Retired Bismarck Physician Honored By American Lung Association For Work With Tribal Communities

Jun 09, 2011, 09:30 ET from American Lung Association in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D., June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Dr. Herbert J. Wilson of Bismarck has been awarded the Bernard Gregory Award for Diversity by the American Lung Association.  Walker, 90, provided care to members of the Mandan, Arikara and Hidatsa tribal communities at Fort Berthold Indian Reservation for more than 50 years.  Originally from New England, Dr. Wilson was assigned to the North Dakota reservation in the early 1950s under a one-year obligation with the United States Public Health Service.  The only physician in the area, he soon became well known and well respected by the native communities, which had struggled with tuberculosis and other health problems for many years.

Wilson was deeply moved by the people he met in North Dakota, and spent the next 50 years serving both the native and non-native population as a family practitioner. He has served as a volunteer for the American Lung Association in North Dakota throughout his medical career and long after he retired in 1995. He is still active with the ALA in North Dakota, which honored him in 1992 by naming him the first recipient of its "Outstanding Voluntary Service Award."

"Dr. Wilson addressed disparities in health care before there was even a term for the need to reach underserved populations," said Harold Wimmer, CEO of the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest, in his nomination letter for the national award. "His leadership and actions have made a real difference in the lives of thousands of Native Americans."

Dr. Wilson is a World War II veteran, and survived 31 combat missions over Europe in a B-24 bomber.  He and his wife Lillian have six children, 14 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

SOURCE American Lung Association in North Dakota