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Armand Frappier


The eldest of a family of eight children, Armand Frappier was born in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec, on November 26, 1904. The untimely death of his mother from tuberculosis in 1923 drove him to study medicine and microbiology, and particularly the prevention of tuberculosis.

In 1924, he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Université de Montréal at the Séminaire de Valleyfield; in 1930 and 1931, he earned a medical degree and science certificates, respectively, from the Université de Montréal. With a scholarship from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1931 and 1932, his research led him to the United States and Europe, notably the Institut Pasteur in Paris, where he studied the BCG vaccine with its great discoverers: Calmette, Guérin, Nègre and Ramon.

Dr. Frappier returned to Montréal as head of the laboratories at Hôpital Saint-Luc. At the same time, he taught at the bacteriology department of the Université de Montréal faculty of medicine.

Inspired by the Institut Pasteur, in 1938 he founded the Institut de microbiologie et d'hygiène de Montréal which has since 1975 borne the name Institut Armand-Frappier in recognition of his 38 years of leadership. In 1945, he founded the École d'hygiène of the Université de Montréal.

Dr. Frappier was on the board of many national and international societies: the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Académie nationale de médecine de France, the Royal Society of Medicine of London.

He took part in the work of many public health and medical research organizations in Canada and abroad, as well as the organization of medical research agencies in Canada. He was a member of the committees of the National Research Council, the Medical Research Council of Canada, the Department of National Health and Welfare of Canada, the Department of National Defence, as well as the Canadian Red Cross Society. He was also Chairman of the Committee on BCG of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, and a member of World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr. Frappier's achievements include the vaccination against tuberculosis by BCG in Canada and around the world. During the Second World War, he helped to set up Red Cross blood donor clinics in Québec.

He was invited to scientific events in France, Poland, East Germany and Hungary. He was invited as an expert on tuberculosis by the cities of New York and Washington, the WHO and various Third World countries.

He was a pioneering researcher in the fields of microbiology and preventive médecine in Canada. He was among the first North American writers to confirm the harmlessness and effectiveness of BCG.

He studied the mechanism of infection and that of resistance to certain infections for which he perfected vaccinations.

His medical and scientific publications were collected into eight volumes.

Among the many honours received by Dr. Frappier, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, and Companion of the Order of Canada. Five universities conferred honorary degrees on him: Laval, Paris, Montréal, du Québec and Cracow. The Académie des sciences of France awarded him its Grand prix Jean-Toy. He was named a "Great Montrealer" in medicine, and Québec's Ministère des Affaires culturelles gave him the Prix et la Médaille Marie-Victorin. In l985, He was named Grand Officier of the Ordre national du Québec.

Although Dr. Frappier retired in 1974 at age 70, he remained active at the Institut until his death in December 1991.

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