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Professor Lesley Regan


President of the Royal College of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Professor Lesley Regan was the first woman to be appointed as a Professor and Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) south of Scotland, a mind-blowing fact in a speciality where every patient is female. Lesley was also elected the 30th President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) in 2016, only the second woman to ever hold this role and the first in sixty-four years.

However, Lesley does not let this gender disparity bother her much and believes this is because of what her inspiring journalist father, who turned distribution manager for a major newspaper, taught her: “You can do anything in life if you try hard enough.” Lesley graduated from the Royal Free Hospital, London in 1980 and was inspired by one of her mentors at medical school, Luba Epzstejn, whose empathy for patients was unforgettable, to specialise in O&G. She moved to Cambridge in 1984, to take up her first Registrar post at Addenbrookes Hospital. Throughout her training, Lesley was frustrated when dealing with distraught couples who had just lost a baby, which is the commonest complication of pregnancy. Thus she went on to work for the Medical Research Council on a project about miscarriage, leaving a prestigious and precious training post to become a penniless research student. In the best decision she has made in her career, Lesley enjoyed the challenges, the excitement and the fulfilment of research, which eventually culminated in an MD thesis. In 1985 Lesley was invited to become a Teaching Fellow at Girton College. A year later she was appointed Director of Medical Studies, a post that she continued to hold until she moved back to London in 1990 when she was appointed Consultant and Senior Lecturer in O&G at St Mary’s Hospital. In 1996 she took up her current post as Chair and Head of Department. Lesley is the Director of the Recurrent Miscarriage Service at St. Mary’s, where a multidisciplinary team that she has developed provides comprehensive investigations and treatment for couples with a history of recurrent early and late miscarriages. This internationally recognised service is the largest in the world and sees around a thousand couples a year. In 2005, she received a ‘Woman of Achievement Award’ in recognition of her services to Reproductive Medicine. Lesley is immensely proud that the NHS

at Sixty picked her work in recurrent miscarriages as a major contribution to the NHS. At Imperial College, Lesley is Deputy Head of Surgery and Cancer, Chair of the Equality and Diversity Committee, Director of Women’s Health Research Centre and Co-Director of the UK pregnancy Baby Bio Bank. She is currently Chair of the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD). The synergy of her appointments as Chair of the RCOG Women’s Advocacy and Global Health Policy Advisory Committee, Chair FIGO Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Committee and Membership of the Royal Society of Medicine Global Health Steering Group, enables Lesley to make a sustainable contribution to global women’s health. She is actively engaged in developing health care policy that encourages, educates and empowers women to promote their health. As Vice-President for Strategic Development of the RCOG from 2014-2016, Lesley expanded the external affairs remit of the College, hosted three International Women’s Day events and secured funding streams to undertake transformational projects, such as improving the quality and delivery of family planning and safe abortion services in Sub-Saharan Africa. Lesley has published two successful books on miscarriage and pregnancy for the public, presented a series of eight BBC Horizon documentaries and was Senior Editor for the Chief Medical Officer’s 2015 annual report. In 2015 she received an Honorary Fellowship of the American College and a Doctorate of Science from University College London for her contributions to women’s health. * Favourite Book: Middlemarch – for relaxation * Three objects Lesley cannot live without: My CD library, Fresh flowers, My late brother’s Etruscan foot

Lesley’s advice to junior doctors is “Work hard and never stop asking yourself is this how I would like my mother, sister or daughter to be treated?”


Medical Woman | Spring 2017

Medical Woman – Magazine Centenary Issue, April 2017  

The magazine for the Medical Women’s Federation (MWF), the largest and most influential body of women doctors in the UK which aims to promot...

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