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(L-R) Drs. Joanne Keselman, Brian Postl, Juliette Cooper and Digvir Jayas unveil the commemorative bust of Dr. Chown on May 20.

(L-R) Drs. Joanne Keselman, Brian Postl, Juliette Cooper and Digvir Jayas unveil the commemorative bust of Dr. Chown on May 20, 2016.

Honouring health pioneer Dr. Henry Bruce Chown

Commemorative bust of alumnus whose work saved thousands of babies

May 21, 2016 — 

The University of Manitoba paid tribute to the memory of Dr. Henry Bruce Chown through the unveiling of a commemorative bust at Innovation Plaza on May 20.

“Innovation Plaza provides us the opportunity to further celebrate those remarkable individuals whose ideas and hard work on our campuses have transformed our lives,” said David T. Barnard, president and vice-chancellor.

Chown [MD/1922] is renowned for his research on Rh hemolytic disease of the newborn and the development of the Rh immune globulin, which saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of babies around the globe.

Innovation Plaza

Innovation Plaza

“He gained international renown for his work which virtually eliminated infant deaths from Rh disease and in 1968 he was presented the Order of Canada service medal for his outstanding work,” wrote Dr. Brian Postl, dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences & vice-provost (Health Sciences).

Born in Winnipeg in 1893 and raised in the city, Chown went on to earn his BA from McGill in 1914 and then served in the Canadian Army from 1915 to 1919 during the First World War. He returned to Winnipeg afterwards and entered medical school at the University of Manitoba. After getting his degree, Chown trained in pediatrics between 1922 and 1926 at Columbia University, John Hopkins University and Cornell University.

“Dr. Chown’s research discoveries have had a lasting impact on the lives he has saved and their families. He was truly an inspiration for many researchers,” said Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international).

Chown returned to Winnipeg and joined the Children’s Hospital as a pathologist and took on a number of teaching and administrative posts, which included professor and head of the department of pediatrics at the University of Manitoba.

“Dr. Bruce Chown is one of the true giants in the overlapping fields of pediatrics, obstetrics, hematology and blood banking. In close association with a small number of colleagues, he virtually eradicated the scourge of Rh incompatibility and erythroblastosis fetalis which throughout history claimed the lives of untold numbers of newborn babies,” wrote Dr. John T. Truman, professor emeritus and special lecturer in pediatrics at Columbia University.

Chown is an inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. He died in Victoria, B.C. in 1986.

Dr. Henry Bruce Chown. // Photo by Dr. Arnold Zeal.

Dr. Henry Bruce Chown. // Photo by Dr. Arnold Zeal.

The Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation, Inc. is the sponsor of the commemorative bust of Chown at Innovation Plaza. Winnipeg Rh Institute was established in 1944 with Dr. Chown as director through to 1972.

The unveiling ceremony for the commemorative bust took place on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. on the south lawn of the Buller Building.

Innovation Plaza was established in 2013 to celebrate and honour University of Manitoba academic staff who have demonstrated sustained excellence and global impact and influence through a body of research, scholarly works or creative activities with a series of commemorative busts. The project was made possible through the vision and leadership of the Richardson Foundation.

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