Profiles in Public Health: Mona Gordon Wilson

Mona Gordon Wilson

Dedicated Nurse and Pioneer in PEI Health

Mona Gordon Wilson was born in Toronto and took her nurse’s training at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland. She then volunteered with the American Red Cross and was sent to Europe where she played a stellar role in the aftermath of World War I with duty in France, Siberia, Montenegro and Albania. Upon her return to Canada, she took public health training at the University of Toronto and then she set off for Canada’s smallest province where became the moving spirit behind the development of the public health program there. Her first posting was with the Prince Edward Island Red Cross which inaugurated the Public Health Nursing Service as a peacetime activity in 1921. Ms. Wilson was the Chief Red Cross Nurse from 1922 until 1931 when the Department of Health of Prince Edward Island was formed. She organized the Junior Red Cross as an in-school aid for the development of better health and evolved a project for the treatment of handicapped children. Ms. Wilson inaugurated clinics for immunization and smallpox vaccination, developed the school health program, health education, and arranged for the first dental hygienists to receive training. For her outstanding contribution to the health and welfare of the people of Prince Edward Island, Ms. Wilson was awarded the M.B.E. in 1935. In 1940, Ms. Wilson was given a leave when she was requested by the Canadian Red Cross to serve as its Commissioner in Newfoundland. Here for the remainder of World War II, she served with distinction for which she was awarded the OBE in 1946. Ms. Mona Gordon Wilson was awarded CPHA’s Honorary Life Membership in 1960.

(Canadian Journal of Public Health, Vol. 51, July 1960)