November 2019: A tribute from Dr Jean Chamberlain
My privilege to reflect on the life and career of Dr Laurie Elit as she receives a Lifetime Achievement Award. I have known Dr Elit for nearly a lifetime – at least 25 years and it has been a pleasure and honour to be both her colleague and friend.
Dr Elit is not only a distinguished prof at McMaster, head of Gyne Oncology but she is a committed and published researcher.
Her interests in health services delivery for ovarian cancer and clinical trials in preinvasive cervical cancer have impacted the practise and care of millions of women across Canada and the world.
Dr Elit is an award-winning faculty member at McMaster University.
Her life and work has touched some of the neediest women around the world – in countries where health service delivery is fragmented or almost non-existent for women suffering from gynaecological cancers.
She has volunteered as both an educator, clinician and administrator in several low- and middle-income settings (ie., Papua New Guinea, Haiti, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia, Macedonia).
Widely respected for her compassion, and collaborative nature—I’ve heard several of her patients commented on how compassionate and personable she has been while caring for these patients who were facing some of the darkest moments of their lives.
Dr Elit’s genuine care and her love for her patients is one of her most outstanding characteristics. She has a deep faith that grounds her and enables her to step into places and circumstances where others would decline to go. I remember her describing her experience in Bangladesh where she survived a deadly typhoon that swept through that country while she was there working... facing such risk and devastation was a life changing experience for her.
She continues to pursue her love and interest in training others to care for women suffering from gyne cancers – in her retirement, she plans to train indigenous physicians in West Africa to carry out safe and effective surgery for needy women with gyne cancers in that part of the world.