In Memoriam: Dr. Patrick Loisel

The EPID@Work Research Institute is sad to announce the loss of a pioneer in work disability prevention - Dr. Patrick Loisel. We thank Han Anema and Jean-Baptiste Fassier for the kind words shared below. As a previous student in Patrick's Work Disability Prevention CIHR Strategic Training program, I had the opportunity to learn from Patrick and the international colleagues he assembled. This was an incredible experience and had a tremendous impact on my career. The EPID@Work Research Institute was designed using Patrick's WDP arena - one of the first papers I read while in the program. Patrick's influence will live on through all the lives he touched. I am honoured to have had the chance to learn from him.

Dear colleagues,

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the death of Patrick Loisel on Friday, August 26 in Montreal. The community of work disability researchers that Patrick founded is in grief. For many of us, Patrick was a guide, a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. He inspired the work, career and lives of many students and researchers, with a deep sense of benevolence, dedication and simplicity. We share the grief of his passing, and the desire to keep his memory alive by building on his impressive legacy.

Prof. Patrick Loisel was a pioneer and founding father in the field of disability prevention research. First, he initiated and led the groundbreaking Sherbrooke study in Quebec, in the nineties of the former century. In 2003 he developed, started and led the international Work Disability Prevention CIHR strategic training program for young researchers and professionals in this research field. More than 110 trainees and their 30 program mentors from all over the world came to the Longueuil campus of Université de Sherbrooke in Montreal, and later to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health of the University of Toronto for 12 years (2003-2015). Patrick Loisel together with an international group of mentors taught and inspired them to learn about and put into practice work disability prevention and principles of transdisciplinarity. He was also the first chairman of the ICOH WDPI committee, which was founded under his leadership in Milan in 2006. He has thereby put work disability prevention & integration within the ICOH on the map worldwide. Since then he has (co-)organized a large number of ICOH WDPI conferences in Angers, Groningen, Amsterdam, Toronto and Odense. He took the initiative and was (co-)editor of the handbook of Work disability prevention & management.

Unfortunately, Prof. Loisel's health had weakened in recent years and he was unable to continue his work and attend conferences. For this reason, there was at the last ICOH WDPI congress in 2019 a tribute to all his work and contributions to our research field & community. To express our gratitude to him and his legacy, the ICOH WDPI initiated the Prof. Patrick Loisel prize for Best Early Career Researcher oral presentation and Best poster presentation. In this way he will remain in our thoughts forever.

Many of us lose a friend in him. He was always full of interest in his students and mentors. With visible pleasure he used to stand before us as students and mentors every morning during the CIHR WDP program to summarize and discuss new insights from the day before. Many will remember when we discussed these « AHA ! » moments from the day before, and how his eyes used to twinkle. We owe him a lot as the pioneer, visionair & founding father of our WPDI research field & community. He will live forever in our work & thoughts. He is the giant in the WDP research field on whose shoulders we can stand now in our research and practice. May we be all inspired by his humanity.

Our thoughts and condolences go out to his wife Mariana and his family

Han Anema & Jean-Baptiste Fassier