Plastic surgeon Dr. Nancy Van Laeken MD FRCSC has been honoured with membership as a Dame of The Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller by the Vancouver Commandery.
The order is an ecumenical, international Christian foundation of Knights and Dames inspired by collaboration of crusader knights with hospitaller activities of a hospice founded by Amalfi merchants for pilgrims in Jerusalem before the turn of the 12th century. The modern order descended from Russian priories established by Grand Master Tsar Paul I or Russia, who welcomed it following the conquest of Malta by Napoleon in 1798.
The Vancouver Commandery is a non-profit society dedicated to the support of palliative care in British Columbia.
Van Laeken, currently a Vancouver resident but formerly from rural Langton, is a graduate of Sacred Heart School and Valley Heights Secondary School. She was recently inducted into the order in a ceremony filled with pomp and pageantry in Vancouver. Dr. Van Laeken’s inclusion as a Dame was related in part to humanitarian work overseas in countries including Thailand and India.
Van Laeken obtained her medical degree from the University of Ottawa and completed a plastic surgery residency and fellowship at the University of British Columbia. She is chair of the Department of Surgery for Providence Health Care in Vancouver, an associate head for the Department of Surgery at UBC and a Clinical Associate Professor for the Division of Plastic Surgery. She also serves as the Physician Program Director for Providence Health Care and an active member at many lower mainland hospitals. Dr. Van Laeken was recognized as one of Canada’s Top 10 doctors in Hospital News January 2000 and was nominated two years in a row as one of YMCA’s Women of Distinction.