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When the going gets tough, the IPAC team gets going

Demonstrating courage, compassion, agility, and integrity in all they do, Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team members have been recognized with a PHSA+ Award.
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In health care, we're called to keep our patients, clients, visitors, and each other, safe. This became more challenging during the pandemic, when everything changed. We looked to PHSA's Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) team to make sense of constantly-evolving practices.

It was a difficult time, and yet the IPAC team didn't crumble under pressure. They jumped headfirst into the unknown and met – and then exceeded – our expectations. Their monumental efforts ensured we could continue to meet the unique needs of our specialized populations.

With the recent emergence of other pathogens, such as monkey pox, the team continues to demonstrate their importance and empower everyone to prevent infections.

PHSA+ Award winners

The IPAC team was recently recognized with a PHSA+ Award for cultivating internal and external partnerships, offering guidance to protect patients, clients, visitors and staff throughout the pandemic, and for demonstrating courage, compassion, agility and integrity in all they do.

We caught up with seven IPAC leaders and asked them this question: “What does winning a PHSA+ Award mean to you, and how does it reinforce the importance of IPAC at PHSA?"

Olga Pavlenko, project manager II, PHSA IPAC​

Portrait of Olga Pavlenko"Winning a PHSA+ award reinforces a critical role of infection prevention and control not only in healthcare settings but also as a concept in every day life of any individual. We all got to experience importance of such a simple action as washing hands during COVID-19 pandemic. Leading the redevelopment of PHSA Hand Hygiene Program as part of the IPAC modernization projects, has highlighted the complex nature of what impacts patient safety. We all contribute to patient safety by simply cleaning our hands!"

Janie Nichols, PHSA IPAC clinical manager for BC Emergency Health Services, BC Cancer and BC Centre for Disease Control 

Portrait of Janie Nichols

"I love working for my team and am thrilled they have received this recognition. Infection prevention is vital to protect patients, staff and the communities we live in. The team’s expertise has been well-received and they have continually demonstrated their dedication to patient safety by providing staff with best practice recommendations and guidance. This award has recognised the team for all of their hard work during this difficult time and it is well deserved.”​

Sherry Asgari Pour, PHSA IPAC clinical operations manager, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services

Portrait of Sherry Asgari Pour

“Winning this award is a tremendous honour. It shows our commitment to best practices and patient care regardless of the facility in which we work at. IPAC faced many challenges during the pandemic, but each one of these challenges strengthened our team and our commitment to quality care. It means so much to know that the work that I am so passionate about can make a difference in patients' lives."

Kathryn McLean, PHSA IPAC practitioner, BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre team

Portrait of Kathryn McLean"I feel it is great that IPAC has received the recognition for its work and feel that winning the award will bring a broader awareness to what Infection Prevention and Control does. I am proud to be part of a growing, successful team."​

Linda Choy, PHSA IPAC practitioner, BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre (pictured in group photo below)

“This is an honour to be recognised as an integral team within PHSA. We are a young team who strongly believes in advocating for patient safety. The CW IPAC team appreciates the recognition of this award and continues to strive for improving the quality of patient care."​

Group photo of IPAC team members

Dr. Laura Sauvé, PHSA IPAC Physician, and pediatric infectious diseases specialist ​

Portrair of Dr. Laura Sauve

“Infection prevention and control focuses on preventing hospital-acquired infections – something that is normally in the shadows, and often seen as not very exciting and yet it affects all aspects of health care. Since early 2020, suddenly everyone was keenly interested in preventing infections, and the PHSA IPAC team found ourselves in the spotlight, and pulled together in a tremendous way – working extremely long hours, constantly learning to keep up with changing science, and working with operations leaders to protect staff and patients by limiting transmission of COVID-19 within our facilities."

“The team members who joined us part way through the pandemic really hit the ground running. Each team member brings unique skills to our group, and they are all tremendously dedicated to enabling staff to prevent hospital acquired infections. Effective prevention of infection requires effort from people at all levels of the health system, and during the pandemic PHSA IPAC was able to build connections with our stakeholders and leverage partnerships better than we had ever done before. I am so proud of the hard work and determination of the team; and winning the PHSA+ Award is a tremendous recognition of those efforts."​

Dr. Sean Virani, vice president, medical & academic affairs

Portrait of Dr. Sean Virani"Preventing and controlling infections is essential to what we do in health care, and some would say it's never been more important. Through the learnings from COVID-19, the IPAC team has matured, emerging stronger and more coordinated. Individually, and as a team, they have collectively raised the bar for preventing and controlling infections across B.C. And as we celebrate their PHSA+ Award, we see their value recognized across all of PHSA. Please join me in thanking the IPAC team for their tremendous efforts. Speaking as a health care provider, and on behalf of our medical staff, you have our sincere and lasting gratitude. What you've accomplished in the face of seemingly unsurmountable odds, is nothing short of monumental."

"I would also like to share a special recognition for Dr. Laura Sauve, for her medical leadership of the IPAC team. Her term as medical director may have come to an end, but she has left a legacy that I – and so many others – will continue to grow from. Thank you, Dr. Sauve, for your invaluable contributions."

Resources to have handy

The goal of the IPAC program is to ensure that everyone has the knowledge, tools and confidence to participate in prevention and controlling of spread of infections in the health-care settings of PHSA clinical service delivery portfolios (CSD). Check out these resources:​

Congratulations to the IPAC team

The PHSA+ Awards are part of an internal recognition program that celebrates teams and individuals who bring our PHSA values to life in the workplace. They go above and beyond to serve patients and families across B.C.

Fittingly, October 17-21 is recognized in Canada and the U.S. as National Infection Prevention and Control Week. Proclaimed since 1989 by the Canadian government, the week is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the valuable work of people engaged in preventing and controlling infections.

About the PHSA+ Awards program

The PHSA+ Awards are part of an internal recognition program that celebrates teams and individuals who bring our PHSA values to life in the workplace. They go above and beyond to serve patients and families across B.C. Read about the other PHSA+ award recipients for 2022.
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