Science for the wounded
The work of Dr. Armand Frappier
Development and modernization of bacteriology in the province of Quebec
The scientific advances, which appeared during the war effort spanned during peacetime and arose in a common effort to improve public health in Canada and especially in the province of Quebec. This prevailing trend of social and health reform urged Quebec to take some measures to be up to date.
It expressed itself in numerous projects such as the idea of creating a school of hygiene within the Institute of Microbiology. Dr. Frappier, as well as several influential public characters (Montreal Chambers of Commerce, Provincial Health Minister Paquette), were at the root of this project. According to them, Quebec needed to provide healthier environments. It was also necessary for the province to be self sufficient in the making of biological products, required by sanitary imperatives. Furthermore, it was necessary for the province to be able to train its own scientists instead of letting them study abroad (United States or Toronto).
Therefore, establishing a specialized teaching of public health and preventive medicine was going to bring forth many benefits for the province. First of all, teaching at the School of Hygiene was to be in French and new scientific and technical careers were to be created in order to modernize the Quebec scientific landscape. Then, these experts were to produce exactly what the province needed for its public health measures. Moreover, all the profits from the sale of biological products were to be “sent back to science” to help research and education.
The School of Hygiene thus fell within the modern microbiology movement initiated by the Pasteur Institute of Paris. The founding of the School of Hygiene fulfilled some of the goals set by the Institute of Microbiology, namely, make the province more economically autonomous in science and stimulate specialized teaching. Besides, the school’s will was to promote French-speaking scientific careers and to strengthen French-Canadian expertise.
The School of Hygiene was founded at the end of 1945 with the agreement of the University of Montreal and the financial support of the provincial government. It began to be operational in 1946. Dr. Frappier was to be dean of the school from 1945 to 1965 and the Institute of Microbiology provided premises and experts for teaching and research.