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J. Allan Walters, psychiatrist, researcher, and soldier, was born in 1906 and died in 1986. He was the son of Charles Augustus Walters and Stella Grace Wagar, and attended Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, in 1925-1926, before attending Trinity College, Toronto. Dr. Walters was a recipient of the John H. Moss scholarship at the University of Toronto and earned a Bachelor’s degree in biological and medical sciences from that institution in 1930. He also was a recipient of other scholarships and medals during his education and subsequent professional practice. He received his Medical Diploma from the University of Toronto in 1933.
From 1932-1933, Dr. Walters was an undergraduate resident intern at the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital. Subsequently, from 1933-1935, he was a Junior Physician at the Ontario Hospital in Whitby, Ontario. Dr. Walters then moved back to Toronto to hold the post of Junior Intern at the Toronto General Hospital.
Dr. Walters continued his post-graduate training in London, England in the late 1930s. More specifically, from 1937-1938 he was situated at the London Hospital and the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in London. Subsequently, in 1938 and 1939, Dr. Walters was an Assistant Medical Officer at Maudsley Hospital and afterwards a Senior Medical Officer at Coventry & Warks Mental Hospital in Warwick, England.
Dr. Walters moved briefly back to Toronto for the period between 1940 and 1943 and was employed as a Fellow in Neurology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital. Joining the war effort in 1943, Dr. Walters became a Major in the Canadian Army and a Specialist in Neuropsychiatry at Basingstoke Neurological Hospital and #1 Neuropsychiatric Wing in England . He also spent some time northwest Europe in 1944.
After the war, Dr. Walters returned to live in Toronto and held a joint teaching/practicing position at the University of Toronto and Toronto General Hospital from 1945-1966. He was promoted to Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto in 1955 and to Head of Psychiatric Service at Toronto General Hospital in 1960. Dr. Walters resigned as Head of Psychiatric Service at the Toronto General Hospital in 1966, but continued to work there as a Senior Physician and as a Psychiatrist and Physician at the Wellesley branch of the hospital.
His subsequent appointments at these institutions included an appointment to the rank of Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Toronto, as a Consultant in Psychiatry at the Toronto General Hospital, and as a Senior Psychiatrist and Physician at the Wellesley Hospital (1970-1973). From 1973 until 1978 Dr. Walters was a Special Lecturer in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Toronto and an Honorary Consultant for the Department of Psychiatry at Toronto General Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Walters became a Consultant in Psychiatry and Medicine at Wellesley Hospital and he continued to treat patients at his hospital clinic until Nov. 1985.
Dr. Walters was also active in numerous professional associations including the Canadian Psychiatric Association, Ontario Psychiatric Association, Ontario Medical Association, and numerous others. He was a Charter Member or Life Fellow of many of these associations. His work as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Neurological Society during its early years in 1949-1956 helped to ensure its growth and survival as well as the success of the Canadian Neurological Congress. Dr. Walters was also an active member of the Lennox & Addington Historical Society and the United Empire Loyalist Association of Canada. In addition, he had a strong interest in horticulture and Canadian art.
Dr. Walters’s main research focuses were Parkinson’s disease (1940-1945) and fibrositis (1947-1950). These investigations later led to his exploration of the concept of psychogenic regional pain which he originated in 1959 and first described in a paper entitled “Psychogenic Regional Pain Alias Hysterical Pain” [Brain, Vol. 84, (1961): 1-18].
He became an honorary fellow of Trinity College in 1978 and was active with the Friends of the Library of Trinity College. He married twice, firstly, in 1936, Kathleen Jane Wark (died on 12 December 1977), and secondly, in 1980, Anne Hewitt Thompson, née Amys.