American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Frederick Newton Gisborne Starr, MD, FACS

F.N.G. Starr, MD, FACS  <br>(Photo credit: Corlis Studio, Toronto)

Frederick Newton Gisborne Starr from Toronto, 1867-1934, was a Founding Fellow of the ACS and served as its Second Vice-President from 1924-25. He is credited for his single-handed effort to save the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) in 1893 at the age of 26 when he was its Secretary-General. During the 1893 annual meeting of the CMA, a motion was introduced to disband the organization because of the small population of physicians and the great distances in Canada. Dr. Starr, with very little practical experience in medicine, was appointed to be the first General Secretary of the association and charged with trying to make the association work.

His success resulted in the uniting of doctors across the provinces at annual meetings and membership in the CMA increased dramatically during his eight year tenure. He asked to be relieved of the Secretary General position in 1901, preferring to attend to his career which he had neglected during that time. In 1927 he was elected President of the CMA.

Dr. Starr received his medical degrees from the University of Toronto and Victoria University in Toronto, in 1889 and rose to become the senior surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital and consulting surgeon to various Toronto hospitals. In 1913, besides being one of the founders of the American College of Surgeons, he suggested to the CMA that it consider establishing a certifying body for surgery and other specialties in Canada. Ultimately, in 1931, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada was formed and Starr became its first surgeon president. He retired as professor emeritus of clinical surgery in 1933. In 1936, two years after his death, the CMA initiated the F.N.G. Starr Award, which recognizes doctors for their medical and humanitarian contribution to Canadian medicine. The award is often called the "Victoria Cross" of Canadian medicine. Awardees have been some of the luminaries of Canadian medicine.1

Photographs of other ACS Founding Fellows can be found in the ACS Archives.


  1. CMA Journal, Vol 127, (Sept. 1, 1982), pp. 417-421.

ACS Archives Highlights is a series showcasing the vibrant history of the American College of Surgeons, its members, and the history of surgery. For further information on our featured highlights, search the Archives Catalog or contact the ACS Archivist.