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Honorary degree citation - Jacques Genest*

By: R.H. Pallen, June 1986

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Jacques Genest, eminent physician and medical pioneer, who has had a significant influence on medicine and medical research on both national and international scenes.

Dr. Genest is a native Montrealer; he attended Collège Jean de Brébeuf and the University of Montréal, where he graduated from the Faculty of Medicine in 1942. He did post-graduate studies at 1 'Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu in Montréal, the Harvard Medical School in Boston, John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and as a Research Associate and Assistant Physician at Rockefeller Institute and Rockefeller Hospital for Medical Research in New York City.

In 1952 he undertook an official mission for the Provincial Government of Quebec to gather information about medical research and diagnostic centres in the countries of western Europe. Upon his return he joined the staff at l'Hôpital Hôtel-Dieu. He is also Professor of Medicine at Université de Montréal and Professor in the Department of Experimental Medicine at McGill University.

A true medical pioneer, Dr. cnest was the founder of the first Clinical Research Department in a Quebec French speaking University hospital. He is also the founder and Scientific Director of the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal, which is considered as a model for the modern organization of clinical research throughout the world. In 1955 he set up the first Metabolic Unit in a French speaking hospital in the Province of Quebec, and he was responsible for the establishment of the first Centre of Bioethics in Canada within the Clinical Research Institute of Montréal.

His work was instrumental in the understanding and management of hypertension. Some of his scientific contributions include the discovery of the disturbances of aldosterone in essential hypertension and the role of angiotensin II in the control of aldosterone secretion. He was among the first to emphasize the importance of measuring plasma renin activity for the diagnosis of true renovascular hypertension, which enabled the prediction of the success of surgery with a greater degree of accuracy. The early work on tissue isorenin, especially brain renin was initiated by Dr. Genest. Over 375 postgraduate research fellows and graduate students have received their training under his supervision, and he has published over 575 articles and papers on his work.

It is not surprising that such devotion and service to his profession has received worldwide recognition in the form of honorary degrees and numerous awards and honours. To name a few: he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Master of the American College of Physicians, and Companion of the Order of Canada. He was awarded the Flavelle Medal and Award from the Royal Society of Canada, the Marie-Victorin Prize, the Loyola Medal from the Loyola Alumni Association, the Royal Bank Award and the Isaac Walton Killam Memorial Prize.

Sans doute, le docteur Genest est-il un homme exceptionnel, un homme qui a fait, dans sa vie, plus que ce que bien d'entre nous ensemble pouvons espérer réaliser. C'est pour moi un plaisir et un très grand honneur de vous présenter un candidat tel que Jacques Genest.

Mr. Vice-Chancellor, it is a privilege to present to you, on behalf of the Senate and by the authority of the Board of Governors, Jacques Genest, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa.

* deceased

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