Innovation, Expertise, and Equity: Creating Sleep Medicine within Canada’s Universal Health Care System, 1970–2000

Kenton Kroker

Award: 2023 Project Grant

Sleep complaints are ancient, but it was only during the 1970s and ‘80s that sleep began to emerge as a sub-specialty of medical practice. Canadian clinicians were on the cutting edge of this development, but this story remains unwritten. Sleep medicine evolved in tandem with the divergence of Canadian and American systems of state medical provision, so Kenton’s project asks what effects Canada’s evolving system of universal health care had on sleep medicine since 1970. Personal interviews with Canadian sleep medicine researchers and practitioners will be combined with an historical analysis of published biomedical literature to help reveal the ways in which Canada’s universal health care system impacted technological innovation, patient care, and professional status and structure in an emerging field of medical expertise.