Born in 1950 and raised in Toronto, Jeff Turnbull received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto in 1974 and his medical degree from Queen’s University in 1978. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Western Ontario in 1982, and a master’s degree in education at the same university in 1990.
After completing his internal medicine residency, Dr. Turnbull joined the faculty at the University of Western Ontario where he combined clinical practice, education and research. He took on increasingly senior leadership roles during his 9 years in London, eventually chairing the Division of General Internal Medicine and serving as deputy chief of the Department of Medicine.
Dr. Turnbull was recruited to the University of Ottawa in 1991, where he initially focused on medical education, serving for several years as vice-dean for Medical Education. He was also a key figure in the Educating Future Physicians for Ontario Project, and served as president of the Medical Council of Canada.
Known for his mentorship and wisdom, Jeff Turnbull was appointed chair of the Department of Medicine in 2001, a position he held until 2008 when he became chief of staff at The Ottawa Hospital.
In the 1990s, Dr. Turnbull became increasingly interested in providing better clinical care to Ottawa’s homeless population. Along with others, he wondered whether a medical program that combined supervised alcohol consumption with compassionate clinical care would improve health outcomes. He helped start Ottawa’s Inner City Health Project, and has been its medical director since its inception. Ottawa Inner City Health has won numerous awards and received international acclaim for its efforts.
For this and other contributions, Dr. Turnbull received the Order of Canada in 2007. He was also recognized as the Physician of the Year by the Academy of Medicine of Ottawa in 2008. Dr. Turnbull received the CMAEIan Hart Award for Distinguished Contribution to Medical Education in 2007, the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in 2006 and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada’s Mentor of the Year award in 2003.
In addition to his contributions to community health at home, he has been involved in education and health services initiatives to enhance community and institutional capacity and sustainable development in Bangladesh, Africa and the Balkans.
Over the last few years, Dr. Turnbull has also assumed several leadership roles on behalf of the profession. He served as president of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario and chaired the CMA’s Future of Medicine Project. Dr. Turnbull was also Program Director of UNESCO’s Universities in Solidarity for the Health
of the Disadvantaged.
Jeff Turnbull continues to practice internal medicine both at The Ottawa Hospital and at several shelters associated with Ottawa Inner City Health.
Dr. Turnbull is the proud father of four children. He lives on a farm just outside Ottawa, where he raises cattle, horses, sheep and chickens.