An Angel of the North
Dr. Lalita is a highly regarded physician whose combination of skill, compassion and commitment to her community have brought her numerous honours.
She received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2001 and the Order of Canada in 2007 and most recently, was proclaimed 2008 “Citizen of the Year” in Prince Albert, the city which she says “found her” in 1975.
Dr. Lalita was born in Delhi, India, in 1941, where she studied medicine before moving on to post-graduate work in England.
When she and her pediatrician husband were unable to find suitable jobs in England, her sister, a professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, suggested they look at Canada.
“We had always had good feelings about Canada,” says Dr. Lalita. “We never really considered going anywhere else.”
Although her husband had been offered a very good job in Calgary, the couple opted for Prince Albert. Dr. Lalita acknowledges that, when they stepped off the plane in Prince Albert, she and her husband did wonder about their choice.
“There were just five cars in the parking lot. And the Prairies—we’d never seen anything like it. Everything looked so strange to us.”
But the welcome was as wide as the Prairies and the three years that she and her husband had planned to stay in the city soon stretched to more than three decades.
A specialist in obstetrics, Dr. Lalita delivers as many as 250 babies a year in the Prince Albert area.
As if her work didn’t keep her busy enough, she has raised three children of her own, all of whom are now physicians. She also founded the Women’s Wellness Clinic in Prince Albert, served as president of the Girl Guides in the city and has raised funds for disaster relief in South East Asia.
Dr. Lalita has been a dedicated advocate for women’s health issues, especially among the First Nations of northern Saskatchewan, and it is this work that earned her the unofficial title of “Angel of the North.”
She also works with the Multicultural Council of Prince Albert, introducing newcomers to Canada to our health-care system. She says opportunities for newcomers have significantly improved in the past 30 years, before settlement agencies such as the Multicultural Council existed.
Despite the many honours she has earned, Dr. Lalita says that hard work is its own best reward. However, with two grandchildren now, she says she is “starting to think about learning to slow down.”
But the Angel of the North is not yet ready to fold her wings