October 2021


Read the latest VCH news for Medical Staff (Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Midwives & Dentists). The October 2021 edition of the newsletter is accessible on any device. 

 Messages from VCH Leadership

​Message from Vivian Eliopoulos, CEO & President

Vancouver Coastal Health, along with our friends, families and colleagues across our province, has spent almost two years in some of the most trying circumstances we've ever had to experience. In addition to a global pandemic, extreme heat events with ravages of forest fires, and the tragedies associated with Residential Schools have added even more challenges to provide care to those within our region and beyond.

We have endured a lot, yet when I look at the incredible leadership, resilience and innovation shown by our medical staff during these trying times, it gives me great optimism for the future of VCH.

We've heard from medical staff that you appreciate the ways we've been engaging with you over the past year-and-a-half and that you'd like to maintain the open communications. We've listened to you and worked to develop new approaches, shifted our communication and information flow, and we're continuing to leverage what we've learned works well and change what doesn't.

We've developed new bulletins, medical staff forums, and are currently working to rebuild the medical staff website with your input so that it gives you the timely information you need.

We know that to continue to improve and grow our knowledge and applications, we also have to make space for our own health and wellness. Wellness is a theme you'll see echoed by my colleagues in their messages to you because we've heard from you that it needs to be a critical focus. Our senior executive team and the Board have made this a commitment to staff and medical staff.

As we manage through COVID-19 together, I am grateful for all of your efforts in helping to learn, improve and apply our new knowledge and actions towards health outcomes for those in our care and for ourselves as care givers.​

Message from Dr. Dean Chittock, Vice President of Medicine, Quality & Safety and
​Dr. Chad Kim Sing, Associate Vice President of Medicine, Quality & Safety

The past 20 months have been a challenging time for all of us in supporting our provincial and regional  COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in addition to our regular work. As we experience another recent rise in the number of COVID-19 positive patients in our hospitals, additional strain is placed upon our already taxed health-care system and health care teams. 

Through these ongoing challenges, our medical leadership continues to witness incredible resilience. We should be proud of what we have accomplished in coming together and ensuring that high quality of care and service continues to be delivered to our clients and patients, in a time of so many unknowns and competing pressures.  As we supported the continued roll out of the provincial vaccination, many VCH staff and medical staff raised their hands to work at the clinics and administer tens of thousands of vaccinations to residents in our region. This is another example of the commitment we share to keeping one another safe. We continue to get closer ​to moving beyond this pandemic.

We know this comes at a cost.  We know that you are tired, and have been asked to continue to work more, work differently, and provide services in ways not familiar to you prior to this pandemic. You have done incredible work, have made sacrifices and for this, we remain humbled and grateful. 

The health and wellness of our staff and medical staff are paramount on our minds as the many challenges we have faced along the way continue to take their toll. We see this. We feel this. And we are listening and committed to finding improvements. We ask that you afford one another the benefit of curiosity in approaching difficult issues and decisions. We will do the same.

Wellness remains an important priority in our organization, and you will continue to see increased medical leadership, partnership, and advocacy across our organization. We encourage you to seek out the support of one another and your leadership, and to access the services available to our physicians, medical staff and staff through LifeWorks and other channels.   

Together, we will continue to do what we do best and support one another along the way. As we have said since March 2020, we are in this together - as unique individuals, as colleagues, as professionals, and as a team. Thank you for your continued dedication, support, and care of our population, yourself, and one another.

 Wellness Resources by Lifeworks

​Physician Health Program 

The Physician Health Program is a valuable resource for BC physicians, medical students, and residents as well as their partners and children. The Lifeworks program provides 24-hour access to a confidential helpline – anytime you need it – to receive support, referrals and counselling for challenges such as mental health, relationship stress, and career and life transitions. To learn more visit their website.

LifeWorks Employee & Family Assistance (EFAP) Program

VCH staff, medical staff and their families can access counselling, critical incident stress management and wellness services by calling LifeWorks at 1-833-533-1577. For more information, log into the staff hub here.​​

 Medical Staff News

​​Bringing a New Lens: Dr. Brenda Wagner and Dr. Jennifer Beaveridge aim to drive change as new co-chairs of HAMAC

Dr. Jennifer Beaveridge & Dr. Brenda Wagner, HAMAC Co-Chairs

 In June 2021, Dr. Brenda Wagner and Dr. Jennifer Beaveridge were announced as the new co-chairs of the Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee (HAMAC), which oversees the work of medical staff, quality of care, and the development of Medical Staff human resource plans.

Becoming co-chairs of HAMAC was a natural progression of their respective professional journeys. Dr. Wagner is an obstetrician and gynecologist, so is used to a high-risk practice. She's well-versed in the need for clear process and systems, along with the value of quality improvement. Her new role as a HAMAC co-chair, she says is an opportunity to prioritize the importance of the systems which medical staff work within, and how that influences the quality of care given to patients.

Dr. Jennifer Beaveridge, is a Nurse Practitioner who has worked in primary care/community in Vancouver with a focus on vulnerable complex populations for the past sixteen years. Jennifer is passionate about addressing health and social inequities, and ensuring access to quality for all people.  Prior to this new position Jennifer was the Regional Department Head of NPs. Being appointed as a HAMAC co-chair, she says, allows her to step beyond representing only one profession, and to holistically look at the quality of care of all medical staff utilizing her knowledge and experience community. She is passionate about quality care and believes that this role is an opportunity to be proactive about making the changes and leading quality initiatives.

“This is my opportunity to actually work with leaders and medical staff to be the change itself," Dr. Beaveridge says.

They both deeply understand the importance of relationships through listening to the concerns of others, and how that is the catalyst that drives change within an organization.

“We have been asked to create change, and we want to do that within the context of relationship. So Jenn and I are working on our relationship, and we're working on our relationships with all the people we're working with as well. We feel like we're going to be more successful as leaders if we can do that," says Dr. Wagner stated.

This marks the first time that two women have been chosen as HAMAC co-chairs, and both Dr. Wagner and Dr. Beaveridge believe that this is a positive step to creating an environment that fosters diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

Dr. Beaveridge is also celebrating another milestone in her new role, as the first Nurse Practitioner, non-physician, to be the co-chair of HAMAC. She believes that this will bode well for VCH because it adds a different perspective on the governance and quality of care of medical staff.

 “Each medical staff profession (Nurse practitioners, physicians, Midwives and Dentists) bring a different and unique lens perspective. This is an amazing opportunity for Brenda and I to bring our skills, lenses and expertise together. I think we both have amazing skillsets and they're going to complement each other well," Dr. Beaveridge says.

“I'm hoping that Jennifer and I can provide some mentorship and inspire a diverse group of individual who want to be in leadership," says Dr. Wagner. She also recognizes that there have been some experiences in the workplace where DEI principles have not been prominent. Sharing the role with another woman and an NP will magnify the importance of DEI, hopes Dr. Wagner, as well as demonstrating the leadership opportunities available at VCH.

Having two women from different professions that share the same position adds multiple perspectives and styles of leadership, which is crucial for overseeing all medical staff. They both know that there is a wealth of knowledge and experience in the medical staff at VCH, and are striving to amplify as many voices as possible. 


Caring for a Vulnerable Population
Dr. Jade Koide, MD

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) contains one of Vancouver's most vulnerable populations for a multitude of reasons. The lack of access to healthcare contributes significantly to this risk, and residents lack up-to-date screenings for several cancers, including cervical cancer. Dr. Jade Koide works at the Heatley Community Health Centre (HLY), situated in the heart of the DTES. She has a passion for addressing the psychological and social determinants of health and strives to increase the cervical cancer screening rates for patients in the DTES. 

In the DTES, getting cervical cancer screening may not be a priority, or even on women's radar because they're in daily survival mode finding food and a place to stay at night. Many also suffer from mental health issues and sexual violence-related trauma, making cervical cancer screening hard to talk about. 

Through the VCH/PHC Physician Led Quality Improvement Program, Dr. Koide identified that to increase awareness for cervical cancer, new ways to engage with DTES residents were needed. 

Her team created a patient survey to understand how to foster an environment for patients to feel comfortable discussing sexual and reproductive health. They designed a gender-neutral patient handout on cervical cancer and the purpose of the cervical cancer screening Papanicolaou (Pap) test.

The team went through individual patient lists to identify those folks who might be amenable to an outreach visit from a nurse and peer support worker. These visits were intended to provide education, build trust, and to encourage patients to attend the clinic for reproductive health care services. They also learned how to best use tools like electronic medical records (EMR) to set reminders and keep the previous test results organized.

It has been a success, though there's much more work to be done. Through their efforts, the team has steadily been performing more cervical cancer screening, and now about half of eligible folks are up to date on their tests.

Undertaking this project during the pandemic hasn't made things easier as much of the healthcare providers' time and resources have been heavily allocated to fighting COVID-19.

Dr. Koide recalled, “A lot of the times, my colleagues were like, 'Why are we even talking about Pap tests when there's a pandemic happening?' So it was sort of addressing those competing interests."

It's a complex project, and she is thankful to have a diverse team at HLY to tackle each element from different angles. She credits the peer support workers, nurses, social workers, and counsellors who are committed to working together.

Having a diverse team all at one clinic was beneficial. “It really reduces the barriers that people experience in having to go to multiple places to receive healthcare, whether it's mental healthcare, physical healthcare, or social wellbeing," Dr. Koide emphasized.

Moving forward, sustainability is critical, especially when working in a unique environment with patients who have experienced trauma. “In terms of sustainability, I think that's the biggest challenge because although we're a team, we all have our own styles of work. I hope we utilize the tools we learned this year and develop this new preventive health form in EMR, so that we can keep track of the different cancer screening and other elements of preventive health," she said.

Dr. Koide also said meetings and frequent check-ins with colleagues are critical both in a group and individual setting, as it maintains relationships and preserves accountability.

The work that Dr. Koide and her team have done at HLY has been crucial in caring for a vulnerable population in the DTES. The centre is a sort of home for those who may not have one, and Dr. Koide is very excited to be working there, ensuring that the care is high quality, and as patient-centered as possible.  

The Physician-Led Quality Improvement (PLQI) Initiative at VCH and PHC is a province wide initiative and a partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care, and the Specialist Services Committee .  PQI is a flagship initiative of the Specialist Services Committee, one of four Joint Collaborative Committees funded by Doctors of BC and the BC government. PQI has supported this initiative and many others that are making a real difference to promote innovation in our health care system. For more information, go to https://sscbc.ca/physician-engagement/regional-quality-improvement-initiative. Family doctors participating in PQI are supported by sessional funding from the General Practice Services Committee.

Dr. Jade Koide is a Family Physician at Vancouver Coastal Health. ​​

Facing a Different Kind of Vaccine Hesitancy
Dr. Justin McGinnis, Gynecologic Oncologist

As COVID-19 becomes more manageable in Canada through the success of vaccinations, we have to turn our attention to another prevalent disease: influenza. Influenza was the most common infection-related cause of death in Canada, until the emergence of COVID-19. Despite its viral rampage across the world over the past two years, Dr. Justin McGinnis, Gynecologic Oncologist, believes that influenza will remain a very common source of morbidity for cancer patients in Canada. Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy are highly susceptible to contracting influenza, which can lead to secondary pneumonia, ICU admission, and death.

Prevention is the best solution, but, as the COVID-19 vaccination efforts have shown, jabbing a small needle into someone's arm is only one step in a process.

In the summer of 2020, McGinnis realized that many cancer patients presenting to the BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) were at risk of contracting the flu and hadn't been vaccinated because routine vaccinations were not a priority. He identified that an in-house flu vaccination clinic was critical for patient health and safety.

He had to identify and overcome some hurdles to devise a program that would vaccinate cancer patients,. It became clear that healthcare providers weren't asking cancer patients if they received the flu vaccine. Many of the patients that McGinnis worked with came from various areas of BC and Yukon, and travel to Vancouver for their cancer treatment. As they arrived at Vancouver General Hospital for their cancer surgery, there was no communication from the healthcare provider to the patient regarding flu vaccines.

The other major obstacle was that the BC Cancer Agency did not have a vaccination program, and their pharmacies did not stock flu vaccines.

By identifying these logistical barriers, McGinnis and his team created an inpatient vaccine program at VGH. Once patients were admitted to the hospital, healthcare providers talked to them about the flu vaccine, documented their vaccine history, and administered a pre-printed order (PPO) for influenza vaccination prior to discharge.

The program – which ran from November 1, 2020 to February 28, 2021 – resulted in a five percent overall increase in the influenza vaccination rate and rates were on average four times higher than the national average as reported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. McGinnis and his team saw this as a huge success given that this is the first year of the program.

​Despite the overall success of the program, vaccine hesitancy was identified as the major barrier to vaccination. Some believed they don't need it because they never had the flu, and others viewed the flu vaccine as a lower priority compared to the various appointments and treatments for their new diagnosis of cancer.

Health care workers across the cancer care team need to support vaccinations for the campaign to have greater success in the future.

“It takes vaccine advocates. It doesn't have to be a physician, it really can be anybody to have that conversation with patients and make that firm recommendation," says McGinnis. “By emphasizing the severity of getting some of these infections, including death, I think you can convince people that it's important."

McGinnis learned through the project that care providers at VGH are really eager to engage in quality improvement and do as much as possible to improve patient outcomes. When working with people who share the same mindset, every small change can make a big impact, he believes. “By introducing very simple changes such as the pre-printed order set that takes patients only a couple of minutes to fill out, can induce quite a bit of change. Thirty percent of all vaccinated people in our study were done through this simple program," McGinnis concluded. 

This was his first year working in B.C., and McGinnis was unfamiliar with the many layers of administration and overall structure of the medical team at the Vancouver Acute Community of Care. He credits the VCH/PHC Physician Led Quality Improvement team for their significant contribution to the success of the project, as they helped him connect with others who also had a passion for quality improvement in Vancouver. The partnership with VCH Team Based Quality Improvement (TBQI) clinicians helped drive this project forward. “I can see from conversations that I'm going to have a great community of people to collaborate with going forward."

Vaccine hesitancy was around long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this year may have magnified its effects. It's a problem with a long history, regardless of vaccine. Healthcare professionals will continue to wrestle with it, but projects like McGinnis' that make access to vaccines easier, may help increase patient participation.

​The Physician-Led Quality Improvement (PLQI) Initiative at VCH and PHC is a province wide initiative and a partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care, and the Specialist Services Committee .  PQI is a flagship initiative of the Specialist Services Committee, one of four Joint Collaborative Committees funded by Doctors of BC and the BC government. PQI has supported this initiative and many others that are making a real difference to promote innovation in our health care system. For more information, go to https://sscbc.ca/physician-engagement/regional-quality-improvement-initiative.

Dr. Justin McGinnis is a Gynecologic Oncologist at Vancouver Coastal Health.


COVID-19 Transmission rates among Health Care Workers Similar to the General Population despite Variants of Concern

Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute researcher, Dr. Annalee Yassi leads Medical Staff Occupational Safety and Health, the occupational health program established at Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) to protect medical staff. 

Read the full story here. ​

 Did you know?

Updated Virtual Care Policy for Medical Staff ​

On Sept 3, 2021 the Provincial Health Officer, Ministry of Health and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC jointly announced their position on the provision of in-person and virtual care. For in-person visits, they stated that 'All practitioners are expected to resume routine in-person visits based on clinical needs and patient preferences.'


For those who continue to offer a blend of in-person and virtual visits, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) released its revised Virtual Care Practice Standard this past June, which will be in effect until 2024. 


The updates to this document are a result of recognizing the need for practice and policy improvements due to the recent accelerated reliance on virtual health solutions. These updates were informed from feedback gathered from 1,265 registrants (376 specialists and 889 family practitioners), 379 members of the public and numerous key health partners, with a focus on the appropriate use of virtual care.


“Virtual care is defined as any interaction between patients and registrants, occurring remotely, using any mode of communication or information technologies, with the aim of facilitating or maximizing the quality and effectiveness of patient care."1

There are some benefits that can be derived from use of virtual care has, such as enabling people with mobility issues or geographical barriers to access care. However, virtual care to those patients/clients who may not have access to technology, not well versed in digital literacy and/or who face other barriers to virtual communication. Some specialists, including emergency physicians, have raised concerns over the inappropriate use of virtual care to avoid or delegate the physical examination of patients. This behaviour may lead to delayed or missed diagnoses, and place an increased burden on Emergency Departments and specialists.

In light of these concerns, the College reminds registrants that appropriate use of virtual care is key, and includes in-person care. To ensure safe, effective and equitable services, virtual care must be integrated with comprehensive longitudinal primary care. Other expectations from the College include:

  • Access to in-person and longitudinal care must be provided, as indicated and required by patients;
  • If a registrant is not near the patient's location, they must have a formal affiliation with in-person providers in the patient's home community so that a timely in-person assessment can be arranged for when necessary.

 If a primary care assessment of the patient presentation would normally include a physical examination before referral, the referring registrant must ensure that one is done. It is unacceptable to defer a physical examination because the virtual care medium does not allow for one."2


In her message, College Registrar Dr. Heidi Oetter remarks that, “This is an important clarification intended to reduce fragmented care and inappropriate use of services, and emphasize the importance of using virtual care as a complementary component of the healthcare system that is integrated into comprehensive longitudinal primary care and specialty care."3


For the full list of requirements for the appropriate provision of virtual care, as well as the requirements for cross-border virtual care to those residing in another province, territory or country, please refer to the updated Practice Standard.

You can also view a short video which outlines the changes to the standard, and a revised Virtual Care: What to Expect patient resource has been published.

Please direct any questions related to the revised Virtual Care practice standard to


[1] Shaw J, Jamieson T, Agarwal P, et al. Virtual care policy recommendations for patient-centred primary care: findings of a consensus policy dialogue using a nominal group technique. J Telemed Telecare 2018;24(9):608-15. 

2 https://www.cpsbc.ca/files/pdf/PSG-Virtual-Care.pdf

3 https://www.cpsbc.ca/news/publications/college-connector/2021-V09-04/01

Strategy and Planning at Vancouver Coastal Health​

As a large, complex organization, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) has a mandate to plan, deliver, monitor and report on the full continuum of quality health services to meet the needs of the population within our geographic region.

Have you ever wondered how this happens? Is there a long-term vision or strategy that VCH follows? How is VCH funded?

VCH has more than 17,000 staff, nurses, physicians and volunteers serving over 1.25 million people - nearly 25 per cent of BC's population. We serve 12 municipalities and four regional districts, as well as 14 First Nations communities. The work we do every day is focused on building an integrated and well-coordinated health system aligned with direction from the BC Ministry of Health (MoH) and our own strategic framework for providing seamless, culturally safe, person-centred, quality care to the populations we serve.

Direction from Government

The MoH formally sets the health system strategic agenda each year through the Mandate Letter. This letter to the health authorities confirms the mandated priorities and strategic direction for VCH and our Board of Directors, and establishes key performance expectations. VCH also receives direction each year from the priorities and deliverables set forth in the Executive Mandate Letter from the Minister of Health, and Operating Funding Allocation.

Each year, VCH receives a base funding allocation for the ongoing provision of services as well as targeted funding to support specific services or initiatives. VCH's current budget is $3.58 billion, and health authorities are expected to manage their operating budgets on a “no deficit" basis - this includes managing cost pressures or impacts that arise throughout the year. This means there must be strong alignment between strategy, operations and budget.

VCH Strategic Framework

In 2018, VCH launched an organization-wide initiative to redefine our values and become a more values-based organization. Over 5,000 staff were engaged in the development of new values that are at the heart of everything we do at VCH. Our strategic goals and objectives were also refreshed.

This strategic framework, together with the direction we receive from the Government, inform VCH operational planning and priority setting.

VCH's Service Plan

Every year, health authorities are required to communicate their governance and accountabilities in a Service Plan. The Service Plan outlines, at a high level, health authority objectives and strategic initiatives for a three-year planning period. The Service Plan must align with the Mandate Letter and the Ministry's goals for the health system, and be approved by the VCH Board of Directors. VCH is also responsible for preparing an Annual Service Plan Report. This report summarizes performance against the metrics and targets established in the Service Plan for the prior fiscal year.

Currently, VCH is in the process of developing the 2021/22 Service Plan, as well as pulling together results and highlights for our 2020/21 Annual Service Plan Report.

Current Service Plan Performance Measures and Targets

For 2021/22, the Ministry has identified the following performance measures for the regional health authorities. Each health authority is accountable for achieving its own targets:

Performance Measures2016/17 VCH Baseline​2020/21  VCHForecast2021/22 VCH Target
Average direct care hours per resident day across the health authority3.033.413.36
Number of people with a chronic disease admitted to hospital per 100,000 people aged 75 years and over2,6202,087TBC
Total operating room hours158,658161,212+201,700
Percent of communities that have completed healthy living strategic plans71%*93%93%
Percent of people admitted for mental illness and substance use who are readmitted within 30 days15.1%15.1%13.0%
Potentially inappropriate use of antipsychotics in long-term care26.9%*26.2%20.0%
Rate of new C. difficile cases associated with reporting facilities per 10,000 inpatient days3.4*3.83.0
Nursing and allied professionals overtime hours as a percent of productive hours3.6%4.4%3.6%

+2020/21 actual; *2017/18 baseline

Have more questions about VCH's Service Plan or strategic planning process? Contact the VCH Transformation Office. ​

 Existing VCH Programs & Committees

Understanding the Interdisciplinary Learning Review Process. Written by Nicky Huang

“This is my first QI involvement. I feel like this is a way of capturing much of the frustrations I experience in my day to ​​day work and to do something positive about it. I really enjoyed this process because it is a collaborative approach in identifying system level issues." Dr. Lawrence Chow ​


In fall 2018, VCH adopted the Interdisciplinary Learning Review, a system process review which helps to identify system-level opportunities for improvement. The ILR approach utilizes a systems-level lens to identify, learn, understand and share opportunities for improvement through a process of examining patient journeys. The goal is to make these improvement opportunities thoroughly understandable, measureable and actionable.

Over the past 3 years, this new collaborative approach has fostered a culture of learning across disciplines and specialities at VCH. It has brought together point-of-care clinicians from all parts of the organization to have conversations on how to provide the best possible care for the patient/client and their family, elevating the traditional chart review processes to a more meaningful mechanism that utilizes frontline expertise in a truly multidisciplinary, no-blame setting.

The process begins with a conversation with physician leads and operations teams to decide on a cohort of interest. Then, cases are identified and reviewed independently by a physician and a frontline care provider. All patient information is entered and stored into a central registry that has the ability to generate data. Once the review is complete, a group of health-care providers from all disciplines come together to discuss and gain consensus on the system opportunities for improvement identified, which is essential to ensuring confidence in the data obtained through this process. The data is then used to drive meaningful change.

At VCH, our ILR journey started with mortality reviews in 2018 and have since expanded to mental health, community and stroke and rehab programs. To date, we have trained close to 80 physicians from across all three communities of care.

For more information on the program, please contact Dr. Roderick Tukker - Roderick.Tukker@vch.ca

VCH's Physician Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Leadership Skills and Talent Management Working Group  Written by Dr. Sophia Park​

In 2019, a group of physicians from the Vancouver Physician Staff Association (VPSA), along with staff members from VCH Physician Relations and Compensation, organized an appreciative inquiry (AI) to better understand the barriers female physicians were facing in assuming formal leadership roles at VCH. Over 60 physicians from various VCH departments and divisions, and senior executives from VCH and Providence Health Care attended these sessions to provide their insights and experiences. The findings from those sessions led to the publication of the report, Using All Our Talents: Meaningful Leadership Opportunities for Women Physicians, which was subsequently presented to, and the proposed action plan endorsed by, the VCH Board.

Following the release of the report, the Physician Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee was established with the purpose of implementing the recommendations from the AI report, and it's mandate was broadened to define diversity beyond gender. The committee created three working groups to operationalize the different sections of the action plan: the Culture and Environment Working Group; the Meaningful Metrics Working Group; and the Leadership Skills, Talent Management, and Succession Planning Working Group.

The Leadership Skills and Talent Management Working Group, co-chaired by Dr. Sophia Park and Dr. Alex Lee, comprises of physicians from VCH's three communities of care and to representatives from VPSA, VCH People, and the VCH Medical Engagement, Leadership, and Development (MELD) Group. The working group conducted a critical review of the medical leadership job descriptions in collaboration with VCH Medical Affairs, and provided recommendations for the selection and hiring process of medical leaders in order to better promote inclusivity and equity of underrepresented groups.

The working group has planned several exciting leadership workshops for the fall. The first occurred late Sept/early October, the Personal Leadership: Identifying Your Core Values and Vision course from CMA Joule's Physician Leadership Institute, introduced participants with an interest in leadership to reflect on their personal values and how these will shape their leadership approach. Later n October, VGH radiologist and EDI expert Dr. Faisal Khosa  began facilitating the first of three interactive workshops titled Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks of Leadership Positions for Women and Underrepresented in Medicine. Stay tuned for more information.​

This past June, the working group hosted an intimate and powerful dialogue with Drs. Alika Lafontaine, Don Wilson, and Terri Aldred, three local and national Indigenous physician leaders, and discussed the system transformation necessary to combat the Indigenous-specific racism and discrimination in B.C.'s health-care system, as detailed in the In Plain Sight report.

The working group has planned several exciting leadership workshops for the fall. The first occurred late Sept/early October, the Personal Leadership: Identifying Your Core Values and Vision course from CMA Joule's Physician Leadership Institute, introduced participants with an interest in leadership to reflect on their personal values and how these will shape their leadership approach. Later n October, VGH radiologist and EDI expert Dr. Faisal Khosa  began facilitating the first of three interactive workshops titled Stepping Stones and Stumbling Blocks of Leadership Positions for Women and Underrepresented in Medicine. Stay tuned for more information.

The VCH Physician DEI Leadership Skills and Talent Management Working Group is currently seeking new members. If you are interested in getting involved in this challenging, yet extremely rewarding work, please contact Neli Remo at Neli.Remo@vch.ca.

1 https://www.canada.ca/en/public-service-commission/services/appointment-framework/employment-equity-diversity/employment-equity-groups.html

Physician-Led Quality Improvement program welcomes Cohort 5

The Physician-Led Quality Improvement (PLQI) initiative is excited to announce the 5th cohort of physicians who will receive advanced quality improvement (QI) training and have a chance to put QI in action. With 24 new physicians and 12 continuation projects, the team is excited to support QI projects across different departments and community of care areas.

The PLQI Initiative at VCH and PHC is a province-wide initiative and a partnership between Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care and the Specialist Services Committee (SSC).  It is designed to address gaps in quality structures relating to physician participation in QI activities, which include sessional funding, help to build physician QI expertise and leadership skills and ensure physicians have adequate technical supports.

For more information about PLQI, visit: http://medicalstaff.vch.ca/working-for-change/vch-phc-plqi/

To review full list of physicians and their project ideas, click here.

To view the year-end poster booklet on the accomplishments of Cohort 4, click h​​ere.​​​

 Get Involved!

HTAC Annual Topic Nomination 

The provincial Health Technology Assessment Committee (HTAC) is preparing its annual call​ for topics to inform its 2022/2023 work plan.

​The HTA process was established by health authority CEOs and the Deputy Minister in 2011 through a Memorandum of Understanding. The process provides evidence-informed advice about which devices, diagnostics, medical procedures or programs should receive funding in the province. 

Some examples of recently assessed topics include; deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease, endovascular therapy for acute ischemic stroke and transcutaneous bilirubinometers for newborn hyperbilirubinemia. 

The provincial HTA process assesses:

  • Health technologies not publicly funded for possible funding (new assessments), and
  • Health technologies already diffused within the system for optimal use (reassessments).

HTAC recommendations pass through two Standing Committees before reaching the Leadership Council, comprised of the health authority CEOs and Deputy Minister, for decision. Since its inception, over 95% of HTAC's recommendations have been approved.

Submit your nominations by Nov 30th, 2021! 

If you are aware of any:

a) Health technologies that are not publicly funded that would significantly contribute to improved patient outcomes and provide value for money, or

b) Health technologies that are currently funded within the system but whose benefits may no longer be clear, please complete the single-page HTA Topic Nomination Form and send it via email to the Health Technology Assessment Office (HTA.Office@gov.bc.ca) before the end of November in order to be considered for the current fiscal year.

​For assistance in completing the nomination form, contact rachael.ritchie@vch.ca. For further information on the provincial HTA process and HTAC, please visit http://www.health.gov.bc.ca/hta/ ​

The Medical Staff Website Redesign

Over the next 12 months, VCH will be undertaking a redevelopment project to update and modernize the VCH external website (vch.ca). The project will include moving the site to a new platform with increased functionality, refreshing the content and ensuring the website meets the needs of its many user groups. 

As part of this project, the medical staff website will also be refreshed to ensure we create a site with all the necessary resources required to serve you better. To help us, we want to hear from our medical staff (Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, Midwives & Dentists) on what content and resources are most useful to you in a website. To share your feedback and/or to participate in internal consultation on the future design, please reach out to VCH Medical Staff Feedback (medicalstafffeedback@vch.ca) 

In the interim, this fall, visitors to the medical staff website will notice an updated user experience as we move the current platform to a new provider. You will also notice a new look and feel consistent with VCH branding for both desktop and mobile versions. This solution will carry us through the next 12 months until the new vch.ca website goes live.  ​

 Events & Education Opportunities

Vancouver Coastal Health honours National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by Vivian Eliopoulos

(reposted from http://www.vch.ca/about-us/news/vancouver-coastal-health-honours-national-day-for-truth-and-reconciliation) September 30, 2021.

Today, on the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, Vancouver Coastal Health commemorates the history and legacy of residential schools, to remember those who were lost and to honour the healing journey of survivors, families and communities. This day serves as an opportunity to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and to recommit to understanding the truth of our shared history.

As a health-care organization, Vancouver Coastal Health has an important role in advancing truth and reconciliation and addressing the existing health disparities and inequities in our systems. This is a responsibility we take seriously. Led by our Aboriginal Health team, we commit to continuously working to ensure Indigenous knowledge and expertise is embedded throughout our health authority. We do this through sharing training opportunities and resources, creating welcoming spaces and supporting staff, medical staff and patients to ensure culturally-safe care is provided.

​This past week, we have been encouraging our Vancouver Coastal Health team members to honour the journey to reconciliation we are on with Indigenous peoples through personal reflection, education and action. While the journey towards reconciliation will take time, Vancouver Coastal Health is committed to building trust and feelings of inclusion and safety in our health-care system for Indigenous patients and clients. 

Let us mark today by taking a collective step forward, supporting one another in listening and learning  with humility as we journey toward truth and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in our communities and beyond.

Upcoming courses & Conferences: 

Title:Date(s):Format & Description:Cost:Target Audience:

Leadership begins with Self-Awareness - Joule / CMA


Register for the event.


Jan. 31 - Mar. 13, 2022 


Thursdays 7:30 pm ET


3-4 hours of self-led activities per week

Online, Facilitated.

In this Physician Leadership Institute course, you will begin to develop a profound sense of self through examining your personal vision and values, personality attributes, emotional intelligence skills and intrinsic strengths. These personal insights will help shape your leadership development plan.


Early bird pricing until Dec. 17, 2021.

Use EB22 at checkout to receive 20% off.

Aspiring Leader

Just Culture In Healthcare Certification Course 



Register for this event.



November 3, 10, 17, 24 & December 1, 8, 2021.

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.


6 x 2-hour sessions.

2.5 hours of pre-work, assignments and a 1.5 hour online certification exam.


Online, Facilitated. 

Just Culture allows healthcare professionals to feel safe to report openly about errors and near misses. Participants in the accredited Just Culture in Healthcare program learn how to apply the Just Culture Algorithm, to reinforce Just Culture principles and to create a culture of learning that sustainably reduces risk and improves patient safety. Through this accredited program, Physicians and healthcare professionals will learn how to reinforce behaviour that supports the organization's values. Applying just culture principles will also improve systems, reduce negative outcomes and improve team morale.


$1400 (Eligible for SSC funding, see below)Aspiring Leader

VCH/PHC Physician Led Quality Improvement.


Register for this event


Learn at your own pace


Level 1 Training - The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) offers dozens of online courses to medical staff (physician, midwives, NPs and dentists) on quality improvement, patient safety, and leadership, amongst others. Note: Physicians are eligible for sessional payment of 5 hours once you have completed Level 1 Training.


No costNew / Emerging Leader

VCH/PHC Physician Led Quality Improvement.


Register for this event

Thursday November 25, 2021 (12:30-4pm) and Friday November 26, 2021 (12:30-4pm)

Online, Facilitated. 

Level 2 Training -

A two half-day custom built training introduction to fundamental quality improvement (QI) skills and concepts. For those interested in leading a QI project, our funding model, and program supports will be discussed.

No costNew / Emerging Leader

Inclusion Literacy and Foundations for Anti-Racism Part I –



To register, log in to the Learning Hub

Ongoing offering 

Online, Facilitated. 

This course is intended to help increase our awareness of inclusion literacy, understanding unconscious bias and cross-cultural competency.  In this session, participants will gain foundational understanding of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). The purpose is to provide a common understanding of the DEI journey toward building an inclusive work culture.

No costVCH Leaders

IHI Forum

Register for this event.


December 5-8, 2021


This year, like every year, the IHI Forum will give health care professionals a platform to learn and contribute to a shared vision of quality, equitable care for all. This year's forum will center around nine topics – including Joy and well-Being at work to Leadership and Equity.


​Eligible for SSC funding see below​
All Medical Staff

Specialists Symposium 2022


Register  for the event. 


January 21, 2022

In person – Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC. 

The Specialist Services Committee -a partnership of Doctors of BC and BC Government- and Specialists of BC invite specialists to collaborate on how to improve specialty care in a post-pandemic world

No costAll Medical Staff​


Scholarship Support for Physicians

VCH Physicians - The tuition / registration fees of the above course & conferences may be eligible for coverage from your SSC Physician Leadership Training Scholarship.  Before starting the course, complete a completed application form found here

Thank you

We would like to express a sincere thank you to each of the members of our Editorial Board, as well as to VCH Communications, Vivian Chan & Laurie Kilburn (​Medical Quality Leadership & Practice). These individuals have taken the time to help ensure the sharing of timely updates that are relevant to our VCH medical staff within our diverse groups and Communities of Care.​


​Contact List​​​

Site Role Senior Medical Director Email
CoastalSenior Medical DirectorPeter Edmunds Peter.Edmunds@vch.ca
R.W. Large Memorial Hospital (Bella Bella)Local Medical DirectorLauri-Ann Shearer LauriAnn.Shearer@vch.ca
Bella Coola General HospitalLocal Medical DirectorJeffrey Peimer Jeff.Peimer@vch.ca
Powell River General HospitalLocal Medical DirectorRachel Bell Rachel.Bell@vch.ca
Squamish General HospitalLocal Medical DirectorStephen Masselink Stephen.Masselink@vch.ca
Squamish General HospitalAssociate Local Medical DirectorRua Read Rua.Read@vch.ca
Whistler Health Care CentreLocal Medical DirectorFern von der Porten Fern.VonderPorten@vch.ca
Pemberton Health CentreLocal Medical DirectorJim Fuller
Sechelt HospitalLocal Medical DirectorMarius Welgemoed Marius.Welgemoed@vch.ca
Richmond – AcuteCo-Senior Medical DirectorNancy Austin Nancy.Austin@vch.ca
Richmond – Community Co-Senior Medical DirectorAlexandros (Aleco) Alexiadis Alexandros.Alexiadis@vch.ca
Vancouver – Acute Co-Senior Medical DirectorVinay Dhingra Vinay.Dhingra@vch.ca
Vancouver – Acute Co-Senior Medical DirectorLadan Sadrehashemi Ladan.Sadrehashemi@vch.ca
Vancouver – CommunitySenior Medical DirectorMichael Norbury Michael.Norbury@vch.ca


VCH is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes input from racialized persons / persons of color, women, indigenous / Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGTBQIA2S+, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.