Alvin Zipursky

Dr. Alvin Zipursky is Chair and Scientific Director of PGPR, a post he has held since he initiated the program in 2004.

Before turning his focus to the issue of global child health Dr. Zipursky spent much of his career looking after children with blood disorders and cancer in his own community.

His medical journey began in 1953 when he graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and B.Sc (Med). He went on to receive post-graduate training in Paediatrics and Haematology.He began his academic career at the University of Manitoba in 1957 in the departments of Paediatrics, Physiology and Biochemistry. In 1960 he became Director of the Red Cross Blood Transfusion Service in Winnipeg.

In 1966 Dr. Zipursky was appointed Founding Chairman of Paediatrics at McMaster University. While in that position he created the Department of Paediatrics, developed its mission and faculty, planned the paediatric wards and clinics of McMaster University Medical Centre and developed a regional program for paediatrics.

He served as Chairman of Paediatrics at McMaster from 1966 to 1972, and again from 1978 to 1981. In 2009 Dr. Zipursky was made a member of the McMaster University Health Sciences Centre’s “Community of Distinction” in recognition of his outstanding scholarship and innovative research.

Dr. Zipursky also served as president of the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation in 1975-76, and as president of the Canadian Haematology Society from 1974-1976.

In 1981 he was appointed Head of the Division of Haematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, with responsibility for clinical service, research and education. He continued to hold that position until his retirement in 1996.

In January 1999 he assumed the position of Editor-in-Chief of the international biomedical journal Pediatric Research for a five-year term. In 2004, in response to the inequity in research dollars being spent on diseases affecting the majority of the world’s children, Dr. Zipursky founded The Programme for Global Paediatric Research.

In his research career, Dr. Zipursky has studied the pathogenesis and prevention of Rh isoimmunization; erythrocyte metabolism in hemolytic disease, and neonatal hematology; and has conducted extensive research on the megakaryoblastic leukemias of Down syndrome.

Dr. Zipursky’s research into the prevention of Rh disease contributed to the near eradication of it in most high income countries. He is currently studying the problem of Rh disease in low and mid-income countries.

At the same time, through PGPR, he continues to educate researchers, bringing them together from throughout the world to discuss critical issues, determine research agendas and begin collaborations with the hope of establishing new networks like the recently formed Global Sickle Cell Disease Network and the Global Prevention of Kernicterus Network.

On December 30, 2011 Dr. Zipursky was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada, for his contributions to paediatrics in Canada and in developing countries. The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.