WoW Chair appointed Women’s Health Ambassador for England

Government appoints Professor Dame Lesley Regan as England’s first Women’s Health Ambassador

17th Jun 2022

Back to news

Wellbeing of Women Chair, Professor Dame Lesley Regan, takes up the prestigious post to drive women’s health to the top of the agenda with a focus on closing the gender health gap and improving care for women.

As Women’s Health Ambassador for England, she will work with the government on the upcoming Women’s Health Strategy, support its implementation to help improve health outcomes and reduce disparities, and raise the profile of women’s health to tackle taboos and stigma.

Speaking about the appointment, Dame Lesley said: “Having spent my career working with and caring for women, it is a great honour to be appointed as Women’s Health Ambassador for the first Government-led Women’s Health Strategy in England.

“This is an important opportunity to get it right for women and girls, and make a real difference to 51% of our population by addressing the inequalities that exist across society.

“I look forward to working with women, girls, health services, charities, policy makers, the Government and other key partners to implement this strategy.”

Janet Lindsay, Wellbeing of Women Chief Executive, welcomed the announcement: “We are delighted by the news of Dame Lesley’s appointment. I cannot think of anyone better to lead the cause for improving women’s health.

“As Wellbeing of Women Chair and one of the UK’s leading gynaecologists, Dame Lesley is passionate about closing the gender health gap, improving access to healthcare for women and girls and ensuring everyone benefits from accurate information and education around women’s health.

“Given her years of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm combined with her drive, extensive network and collaborative approach to getting things done, I have no doubt Dame Lesley will be instrumental in bringing everyone together to help shape a positive future for women’s health in England.”

Dame Lesley was appointed to the post following an open and fair recruitment process, which culminated in an interview with the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid David, said: “The healthcare system needs to work for everyone, and I am committed to tacking inequalities which exist within it, particularly for women.

“Closing the gender health gap is critical for a fair health and care system in the future. I look forward to working closely with Dame Lesley on our shared mission to ensure all women feel listened to by the health and care system and are able to access the support and services they need.”

Maria Caulfield, Minister for Women’s Health, said: “Since we launched our Women’s Health Call for Evidence over a year ago, we have made great progress in raising the profile of women’s health. From the formation of the UK wide menopause taskforce and publication of our Vision document, to legislating to ban hymenoplasty and virginity testing and appointing a chair of the HRT taskforce to help more menopausal women access this lifeline medication.

“The appointment of Dame Lesley as the Women’s Health Ambassador for England is yet another step in the right direction to giving women’s health the platform and profile it needs.

“We are embarking on an important journey to eradicate the gender health gap. There is no quick fix. But I look forward to working together with Dame Lesley as we take the next steps to implement our Women’s Health Strategy and beyond.”

Dame Lesley is Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology at Imperial College London and Consultant at St Mary’s Hospital in London. She is also Honorary Secretary of FIGO, a member of the NHS Assembly and Chair of Wellbeing of Women.

After graduating from the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, London in 1980, Professor Regan pursued her training at Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, where she first became enthused by clinical and laboratory research. She later went on to set up the world’s largest recurrent miscarriage clinic at St Mary’s Hospital in London.

She was only the second woman to be elected President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) (2016-2019) and the first in 64 years. In 2015 she received a Doctorate of Science from University College London for her contribution to women's health. This was followed by a damehood in 2020 for her services to women’s health.

Dame Lesley takes up the post of Women’s Health Ambassador for England for an initial 18-month period. She will be supported by a deputy ambassador who will focus on better understanding the challenges associated with accessing services, particularly within under-served communities.

Alongside her ambassadorship, Dame Lesley will continue in her role as Wellbeing of Women Chair and remain Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College London St Mary’s Hospital Campus.