Dr. James B. Forrest - July 27, 2017
Dr. James Forrest passed away peacefully on July 27, 2017, in his 77th year. Adored husband to Janette, loving father to Jeremy and Webster, uncle to Jane, Claire, Andrew, and Emma, great-uncle to Owen, Nathan, Adam, Leah, Graham, Brodie, and Murray.
Jay was the second chair of the Department of Anesthesia, following in the footsteps of Don Catton. He joined the Department as a contractually limited Assistant Professor in 1973, having been recruited by Dr. Catton, who said "I had no concept of teaching or research. I had to hire people of expertise. I targeted people: Forrest- for this rein on research..."
Jay held both an MB/ChB and a PhD, obtained for the University of Glasgow in 1964 and 1969 respectively. When Jay, with his wife, Janette, and family, came to McMaster, he assumed not only leadership in anesthesia research but also in undergraduate medical education, serving as Chairman of what was then Phase II, and subsequently leading to Phase III. He and his colleague, Dr. RMKW "Bob" Lee, contributed greatly to the published literature on the ultrastructure and function of the lung and edited chapters in several editions of the leadership text on the subject. His career at Mac progressed rapidly, from his start as Assistant Professor to Full Professor in 1979. He served two terms as Chair of the Department of Anaesthesia at a time when declining revenues and restructuring of the faculty practice plan created significant challenges to recruitment of academic anesthesia practitioners. Nonetheless, through partnership with Charles Goldsmith in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, he led one of the first large-scale epidemiological studies of anesthesia, recruiting over 17,000 patients across 5 centres in Canada and the United States during the mid-1980s, and created a valuable database which informed subsequent studies.
He practiced clinically for over 35 years. his interest in pain management coincided with that of psychiatrist Dr. Eldon Tunks, and together they established what was probably the first truly multi-disciplinary pain clinic in Canada after the model of Dr. John Bonica. His example and mentorship led to McMaster contributing a disproportionate number of anesthesiologists to the pain practice community over the years. His leadership, along with that of Dr. Tunks, was recognized at the 2013 "Party for Pain" gala fundraiser in support of the revitalized Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic, as it returned to the multi-disciplinary model. Outside of his medical practice, he was an avid golfer, both at the Hamilton Golf and Country Club and the Hammock Dunes Club in Palm Coast, Florida, as well as an accomplished jazz pianist. He loved to travel with his family, particularly to Scotland, London, Ogunquit, and Palm Coast. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you consider a donation to Parkinson Canada (parkinson.ca) or St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation (stjoesfoundation.ca).