On January 18th, 2022, the world of respiratory medicine and research lost Dr. Mark FitzGerald, a caring physician, brilliant scientist, and influential leader. Our entire community at Legacy for Airway Health (LAH) and beyond continue to feel the loss of Dr. FitzGerald.
Dr. FitzGerald was instrumental in the founding of LAH and shaping its Vision. He was an integral member of our Governance Committee and played an influential role as the Co-Chair of our Care Working Group. The UBC and VGH Divisions of Respiratory Medicine – both of which he led for more than 10 years – also benefited immeasurably from his epitomizing a rare and consummate constellation of excellence in patient care, education, research, and service.
Dr. FitzGerald earned his degree in Medicine in 1978 at the University College, Dublin, and he blessed Canada (Hamilton and then Vancouver) from 1984 onwards. He returned to his native Ireland for a brief period in the mid-90s. A full professor at UBC since 2002, he earned renown for the breadth of his academic achievements, reflected not only in his hundreds of publications but moreover for their span from an early focus on TB to later emphasis on asthma, health economics, and respiratory outcomes. Having published in every major medical journal, he also turned to health literacy and ‘humanomics’ in an effort to make such volumes of research more accessible and impactful to the patients who adored him and so many others who benefited indirectly from his work. Across the years, he repeatedly received awards from major societies for his contributions and led dozens of committees and initiatives that collectively had a major impact on the respiratory medicine community locally, nationally, and internationally.
Mark’s energy will live on in the countless patients, doctors, allied staff, and trainees that he touched with his positive attitude and vision throughout his distinguished career. Mark’s impact is beyond words. We will continue to remember him for his immense contributions, as well as his generosity of spirit, intelligence, and wit.
The prevalence of asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are increasing and continue to have a devastating impact on the lives of those living with these conditions. With your gift we can improve the lives of people living with asthma and COPD by new research and efforts to translate the most relevant findings into improved prevention, care and treatment.