Dr. Mavis Gilmour Peterson, OJ, CD was born on April 13, 1926 in St. Elizabeth.
Dr. Gilmour Peterson worked as a physician in several hospitals in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and in 1959 entered the Fellowship Programme at the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. She was subsequently appointed Consultant Surgeon at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH) from 1960 to 1972 and became the first female surgeon in the Caribbean.
In 1976, Dr. Gilmour Peterson entered politics as a Member of Parliament (MP), winning the St. Andrew West Rural seat. She held that seat for 13 years until 1989. During her time as MP, Dr. Gilmour Peterson served as Minister of Education from 1980 to 1986 in the Edward Seaga-led Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government. She set the standard for primary school infrastructure when she successfully spearheaded the construction of the Halfway Tree Primary school with funding from the World Bank. Dr. Gilmour Peterson was also instrumental in obtaining funding and establishing the Passley Gardens Agricultural College. She was subsequently appointed Minister of Social Security and Consumer Affairs and held that post from 1986 to 1989.
Dr. Gilmour Peterson received two national awards for her contributions to Jamaican politics and medicine. In 2004, she was awarded the Order of Distinction, Commander Class and, in 2009, the Order of Jamaica (OJ).