Vancouver, BC – Philanthropic investment is improving the journey of care for breast cancer patients in BC. Today, we are celebrating the appointment of Dr. Kathryn Isaac as the inaugural Dr. Patricia Clugston Chair in Breast Reconstruction Surgery at the University of British Columbia.

To support the Chair’s mandate — improving access to the network of resources available to breast cancer patients in BC — we are also delighted to announce a $1 million gift from the Philip family which will improve how patients navigate the care system.

“VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is honoured to be supporting VCH clinician Dr. Kathryn Isaac in her appointment to this transformational role, which was only made possible through the power of philanthropy,” says Barbara Grantham, President and CEO of VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation. “Thousands of women across BC facing breast cancer will directly benefit from her work.”

The Chair is named in memory of Dr. Patricia Clugston, a talented surgeon who passed away at the height of her career. She was a champion for all women facing breast cancer who believed that every mother, wife, sister, grandmother and friend deserved efficient, consistent and coordinated care during their cancer treatment journey.

In her Chair role, Dr. Isaac’s mission is to increase access to breast reconstruction surgery, address health care navigation issues, improve the clinical experience through surgical innovation and ensure consistency of care across the province. The Chair will also develop and enhance partnerships, advocate to government, coordinate training and education, and build an efficient research team.

VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation secured $5 million through philanthropic gifts to support this Chair position. Partial funding was provided by the BC Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society (previously the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation) and St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation.

“I am incredibly proud to champion the betterment of breast cancer care and breast reconstruction in this province,” says Dr. Isaac. “Despite the exceptional comprehensive care available in British Columbia, women diagnosed with breast cancer can be faced with delays to accessing care and struggle to navigate the medical system on their own.”

Breast cancer patients often face the reality of a mastectomy to surgically remove the breast(s). Approximately 2,000 mastectomies are done annually in BC, with 65% of breast reconstruction surgeries in Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) being performed at UBC Hospital.

Studies show that emotional, social and functional well-being, vitality, body image and general mental health are improved in women who have immediate or delayed breast reconstruction surgery after their mastectomy.

Jim & Yvette Philip were motivated to give back after their daughter, Jennifer Kelly, was diagnosed, treated and survived breast cancer. Jennifer’s journey to recovery included a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and breast reconstruction surgery.

Dr. Sheina Macadam led Jennifer’s breast reconstruction surgery, restoring a part of her identity with it.

“I’m very happy that I was able to see Dr. Macadam and have it all done,” says Jennifer. “Because at the end of the day she gave me my life back. And she made me feel like a woman again.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis for women in BC. In 2019, an estimated 3,890 women in this province will be newly diagnosed and 695 will die from the disease.

About VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation is Vancouver Coastal Health‘s primary philanthropic partner, raising funds for specialized adult health services and research for all British Columbians. We partner with donors to drive innovation and sustainable health care at VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong Rehab Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and Vancouver Community Health Services.


Sam Smith
Officer, Marketing & Communications
VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation
Phone: 604-875-4676 ex. 69680