History of the CSEM

Article Index

During its short history the CSEM has fostered cross-Canada communication in our academic discipline rather than the north-south (U.S.A.) links which had previously been the major source of interaction among Canadian endocrinologists. As past-president Sonia Salisbury points out, the specialty exam has actually been a unifying influence for Canadian clinical endocrinology, and this influence will undoubtedly increase with time. The Merck Canada Visiting Professorship was established to finance travel of a Canadian endocrinologist to another center for teaching and meeting with local physicians and scientists. This award is administered by the CSEM Education Committee.

Canadian Endocrinologists have been pioneers in the introduction of growth hormone treatment for children with short stature. This therapy was overseen for many years by the Canadian Growth Hormone Advisory Committee which evolved in the mid 1990s into the Canadian Pediatric Endocrinology Group. Recognizing the prominent national status of pediatric endocrinology, the CSEM council in 1996 incorporated a representative of the Canadian Pediatric Endocrinology Group in its membership.

In addition to its scientific and educational roles, the CSEM represents Canadian endocrinologists on national issues of clinical policy and workforce planning. Dr. M. Watanabe chaired the 1986 Canadian workforce study of Endocrinologists which surveyed adult and pediatric endocrinologists and reported its findings to the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The workforce survey was updated in 1994 and has assisted efforts to maintain an adequate cadre of endocrinologists for the needs of the Canadian public.

The CSEM, after considerable deliberation, decided to join the Canadian Diabetes Association (now Diabetes Canada) in removing the Annual Meeting from the aegis of the Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. The first separate meeting with the Canadian Diabetes Association was held in the Fall of 1999. The migration of specialty societies’ scientific programs away from the Royal College/Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation's Annual Meetings has obvious implications for those organizations. Nevertheless, the CSEM membership felt that for our Society to survive and grow, we needed a stronger national meeting than what we had been able to develop within the confines of the Royal College Annual Meeting.

Another major issue facing the CSEM is the division of its membership base into a number of other societies such as the Canadian Hypertension Society, the Diabetes Canada, and the Canadian Society of Atherosclerosis, Thromboisis and Vascular Biology. Recent CSEM executives have addressed this issue, and there are increasing interactions among the executives of these related societies resulting in smoother coordination of scientific programs, business meetings and social functions. The crucial issue facing all Canadian specialty societies is the proportionately reduced level of government funding of research in this country in comparison with other G8 countries. It is hoped that our Society as well as all societies involved in education and research will actively work with government to ensure continued growth in this area. The outlook is bright for our Society as a leader in academic medicine and the field of Endocrinology and Metabolism.


This brief history is dedicated to the memory of Daniel Roncari and Harold Copp, Otto Rorstad reviewed the manuscript and made helpful suggestions. The following individuals deserve special mention for sending me information and their recollection of the early days of the CSEM: Bob Volpé, Charles Hollenberg, Daniel Roncari, Harvey Guyda, Fernand Labrie, Keith Dawson, Jack Laidlaw, Henry Friesen, Mo Watanabe, and Sonia Salisbury. The secretarial assistance of Teresa Williams is gratefully appreciated.

The first edition of this history was published in "Medical Specialty Societies of Canada: Affiliates of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada", T.P. Morley (ed.) Boston Mills Press, Erin Ontario, pages 261–270.