John Arthur Hildes
Circumpolar Health Medal

Recognizing individuals with exemplary dedication to northern medicine and health.

Since 1987, the Hildes Medal has been awarded at each International Congress on Circumpolar Health (ICCH) to distinguished individuals nominated by the adhering bodies of the International Union for Circumpolar Health (IUCH). Since 1987, more than twenty researchers and health workers from Alaska, Canada, the Nordic countries and Russia have received this award. Between them, the recipients share an unsurpassed volume of knowledge and experience about the Arctic.

Dr. John (Jack) Arthur Hildes

1918 – 1984

Dr. Hildes was a co-founder and chairperson for the CSCH, and was active within the International Union for Circumpolar Health (IUCH). He was a mentor and friend to generations of doctors, nurses, scientists, community health workers and advocates within circumpolar regions.

After serving in World War ll, Dr. Hildes engaged in research on human physiology, especially with respect to adaptation to cold temperatures. This work led him to undertake many trips to Canadian and international circumpolar arctic regions. He developed a deep understanding of the medical needs of circumpolar people and the challenges facing health care workers in remote regions.

In 1970, Dr. Hildes formed the Northern Medical Unit at the University of Manitoba. The Unit now bears his name and continues its mission based on his founding principles of health care service delivery, teaching and research.

An early advocate for the empowerment of Indigenous people in health and health care issues, Dr. Hildes was a consultant, researchers, teacher, clinician and friend to Indigenous people from coast to coast in Canada, and around the world.

A devoted family man, Dr. Hildes was supported and sustained by the love of his wife Marianne, and his children Elske, Joseph and David.

Past Winners

  • 2015 – Oulu – Michael Jong

  • 2012 – Fairbanks – John David Martin

  • 2009 – Yellowknife – Bruce Martin

  • 2006 – Novosibirsk – Gary Pekeles

  • 2003 – Nuuk – Harriet Kunlein

  • 2000 – Harstad – Kue Young

  • 1996 – Anchorage – James Baxter

  • 1993 – Reykjavik – Per Ola Grenberg

  • 1990 – Whitehorse – Evelyn Campbell

  • 1987 – Umea – Otto Schaefer