Dr. Lesa Dawson, MD, FRCSC, trained in Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology at Memorial University in St. John’s followed by a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Calgary and a diploma in Clinical Epidemiology from Memorial. Dr. Dawson worked as a Gynecologic Oncologist for 15 years, becoming an Associate Professor in 2010. She has served on the Newfoundland Research Ethics Board as well as the Clerkship committee both as discipline and university chair. She was an active surgical teacher and was granted the 2005 Association of Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (APOG) Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award. Her contributions to cancer awareness and advocacy have included volunteer positions with Ovarian Cancer Canada, Canadian Cancer Society, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. She is an adjunct professor in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of British Columbia
In 2002, she established an Inherited Gynecologic Cancer Screening & Prevention Clinic and has worked to advance education and research about the importance of genetics in cancer. Her research interests focus on gynecologic cancer prevention for Lynch Syndrome and BRCA families. Her genetics training includes a Diploma in Advanced Genetic Cancer Risk Assessment from the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Los Angeles, as well an ongoing distance certificate program in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Stanford University. Collaborations include the International Consortia of BRCA Investigators (CIMBA and ENIGMA) as well as OvCare and the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative, Vancouver BC She is cross-appointed to Newfoundland Provincial Medical Genetics and is actively involved in genetic testing and high-risk care province-wide. She is a founding member of The NL Ovarian Cancer Research and Education Fund
Nationally, she is co-lead of the Gynecologic Oncology Canada Education Committee and teaches about clinical care and cancer prevention in BRCA and Lynch Syndrome carriers across Canada. Recent research projects include “Predictors of successful adherence to screening and prevention for BRCA carriers” and “Group plus “Mini-Private” Pre-test Genetic Counselling Sessions for Hereditary Cancer Predisposition Improve Patient Satisfaction and Shorten Provider Time”. Her project “Novel Gene discovery in high risk BRCA-negative Hereditary Breast Ovarian Cancer Families” received funding from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation 2015 and has led to the identification of a founder pathogenic variant in RAD51C causing ovarian cancer in NL.