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Dr. Juliette Cooper, Board Chair, Rh Institute Foundation, with Dr. Kristy Wittmeier, inaugural Dr. John M. Bowman Chair in Pediatrics and Child Health

Dr. Juliette Cooper (left) of the Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation, and Dr. Kristy Wittmeier, the inaugural holder of the Dr. John M. Bowman Chair in Pediatrics and Child Health

Improving care and treatment for childhood disease and disability

Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation supports research at the University of Manitoba

November 25, 2019 — 

On Monday, November 25, 2019, the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba announced the establishment of a new research chair made possible with a donation from the Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation.

The Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation is supporting the Dr. John M. Bowman Chair in Pediatrics and Child Health through a gift of $1 million. This gift is the latest contribution announced as part of the University of Manitoba’s Front and Centre campaign. The Department of Pediatrics and Child Health in the Max Rady College of Medicine has also provided funding for the new chair.

The Rh Foundation’s gift honours the legacy of Dr. John M. Bowman, who was best known for pioneering the discovery and treatment of the Rh hemolytic disease in newborns in the 1960’s, saving countless lives. He continued to lecture and teach about the cure for Rh isoimmunisation at neonatal centres across Canada until his death in 2005.

“When the Rh Board began exploring the possibility of creating this chair back in 2016, we were told it should be three things: innovative, impactful, and excellent. And those three words also perfectly summarize the career of Dr. Bowman,” Dr. Juliette Cooper, Chair of the Winnipeg Rh Foundation Institute told the crowd gathered in an atrium on the Bannatyne campus.

Dr. Bowman served as medical director of the Winnipeg Rh Lab, as a professor of pediatrics at the University of Manitoba, and was co-founder and chair of the Winnipeg Rh Institute.

“This generous gift to the University of Manitoba honours Dr. Bowman’s legacy of service to the medical community and to the thousands of lives saved through his pioneering work,” says Dr. David Barnard, UM president and vice-chancellor. “I thank the Winnipeg Rh Institute for their leadership and continued support of research and scholarly initiatives in our community.”

Dr. Kristy Wittmeier, Assistant Professor with the UM’s Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, as well as Investigator with the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba, was announced as the inaugural Dr. John M. Bowman Chair in Pediatrics and Child Health.

As a physiotherapist for over 17 years, Dr. Wittmeier brings her experience in patient care at the Children’s Hospital to her research. Dr. Wittmeier has explored topics such as knowledge translation and patient involvement in health research, developing and testing a mobile app to help young men with mild hemophilia self-manage injuries, and improving access to physiotherapy for children with complex needs.

“We know that Dr. Bowman’s work continues to make a real and tangible impact on the lives of Manitobans,” says Dr. Cooper. “We’re pleased to be able to support in this way, and we look forward to the impact of Dr. Wittmeier’s research that will continue to improve outcomes for children facing serious health issues.”

As a show of thanks, UM presented the Winnipeg Rh Foundation Institute with a framed stethoscope and photo of Dr. Bowman placed above a plaque that thanks the foundation for its generous gift. The Foundation plans to hang this gift in the halls of the new women’s hospital, which will open soon. 

This investment from the Winnipeg Rh Institute Foundation brings the University of Manitoba closer to its $500-million fundraising goal for the Front and Centre campaign with a new campaign total of $370,507,253.00.

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