Nominated by: Dr Asha Kasliwal
Lesley Regan has been a great champion of women's health both in the UK and around the world. She is Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at St Mary's Hospital, and past President of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (PRCOG)- the first woman to hold the role in 64 years.
An internationally renowned clinical and academic leader, her work has transformed care for women experiencing recurrent miscarriages. She also spearheaded the development of non-invasive treatments for uterine fibroids that allow for the preservation of fertility. Her work has driven developments in areas of women’s healthcare including perinatal mental health, timely access to safe abortion and menopause.
A member of the International Federation of O&G (FIGO) for many years (and now it’s secretary general), she was invited to chair their Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Committee in 2009 and to join the Royal Society of Medicine’s (RSM) Global Health Steering group.
During the next six years she developed a web-based teaching program that embeds an understanding of human rights into reproductive healthcare. She was convinced that maternal mortality will never be reduced in a sustainable way unless we confront the two elephants in the room: namely the global unmet need for contraception and safe abortion. She strongly believes that we must provide girls and women with the education and tools they need to control their own fertility and make informed decisions about if, when and how many times they become pregnant during their lives.
Lesley established the RCOG Abortion Task Force to address the looming crisis in service provision. She also presided over the RCOG council that strongly supported the removal of criminal sanctions associated with abortion in the UK.
She secured $10.5 million from an anonymous US donor, to fund the RCOG Leading Safe Choices programme to improve the quality and delivery of family planning and abortion services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Appointed senior editor of the CMOs 2014 annual report entitled The Health of the 51%, she focused on the health needs of vulnerable women. In 2019, she was invited by the Secretary of State to co-chair a National Women’s Health taskforce with Minister of Health, Jackie Doyle-Price. This work resulted in publication of the RCOG report Better for women. It emphasised the need for national strategies to meet the needs of girls and women across their life course from adolescence, to the middle years and later life.
As President of RCOG, she has worked collaboratively and extensively with the FSRH in promoting women’s health. Even during the COVID-19 crisis she worked tirelessly to get postnatal contraception to women on her maternity unit and trained midwives to provide it. I am proud to be able to nominate her for an honorary fellowship of the FSRH.