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5 Minutes with... Dr Lisa Dawson

Aug 17, 2020

Dr Lisa Dawson

Medical Oncologist

Specialises in Gastro-Intestinal, Breast and Melanoma

Graduated from St Georges Medical School in London 1994


What inspired you to study and practice medicine?

I always wanted to be a vet but it was very difficult to get into vet school in the UK in those days and so I opted for medicine. I wasn’t sure I had made the right decision through medical school but once I started working I absolutely loved it and have never looked back.

Without sounding cliché, I really love being able to help patients understand their diagnosis and treatment options.

What’s the biggest challenge or obstacle in oncology?

I think the biggest challenge is the lack of resources we have available to help the number of people who have cancer. This isn’t just a challenge facing New Zealand, it’s a global issue that comes from the increasing number of people being diagnosed with cancer each year, the increasing complex nature of cancer combined with drug development time frames and availability of appropriate treatments.

Tell us about a couple of career highlights

I’m constantly guided by the motto “Te Waka Eke Noa” which means we’re all on this journey together. When I think back through my career (so far), especially my time at Whangarei Hospital, I think about the things we’ve put in place to improve a patient's’ cancer journey. There is so much anxiety associated with waiting for a diagnosis and explanation, that tackling waiting lists was a top priority. Another was creating a supportive environment for patients and empowering them by providing good, clear communication.

Loves:  Sailing, walking my dog Molly and reading.

Dislikes:  Chaos

Fears:  Failing my children.

Bugbear:  I have too many! People in positions of trust who do not care. Poor leadership. Disorganisation.

Deal-breaker:  Lying.

To learn more about Dr Lisa Dawson head to her profile. 

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