May 23, 1932

(Toronto, Ontario)


MD, University of Toronto (1956)

Awards & Honours:

2006: Honorary Membership, European Surgical Association

2005: Honorary Membership, Canadian Association of General Surgeons

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Picture of Bernard Langer

Pioneered hepatobiliary/pancreatic (HPB) surgery

Dr. Bernard Langer

A surgical pioneer and visionary developer of the surgeon-scientist program

Upon completion of his medical degree, Dr. Langer completed postgraduate surgical training in Toronto, Houston and Boston. Dr. Bernard Langer joined the Toronto General Hospital as a staff surgeon in 1963 and was appointed head of the division of general surgery in 1972. During his 17 year tenure, this division evolved from a broad-based clinical and teaching service to one with focused interests in specialty areas, placing equal importance on clinical care, teaching and research. Dr. Langer is considered a global pioneer of HPB Surgery and is credited with developing a world leading academic HPB and liver transplant service.

Key Facts

Broke barriers as the first Jewish Surgeon at the Toronto General Hospital

Initiated the largest living donor liver transplant program in North America

Established the Surgeon-Scientist Program to advance scientific research among surgical residents

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

When Dr. Langer established the Surgeon Scientist Program, it was considered a revolutionary inclusion to surgical training. Now, surgeons across Canada have graduated with fellowship training in surgical specializations as well as advanced research training. These highly trained surgeons now form a strong foundation upon which to advance surgical knowledge and improve patient well-being. In addition, Dr. Langer’s expansion of organ transplant programs continues to save lives all across Canada.

Picture of Bernard Langer


  • The University of Toronto established the Bernard and Ryna Langer Chair in General Surgery. This position became the fourth named honour to recognize the impact of Dr. Langer.

  • Recognizing Dr. Langer’s impressive leadership and innovative vision, he was elected President of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada.

  • Dr. Bernard Langer’s Surgeon Scientist Program at University of Toronto gradually drew the attention of medical schools across the country

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Health and Medical Education & Training

    In 1995, the Royal College of Physician and Surgeon used the program as a template for its own “Clinician Investigator Program.”

  • Expanding on the success of Dr. Langer’s liver transplants...

    He served as Interim Director of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program when it launched in 1989.

  • Dr. Langer pioneered the first liver transplant in Toronto


  • While continuing his surgical practice, Dr. Langer became Chair of the Department of Surgery at University of Toronto

    Leadership in Organizational Development, Health and Medical Education & Training

    At U of T, he created the “Surgeon Scientist Program” through which surgeons were trained in laboratory practice and research. Since its inception, the program has produced over 65 graduates.

  • Dr. Langer became a Toronto General surgeon shortly after completing in post-graduate training.

    He was appointed head of the hospital’s Division of Surgeon in 1972 and served in that role for almost twenty years.


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