Doctor Mary Hepburn, has been voted Scotswoman of the Year at a glittering award ceremony in Glasgow.
Dr Hepburn has been at the forefront of providing specialist services for mothers-to-be with drug and alcohol addictions, HIV, mental illness or experiening homelessness, domestic abuse or rape.
She was pivotal in establishing the Glasgow Women’s Reproductive Health Service for women with socially deprived backgrounds who are the most victimised people in society.
Accepting the award Mary said: “This is a wonderful recognition for all the women who come to our service and come under our care.
“These are women who are so used to being marginalised, and so used to being discarded by society that they’re own most severe critics and they feel that they don’t merit the things that so many of us take for granted.
“They will see this as an enormous vote for them.”
Dr Alan Mathers, Clinical Director for Women and Childrens Services and Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said: “I am delighted she has been honoured with Scotswoman of the Year for the work she does to improve women’s lives.
“She has been a valued colleague for almost 30 years and her dedication to helping socially deprived women is an inspiration to all clinical, midwifery and nursing staff both in the UK and internationally.”
Mary first trained as a general practitioner and then as an obstetrician and gynaecologist. Concerned with health inequalities she identified a need to provide a specialist service for women with social problems and established the Glasgow Women’s Reproductive Health Service which has developed into the medically led component of the Glasgow Special Needs in Pregnancy Service.
Women attend the service for many reasons including problem alcohol or drug use, HIV infection, mental illness, learning disability, young age, experience of violence / rape, homelessness and previous parenting problems.
Mary has also worked with services throughout the UK and internationally in the development of reproductive health services for disadvantaged women. She has contributed to the development of government policy and guidelines for health and social management of these vulnerable women and their families.
Her other accomplishments include being awarded a Life Time Achievement award by Zero Tolerance for her work in the field of violence against women and working with UNICEF and WHO in Kosovo, Moldova and Ukraine.
She is a Board member with Scottish Drugs Forum, Art in Hospital and co-chairs an annual seminar in Austria providing training for health professionals from Eastern Europe, Asia and previous Soviet countries in the management of drug use in pregnancy and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV.