In July 2014, that role was expanded to Vice president of Provincial Women’s and Newborn Care, reflecting the truly provincial scope of the role
Prior to that, she was Vice President of Medical Affairs and Senior Medical Director of Provincial Women’s Health Programs at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. She remains an active clinician within the Oak Tree Clinic for HIV positive women, and continues to serve clinically within the Provincial Colposcopy Program.
Dr. Christilaw graduated from the Faculty of Science at the University of Waterloo in 1977 with a degree in Honours Biology. Subsequently, she graduated from McMaster Medical School in 1981, and completed her residency in Obstetrics-Gynecology at the University of British Columbia in 1986.
Following completion of residency training, she had a busy practice in Obstetrics-Gynecology in White Rock, BC, delivering thousands of babies, and becoming an integral part of that community. During that time, she served Peace Arch Hospital in many capacities, including as Head of Obstetrics-Gynecology for many years, and Director of the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Board.
She returned to UBC and completed a Masters of Health Care and Epidemiology in 2002. She is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Obstetrics-Gynecology at UBC.
She is a Past-President of the Society of Obstetrician-Gynecologists of Canada and has served the Society in many capacities over the last 15 years, including many years on Council, as Co-Chair of the Women’s Health Task Force, on the JOGC Editorial Board, and as chair of the Ethics Committee. She remains a spokesperson for a wide range of women’s health issues.
She continues to be passionate about the quality of obstetrical care, and the importance of balancing intervention with respect for natural process. She also chaired the Consensus Conference on Cesarean Section in January 2008, and was principle author of the Consensus Statement that arose from the Conference.
From 2010-2013, she was the co-chair of the Provincial Breast Health Strategy, which aims to increase screening rates for mammography in British Columbia, and decrease the time that women wait to get results following mammography and other diagnostic breast procedures.
Originally from Northern Ontario, she has a passionate interest in First Nations issues, especially through relating to women’s health and maternity care. She has been involved in many initiatives related to this, including the development of the Indigenous Cultural Competency Program, the creation of the Aboriginal Committee of Perinatal Services, medical director for Aboriginal Services at BC Women’s from 2002-2008, the Aboriginal Maternity Road Map, and screening initiatives for First Nations women, to name a few.
She has been active in many social justice organizations over the years, including MSF, Oxfam, Amnesty International, David Suzuki Foundation, and was a founding member of the international Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize 1985).
Since medical school she has been a member of the Federation of Medical Women of Canada [FMWC], and has won both the May Cohen ward for leadership and the Reproductive Health Award. She has been a frequent national speaker for the FMWC.
She has served on a number of community-based boards, including:
- WISH (Women’s Information and Safe house), providing services for survival sex trade workers.
- UBC School of Midwifery Advisory Board
- BCCEWH Advisory Board [BC Centre of Excellence for Women’s Health]
- Canadian Network of International Surgery National Advisory Board
- Peace Arch Hospital Foundation Board
- BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre Foundation Board
She has also been interested in International Women’s Health for many years, with a special interest in international maternal mortality, and has worked internationally on a number of projects, including an emerging partnership between Children’s and Women’s/UBC and Makerere University in Uganda for services in maternal and child health. In that capacity, she authored the ‘Structured Operative Obstetrics’ manual series, and has traveled to Africa many times in recent years to deliver this and related curricula. Most recently, she has been involved in developing and delivering courses in obstetrical training which have been delivered to most of the medical and midwifery schools in Tanzania.
Recent Awards include:
- Federation of Medical Women Reproductive Health Award, September 2013
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, February 2013 presented by Minister of Health, Margaret MacDiarmid
- Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Waterloo in 2011
- Volunteer of the Year, Canadian Network for International Surgery, presented by Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, June 2008
- National Leadership Award, Federation of Medical Women, 2007
- Dorothy Shaw Award for Leadership, Options for Sexual Health, 2006
- C Provincial Community Service Award, 2006, presented by Premier Gordon Campbell and Lieutenant Governor Iona Campagnolo
She is married to Dr. Warren Bourgeois, who is a Professor of Philosophy and Bioethics at Kwantlen College, with whom she has collaborated on several projects. She has two sons; David aged 26 and Tim, aged 20.
Her hobbies include choral singing, Celtic harp and piano.
Since starting medical school in 1978, and throughout her career, she has had an unwavering commitment to Women’s Health and continues to be passionate about assuring that all women have access to the tools they need for the best possible health, whether they live in British Columbia or in the most remote parts of the world.