Date of issue: September 10, 2020
Series: Medical Groundbreakers
Design: Mike Savage and Dale Kilian
Bruce Chown was born in 1893 in Winnipeg. He graduated with a BA from McGill University in 1914 and then went to Europe with the Canadian Field Artillery. Following the war, he attended the University of Manitoba, from which he graduated in medicine in 1922. After additional specialized study in the United States, he returned to Winnipeg as one of the first trained pediatricians in Canada.
At the University of Manitoba, he began research on Rhesus (Rh) haemolytic disease (erythroblastosis fetalis), a disorder in which antibodies produced by a pregnant woman are directed against a surface antigen on fetal red blood cells, causing their destruction (lysis). This process results in anemia, jaundice, and edema in the newborn infant. Dr. Chown and his coworkers identified the mechanism of the disease, allowing for improved management and prevention. He died in Victoria, British Columbia in 1986.
The stamp shows Dr. Chown beside a baby, both on a background of red blood cells. The latter are marked with a + or – to symbolize the presence or absence of the Rh factor. The medal of the Order of Canada is seen at the top left of the stamp. The first-day cover shows another image of Dr. Chown, presumably in his laboratory, with a microscope and what appears to be a needle partly filled with blood in a test tube.