The early days of the Clinical Research Department at the Hôtel-Dieu are difficult. With cramped quarters and limited financial resources, working conditions are far from ideal. During the first few years, the director must constantly defend the very existence of his department and fight for sufficient funding, but he persists.
The first research grants come from the Department of Health in Ottawa and Ciba, a pharmaceutical company, thus enabling the team to pursue its research on hypertension. Dr. Genest gradually earns the respect of his medical colleagues at the hospital, and his research results reflect well on the Hôtel-Dieu as a whole.
In 1955, the Clinical Research Department is officially recognized by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for “training in the basic sciences.” And so, the Hôtel-Dieu is, at the time, the only French-Canadian hospital where young physicians can receive recognized clinical training and an introduction to research, as well as contact with patients.
In 1958, Jacques Genest is elected Chairman of the Hôtel-Dieu medical council. This recognition from his peers will prove to be of great importance for the future of clinical research.
Over the years, the Hôtel-Dieu’s Clinical Research Department earns a well-established reputation due to the scientific performance of its team, whose findings are the subject of many publications and international conferences. These auspicious circumstances thereby attract some 60 young scientists between 1952 and 1967. In fact, McGill University allows the new arrivals to complete an internship in the Clinical Research Department at the Hôtel-Dieu while pursuing their graduate studies, which means they can obtain adequate theoretical training and also conduct practical research work.
In 1964, the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal undergoes a reform process, which results in Jacques Genest being names Director of the Department of medicine.