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Brock Chisholm (1947)

Brock Chisholm

Brock Chisholm

George Brock Chisholm, past moderator of the American Unitarian Association, was born on May 18, 1896, in Oakville, Ontario. At the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the Canadian Army’s 15th battalion. Chisholm’s leadership skills brought him much acclaim, including a Military Cross for heroism at a battle outside of Lens, France.

In 1917, Chisholm returned to Canada a quasi-legend. At this juncture in his life, he decided to pursue medicine. Equipped with his M.D. from the University of Toronto, Chisholm specialized in psychiatry during an internship in England. He then went into general practice for six years. Beginning in 1931, he studied at the Yale School of Human Relations, where he concentrated on the mental health of children, concluding that, “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.”

In the Second World War, he rose to become Director General of the Medical Services of the Canadian Army. The Canadian Government created the Deputy Minister of Health position in 1944, which he immediately occupied. In July of 1946, he became the Executive Secretary of the Interim Commission of the World Health Organization, based in Geneva, Switzerland. He was now in a position to redefine the world’s definition of health. Chisholm maintained that the well-being of humanity depends on the emotional health of the world’s collective population.

—By Edric Lescouflair, Harvard College ’03

Recommended Reading:

Prescription for Survival
by Brock Chisholm

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