In Memoriam: Dr. Robert Spasoff

Posted on Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Photo of a white rose

The Faculty of Medicine mourns the passing of emeritus professor Dr. Robert Spasoff, of the School of Epidemiology and Public Health (SEPH) and former chair (1979 to 1989) of its precursor, the Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine.

Dr. Spasoff was a leader in training undergraduate medical students and graduate students alike. He served as the coordinator of the Individual and Population Health components of the undergraduate medical education curriculum, sat on the Faculty’s Curriculum Committee, and served as an examiner on the Medical Council of Canada’s Public Health and Preventive Medicine committee, president of the Canadian Association of Teachers of Social and Preventive Medicine, and chair of the RCPSC Specialty Community in Community Medicine, to name a few of his numerous roles. He was the founder of Ottawa’s Teaching Health Units and the first director of the Community Health Research Unit, a collaboration between the University and the Regional Health Department.  

Students remember Dr. Spasoff as a passionate, energetic and engaged educator, always generous with his insight. He continued his teaching after his retirement in 2003, this time on the international stage and on behalf of the NGO Canadian Reach for Higher Education, making stops in Sudan and Ethiopia. He was a longstanding donor to the Faculty, and the School continues to celebrate his commitment to students by bestowing awards in his name to graduate students at the School’s Annual SEPH Research Day.

He is remembered as a kind, considerate colleague, and as a smart, interesting and interested man. He was exceptionally generous in thought and action, a true gentleman and a scholar.

Read a full biography of Dr. Spasoff.

Details about a celebration of life will be posted on this page when available, or please visit the link to his obituary.

We wish to extend our deepest sympathies to the Spasoff family as well as his friends and colleagues. 

Dr. Robert Spasoff

Dr. Robert Spasoff. Photo credit : University of Ottawa School of Epidemiology and Public Health


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