Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Osler Centenary Papers: The Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine and the spirit of Osler
  1. Donald Singer
  1. Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Professor Donald Singer, Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine, London, UK; fpm.chandos{at}

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.

The centenary of the death of Sir William Osler1 provides a stimulus to considering ways in which his legacy lives on through the Fellowship of Postgraduate Medicine (FPM).

Osler was the founding president of the Postgraduate Medical Association (founded in 1911) and later of the Interallied Fellowship of Medicine2 (founded in late 1918). In view of their common aim of establishing permanent postgraduate medical education in the UK, the societies merged later in 1919, with Osler as president until his death at the end of that year. This joint organisation was initially called the Fellowship of Medicine and Post-Graduate Medical Association3 and continues to this day as the FPM.4

Osler was a lifelong promoter of postgraduate medical education. In the 1880s, in his role as a medical leader in North America,1 he pioneered hospital residency programmes for junior trainee doctors (see figures 1 and 2). As Regius Professor of Medicine in Oxford from 1905, Osler wished early postgraduate teaching in the UK, and in London, in particular, to include access to ‘the wealth of material at all the hospitals’.5 He also saw medical societies as important for providing reliable continuous medical development for senior doctors.

Figure 1

Osler with Johns Hopkins interns. Credit: Wellcome Images L0004895).

Figure 2

Young professors at McGill: William Osler, FJ Shepherd and George Osler Library of the History of Medicine, McGill University. William Osler Photo Collection/NLM/NIH.

Under Osler’s leadership, the Fellowship of Medicine responded to demand for postgraduate civilian medical training after the First World War, supported by a general committee of 73 senior medical figures, with representatives from the British …

View Full Text


  • Twitter Donald Singer@HealthMed

  • Funding The author has not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.