Milestones in Canadian health research
Canadian health research: saving lives, making history

Canada's health researchers have made many life-saving discoveries. From Banting and Best's insulin innovation to today's advancements in health care delivery, our country has led the way in making the world a healthier place. Learn more about Canada’s major health research achievements, and take a closer look at some of the research CIHR supported in its first 10 years.

Years [ 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s ]

1920s

Dr. Frederick G. Banting

"With the relief of the symptoms of his disease, and with the increased strength and vigor resulting from the increased diet, the pessimistic, melancholy diabetic becomes optimistic and cheerful. Insulin is not a cure for diabetes; it is a treatment."

Dr. Frederick G. Banting, Nobel Prize Lecture, 1923

1930s

Dr. Wilder Penfield

"Brain surgery is a terrible profession. If I did not feel it will become different in my lifetime, I should hate it."

Dr. Wilder Penfield

1940s

Dr. Charles Leblond

"At the age of 20, I had my first course in histology; I enjoyed it and wondered about becoming a histologist. Friends tried to dissuade me: 'Histology,' they said, 'is a dead horse. The future is in biochemistry.' I chose histology anyway, worked at it for 50 years, and never looked back. Many exciting things happened in the field during these 50 years... all powerful kicks for a dead horse."

Dr. Charles Leblond

1950s

George Klein

"I have worked on many other projects. Some of them classified and important. But this one (the electric wheelchair) has given me the most satisfaction… It has given me a feeling of helping others, who have not always been able to help themselves."

George Klein

1960s

Dr. Henri Breault
Portrait courtesy of artist Irma Councill and The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

"Obsolete containers. Inevitable poisonings. Day by day it rankles more and more, and more and yet more so, as our children are poisoned, and poisoned, and poisoned yet again. This is a deplorable, a disgraceful situation."

Dr. Henri Breault

1970s

Dr. Henry Friesen

"In research in health I think we can aspire to be the best. The health-care system is Canada's most cherished and valued program, and that ought to be linked to the very best research underpinning as a foundation."

Dr. Henry Friesen

1980s

Dr. Tak Mak

"Don't be afraid to tackle science if you enjoy it."

Dr. Tak Mak

1990s

Dr. Michael Smith

"In research you really have to love and be committed to your work because things have more of a chance of going wrong than right. But when things go right, there is nothing more exciting."

Dr. Michael Smith

2000s

Dr. Alan Bernstein

"If we succeed in sustaining and growing this exciting revolution in health research, if we succeed in striking creative global partnerships that will shape and harness this new science to improve health and health-care, and if we succeed in diminishing the disparities between those that have access to this new science and those that do not, then we will pass on a better world to our children."

Dr. Alan Bernstein, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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