Jack Hirsh is a medical scientist equally at home in the laboratory and the clinical setting. His many distinguished contributions to the field of thromboembolism, which combine basic research, patient management and clinical trials, underlie the therapy of thromboembolism worldwide. His original observation in 1972 of the relationship between the in vitro anticoagulant activity of heparin and its efficacy in patients with venous thrombosis found immediate and widespread clinical application. His subsequent demonstration, with his colleagues, of the superior clinical efficacy of low-molecular-weight heparin revolutionized anti-thrombotic treatment, allowing management on an outpatient basis. His work on oral anticoagulants led to the development of the International Normalized Ratio, an advance in laboratory diagnosis and to clinical trials that assessed the efficacy and risk: benefit ratio of anticoagulants in a variety of clinical situations. Dr. Hirsh and his colleagues also established the value of aspirin in the prevention of stroke. These different but related observations have changed the clinical management of thromboembolism and have had a significant effect on patients' lives.
Born in Australia, Dr. Hirsh is a graduate of the University of Melbourne Medical School. He expanded his background in hematology at Washington University, St. Louis, the London Postgraduate Medical School and the University of Toronto. In 1973 he joined the Faculty of Medicine of McMaster University, Hamilton, where he is now Professor Emeritus of Medicine and is Director, Hamilton Civic Hospital Research Centre. He has received numerous honors including the Trillium Award of Ontario, the Order of Canada and election to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.