three children, Pat completed a residency in psychiatry in 1964. She soon served as the first director of the University of Toronto Psychiatry Service until Taylor Statten, a child and adult psychoanalyst, arrived a year or two later. In 1975, while working at the Service, she was one of the two women with six men in the second class of the Toronto Institute to complete psychoanalytic training in Toronto. (This institute began in 1969; there were no women in the first class.) Pat served on a number of committees of the Toronto Psychoanalytic Society and later on the executive of the institute. In the early 1990s, she became the first Toronto-trained woman to become a training analyst. She chaired an important Institute Committee to establish “Criteria for Institute Membership.” Her attendance at monthly institute meetings continued until the end—her last meeting was in early December 2019, weeks before she died.

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