Dr. Gershon Growe

Lifetime Achievement Award

Over a remarkable career spanning five decades, Dr. Gershon (Jerry) Growe has made an extraordinary impact on the effectiveness and safety of transfusion medicine in Canada and, consequently, improving the quality of countless patient lives.

Dr. Growe first received his undergraduate medical education at the University of Toronto in 1963 – after which he pursued specialist training in internal medicine across the United States and in Toronto, with an additional focus in oncology and hematology. In 1969, he completed his specialist certification in internal medicine with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

In 1972, Dr. Growe was part of a small group to organize Canada’s first-ever comprehensive hemophilia program, and instrumental in initiating and promoting selfcare at home using cryoprecipitate. He spearheaded the dissemination of this model of patient-centred hemophilia care across the country – and remained a leader with the program for over 30 years, also serving as national medical director of the Canadian Hemophilia Society between 1988 and 1991.

In 1977, in response to bleeding complications associated with chemotherapeutic treatments for acute leukemia, Dr. Growe investigated and led the procurement of prototype cell separator equipment for the Vancouver General Hospital transfusion laboratory, to produce platelet concentrates, which ultimately led to platelet products being made available across Canada.

A progressive, enlightened and passionate educator, Dr. Growe spent three decades as an active, engaged Clinical Professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. While there, he established a medical ethics teaching program for undergraduates and post-graduates. He also created and became the inaugural director of a transfusion medicine residency program; and was instrumental in developing competency-based assessment criteria for the emerging transfusion medicine diploma program, accredited through the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Dr. Growe’s commitment to improving anaesthesiology-related transfusion practice is especially noteworthy, for which he was a double recipient of the Master Teacher award from UBC’s Department of Anaesthesiology in 1999 and 2004. His influence was also instrumental in the development of a Clinical Transfusion Nurse role at Vancouver General Hospital: a novel and key trend in the evolution of the collaborative approach to transfusion medicine in Canada.

In 2004, Dr. Growe became Medical Director for Canadian Blood Services in the British Columbia and Yukon Region. In his role, he oversaw the significant strengthening of the security of platelet concentrate supply to regional hospitals, through increased platelet collections in British Columbia. Dr. Growe retired from Canadian Blood Services and active medical practice in December 2013.

Dr. Growe has deservedly received many awards and distinctions for his work in the field of transfusion medicine. With the Canadian Blood Services Lifetime Achievement Award, he now joins a list of world-class leaders and peers who, like him, have made landmark contributions to the blood system.

Dr. Gershon Growe National Honouring our Lifeblood 2014