Frontiers of Medicine: A History of Medical Education and Research at the University of Alberta

By Elise A. Corbet | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 7
The Growth of Research in the Medical School

Research activities at the University of Alberta and the growth of support for medical research

"If I have one ambition greater than another it is that in the next ten years we will build up all the scientific departments into research departments and as far as my strength of mind and body will enable me to get the men and money I will do it. I will go farther in saying that every member of the staff who shows adaptability for research work will be given opportunity as far as possible to carry it on."

PRESIDENT HENRY Marshall Tory wrote these words to J. Bertram Collip in 1921, 1 and reiterated the sentiment when he spoke to the Congress on Medical Education held in Chicago in 1926. A university medical faculty, he felt, could only remain a vital teaching body if its members conducted their own research projects, and departments in which the teachers were content with a simple teaching schedule inevitably became sterile. The rewards of research activities were evident in three areas: first, an individual's personal satisfaction in being able to pursue his own interests; second, the stimulating effect upon co-workers; and, third, and most important, the exhilarating effect upon the students. "I have listened with a gratification I cannot describe to expressions of pleasure and pride among the students of my own university concerning the work of Dr. Collip." 2

Even a man as forceful as President Tory, however, was not able to get blood out of a stone, and funding for research of any kind was sparse indeed in the lean years before the second world war. Tory himself was

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