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Observations BMJ Confidential

Louise Kenny: Obstetrician on a mission

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 15 August 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3214
Duncan Smith


Louise Kenny, 48, is executive pro-vice chancellor of Liverpool University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, a job she started in January after 12 years as professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at University College Cork, Ireland. Along with other female obstetricians she played a big part in overturning Ireland’s ban on abortion in the May referendum, emphasising how the law prevented women with cancer from getting terminations they might not want but desperately needed. Brought up and trained in Liverpool, she planned a career in cardiology but changed her mind the moment she saw a baby being born (she can even remember what she was wearing at the time). Her research has included the discovery of a marker for pre-eclampsia.

What was your earliest ambition?

I wanted to be a doctor from very early on. I never seriously considered anything else, which suggests an utter lack of imagination!

What was your best career move?

I moved to Nottingham—away from Liverpool, where I grew up, attended medical school, trained as an SHO, and had two small kids—to undertake a PhD funded by WellBeing of Women. Career-wise, it was the best and scariest thing I’ve done.

What was the worst mistake in your career?

Not taking a more scenic route. I declined the opportunity to do an intercalated degree, as I was in a rush to graduate. I also never took …

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