It is with both great honor and deep sadness that we remember the life of Dr Leanne Dahlgren, who passed away unexpectedly on 21 December 2020. She was a devoted mother and wife, compassionate and skilled physician, scholar, valued mentor, and a dear friend and treasured colleague at BC Women’s Hospital.
Leanne was born in August 1972 and grew up in Sturgis, Saskatchewan, a typical agricultural prairie town of 600. She always stayed true to her humble, friendly, and honest prairie roots, and her small-town sense of community.
From an early age, Leanne wanted to be a doctor, which, coming from a small town, seemed a far goal to reach. But reach it she did, going from undergraduate sciences to medical school and an obstetrics and gynecology residency at the University of Saskatchewan. There she met the love of her life, Paul Scott, whom she would marry and have a family with.
In 2001, Leanne began her maternal fetal medicine fellowship at BC Women’s Hospital and a Master of Health Sciences in Epidemiology at UBC, completing them in 2004. She won several awards for her research work, including the 2005 S. Stewart Murray prize for best final paper of graduates from MHSc, and a Strategic Training Initiative in Research in the Reproductive Health Sciences CIHR/Health Canada scholarship, among many others. Her first CIHR grant as a principal investigator soon followed.
From this foundation she was inspired to a career in medicine that provided both the art and science of our profession at the highest levels. Her passion and dedication for delivering the art of medicine (caring, compassionate, empathic, and women-centric care) was matched only by her rigorous adherence to the science of evidence-based medicine, as seen by her work with the Canadian Preterm Birth and Canadian Neonatal Networks, among others.
Equally important to Leanne was teaching and mentorship—she was known for her enthusiasm and excellence in teaching, particularly at the resident and fellowship levels. In recognition of her dedication and excellence, she was awarded a Council on Resident Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology award in 2011. She also taught across the entire spectrum of health care providers, and her enormous influence on those whom she taught is demonstrated by the large number of emails and cards we received from places like the Middle East, UK, Israel, and across Canada.
Helping others by modeling and mentoring was important to Leanne; she felt firsthand the challenges of balancing work in an academic tertiary care centre with her roles of wife, mother, friend, colleague, clinician, and scholar. However, it was clear to all that Leanne’s family was her first priority. Her son, Ronan, was born in 2006 after a pregnancy where she experienced the full gamut of emotions from stress and anxiety to awe and wonderment. Her daughter, Elin, followed in 2011. Those experiences inspired and motivated Leanne to improve the pregnancy experience for all women, evidenced by her involvement on committees promoting a safe and natural birth. The third member of her brood was a Bouvier des Flandres dog, Jasper. All three were a source of great delight for Leanne and Paul, generating endless tales of laughter and joy, which she shared with all. Wherever she was, whatever she was doing, Leanne’s family was never far from her thoughts. We know that Leanne would be proud of them at this difficult time, and be comforted by the knowledge that she and Paul raised their children well with their love, support, and guiding hands.
Dr Leanne Dahlgren shall be truly missed. She was the best of evidence-based medicine combined with compassion, kindness, gentleness, and a warm smile.
—Nancy Kent, MD
—Sayrin Lalji, MD
—Kenneth Lim, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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