Why she’s a 2022 Top 40 Under 40: Physician and researcher Leslie Skeith collaborates locally and globally to improve care for people who are pregnant.
Leslie Skeith was inspired to go into medicine by her mom, a physician who died from cancer when Skeith was a child.
Now a physician herself, Skeith has dedicated her career to finding answers for people who are at risk or develop life-threatening blood clots during or after pregnancy. “We want to identify who’s at risk, what can we do to prevent it and, if they have a complication, what is the best treatment,” she says.
Skeith is leading three large international research studies to help answer these questions, including a major trial that may establish whether Aspirin can prevent blood clots in people who have recently delivered. People who are pregnant have traditionally been excluded from clinical trials. As a result, there’s not enough understanding of how to care for people in pregnancy who have blood clots or require medications, she says.
In the four years since she finished her training, Skeith has received more than $1.75 million in funding. Her efforts are paying off, as her other work has shown that low-molecular weight heparin, a commonly prescribed blood-thinner, does not reduce pregnancy loss in people with inherited blood-clotting conditions (but can cause side-effects).
In 2021, Skeith received the Cumming School of Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award for excellence in research. She says collaboration is the key to her success. “We, together as a research community, have made big strides,” she says. Skeith also co-founded a dedicated thrombosis clinic and a specialized clinic for patients with antiphospholipid syndrome, an autoimmune condition that causes blood clots and pregnancy complications.
A mother of two daughters, Skeith hopes to be a positive role model for her children, “similar to what my mom was for me,” she says.
“My husband Adam McLean, my father Rick Skeith, my sister Lauren Campbell, and my extended family and friends for their unwavering support. I am grateful to learn from my research mentors, Marc Rodger and Gregoire Le Gal, and work with amazing colleagues in Calgary and around the world.”