In Memoriam: The Honourable Wilbert Keon

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Wilbert Keon.

A former Senator and Member of the Order of Canada, Dr. Keon led a remarkable life of public service. Among his many accomplishments, he founded the Ottawa Heart Institute, in 1976, and became the first Canadian surgeon to implant an artificial heart in a human patient, in 1986.

Dr. Keon will also be remembered as one of the architects of CIHR. During his career as a Senator, he advocated for a renewed structure for supporting health research in Canada – one that would be more responsive to the changing realities and needs of the Canadian population. He believed in the vision of a federal agency that would fundamentally transform the way research is conducted. He also believed that this organization should be comprised of a number of institutes representing various areas of science. His hope was that these institutes would develop collaborations amongst researchers and stakeholders to support more impactful research and, ultimately, improve the health of Canadians. The result was the creation of CIHR.

On behalf of Canada's health research community and all of us at CIHR, we offer our deepest condolences to Dr. Keon’s family, friends, and colleagues.
Date modified: