Dr. John Foerster was named a member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health care administration and the creation of St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre. The appointment was made by Canada’s Governor General David Johnston on December 30, 2016, with an official ceremony to take place later this year.
Dr John Foerster was a Professor at the University of Manitoba, Faculty of Medicine and a specialist in hematology and oncology. He was named head of medicine at St. Boniface Hospital in 1975 at the age of 40.
The first Executive Director of Research at St. Boniface Hospital (1986-2006), he was recruited specifically for the purpose of raising teaching and research to higher levels of excellence and productivity.
Foerster recruited the first Research Centre program in 1987 (Cardiovascular Sciences), comprised of 5 faculty members, 40 students, and staff supported by a modest research budget. By his retirement in 2006, Foerster had guided its’ growth to more than 190 research and support personnel with a budget of over $7,000,000. The 14 research programs were directly linked to clinical departments – in infectious diseases, respiratory medicine, nephrology, cardiology, clinical nursing research, and cancer research.
In 1990, he championed Manitoba’s first Magnetic Resonance Imaging Scanner – used for research and clinical applications – now the Andrei Sakharov MRI Centre. With Foerster’s leadership, St. Boniface Hospital opened the Centre for Research on Diseases of the Aging in the Research Centre in 1998, which now bears his name. Further growth of the enterprise required the creation of additional space and resulted in the construction of the Asper Clinical Research Building, which opened its doors in 2006.
Foerster received the 2006 Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Manitoba Alumni Association for his contribution to the University, the medical profession, and advancing medical research in the province. He also received the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation’s International Award in 2006. These awards largely recognized his leadership abilities as Executive Director of Research for St Boniface Hospital, however, the commitment he demonstrated throughout his professional and volunteer activities encompassed an impressively broad scope of influence in all aspects of life – from national granting agencies and medical ethics to involvement in two seminaries and his church.
In May of 2016, Foerster was inducted into the St. Boniface Hospital Research Hall of Fame.