Lives of the fellows

Michel Robert Georges Manciaux

b.8 August 1928 d.2 December 2014
MD Nancy FRCP(1993)

Michel Manciaux was professor of social medicine and public health at the University of Nancy, France. He was born in Audun-le-Roman, Lorraine, the son of Henri Manciaux and Lucie E Pissevin. When he was a very young boy, a doctor came to the family home to treat him; Michel was so impressed that he decided he too would make a career in medicine. His family background was modest and his mother started a sewing workroom to pay for her two sons' education. Michel attended medical school in Nancy, from 1945 to 1951.

He soon specialised in children with disabilities and chronic diseases, and also those who had been ill-treated and abused.

He became an assistant in social medicine and then a lecturer in paediatrics and human genetics in Nancy. In 1961 he was appointed as a professor of paediatrics. From 1968 to 1970 he was a maternal and child health adviser at World Health Organization - Europe (WHO) in Copenhagen and remained an adviser for WHO for a long time after that. From 1970 to 1974 he was deputy dean of Nancy Medical School, and then, from 1974 to 1983, director general of the International Children's Centre in Paris, where he organised professional training programmes across the world.

He then returned to Nancy as professor of public health and contributed to the creation of the École de santé publique there. At the same time he occupied several other posts, including technical adviser to the Ministry of Health, Undersecretary of Family Affairs, and chairman of the Regional Observatory of Health and Social Affairs in Lorraine. He was one of the founding members of the Club International de Pédiatrie Sociale and the Association for Pediatric Education in Europe.

He wrote many articles for professional journals and published more than 20 books with various collaborators, including Enfance menacée (INSERM, 1992) and Enfances en danger (Fleurus, 2012).

He retired early so a younger colleague could take up his position, but he never stopped working. His principal subjects of study were then resilience (he was one of the first to introduce this subject into France), ethics, vulnerability and responsibility. He was the chairman of a symposium on abuse and resilience just eight months before he died.

In Nancy he also gave a lot of his time to a Christian association of medical professionals, Éthique et Santé, and in his last years to another Christian group which helped people with psychological difficulties.

His busy, commited and international career was never an obstacle to his rich family life. He had five children with his first wife, Marie-Thérèse, who died in 1965. He remarried and he and his second wife, Geneviève (née Bichat), had three more children. He enjoyed walking and one of his great pleasures was, every summer, to organise a three-day walking holiday for his big family and his friends, in a different part of the countryside each year.

Geneviève Manciaux

(Volume XII, page web)

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