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2016 Highlights

Here is a sample of PHSA's latest achievements in health care for British Columbians:
  • PHSA is named one of Canada's Top 100 Employers for 2017 - for the fourth year in a row.
  • PHSA is named in Canada’s Top Employers for Young People 2016.
  • PHSA is named one of Canada’s Greenest Employers for 2016 for the fifth year in a row.
  • PHSA ranks fifth on Canada's Top 40 Research Hospitals list for 2016.
  • The BC Early Hearing Program remains the only program in Canada graded “excellent” in a national progress report on early hearing detection and intervention, distributed by the Canadian Infant Hearing Task Force.
  • BC Centre for Disease Control received the highest possible award from Accreditation Canada - Accredited with Exemplary Standing. BCCDC's "Do Bugs Need Drugs?" program also received a "Commendable Practice" award, and its GetCheckedOnline program received a "Leading Practice" award. 
  • BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services and Forensic Psychiatric Services received the "Accredited with Commendation" award from Accreditation Canada.
  • The Regional Trauma Program - which includes trauma centres in Vancouver Coastal Health, Providence Health Care and PHSA's Trauma Services - is the first in Canada to ever be awarded "Distinction in Trauma Services" by Accreditation Canada.
  • Prince William and Duchess Kate made two PHSA agency stops on their royal tour of BC: BC Children's Hospital/Kelty Mental Health, to discuss child and youth mental health issues, and BC Emergency Health Services, to discuss mental health among first responders.
  • The BC Drug Treatment Funding Program Team received recognition from Health Canada for stellar work on the Enhancing Treatment Systems Initiative. The team works collaboratively across programs and services to link prevention, health promotion and treatment initiatives to support trauma-informed, Indigenous culturally-informed, compassionate, inclusive and engaging practices.
  • BC Transplant has a record year, showing dramatic, six-year surge for deceased organ donation in British Columbia. BC has more than doubled its deceased donor rate in the last six years and surged well ahead of the national average, thanks to a concentrated effort on the part of health care staff in the province’s hospitals, in combination with ever-increasing public awareness and support for organ donation.
  • PHSA wins a record eight awards at the BC Health Care Awards, presented by the Health Employers’ Association of BC.
  • BC Transplant celebrates its one millionth registration in the province’s Organ Donor Registry. 
  • All University of British Columbia (UBC) medical students will be better equipped to care for Indigenous patients as a result of taking the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training program, which is now part of their required curriculum. The first of its kind in Canada, the San'yas Indigenous Cultural Safety Training was created by PHSA’s Indigenous Health program to improve cultural safety for Indigenous people cared for by non-Indigenous health care professionals. 
  • BC Children's Hospital, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and Northern Health are awarded the Premier's Partnership Award for their collaborative work on the Telehealth Outreach Psychiatry Service (TOPS). TOPS provides psychiatric consults to 16 communities in northern BC by connecting a psychiatrist located in Vancouver to a remote child and youth mental health team, via telehealth (videoconferencing) technology.
  • Six PHSA agencies and/or staff members were recognized at the 2017 Quality Awards, presented by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council Council.
  • The BC deceased organ donation rate is now 20.32 donors per million population— above the Canadian national rate of 18.2 donors per million (2015).
  • In 15 years, BC has gone from one double-lung transplant to 39. Fifteen years ago, there was only one double-lung transplant performed in BC. 
  • 28 heart transplants were done in 2016, nine more than in 2015.
  • Cardiac Service BC's HEARTis system is the first province-wide cardiac information system in Canada. It allows the tracking of a patient journey in a single system, for all current and future cardiac procedures, no matter where the patient is treated in BC.
  • Genome BC and PHSA jointly fund a genome sequencing project, called Rapidomics, focused on identifying genetic disorders in newborns at BC Women’s Hospital. Providing an accurate and rapid diagnosis to patients with these types of disorders remains a significant challenge as currently it can take years to reach a conclusion.
  • Researchers at BC Children’s Hospital and the UBC find that special proteins called chemokines help keep our bodies’ defenses in check by preventing the immune system from mistakenly harming healthy tissue. This discovery may lead to new treatments for type 1 diabetes. 
  • In 2015/2016, the number of researchers at PHSA increased to 770 (from 725 in 2014/2015). 
  • Based on evidence supported by researchers at the Women’s Health Research Institute and BC Cancer Agency, BC has updated its provincial cervical cancer screening policy to recommend that women between the ages of 25 to 69 get tested every three years instead of every two. Evidence-based screening policies have been shown to reduce women’s risk of cervical cancer by 70 per cent and testing women every three years instead of two years has been proven to be equally effective, while delivering valuable system savings.
  • A pioneer of personalized oncogenomics (POG), a clinical trial is currently underway for patients with incurable cancer to integrate genomic sequencing into diagnostic and treatment planning. POG is changing the way doctors and researchers think about the future of cancer care in that it treats cancers as a disease of genetic mutations, not according to where they originate in the body.
  • A new study led by scientists at the BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and the University of British Columbia (UBC) makes a breakthrough in understanding the origin and development of cancer that occurs in the uterus and ovary simultaneously, substantiating an approach to managing the disease practiced by doctors in British Columbia.
  • An international study involving BC Cancer Agency researchers discovers the genetic cause of a rare gastric condition that can lead to stomach cancer - three extremely rare genetic mutations that cause gastric adenocarcinoma and proximal polyposis of the stomach (GAPPS). The discovery means that, in future, individuals who have a family member with GAPPS will be able to have a DNA test to determine whether they will develop the condition and stomach cancer.   
  • Dr. Samuel Aparicio, Head of the BC Cancer Agency’s Department of Breast and Molecular Oncology and Canada Research Chair in Breast Cancer Research, published in world-leading, peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature for a study mapping the relationship between mutations and clinical outcomes in 2,500 women. This study highlights that patients bearing the same mutations can have quite different underlying disease biology and prognosis.
  • New multi-gene analysis panels, the OncoPanel and Myeloid Panel, are now available to oncologists and haematologists across British Columbia as provincial diagnostic tools, meaning a more personalized approach to treatment for thousands of eligible cancer patients. Tests of this kind are only available at the top few cancer care institutions in the world.
  • Dr. Edmund Chan, director of the Allergy Clinic at BC Children's Hospital, was the only Canadian on an international panel that revised new guidelines for peanut consumption and peanut allergy risk in infants in 2016.
  • Perinatal Services BC adds non-invasive prenatal testing to the Prenatal genetic Screening Program for pregnant women who may have an increased chance of carrying a baby with one of three specific genetic conditions.
  • Scientists at BC Children’s Hospital and UBC engineer immune cells to protect organs from transplant rejection. These cells could be given as a living drug to prevent attack to transplanted cells and organs.
  • BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project celebrates its Topping Off milestone, which signifies that the Teck Acute Care Centre’s structure is complete from foundation to roof.
  • Perinatal Services BC develops an online training module on healthy pregnancy weight gain for family physicians, obstetricians, nurse practitioners, midwives, and dietitians working in perinatal care.
  • The BC Emergency Health Services Infant Transport Team, one of the world’s premier paramedic-based critical care teams, marks 40 years of service in 2016. Based at BC Children’s Hospital, the team is part of the BCEHS Critical Care Program and collaborates with the medical staff at both BC Women’s and BC Children’s hospitals. 
  • BC Children's Hospital's Emergency Department is now an official site for take home naloxone kits, to help support the overdose crisis in BC.
  • BC Children’s Hospital researchers in the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital and the University of British Columbia discover an early warning sign of transplant rejection: a new study published in the journal Blood identified a protein that could diagnose chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGvHD), a serious, long-term complication that affects some patients after a blood and bone marrow transplant.
  • New research from the Michael Cuccione Childhood Cancer Research Program at BC Children’s Hospital provides insight into how infections early in life may reduce the risk of leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer.
  • BC team will co-lead Canada’s largest-ever effort to improve care for people with kidney disease. The initiative aims to reduce the number of people who need dialysis or organ transplants, or who develop related illnesses that are debilitating or deadly. 
    This five-year, $59-million initiative is Canada’s biggest investment in research to improve care for people with chronic kidney disease, which affects one in 10 Canadians, at a cost to the health care system of over $50 billion a year. 
  • Community paramedicine expands throughout British Columbia to 73 rural and remote communities.
  • The BC Early Hearing Program partners with Dr. Soren Gantt of BC Children’s Hospital/Child and Family Research Institute and BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre to pilot a program that screens high-risk newborns for congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection. CMV screening in newborns has never been done in BC before. The collaboration between the program, Dr. Gantt and his research team, and BC Women’s is the first of its kind in Canada.
  • PHSA and Ministry of Health announce the re-opening of an enhanced, specialized, residential treatment program at the Crossing at Keremeos facility for British Columbia youth and young adults with substance use disorders, scheduled for 2017.
  •, a mental health tool developed by Fraser Health and PHSA, is licensed by Alberta Health to expand content to Alberta youth. 
  • Perinatal Services BC launches a refreshed Pregnancy Passport in partnership with Ministry of Health, to help women have a healthy pregnancy, track their progress, and prepare for their baby.
  • The Disaster Psychosocial Program of Health Emergency Management BC is deployed to Fort McMurray in the wake of the wildfire – requested specifically by the province of Alberta.
  • The BC Cancer Agency’s new digital mammography vehicle starts its summer tour for women in Northern BC. It will be visiting more than 37 Northern communities including Kitimat, Mackenzie and Tumbler Ridge over the summer.
  • The Mobile Medical Unit is deployed to support overdose crisis on Vancouver's downtown eastside by Ministry of Health.
  • BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre host a totem pole unveiling ceremony in dedication to its new Indigenous Outdoor Sacred Healing Space. The totem pole characterizes a Woman Warrior adorned with a double-headed serpent that symbolizes protection to represent the Indigenous women and their families who receive care at BC Women’s. The new sacred space signifies the ongoing work of Indigenous cultural safety at BC Women’s Hospital.
  • BC Cancer Agency's Late Effects, Assessment and Follow-up (LEAF) Clinic has opened and is now accepting patients.
  • BCCDC piloted the BC Take Home Naloxone program, which trains people who use drugs, their friends and family members, and service providers to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose using the kit containing naloxone. Approximately 3,765 kits have been reported to reverse an overdose.
  • One third of patients in BC are on independent home dialysis - the highest rate in Canada. BCRA’s independent home dialysis program, the first in North America in its scope, leads to better health outcomes, improved quality of life for patients and fewer visits to hospitals.
  • Diane Hart of BC Children’s Hospital wins the Distinguished Service Award of the Child Life Council. This is the highest award presented by the Child Life Council Board of Directors, recognizing exceptional members for outstanding contributions to the field of child life.
  • BC Cancer Agency has three scientists named to Thompson Reuter’s World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds: Dr. Randy Gascoyne, research director, Centre for Lymphoid Research; Dr. Joseph M. Connors, clinical director, Centre for Lymphoid Research and Dr. Marco Marra, director of Canada’s Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and Distinguished Scientist. 
  • Three PHSA physicians are invested into the Order of Canada, one of our country’s highest civilian honours. Dr Dorothy Shaw, vice president, Medical Affairs at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre, is appointed as an Officer, and Dr. Jan Christilaw, BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre and Dr. Michael Klein, BC Children’s Hospital and the Child and Family Research Institute, as Members. Chief Clarence Louie, a member of PHSA's Board of Directors, was also appointed as a Member. 
  • Dr. Samuel Aparicio of the BC Cancer Agency is appointed as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada.
  • Dr. Jennifer Gardy of the BC Centre for Disease Control is one of ten leading international scientists selected by the Gates Foundation to participate in a daylong session with Bill and Melinda Gates, focused on next-generation sequencing and the impact it can have on global human health.
  • Dr. Michael Hayden, an investigator at BC Children's Hospital, will be inducted to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to health sciences.
  • Dr. Monika Naus of the BC Centre for Disease Control receives the Dr. John Waters Memorial Award at the Canadian Immunization Conference.  
SOURCE: 2016 Highlights ( )
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