Major Retired S.V.A. Blizzard CD inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF)
July 17, 2023 – Defence Stories
Dr Blizzard poses for a quick photograph before entering his aircraft.
On June 22, 2023, Major (Retired) Stephen Blizzard CD was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF) during the annual Laureate Induction Ceremony in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Doctor Blizzard’s alma mater, the University of Western Ontario (Schulich School of Medicine) nominated him with support from Canadian Forces Health Services. Dr. Blizzard’s induction into the CMHF is based on his leadership in Aerospace Medicine and his unique achievements as a CAF physician-pilot.
A first-generation Black Canadian, Dr. Blizzard overcame systemic racism to become a pilot, physician, and decorated peacekeeper. He is forever remembered as a courageous trailblazer who demonstrated leadership in adversity and a commitment to excellence in all he did.
Dr. Blizzard’s aspirations to fly began at a young age in Trinidad. He had joined a scouts and a cadet program where he was educated and tutored by members of the British Air Force who were stationed on the island.
Later, while studying abroad in Scotland, Dr. Blizzard joined the Tiger Moth Club and learned to fly the aircraft that the club was named after. Unfortunately, due to racist practices, Dr. Blizzard was barred from obtaining his license. However, he later earned his small plane license in Trinidad during the 1960’s.
In 1958, Dr. Blizzard and his wife immigrated to Canada where he would begin his medical studies at the University of Western Ontario and joined the Reserve Officer Training Program with the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Through the Reserve Officer Training Program, Dr. Blizzard worked as the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Moosejaw Base Surgeon while completing his ground and in-flight training on a part-time basis, often staying up until the early morning to complete his studies. After earning his wings in 1968, Dr. Blizzard and his family returned to Trinidad to open a medical practice, fulfilling a personal commitment to provide medical care on the island. Dr. Blizzard and his wife operated this practice for almost a decade.
During Dr. Blizzard’s military career, he served for a total of 16 years as a flight surgeon, a military jet pilot, and as an advisor to the Surgeon General in Aviation Medicine. Notably, he served as Squadron Leader, Major and Deputy Commanding Officer with the RCAF National Defence Medical Detachment and was posted to a number of communities in northern and eastern Canada. In 1978, Dr. Blizzard was the first doctor on site during the Operation MAGNET mission, which airlifted Vietnamese refugees from Kuala Lampur to Canada.
Following his retirement from the RCAF in 1983, Dr. Blizzard continued applying himself by working with the Department of Civil Aviation, serving as a safety advisor on several issues including pilot fatigue, jet lag, and proper in-flight care.
Being inducted into the CMHF is no small feat. By celebrating Canadian heroes who have worked to advance healthcare worldwide, the CMHF strives to foster future generations of Canadian health professionals through local and national youth education programs and awards. The hall of fame acts as a tribute to Canada’s rich medical history and can be viewed both digitally and in person in London, Ontario. Now inducted, Dr. Blizzard’s legacy will be available for all to view and appreciate.
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