Dr. Clarke Fraser inducted to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Bear River’s Dr. Clarke Fraser is no stranger to awards. He has received the Order of Canada, and dozens of other awards, certificates and plaques. over the years for his groundbreaking work in medical genetics.

Clarke Fraser OC FRSC

Now Dr. Fraser will be inducted to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame for Excellence in Health Research – Clinical Research 

When it comes to health care and health research, Canadians have much to be proud of. We have an incredibly rich history of discovery and achievement.

To celebrate those whose extraordinary contributions have made the world a better place, The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame honours a select few every year.

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame – the only one of its kind in the world – is proud to announce that its 2012 inductees are:

Dr. John James Macleod (1876-1935)
Terry Fox (1958-1981)
Dr. Armand Frappier (1904-1991)
Dr. Peter Macklem (1931-2011)
Dr. John Dirks
Dr. F. Clarke Fraser
Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui


Dr. F. Clarke Fraser, OC
1920 –
Category for Induction: Excellence in Health Research – Clinical Research Education: PhD, McGill University, 1945
MD, McGill University, 1950

Spanning the fields of science and medicine, Dr. F. Clarke Fraser was one of the creators of the discipline of medical genetics in North America, and laid the foundations in the field of Genetic Counselling, which has enhanced the lives of patients worldwide. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Fraser pioneered work in the genetics of cleft palate and popularized the concept of multifactorial disease. Born in Norwich, Connecticut, and raised in Nova Scotia, Dr. Fraser was an iconic figure in Canadian medicine, as well as a biomedical pioneer, a fine teacher, and an outstanding scientist.

Dr. Fraser was indeed an original thinker. Blessed with rare insight and a fearless groundbreaker, he initially chose the medical field before being captivated by genetics while earning his Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Acadia University in 1940. He then enrolled in McGill University where he obtained his Master of Science a year later. After serving in the Canadian Air Force as a bombardier in WWII, Dr. Fraser returned to McGill where he obtained his M.D. and Ph.D., and carried out seminal research in teratology and syndromology.

Before Dr. Fraser took the stage, genetics and medicine were two very separate fields. There was no vision for the potential of genetics in human medicine. But very soon, Dr. Fraser turned his attention from fruit flies and mice to human genetics, and became the founder of the first Canadian medical genetics department in a paediatric hospital, aptly named the F. Clarke Fraser Clinical Genetics Centre at McGill University in 1995. Thus at 30 years of age, he became Canada’s first medical geneticist and his medical genetics department was one of the first in North America.

But Dr. Fraser’s contributions reached far beyond the lab to the very lives of patients everywhere. His gentle, compassionate approach was much appreciated by his patients and he passed this warmth and understanding onto a succession of graduate students, physicians and genetic counsellors in both Canada and the United States. Ever contributing in a myriad of ways, Dr. Fraser’s classroom techniques were renowned among students and he coauthored several textbooks, many still used today.

Dr. Fraser has served as president of the major North American societies in Genetics and Teratology and has won almost every award in his field. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, has won the Wilder Penfield Prix de Quebec and is an Officer of the Order of Canada. He was a founding co-director of the Medical Research Council of Canada Group in Medical Genetics, the longest lasting group in the history of the MRC.

You can find out more about Clarke’s work at his website: yourgenealogyyourhealth.com


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