Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

“She’s able to see relevance and questions that others wouldn’t see.”

© Steve Tracy & CMHF
2015 Inductee

Judith G. Hall MD

July 3, 1939, Boston, Massachusetts
MSc, MD - The University of Washington
An exemplary clinical investigator and passionate thought leader, Judith Hall has been at the international forefront of genetics and pediatrics for more than four decades. She has profoundly impacted our knowledge of genetic diseases and disease processes, using her keen observational talents and brilliant intellect to describe previously unrecognized syndromes, research non-traditional mechanisms of disease inheritance, and document the natural history of genetic diseases.

Dr. Hall completed medical school at The University of Washington and was also awarded a master’s of science degree in genetics for coursework and research done with Arno Motulsky. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship in medical genetics, she trained in pediatrics at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1969 to 1971, and then completed a fellowship in pediatric endocrinology.

Dr. Hall moved to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1981 as a professor of medical genetics and was appointed head of paediatrics at UBC and BC Children's Hospital in 1990.  She worked with physicians to develop guidelines for care of common disorders, and with lay groups to explain genetic disease that helped parents choose among the available care options.

Dr. Hall specialized in the genetic factors that affect lack of children’s growth, including the mechanism of neural tube defects, the genetics of short stature and the genetics of connective tissue disorders such as arthrogryposis, dwarfism, and monozygotic twins.  She helped to clarify medical understanding of how folic acid helps reduce birth defects, and identified a new cause of dwarfism.

Dr. Hall was the first to define Amyoplasia (the most common form of arthrogryposis) and the book she co-edited called Arthrogryposis: A Text Atlas became the definitive publication on arthrogryposis (a condition where some or all joints have reduced range of motion). Her publication Human Malformations and Related Anomalies, co-edited with Roger E. Stevenson, has become the best known and most widely used work on human congenital anomalies. Another book, The Handbook of Physical Measurements (Hall, Allinson, Gripp, Stavotinek) allows for quantitative description of congenital anomalies. She has published more than 325 papers in the clinical field and described new genetic syndromes, including one that bears her name Pallister-Hall syndrome. 

A tireless advocate for the field, Dr. Hall has helped lay groups form and connect internationally to encourage research, and be advocates for their particular diseases. She also participated in founding the Council of Canadian Academies, Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and Genome Canada. Dr. Hall has been honoured with more than 50 awards including the Order of Canada and Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.