Dr. Sen. Wilbert Keon: Ottawa, Canada
Dr. Keon was born and raised in Sheenboro; Quebec received his primary and secondary education locally and his M.D. from the University of Ottawa. His post-graduate education was from McGill, Toronto and Harvard Universities. After his medical and scientific training, Dr. Keon moved to Ottawa in 1969 to found the University of Ottawa Heart Institute. Dr. Keon was the Chief Executive Officer until April 2004 and his vision and leadership build the University of Ottawa Heart Institute to an international centre of excellence for cardiac care, research and education, an enterprise budget exceeding $190 million per year.
During his tenure at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute, Dr. Keon established international standards in clinical program delivery, cardiac facilities design, public and professional education programs and research and technology development. A passionate spokesman for the rights of Canadians to quality cardiac care, and to the local community benefits of leading-edge research, he communicated his message as a relentless fundraiser to garner millions of dollars for the Ottawa Heart Institute.
Innovation has been a hallmark of Dr. Keon’s career, having drawn research grants totalling 66 million dollars during his career. His clini- cal innovations are numerous, but most notable include the pioneering of surgical reperfusion in acute heart attacks during the early 1970s, the first cardiac transplant in Ottawa in 1983, the first use of Jarvik 7-70 artificial heart in Canada in 1986, and in 1989, the first Canadian infant heart transplant.
Dr. Keon’s academic leadership is evidenced by over 475 presentations, over 200 publications including authorship or contributions to 22 books, and 16 visiting professorships. He was a member of 72 national and international societies. He developed Canada’s largest research and clinical artificial heart development program that spun-out into World Heart Corporation in 1996. He led early demonstration proj- ects and advocacy for telehealth. These innovations also required new approaches to industrial collaboration, while maintaining scientific leadership through peer-reviewed grants.
Dr. Keon has received numerous medical scientific awards as well as many civic awards, including the Order of Ontario, the Order of Canada, membership in the Order of St. Gregory the Great, from Pope John Paul II, and appointment to the Senate of Canada in 1990. In this latter capacity, he has participated in numerous major health and science related reports.
Dr. Keon remains active in health and economic policy through participation on Scientific and Clinical Advisory Boards, membership on several Boards of Directors and as a consultant to public and private sector clients.