Tribute to Associate Professor Christine Tippett AM

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FIGO is deeply saddened to share the news that Associate Professor Christine Tippet AM has passed away.

Professor Tippett was elected to the position of Honorary Treasurer of FIGO in 2018 and was previously the first – and only – female President of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG), from 2006 to 2008. She was also a dedicated member of the FIGO 2021 Congress Organising Committee. Professor Tippett made an enormous contribution to the international OBGYN community and will be greatly missed as a friend and colleague.

Having been appointed as one of just three trainees in obstetrics and gynaecology at Queen Victoria Medical Centre (QVMC) in Melbourne in 1981, Professor Tippett went on to receive the FJ Brown Medal for her results in the Royal Australian College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology exams. Following completion of training, she specialised as an obstetrician and was later appointed as head of a diabetes pregnancy service. Her interest in high-risk obstetrics and maternal medicine saw her deliver more than 10,000 babies throughout her career.

Professor Tippett was an advocate for change for women’s health. She became instrumental in the creation of safer environments for mothers and their babies in Australia and beyond. Professor Tippett talked to FIGO in 2019 about her career and we are proud to again share that brief interview to highlight her leadership in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology. Her professional achievements and dedication to women transformed the maternity care landscape. Professor Tippett’s legacy will continue to positively impact the lives of women for generations to come.

FIGO extends our condolences to all of Professor Tippett’s family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.

Professor Mary Ann Lumsden, CEO, on behalf of all of FIGO

There has been such a lovely outpouring of messages from the current FIGO Council, and I have committed to her family to collating all of those good wishes and forwarding them. I have known Chris for a long time and always really enjoyed our friendship, but the decision to stand for election as Officers to FIGO brought us closer. She was so thrilled when Jeanne, Lesley and Chris were appointed to leadership roles in the elections in Rio in October 2018. But one of my very best memories of Chris is the ‘Flapper’ Party at RANZCOG when I received an Honorary Fellowship. Chris insisted on sourcing our elaborate costumes for the Art Deco celebration and we then did a star turn on the dance floor together, much to the amazement (and admiration) of our junior colleagues, who could not believe how agile, coordinated and ‘groovy’ we old girls were! It still brings a smile to my lips whenever I think of that evening. She was so delighted with how her plans to make everyone have a memorable time had been so successful. Just another special skill of an extraordinarily talented, human, generous and brave woman. Despite the recurrence of her terminal cancer, she continued to contribute to FIGO and attend Officers’ meetings in London in person until COVID-19 struck. 2 Our last ‘face to face’ was in February 2020 when we all had dinner at my home. Never at a loss for practical solutions, she then ensured the exchanging of wonderful WhatsApp calls and messages, littered with emojis that she designed! We were so lucky to know her and FIGO benefited enormously from her vision and commitment. I believe that her memory will live on and ask you to help me ensure that it does.

Professor Dame Lesley Regan, FIGO Honorary Secretary

Christine Tippett was generous of time, energy and self. She placed the health and well-being of women from around the world first, even before herself. She embraced life, LOVED to share stories with all of us about home and family in Australia, and more than anything her love of the beach. She had what I would call ‘tales from the sea’, with her swimming and enjoying her grandchildren. There was a genuine sparkle as she described her beach time, and I have no doubt that sparkle persisted until her death because she was surrounded by those who loved her so. I thank the entire Tippett family for sharing Christine with us for so many years.

Dr Jeanne Conry, FIGO President-Elect

Christine Tippett, a close friend and a dear colleague, was a passionate and brave fighter for women’s health and rights, who inspired many in Australia, FIGO and globally. I feel lucky and privileged to have worked by her side with the FIGO Council and Trustees. She will be missed.

Dr Faysal El-Kak, FIGO Vice-President