The Sharon Francis Institute for Regenerative Medicine was established by Dr. Robert Francis, and his wife, Sharon, founders of Medcan Health Clinic in Toronto, ON. The Institute was launched in honour of Sharon, who had a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
It is Dr. Francis’ belief that by supporting scientific research in the field of regenerative medicine, we are contributing to the advancement of therapies to treat and potentially cure many of the devastating diseases affecting the world today.
Dr. Francis came from modest beginnings in Nova Scotia. He graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a Bachelor of Science degree at the young age of 19. During his undergraduate degree he met Sharon, who was studying nursing. He graduated from medical school at McGill University, spent time as a military doctor in the Maritimes, and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Toronto. In 1973, Dr. Francis and Sharon Francis moved back to Toronto.
In 1987, Dr. Francis established the Medcan Clinic, a healthcare facility devoted to preventive medicine. During a one–day assessment, Dr. Francis wanted to give patients a complete picture of their current health, including a thorough review of same–day test results with a physician, in an unrushed and efficient setting. This was a brand–new concept, and in the early days, there were many who challenged his idea, but Dr. Francis continued with determination and dedication. Today at Medcan, the Annual Health Assessment remains the foundation of Medcan’s commitment to preventive medicine. It both assesses a person’s current health status, and helps identify future risks, so action can begin to proactively manage any issues.
Dr. Francis continues to see patients every day and is devoted to providing personalized care to his patients with an emphasis on timely diagnosis and treatments (when needed) and staying healthy.
Sharon, like Dr. Robert Francis, was born and raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. In 1963, while studying nursing, she and Dr. Francis met at St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. She graduated from St. Martha’s School of Nursing in Antigonish in 1964.
Sharon and Dr. Francis moved to Montreal in 1964. Sharon was hired as a live-in nurse at the female residence from 1964–1966 at McGill University where Dr. Francis was completing his medical degree. Sharon was then hired as a nurse at the Royal Victoria Hospital (part of the McGill University Health Centre). Given her competence, she was quickly promoted to senior assistant head nurse. She and Dr. Francis were married in 1966. After Dr. Francis completed his medical degree, Sharon and Dr. Francis moved to Toronto, where Sharon worked at St. Michael’s Hospital. They had two children, Shaun and Ashli (Paige).
In 1975, Sharon and Dr. Francis founded Can Health, renamed to Medcan in 1987. There, Sharon handled all nursing services. She was hardworking and a leader. Her official title was VP of Human Resources, but in many ways, she was Dr. Francis’ business partner as they shared a vision and built Medcan together.
In her profession, Sharon was well–respected and a pioneer in her time. She spent her life advancing medicine as a Registered Nurse and as an active contributor to the development and operations of the Medcan Clinic. Sharon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2008. She lived at home where she was well cared for by her husband.