In Memory of Dr. Mark FitzGerald


On January 18th, 2022, the world of respiratory medicine lost Dr. Mark FitzGerald, a caring physician, a great scientist, and an influential leader.  We at the Canadian Respiratory Research Network (CRRN) mourn the loss of Mark both as a dear scientific colleague and a beloved friend.

Dr. Mark FitzGerald accepted his first academic appointment in Canada in 1987 (McMaster), and then moved to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver (1989) where he remained a Faculty member. Through these years Dr. FitzGerald has had many leadership roles, being the Head of the Division of Respiratory Medicine for more than 10 years, Director of the Centre for Heart and Lung Health, Co-Director of the UBC Institute for Heart and Lung Health, President of the Canadian Thoracic Society, and Head and then a member of the Scientific and Executive Committees of the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA). Dr. FitzGerald was one of the founding members of CRRN and remained a member of its Scientific Committee since the inception of the Network in 2013.

Through his research and leadership roles, Dr. FitzGerald has made an immense contribution to respiratory medicine and has influenced the Canadian and international respiratory research community in multiple ways. Dr. FitzGerald’s contributions to respiratory outcomes research (captured in more than 600 scientific papers) have ranged from leading landmark clinical trials of new asthma medications, to documenting the burden of obstructive lung diseases in Canada, to evaluating the role of health literacy in asthma and COPD care. He was one of the leaders of the very first Canadian asthma management guideline, and through his role at CTS and GINA, he has influenced the care of millions of patients with asthma in Canada and globally.

Mentorship of new clinician-researchers was a prominent feature of Dr. FitzGerald’s illustrious career. He has trained many residents, fellows, and graduate students and has mentored numerous junior colleagues and new investigators. Dr. FitzGerald’s trainees and mentees would not only benefit from his vast knowledge, but also form his generous, dedicated support. Dr. FitzGerald’s leadership and clinical duties were never a barrier to spending quality time with trainees. He would not hesitate to use his immense influence and reputation to spotlight the work of a trainee and promote a new investigator within his vast network of influence. His mentorship was a life-long offer, and his trainees would enjoy years of friendship, collegiality, and scientific collaboration. Through his exemplary mentorship, Dr. FitzGerald has shaped the Canadian respiratory research and clinical communities in significant ways.

In honor of Dr. FitzGerald’s great legacy and celebrating his contribution to research and training in respiratory medicine, the CRRN has named its top post-doctoral research fellowship award (awarded annually) “The Dr. J Mark Fitzgerald fellowship award for research in obstructive lung disease”.

We extend our deepest condolences to Dr. FitzGerald’s family and co-workers.