A lasting impact in breast care

The seeds for excellence in breast care in London were planted and grew from the drive and passion of a remarkable physician – Dr. Lauren McCurdy, former Director of Breast Imaging at St. Joseph’s. On June 5, the talented radiologist passed away at age 70, but her impact on patient care lives on.

Dr. Lauren McCurdy“Her passion to improve patient care and relentless energy to encourage others knew no bounds,” says radiologist Dr. Don Taves, former Chief of Radiology at St. Joseph’s Hospital and former cancer imaging lead for the South West LHIN. “She studied, hungry for new knowledge and understanding, techniques and advances in care. She travelled the world and brought to London concepts and practices that fundamentally changed the practice of breast care.”

Earning her medical degree and completing a residency in diagnostic imaging at Western University, Dr. McCurdy was an integral member of the radiology team at St. Joseph’s Hospital from 1982 - 2004. Specializing in mammography, she would become the Director of Breast Imaging at St. Joseph’s. Dr. McCurdy was also instrumental in bringing the Ontario Breast Screening Program to London and was the first Regional Radiology Coordinator.

In the 1980s, breast Imaging was gaining rapid international approval and technological advances and Dr. McCurdy decided that she, along with St. Joseph’s, would create a place for the best in breast care, recalls Dr. Taves.

“She implemented the team approach involving radiologists, technologists, surgeons, nurses and pathologists that brought the best knowledge together at the same time. Patient care improved with this multidisciplinary approach.”

The learning opportunity for medical students, residents in training and staff became increasingly sought after, Dr. Taves added. St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation would play a vital role, providing an opportunity for growth and a platform to gain public awareness.

“A centre of excellence evolved. Papers began to be published, conferences organized.”

In 2007, Dr. McCurdy’s dedication and commitment to St. Joseph’s and her significant contributions to the advancement of breast care were honoured with the creation of an endowed fund in her name. Through St. Joseph’s Health Care Foundation, The Dr. Lauren McCurdy Diagnostic Imaging Fund supports the diagnostic imaging priority needs at St. Joseph’s. Funds support educational opportunities for technologists, technology, and patient care for all programs within diagnostic imaging with priority given to breast imaging.

Dr. McCurdy was also the recipient of a 2005 Woman of Excellence Award for Health, Science and Technology.

“The Breast Program at St. Joseph’s owes its founding but also its grounding in compassionate care, excellence and leadership to Dr. Lauren McCurdy, says Dr. Taves. “She became a voice to be listened to, an intellect to be recognized and a leader to be respected. The program has evolved and flourished with Dr. Anat Kornecki now at its helm for breast imaging. Dr. McCurdy would be more than pleased. I dare say, as one who called her friend as well as colleague, she would be moved to tears if she were to visit today.”

Messages of condolence can be shared with the family through Westview Funeral Chape's website.

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