Circumpolar Health Digital Research Archives
Originally from Hong Kong, Dr. Kue Young came to Canada to attend university. He graduated from McGill University in 1969 with the Bachelor of Science and in 1973 with the Doctor of Medicine degree. After interning at the Toronto General Hospital, he practised family medicine at the Regina Community Health Centre in Saskatchewan. During 1975-1977, he was involved with the University of Toronto Sioux Lookout Project in northwestern Ontario, where he provided clinical care in a small rural hospital as well as travelled to outlying Indigenous communities. It was there that he began his long-standing interest in public health and health systems, particularly health care in remote, Indigenous communities. He then returned to university and obtained a Master of Science in Community Health from the University of Toronto.
In 1979 he joined CUSO (Canadian University Service Overseas), a Canadian international development agency, and went to Tanzania, where he trained “medical assistants”, a cadre of front-line rural health workers. After Tanzania, Dr. Young returned to Sioux Lookout, Ontario, where he was appointed Medical Director for the Sioux Lookout Zone, a part of the First Nations health services network operated by the Medical Services Branch of Health and Welfare Canada.
In 1983 he joined the Department of Community Health Sciences of the University of Manitoba. In addition to teaching and research he was founding Director of the Northern Health Research Unit from 1988 to 1994. In 1992 he was promoted to full Professor. He was admitted a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1984. During 1992/93, he spent his sabbatical leave at the Institute of Biological Anthropology, University of Oxford, during which time he prepared a Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, which was successfully defended and the degree was granted in May 1995. In June 1998, he was appointed Head of the Department of Community Health Sciences. In January 2002 he was recruited to the University of Toronto as Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences [now the Dalla Lana School of Public Health]. In July 2004, he was appointed to the TransCanada Chair in Aboriginal Health. In August 2013 he moved to Edmonton where he began a 5-year term as Dean of the School of Public Health, University of Alberta. He retired from academic life in 2018 and holds the title of Professor Emeritus at both the University of Toronto and University of Alberta.
Dr. Young’s major research interest is in the area of northern and Indigenous health, particularly in the epidemiology of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and health system improvement. He has published over 150 scientific articles and seven books: Health Care and Cultural Change (University of Toronto Press, 1988); The Health of Native Americans (Oxford University Press, 1994); together with James Waldram and Ann Herring, Aboriginal Health in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 1995; 2006); with Peter Bjerregaard, The Circumpolar Inuit (Copenhagen: Munksgaard 1998) and Health Transitions in Arctic Populations (University of Toronto Press, 2008); Circumpolar Health Atlas (University of Toronto Press, 2012); and a textbook Population Health: Concepts and Methods (Oxford University Press, 1998; 2005). He has been awarded many research grants and contracts, totalling over $30 million since 1983 ($25 million of which as principal investigator). He was National Health Research Scholar for two 5-year terms and was recognized by the University of Manitoba for his research contributions by the Rh Award in 1988. From 1998-2008, he was a Senior Investigator of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In 2009 he was inducted as Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2010 he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada for his lifetime contributions to Aboriginal health research.
Dr. Young maintains his interests in global health and has served as a consultant for various international development agencies. He was World Health Organization Traveling Fellow in 1985 and visited Greenland and Alaska. He has also investigated Indigenous health conditions in Arctic Russia and among Amazonian Indians in Brazil. In 1993 he was elected President of the International Union for Circumpolar Health. In 2004 he founded the International Network for Circumpolar Health Research. Between 2009 and 2015 he served a Co-Chair of the Human Health Expert Group of the Arctic Council. Dr. Young also served one term (1987-1990) as a Commissioner in the Manitoba Human Rights Commission.