|28 Nov 2023
We are sad to hear of the passing of Old Queen and pioneering medical practitioner Leila Lessof (1932 – 2023). Leila was born into a Jewish medical family in London, and attended Queen’s College, London with her younger sister, Carmel.
Leila was part of a pioneering generation of women in medicine and studied at Royal Free Hospital. She had a distinguished career working in the NHS as a consultant radiologist, later retraining in public health and becoming Director of Public Health Islington and Parkside Health Authority from1991 to 1995. In this role, Leila was one of the first to identify the importance of health promotion to prevent the transmission of HIV, and her important contribution was recognised in 2000, when she was awarded an OBE for her services to public health.
In retirement, Leila enjoyed playing bridge and spending time with her grandchildren, as well as travelling and attending the theatre with her husband of 62 years, Maurice Lessof. She will be greatly missed by her three children, Nick, Carli, and Suszy; her five grandchildren, Noa, Gabriel, Maya, Ila, and Louis; and her younger sister, Carmel.
Leila was highly respected by friends and colleagues and is remembered fondly in this tribute from The BMJ.