Meet Our Team

The B.C. Centre for Vulvar Health offers comprehensive care from a team of health care experts. We work with a variety of healthcare providers that are actively participating in our on-site specialty academic training.

Leslie Sadownik, M.D., M.Ed., FRCSC

Past Director BCCVH, Consultant Gynecologist

Dr. Sadownik is an Associate Professor in the University of British Columbia (UBC) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Division of Gynecologic Oncology, and an Associate Member of the UBC Department of Dermatology and Skin Sciences. She graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science and Medical Degree. She completed her specialty training at the University of Calgary. After graduation she obtained a Master’s in Adult Education from UBC. Her clinical practice has focused exclusively on lower genital tract disease -colposcopy, vulvar diseases and vulvar pain conditions. She is an educational consultant for the BC Provincial Colposcopy Program.

Melanie Altas, MSc, MD, FRCSC

Clinical Team Director BCCVH, Gynecologist

Originally a Maritimer, Dr. Altas settled in Vancouver in 2002. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology (OB/GYN). Following medical school at the University of Toronto she finished specialty training in OB/GYN at University of British Columbia in 2007. Providing care for individuals with vulvar conditions and vulvodynia has become a primary focus of her practice. Dr. Altas is passionate about quality improvement and knowledge translation. She is committed to improving access to care for individuals with vulvar pain within their own community by increasing public awareness, identifying barriers to care, as well as developing resources for community care providers. She is also interested in increasing access to sexual health resources for people with vulvar conditions.

Ulrike Dehaeck, MSc, MD, FRCSC

Director, Vulvar Disease Clinic, Gynecologist

Dr. Dehaeck is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC. She completed medical school and a Masters of Science in clinical epidemiology at the University of Calgary and then residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC. Dr. Dehaeck is a gynecologist with an interest in chronic, benign, and pre-malignant conditions of the vulva and dedicates part of her clinical practice to lower genital tract diseases at the Centre for Vulvar Health. She also has a general obstetrics and gynecology practice in Vancouver located outside the Centre.

Adrienne Marsh

Clinic Care Coordinator, BCCVH

Adrienne is currently enrolled in the MA Counselling Psychology program at the University of British Columbia where she received her BA in Psychology. She worked previously at the UBC Sexual Health Lab as a study coordinator for a research study of an online support group for people diagnosed with gynecologic cancer and for the COMFORT study which compared cognitive therapy with mindfulness for the treatment of Provoked Vestibulodynia.

Kelly Smith, Ph.D. R. Psych

Registered Psychologist

Dr. Smith has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Queen’s University and completed fellowship training at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School and UBC. She is a Registered Psychologist in BC. Dr. Smith has conducted research in the area of vulvar and sexual health, including the pregnancy and post-partum experiences of individuals with vulvodynia. She has been previously funded by the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, Canadian Pain Society, National Vulvodynia Association, and Women’s Health Research Institute and has authored several publications in the area of sexual health and genital pain.

Maryla Podgajny, B.Sc.P.T., C.F.C.I.

Registered Physiotherapist

Maryla is a Registered Physiotherapist and is certified with the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute. Her clinical interest in pelvic health has been ongoing for many years. She has previously worked at BC Women’s Hospital and the Continence Clinic at Burnaby Hospital. In 2014 she decided to focus her practice exclusively on pelvic floor (bladder/bowel control, prolapse, pain) concerns, abdominal dysfunction and perinatal health. Maryla enjoys challenges and the satisfaction of continuing to learn and grow while working with this diverse population.

 Caroline Lee, MD, FRCSC

Gynaecologist

Dr. Lee is originally from the Prairies but moved to Vancouver in 2018 to complete her fellowship in Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain and Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery at the University of British Columbia. She is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC. She completed medical school at the University of Alberta and subsequently her residency training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Saskatchewan. During her fellowship training, she also completed a Masters in Reproductive Sciences with UBC. Dr. Lee is a gynecologist with a special interest in chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, and vulvodynia. She has research interests in surgical outcomes for women undergoing surgery for chronic pelvic pain and gynecological imaging in the diagnosis of gynecological conditions

Ariel Mendlowitz, M.D., FRCSC

Gynecologist

Dr. Mendlowitz completed her undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario, followed by medical school at the University of Toronto. She moved out west to Calgary for her Obstetrics and Gynecology residency then onto Vancouver for a fellowship in vulvovaginal disease and sexual health. In addition to her work in vulvar health, Dr Mendlowitz practices general obstetrics and gynecology as a locum in the lower mainland.

Paul Yong, M.D., Ph.D., FRCSC

Gynecologist

Dr. Yong is an Assistant Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Specialties. He completed a MD/PhD degree in Experimental Medicine, specialty training in Obstetrics & Gynecology, and then a Fellowship in Endometriosis, Pelvic Pain & Advanced Laparoscopy at UBC. His clinical practice and research focuses on pelvic pain. He has a particular interest in endometriosis, sexual pain, painful periods, co-existing bladder and bowel problems, and pain related to the musculoskeletal system. His surgical interests include laparoscopic excision of endometriosis and prevention of adhesions in people with pelvic pain and or infertility.

Charisse Teitz, RN

Registered Nurse

Charisse Teitz RN completed her nursing training at the Vancouver General Hospital School of nursing in December 1988. She has worked at VGH since finishing her training and has extensive experience in Gynecology, Urology & Plastics surgical nursing. Charisse has worked in the Gynaecology Clinics for over 10 years. Through her interaction with patients, Charisse strives to make their visit informative and stress free.

Charisse.teitz@vch.ca

604-875-4111 Extension: #63179

Gynecologic Oncologists

Members of the UBC Division of Gynecologic Oncology assess and manage women with pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions of the vulva or vulvar conditions that require complex surgery. The current members of this Division include:

Dr. Dianne Miller

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr. Dianne Miller is the Division Head of Gynecologic Oncology in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of British Columbia and gynecologic oncologist at Vancouver General Hospital. She is also the Provincial Gynecology Tumor Group Chair for the Province of British Columbia, co-founder of OVCARE. Dr. Miller obtained her BSc. in microbiology and immunology at UBC in 1976, her MD at UBC in 1980. She then interned at the Toronto Western Hospital prior to working as a Family Doctor in Yellowknife NWT.  In 1988, Dianne completed her Royal College certification in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UBC. This was followed by completion of a Royal College Fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology in Toronto in 1990.

Dr. Mark Carey

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr. Mark Carey trained in Gynecological Oncology at the University of Toronto. He completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Western Ontario and returned to practice at the London Health Sciences Centre following his fellowship. He has been involved in clinical trials in gynecologic oncology through the National Cancer Institute of Canada and served on the executive committee of the gynecological disease site group.   He is interested in the molecular basis of cancer, biomarker discovery, and translational research in gynecological cancer.

Dr. Janice Kwon

Gynecologic Oncologist 

Dr. Janice Kwon is a Gynecologic Oncologist practicing with Vancouver General Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency. Her major areas of research interest are in evaluating endometrial and ovarian cancers at a population level and within hereditary cancer syndromes. Her expertise is in conducting cost-effectiveness analyses to compare different treatment strategies. She has a Masters degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Dr. Marette Lee

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr. Marette Lee is a Gynecologic Oncologist practicing with Vancouver General Hospital and BC Cancer Agency. She received her medical degree from the University of Alberta and completed her Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at Queen’s University. She then did a fellowship in Gynecologic Oncology with UBC (2009-11) and a Master’s degree in Public Health (2011-2015) from John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her current research includes: studies looking at outcomes of conservatively managed pre-cancerous cervical lesions in young patients; predictors of negative LEEP results with the goal of avoiding over treatment; a pilot study for anal screening study looking at a high-risk group of patients with recurrent VIN; and a multi-phase study that looks at patient’s anxiety and satisfaction levels related to how they receive colposcopy results.

 

Dr. Jessica McAlpine

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr.McAlpine is a Gynecologic Oncologist with joint positions at UBC (Associate Professor) and the BC Cancer Agency. She currently splits her time equally between clinical/surgical duties and translational research.  She is part of the OVCARE research team (British Columbia’s Ovarian Cancer Research group), Director of the OVCARE Tissue Bank and recipient of a CIHR New Investigator Award (2013-2018) and BC Cancer Foundations Clinician Scientist Award in (2016-2021).Her research focuses on molecular subtypes of gynecologic tumors including HPV-associated and HPV-independent vulvar squamous cell cancers and precancers.

Dr. Sarah Finlayson

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr. Finlayson is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She is a Gynecologic Oncologist at Vancouver Hospital and the BC Cancer Agency. Her career is focused on the surgical and medical care of individuals with gynecologic cancers. Her academic interests include minimally invasive surgery in gynecologic oncology and medical education.

Dr. Gavin Stuart

Gynecologic Oncologist

Dr. Gavin Stuart is a Gynecologic Oncologist with Vancouver Coastal Health and B.C. Cancer Agency. A native of Manitoba, he attended the University of Western Ontario for his undergraduate medical and postgraduate training in obstetrics and gynecology. This was followed by a Fellowship in Gynecological Oncology at Wayne State University in Detroit. His clinical research interests and publications have been in the area of gynecologic cancer, including population-based screening programs and the conduct of clinical trials as therapeutic interventions in gynecologic cancer. Dr. Stuart has been active in leadership roles in many national and US committees on medical education, health human resource planning and evidence-based guideline development. In his current role, he continues to function as a Gynecological Oncologist and a member of the team at the Vancouver Hospital and BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver. Dr. Stuart served as Dean of Medicine at UBC from 2003-2015.

Health Care Professionals Associated with the Centre

Lori Brotto, Ph.D., R. Psych

Research Associate, BC CVH

Dr. Brotto has a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of British Columbia (UBC) and a Fellowship in Reproductive and Sexual Medicine from the University of Washington. She is a Professor in the UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is the director of the UBC Sexual Health Laboratory where research focuses on developing and testing psychological/psychoeducational interventions for individuals with sexual difficulties and genital pain. She is also the Executive Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute, B.C. Women’s Hospital & Health Centre. Dr. Brotto’s research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Ovarian Cancer Canada, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and the National Vulvodynia Association.

Sydney Thomson, M.D., FRCSC

Consultant Gynecologist

Dr. Thomson is a Clinical Associate Professor at UBC. She graduated from an Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency at UBC in 1990, and did a fellowship year in Sexual Medicine at UBC in 1991. Her clinical practice has always dealt with individuals with sexuality concerns but has become exclusively focused in this area since 1995. She has a teaching practice within the Department of Gynecology at Vancouver Hospital, and is also a consultant at the British Columbia Cancer Agency and the Center for Sexual Health in the area of female sexuality. She retired from clinical practice in 2020, but continues to provide consulting services.

Kaitlyn Goldsmith, Ph.D. R. Psych

Registered Psychologist

Dr. Goldsmith holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of New Brunswick and completed her residency training in Clinical Health Psychology at the University of Manitoba, Max Rady College of Medicine. Dr. Goldsmith is a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia and has authored several publications in the area of sexual health and well-being, investigating factors such as mindfulness, sexual communication, and body image. Dr. Goldsmith also has a private practice in Vancouver located outside the Centre.

Vulvar Pain Assessment Clinic (VPAC)

For individuals aged 19 years and older who are suffering from chronic vulvar pain (vulvodynia).

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Vulvar Disease Clinic

The Vulvar Disease Clinic is for people with chronic vulvar symptoms and or asymptomatic vulvar condition and or lesions.

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Vulvar Intra-epithelial Neoplasia Follow up Clinic

For people who have been previously diagnosed and treated for Vulvar Intra-Epithelial Neoplasia (VIN).

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Vulvar Oncology Clinic

The Vulvar Oncology Clinic is for people with suspected cancer, suspected and or diagnosed pre-cancer of the vulva (VIN), and or complex vulvar diseases requiring surgical intervention.

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