An Induction Ceremony by The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

The Night

On Wednesday Mar 21st, I attended the CMHF’s annual induction ceremony for 7 new inductees in Toronto.  It was a touching ceremony, much more touching and entertaining than you would think (I honestly thought there would be a lot of technical jargon etc.).  Everyone was very sociable, fabulously dressed and the dinner and venue was jaw dropping (what else would you expect from the Four Seasons?  Incidentally, this was also the last banquet taking place at the hotel as they will be moving to a new location next month).

The Four Seasons was full. The Four Seasons was a beautiful venue and the dinner was beyond DELISH!

Of the 7 inductees, only 3 are still alive today (2 of whom were able to attend) while the other 5 were represented by family, friends or associates.  Here are some of the most interesting moments and stories of the induction.  Some inductees you might have heard of and some maybe not so much.  But they’ve made tremendous strides in the medical world and we at the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame are especially proud to have had the opportunity to honour them.

The Inductees

Click on any of the photos to read the laureate’s bios on The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame website.

Dr. John Dirks

Dr. John Dirks - 2012 Inductee

Dr. John Dirks has made the Canadian Gairdner awards one of the three most prestigious science awards in the world (alongside the Nobel).  He has also done ground-breaking work in nephrology all over the world – i.e. at the Aga Khan University in Pakistan (Yay for a South Asian connection)

-Notable quotes from his speech

  • “I never thought I was of historical interest” – Most important people say this
  • “There’s a confidence, when I think of the students here, because were only beginning in this country to become what we truly can be” –  It’s good to know that there are still people out there that care about future generations getting and becoming successful

Terry Fox

Terry Fox -2012 Inductee represented by his father Rolly and brother Fred

I’m sure you all have heard of this Inductee.  We got to hear about everything Terry has done for Cancer research. Did you know that his foundation has raised over $550 million for cancer research worldwide? The down-to-earth nature of his father was touching and he allowed us to look into the life of Canada’s most inspiring hero.

  • “I can only be here because Terry can’t. Our strength comes for our commitment to terry. We won’t stop till cancer is conquered.”
  • “Despite his young age Terry had vision. He would say he was sometimes for thankful for being diagnosed because it provided with a purpose.”

  • ” Terry was penniless but I believe he was rich, rich with his knowledge of giving without anything to return.

The most touching story I heard:

  • “Terry’s last Christmas he borrowed money from his brother, Fred, to buy presents for his mom and dad yet had already raised 40 million. He never took a cent for himself.”

Dr. Armand Frappier

Armand Frappier - Inducted 2012, represented by his daughter Mme Michelle Frappier-Daigneault

 Dr. Armand Frappier pioneered the field of medical research in Quebec. He did much work on the tuberculosis vaccine and in establishing the Armand Frappier Institute, he initiated the commercialization of bio-medical products in Quebec.

  • The representative from the Institute who gave the speech called him the:  “Steve Jobs of Medicine”
  • After the ceremony, Mme. Frappier-Daigneault had the sweetest words to say:
  • “It was interesting to hear…about all these different aspects of medicine. When you think of what my father did its only a small snippet of the medical world?”

Dr. Clarke Fraser 

Dr. Clark Fraser - inducted 2012, represented by his son Dr. Noel Fraser

Dr. Clarke Fraser was Canada’s first medical geneticist.  He grew up in Jamaica (Yay for the Caribbean connection) and moved back to Canada to study.   He has been honoured by numerous organizations, including receiving an honorary degree from his own university (McGill) which is abnormal.

Although Dr.Fraser didn’t attend the ceremony, he still wrote the speech his son wrote out and it was HILARIOUS! Even at age 93 this inspiring doctor reduced the entire room to tears.

  • It started off with this:  “Hail o Hail o Great Masters of the medical field. I humbly stand before you to be honored for things I was thought to do.”   However, iambic pentameter too tiring. He reverted to the less tiring practice of writing Prose

  • “I was lucky to appear on the scene when human genetics was coming to the forefront.I was also lucky to attract good graduate students.” – take a word of advice from Dr. Fraser and HIRE SOME GRAD STUDENTS
  • The speech ended” “Farewell Farewell O Masters of the Medical Hall of Fame and farewell to the dames”.
Dr. Peter Macklem

Dr. Peter Macklem - Inducted 2012, represented by his wife Joy

Dr Peter Macklem was one of Canada’s greatest pulmonary physicians.  The work he and new techniques he applied to medicine gave doctors a better understanding of the lungs to treat conditions like asthma.  He also helped to develop the Meakins-Christie Laboratories which is a leader in pulmonary investigations.

His speech was read out by his daughter and the award was accepted by his wife.  It was clear to see how devoted husband and wife were to each other.  It certainly gives some hope to those entering the medical field that have heard horror stories about long hours and a lack of relationships.

  • “His wife was his most steadfast collaborator Joy was her name and Joy was her way.  In every life it is hard to balance professional excellence and personal life but they did it.”

  • “He believed firmly that the best science was based on dialogue and you [his colleagues] gave that to him”.

Dr. J.J.R. Macleod 

Dr. J.J.R. Macleod - Inducted 2012, accepted by Dr. Brubaker from the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto

Dr. JJR Macleod was inducted his role in the discovery of insulin along with Dr. Frederick Banting, Dr. Charles Best and Dr. James Collip.  He has always been regarded as the villain in the story of curing diabetes.  But after sufficient investigations it was found that Dr. Macleod was the stabilizing force in the sometimes volatile team of insulin researchers.  He was responsible for overseeing insulin production, clinical trials, licensing and ongoing research.  Although there were many blow-ups between Macleod and Banting the discovery would’ve never been as successful without his contributions.

  • “After the serendipity of Banting’s discovery came the organized stability of Macleod’s techniques”.

Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui 

Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui - Inducted 2012

Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, originally from Shanghai, discovered the cystic fibrosis gene in 1981 at the Hospital for Sick Children, along with  group of scientists from 2 other institutions.  This was followed by his role in developing the worldwide Human Genome project.  Today Dr. Tsui is President of the University of Hong Kong. He continues to be an inspiration to Canadian immigrants who might not believe that they can achieve success in a country where their own educational accomplishments do not measure up.

His speech was also very witty and emphasized the importance of collaboration for success.

Note: his last name is pronounced Choy as in Bok Choy!

  • “I came to Canada and I remember that was the coldest day of my life”. –Preach, I too also experienced this.
  • “I always talking about being in the right place at the right time with the right people “.

  • “I thank my parents who started this genetic project by having me – thus they’re also geneticist and thank you to my wife for continuing this genetic project”.

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