Rick Fraser was born in St-Louis, Missouri in 1948 and moved to Montreal, Quebec, Canada shortly
thereafter. He has stayed for most of his life in that wonderful city. He received a
Bachelor of Science degree from McGill University in 1969 and an M.Sc. in Psychology from the
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, in 1971. Although interesting, the study of psychology proved too
theoretical and he decided to pursue a career in the more "practical" field of medicine, graduating from
McGill University in 1976 with an M.D.C.M.
He planned on pursuing an internship in general practice in Newfoundland. However, when he decided to
stay in Montreal during 1976-1977 (while his wife-to-be, Marie-Claire, worked on her PhD thesis in
respiratory pathophysiology), he opted to spend a year in pathology since "it couldn't do any harm and
had no night call". His first day on the job began with an autopsy on a patient who died of "metastatic
cancer" (unbiopsied), but who proved to have Wegener's granulomatosis. He presented the case at several
hospital/departmental conferences and quickly became enthralled with his new-found profession. He
continued his studies as a pathology resident in the McGill University Hospital network and joined the
staff of the Montreal General Hospital in 1980. He has worked at that institution as well as other
McGill Hospitals, including the Royal Victoria and the Montreal Chest Institute, since that time.
Dr. Fraser's organ of pathologic interest has been the lung and he has collaborated in the
publication of a number of major textbooks related to chest disease, some primarily clinical and others
radiological. In fact, his major contribution as an academic pulmonary pathologist has been to document
and elucidate pulmonary pathology for clinicians and radiologists. A second academic interest has been
post-graduate education, for which he has been active in several organizations, including the Quebec
Association of Pathologists, the Canadian Association of Pathologists (as Chairman of its Annual Meeting
Committee) , and most recently as President of the XXVI International Congress of the IAP
(100th Anniversary Congress, held in Montreal in 2006). His most recently acquired
professional interest is medical history, particularly as it relates to pathology. His current project
in this regard is the development of
a web-based virtual museum exhibit based on the once renowned McGill Medical Museum.
Dr. Fraser has received several teaching awards from McGill University and has been named to the
Faculty Honour List for educational Excellence. He also served for a number of years on the Executive
body of the Canadian Association of Pathologists, and received the Distinguished Service Award from that
organization in 2000.
His principal interests outside the Hospital are choral singing and natural history (subjects on which
he has more public appearances and gives more invited lectures than pathology). Other "non-academic"
interests include biking (his means of travel to and from the hospital until the snow flies) and the
78th Fraser Highlander Regiment (for which, believe it or not, he has the rank of Major
Surgeon). His family life has been full, with Marie-Claire, his wife-companion of almost 40 years (still
actively engaged in research) and three children, one a veterinarian, one a soon to be nurse
practitioner, and the third an enthusiastic workshop participant.
Dr. Fraser's role as the President of the XXVI International Congress deserves more than the brief
mention above. He had a vision for the 100th Anniversary Congress in 1996, ten years before
the event. When the USCAP Diagnostic Pathology Course was held in Montreal that year, he contacted Jim
Crimmins and scheduled a meeting that also included a representative from the Convention Center. It was
known that the USCAP would host the 100th Anniversary Congress but the final site had not been
determined. At this meeting, he learned the procedure and the time line that would be needed to secure
Montreal as the site of the meeting. It was not until the 2000 congress in Nagoya that bids could be
presented but he was ready and it was an easy decision to go to Maude Abbott's home for the event. This
began a six year mission.
This Congress broke all records for the number of attendees/registrants (approximately 2700 from 95
countries), the number of scientific abstracts submitted (960 from 80 countries). There were over 100
educational offerings presented (60 symposia; 19 slide seminars; 16 short courses, 3 long courses, and 4
plenary lectures) and 69 conveners covering the 34 major subspecialty topics. Congress faculty numbered
465 from 34 countries. The IAP Congress Website in a 2 year period had 1.5 million "hits" from 75,000
individual visitors; virtually all of the educational programs are now up on the USCAP Website for all to enjoy, for free.
Dr. Fraser was the person most instrumental in the huge success of this major international, and
historic Congress. The "theme" of the Congress was "Past, Present and Future". The past was shown by
the 1906 IAMM-like Museum, the IAP Hall of Presidents, two major books on the History of the
IAMM/IAP/Presidents; and the TimeLine (also available on the USCAP Website). The President was shown by
the educational offerings noted above, and in addition the 270 virtual microscopic slides. Photos were
taken of most of the attendees and placed in the Time Capsule (to be opened 100 years hence) (placed in
the Department of Pathology at McGill University Medical School in Montreal). Over 80 individuals from
over 30 underserved countries were supported by Bursaries from the USCAP, Canadian Chairs of Pathology,
the Plenary Lecturers, and the British and French IAP Divisions. Dr. Fraser must receive the "lions
share" of the success of such a large and important venture. As Dr. Silva stated: "Dr. Fraser started
as an amateur in meeting management, but very quickly became one of the best in the world. Almost all
the great ideas and successes of this Congress was because of the work, dedication, time of this great