Dr. Henry Friesen is without question a world-class mind in the scientific and medical community. Winnipeg is extremely fortunate to have such a prodigious and highly-sought after individual inspiring and setting the bar so high for local medical and scientific research practitioners. His accomplishments are numerous. Here are just a few of the more significant ones.
Friesen discovered the hormone “prolactin” which has led to the development of a highly effective infertility treatment drug. It also has been instrumental in helping doctors discover growth hormone drugs now given to thousands of children every year. His innovative research in this growth hormone area has made Winnipeg a “Mecca of Endocrinology”.
Dr. Dhalla, a world renowned heart disease researcher and 2000 Citizens Hall of Fame inductee, believes Dr. Friesen is the single most important figure to make Winnipeg world-renowned in the field of medicine. Friesen is the only Winnipegger to become the President of the Medical Research Council of Canada and transformed it into a viable agency, in part, through convincing Ottawa how essential it was to invest millions of dollars into medical research. It has been said without the huge investment in medical research, especially throughout the 90s, Canada would not have had scientists equipped and ready to confront the deadly SARS virus. Vancouver and Winnipeg scientists were the first in the world to decode the virus in 2003.
Friesen is also the 41st recipient of the Canadian Medical Association’s most prestigious award - presented to him last month at the CMA’s annual meeting. He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 2001, a promotion from being named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1987.
In writing a letter of support for the nomination of Dr. Henry Friesen, Chancellor of the University of Manitoba and 1995 Citizens Hall of Fame inductee Bill Norrie, said that during his terms as mayor he came to know Dr. Friesen best “for his vision, tenacity, and leadership in acquiring for Winnipeg the “Virology Laboratory” now on Arlington Street.” The Lab has given Winnipeg a wonderful strategic opportunity to attract and retain world-class researchers and clinicians.