Born:

November 7, 1930

(Montréal, Québec)

Education:

MDCM, McGill University (1955)

Awards & Honours:

2016: Commander of the Order of Montreal

2007: Honorary DSc, McGill University

See All Awards
Picture of Charles Scriver, MD

Identified and developed a treatment for rickets in Quebec

Charles Scriver

The Father of modern genetics in Quebec

Dr. Charles Scriver committed his life to the study of genetic disorders in children. Most notably, he discovered the hereditary forms of rickets in children could be treated with the addition of vitamin D to marketed milk in Quebec. This finding significantly raised society’s awareness of the genetic causes of the disease. In addition, Scriver developed and instituted a method of examining the blood of newborn infants to screen them for a number of inherited biochemical conditions, such as PKU and hypothyroidism, allowing early and effective treatment. Beyond his research, Dr. Scriver played a lead role in exploring the wider social issues which accompany this research. Over his long career, he taught students and advised colleagues in a uniquely stimulating and supportive way.

Key Facts

Demonstrated that many genetic diseases were treatable

Advocated for the inclusion of vitamin D in Quebec’s milk supply

Served as chief editor of The Metabolic and Molecular Bases of Inherited Disease, a major reference text in the field of genetics

Authored more than 500 scientific publications

Was a member of the Institute for Population research, a group dedicated to the study of global human genetic diversity

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Scriver is credited with touching every aspect of genetic research in Quebec. As a result of his long and productive career, scientists and physicians today have a better understanding of genetic childhood conditions as well as belief in the possibility of treatment. Furthermore, his remarkable impact on patient well-being is undisputable; rickets rates in Quebec have fallen from one in 200 to one in 20,000. In addition, the National Food Distribution Centre still operates to this day helping to ensure children receive the nutrients they need for healthy development.

Picture of Charles Scriver, MD

2001

  • Dr. Charles Scriver at the 2012 Induction

    Charles Scriver inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Winnipeg, Manitoba

  • The National Food Distribution Centre for the Treatment of Metabolic Diseases was created

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

    Founded with the assistance of Arnold Steinberg, the Centre facilitated the delivery of nutritional formula to children in need. Scriver served as its first president.

  • The Quebec Network of Genetic Medicine was established

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    This network of geneticists developed a program to screen newborns for congenital disorders. As a result, many children received crucial treatment.

  • Vitamin D was added to bottled milk across Quebec

    Public Health, Health Promotion & Advocacy

    This addition resulted in a dramatic decline in the cases of rickets.

  • Charles Scriver discovered that vitamin D Deficiency was the cause of the bone deformation condition known as rickets

    Skin, Bones, Muscles & Joints, Skin, Bones, Muscles & Joints

    Not satisfied with scientific research alone, Scriver spoke before the Castonguay Commission in 1967 to advocate for the fortification of milk with vitamin D.

  • The De Belle Laboratory for biochemical genetics was founded by Dr. Charles Scriver

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    Dr. Scriver led a number of studies into the genetic disorders of children, including a study of inborn metabolism errors.

  • Scriver joined the Department of Pediatrics at McGill University

    Following medical school, Scriver completed a residency in pediatrics in Boston. Soon, however, Scriver returned to his alma mater.

1960

I had better use the rest of my life.