Rodger & Joann McLennan’s Story

Women’s health matters to the McLennans. “At Women’s College, they care for whole family.” says Joann.

There’s no mistaking where Joann McLennan is from. Although she’s lived in Canada for more than 40 years, the tones of her native New York City ring clear. “It never goes away,” she says proudly. “And I go home every year to reinforce it!”

She met Rodger in the late 1960s, while visiting a Canadian friend in Windsor, Ontario. The two connected at a New Year’s Eve party.  A month later she had moved to Canada, and they were married within a year.

The McLennans settled in Toronto in 1975 when Rodger got a job with the Scarborough Public Library. When they started looking for a family doctor, someone recommended a young woman who was just starting up her practice. Her name was Dr. Carolyn Bennett, and she was affiliated with Women’s College Hospital.

Bennett, of course, went on to enter politics, winning a seat in the 1997 federal election. She was re-elected in 2000, 2004 and 2006, and served in several cabinet positions. “We didn’t want her to win,” says Joann with a smile.

The McLennans continued to attend the practice Bennett started and to receive most of their secondary care at Women’s College Hospital.  “Women’s health matters to me,” says Joann. “The research done at the Hospital is very impressive, and so is the care women get when they go there. At Women’s College, they care for whole families.”

She is especially appreciative of the Multidisciplinary Osteoporosis Program, a team of physicians, nurse specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and pharmacists.

“It’s a wondrous thing for women – as far as I’m concerned, if you don’t get all that attention from different professionals, you’re not getting proper treatment.”

Rodger is enthusiastic about the mission of Women’s College Hospital, too. “I’m glad there is an emphasis on service for women, because for too long women have gotten short shrift in medical services.” He is impressed by the care he receives, and by the Hospital’s trademark warmth and friendliness.

“You get to know your care providers here, and it all becomes like a family get-together. I think we’re both very lucky to have Women’s College as our main medical base.” He and Joann have recommended Women’s College to many friends and acquaintances over the years.

Several years ago, Joann was seriously ill and was hospitalized for eight months. She spent three months in a coma in the Critical Care Unit at Sunnybrook and Women’s College Health Sciences Centre. Her surgeon, Dr. Theodore Ross, visited her seven days a week until she was out of danger.  (The two hospitals were de-merged in 2006. Dr. Ross continues to practice at Women’s College.)

Rodger was also pleased with the thorough care he received when he visited the Urgent Care centre with heart concerns. “The doctor kept me overnight so that she could check my readings several times. She didn’t want to make a decision based on 15 minutes of monitoring.”

Rodger and Joann have supported Women’s financially for many years. Joann explains their generosity in simple terms: “We have it, the hospital needs it, so we give it!” They are also members of the Foundation’s Spirit of Life society, which honours those who have made a bequest in their will to benefit the Hospital. “We can’t be here forever,” says Rodger. “This will help the Hospital when we’re gone.”

For more information on planned giving at Women’s College Hospital Foundation, contact Wendy Dias, Senior Development Officer, Leadership and Planned Gifts at 416-323-6323 ext. 2261 or