New scholarship for medical students named after trailblazer

December 22nd, 2011 · No Comments · Advisory, Medicine, News Release

The pioneering Dr. Sigga Christianson Houston was the first woman of Icelandic descent in Canada to become a doctor, and she started a medical dynasty that now spans four generations.

To honour her life and contributions, Sigga’s son Dr. C. Stuart Houston and his family have given nearly $100,000 to establish the Sigga Christianson Houston Travel Award.

This award will help University of Manitoba medical students gain valuable medical exposures during their summer breaks rather than having to work each summer, as Sigga did during her medical education. Specifically, the award will offer travel bursaries to medical students who participate in a summer early exposure program or clinical elective in a remote northern community with a general practitioner or pediatrician.

“The Houston family’s investment in this award is helping to broaden the horizons of Manitoba’s medical students,” said Brian Postl, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. “Early exposures in remote and northern communities enhance students’ understanding of and compassion for the particular needs of these unique communities and may lead graduates to consider practicing in these underserved areas.”

Sigga earned her medical degree from the University of Manitoba in 1925. She married Dr. C. J. Houston from the class of 1926. The two settled in Yorkton, Sask. in 1928 where Sigga established a fruitful medical practice. She retired at 82 and died on January 21, 1996 at 102 (at the time, Canada’s oldest female medical doctor.)

For more information contact Sean Moore, Marketing Communications Office, University of Manitoba, at 204-474-7963 (  

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