The FRQS Relève étoile award is now named after Jacques Genest as a tribute to this great researcher and builder.
A true pioneer in health research in Québec, Dr. Jacques Genest (1919-2018) is among the Québecers who have made the most significant contributions to the advancement of biomedical research. The province's first full-time paid clinical researcher, he founded the research unit at Hôtel-Dieu hospital, which he led from 1952 to 1957, and the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal, which he headed from 1967 to 1984. Dr. Jacques Genest was also the founder and first president of the Conseil de recherches médicales (1964–1969), which would become the FRQS.
Dr. Genest authored over 700 papers and three books and made several decisive discoveries in the field of hypertension, specifically by shedding new light on sodium and aldosterone disturbances, the role of angiotensin II in aldosterone secretion control, the measurement of renin activity in plasma and its significance in the diagnosis of renovascular hypertension and the atrial natriuretic factor. The multi-drug treatment for hypertension he recommended now helps control high blood pressure in the vast majority of patients.
He received over 50 awards and honours, including the Gairdner Award, Prix Marie-Victorin, Stouffer Prize, Killam Prize and Prix Armand-Frappier. Dr. Genest also earned twelve honorary doctorates and was made a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and appointed an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and a Companion of the Order of Canada.