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Apr 14, 2020

Tribute to our co-founder Dr. John B. Dossetor


It is with heavy hearts and deep affection that we say goodbye to Dr. John Beamish Dossetor, co-founder of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, who passed away on Monday, April 6, 2020, at the age of 94.

Courage, vision, compassion, resilience, ingenuity, determination, and action describe Dr. Dossetor.

“Dr. Dossetor was a true pioneer in the field of kidney health, organ donation, medical ethics, and transplantation,” said Kidney Foundation National President Greg Robbins. “His decades of groundbreaking work made it possible to save the lives of so many in our kidney and transplant community. He will always hold a place of honour at The Kidney Foundation as our beloved co-founder.”

In 1964, Dr. Dossetor worked with several Montreal businessmen, led by the Tarder family, to create a new organization that would focus on kidney research, so that kidney failure would not mean certain death.
That was the beginning of The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Born in Bangalore, India, in 1925, Dr. Dossetor received his medical training at Oxford University in London, England. In 1955, he emigrated to Canada to work as a teaching fellow and medical resident at McGill University in Montreal, and three years later, he coordinated the first kidney transplant in the British Commonwealth.

In 1970, he was appointed Director of the Division of Nephrology and Immunology at the University of Alberta and Co-director of the Research Transplantation Group with Dr. Erwin Diener. Between 1986 and 1996, he was Director of Bioethics at the University of Alberta and Vice-Chair of the Provincial Health Ethics Network in Alberta. He founded what is now the John Dossetor Health Ethics Centre. In 1995 he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

His commitment to patients and kidney health remains central to The Kidney Foundation, its mission and vision.

“On behalf of The Kidney Foundation and the kidney and transplant community, we send our deepest condolences to Dr. Dossetor’s friends, family and colleagues, and we extend our deep gratitude and appreciation for his remarkable contributions to our country,” said Elizabeth Myles, National Executive Director of The Kidney Foundation. “His was a life well lived.”

If you wish to pay tribute to Dr. John B. Dossetor with a gift in his memory, you can do so online.

Obituary of Dr. John B. Dossetor

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