Dr. John Hagen: International Contributions in Medicine

Dr. John Hagen, a distinguished Canadian surgeon renowned for his expertise in laparoscopic surgery and commitment to medical education, has garnered notable recognition for his efforts beyond the borders of Canada. His impactful contributions on the international stage underscore his dedication to advancing surgical techniques and promoting medical exchange programs.

Early Life & Education

Born on April 7, 1956, in Aklavik, Northwest Territories, Canada, Dr. Hagen’s early exposure to the medical field, with both parents as doctors, ignited his passion for medicine. Graduating with honors from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine, in 1979, he embarked on an illustrious career marked by a commitment to continuous learning and international experience.

Dr. Hagen’s pursuit of excellence led him to undertake a mixed internship in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 1980, laying the foundation for a global perspective in his medical career. He further honed his skills through a general surgery residency at the University of Toronto, earning recognition as a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCS(C)) in 1984. International training in endoscopy in Japan and the UK enhanced his expertise.


With over 37 years of dedicated service as a staff surgeon at Humber River Regional Hospital (HRH), Dr. Hagen has significantly impacted the field of laparoscopic surgery and minimally invasive techniques. His role as the Surgical Director of Bariatrics at HRH since 2007 attests to his commitment to advancing surgical interventions for obesity.

As an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto, Dr. Hagen plays a crucial role in shaping the future of surgery. His teaching and mentorship abilities, recognized both locally and internationally, underscore his commitment to medical education.


Acknowledged for his exceptional contributions, Dr. Hagen received the Mentor of the Year Award – Region 3 (Ontario and Nunavut) from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 2014. This prestigious accolade reflects his impact on the career development of students, residents, and fellows.

Efforts Abroad

Dr. Hagen’s commitment to medical education extends globally. Organizing and leading seven trips to China, he facilitates knowledge exchange by conducting interactive sessions on laparoscopic colon resections and cholecystectomies. Through a reciprocal exchange program, he fosters collaboration between North American and Chinese surgeons.

Additionally, Dr. Hagen actively participates in medical missions to Guatemala with HELPS International. These missions focus on providing essential surgical services in remote and underserved areas, addressing prevalent issues such as hernias.

Dr. John Hagen’s endeavors beyond Canada underscore his commitment to advancing medical knowledge and fostering international collaboration, making him a respected figure in the global medical community.

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