Dr. Gustave Gingras
© Irma Coucill and the CMHF
© Irma Coucill and the CMHF

Born: January 18, 1918, Montreal, Quebec
Died: May 9, 1996
Education: M.D. - University of Montreal, 1943

Dr. Gustave Gingras graduated from l'Université de Montréal medical school in 1943 and would go on to become one of the greatest names in Canadian medicine. People around the world consider Dr. Gingras to be the "Ambassador for the Handicapped". Gingras's work with paraplegics at the Veteran's hospital in Montreal led to him establishing the "l'Institut de réadaptation" (rehabilitation) in Montreal and later through his work with the Red Cross and the United Nations, he established similar centers in Morocco, Venezuela and Vietnam.

A strong advocate for the rights of the handicapped, he lobbied government and social institutions to provide handicap access, facilities for the handicapped and legislation that would integrate handicapped people into employment and handicapped children into the public school system. Gingras also started a Canadian program that would assist children that were the victims of thalidomide.

Numerous awards were bestowed upon Gingras including the Companion of the Order of Canada, Companion of the Order of Malta, the Royal Bank of Canada Prize, the Albert Lasker Prize and the FNG Starr Prize of the Canadian Medical Association. Suffering from a degenerative neurological disorder, in the last years of his life, Gingras himself practiced the most important lesson that he gave us: "Never give up and focus on remaining abilities rather than on those lost."