Dr. Thomas Chiang

Dr. Thomas Chiang was born on February 28, 1907, in Yixing, a city near Shanghai, in China. By age 14, he had lost both his parents, and he and his brothers were supported by Christian missionaries.

In 1937, he earned his M.D. at the National Medical College, an American medical school in Shanghai. In 1944, he earned a post-graduate degree in tropical medicine after studying for a year in India on a Fellowship.

When Japan invaded eastern China during the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945), Dr. Chiang was recruited by the Ministry of Health in the Nationalist government. He set up field hospitals and was put in charge of public health of civilians. He was promoted to the position of Deputy Health Minister. Following Japan's surrender in 1945, a civil war between the communists and the nationalists broke out. In 1948, Dr. Chiang left China for New York to act as China's representative at the World Health Organization (WHO). While there he learned of the communist victory and decided to head to Canada. Canada, however, did not recognize his medical degree. As a result, Dr. Chiang had to complete an additional two years of study at the University of Toronto and received his Master's Degree in Public Health Science.

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A photograph of Dr. Thomas Chiang sitting on his living room couch
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After receiving his Masters, Dr. Chiang went to work for the federal government in Indigenous communities, including Whitehorse, Northwest Territories among the Inuit; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; and Moose Factory, Ontario. He finally landed a position at Lady Willingdon Hospital in Ohsweken in 1957; he worked there until it closed in 1968.

Also in 1957, Dr. Chiang was reunited with his wife, Sarah, and five of their six children after nine long years of separation.

To recognize him for his years of service, the Six Nations awarded the title of honorary chief to Dr. Chiang.


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