About Henry G. Friesen

A renowned and visionary medical scientist, Dr. Henry Friesen is the Canadian endocrinologist credited with the discovery of human prolactin in the late 1960s, just one of many significant accomplishments and contributions to science he has made over the past fifty years. Now a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of the University of Manitoba, Dr. Friesen was a Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology and Professor of Medicine for two decades at that institution, where he had earned his early medical degree.

As President of the former Medical Research Council of Canada, Dr. Friesen brought together scholars, scientists, practitioners, governments, industry, and patient groups. He was both architect and champion for a bold new vision for Health Research in Canada. Through his imaginative leadership and tireless effort he set the stage in 2000 for the establishment of a new agency designed to encompass all aspects of Health Research along with major new funding: the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Recognized for redefining medical research in Canada, his integrity and selfless idealism attracted the support of thousands of advocates and admirers, both nationally and internationally.

Dr. Friesen was President of the National Cancer Institute of Canada and President of the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation. In 1977 he received a Gairdner Award for the discovery of Prolactin. He is the Past Founding Chair of Genome Canada. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Dr. Friesen was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987 and was promoted to Companion in 2001. That same year he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and also was awarded the Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award; the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada; and the Koch Medal: the highest award of the Endocrine Society. In 2004, Dr. Friesen was appointed to the Order of Manitoba. He was presented with the Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award by the Canadian Medical Association, the association’s highest award, in 2006. Dr. Friesen also holds eight Honorary Doctorates from Canadian universities.

In 2005, FCIHR bestowed upon him the Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his unique accomplishments in Canadian health research and his qualities as a dedicated servant of humankind.

The Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research, was established in his name in 2005 by Friends of CIHR. It is awarded annually to an individual of international stature who best exemplifies Henry Friesen’s prescience, organizational creativity and broad impact on health research and health research policy.