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Edward Johnson, MD

Medical Superintendent
Doctor Edward Johnson, MD , graduated from the Manitoba School of Medicine in 1928. He joined the staff of SMHC as a psychiatrist in 1928 and completed post-graduate studies in psychiatry at the Harvard University in Boston and the John Hopkins Clinic in Baltimore. He was initially the Assistant Medical Superintendent and eventually appointed Superintendent of the Institution in 1943; a position he held until 1959 when he was appointed Provincial Psychiatrist for Manitoba. In 1953 Doctor Johnson was awarded by the American Psychiatric Association a special merit for administration. Under Dr Johnson’s guidance, the SMHC received the first ever award granted by the American Psychiatric Association for the advancement of care and treatment of patients in mental hospitals. Dr Johnson was also the pioneer of the open ward policy. It is interesting to note that in 1939, Dr Johnson wrote a paper for the Canadian Medical Journal highlighting the tremendous benefits for Insulin Shock Treatment for Schizophrenic patients. This paper can be read on the Archive web site under “articles & links. From 1958 to 1959 he served as President for the Manitoba Medical Association. During his stay at Selkirk he was an active Rotarian, he bowled, took figure skating lessons and along with his wife Eleanor was a member of a square dance club. Over the years, his droll sense of humour served him well. At the age of ninety-two he was admitted to the hospital with a suspected hip fracture. Eleanor, his wife of sixty years sat at his bedside while the students assessed his “mental acuity.” He answered all their questions, then, aware that his wife was without her hearing aid, responded “I never saw her before in my life,” to the final question as to his knowledge of who she was. After a long and distinguished career Dr Johnson retired in 1967, worked in private practice in Winnipeg and died in October 1994 at age 92 years. As a note of interest; Dr. Mary Anne Johnson, the niece of Dr. Johnson, is continuing in the family footsteps and works at SMHC as a psychologist.
Selkirk Mental Health Centre Archives Inc.
Updated: October 2021