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2018 Highlights

Here is a sample of PHSA's latest achievements in health care for British Columbians:
  • DrugCocktails.ca—a first-of- its-kind, interactive, confidential, online resource providing up-to-date, empirical facts about the effects and risks of mixing medications with substances use, was recognized as a Leading Practice by the Health Standards Organization in March 2018. This achievement acknowledges the online resource as a world-class, innovative, people-centred resource that has created positive change for youth and health care professionals. The website was designed, developed and launched in partnership with BC Children’s Hospital, BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, UBC Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, and University of Ottawa.
 

  • Women from across PHSA were honoured for their remarkable contributions to the community at the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. Winners include Dr. Gina Ogilvie from BC Women’s in the Research & Sciences category and Dr. Christine Loock from BC Children’s in the Health & Wellness category. Teri Nicholas from the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation was a winner in the Non-profit category. Also recognized were nominees Dr. Connie Eaves from BC Cancer, Dr. Roanne Preston from BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre and Linda Lupini, executive vice president of BC Emergency Health Services.

  • A number of PHSA programs/staff were honoured by the Health Employers Association of BC at the 2018 BC Health Care Awards for their work on innovative health models, collaborative problem-solving and outstanding individual achievements to patients, colleagues and the community. BC Cancer received a Gold Apple award in the category of Collaborative Solutions; the Positioning and Mobility Team at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children received a Gold Apple Dianna award in the Mah-Jones Award of Excellence in Person-Centred Care category; BC Emergency Health Services received an Award of Merit in the category of Collaborative Solutions; the PHSA Workforce Management Solutions team received an Award of Merit in the category of Top Innovation; Glenn Braithwaite, a district supervisor for BC Emergency Health Services, received a Gold Apple Award in the category of Health Care Hero for PHSA as well as the Provincial Health Care Hero award.  
 
  • Of the 15 genomics and precision health projects selected for $162 million in funding from the 2017 Large-Scale Applied Research Project (LSARP) competition, six projects are based in BC, with five projects being led by staff from BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and BC Cancer. Two studies operating out of Ontario and Quebec are co-led by PHSA researchers from BC Children's Hospital.

  • The BRRIDGE to Transplantation Initiative, a BC-wide program for rural, remote, and Indigenous communities to gain equitable access to kidney transplants, was awarded a $100,000 business case development grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The program is led by executive director of the BC Renal Agency, Dr. Adeera Levin and Dr. Jagbir Gill (UBC). 

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control, in partnership with the Institute of Applied Mathematics at the University of British Columbia, developed a mathematical model that can be used to estimate the effectiveness of different public-health interventions in preventing opioid overdose deaths by quantifying the number of overdose-related deaths in BC that were averted with use of naloxone kits. Using this model, a study published in The Lancet Public Health shows the rapid expansion of British Columbia’s Take Home Naloxone program significantly reduced the number of fentanyl-related overdose deaths in 2016.
  • BC Children’s Hospital investigator Dr. Matthias Görges and his colleagues have developed a prototype of a new tablet computer app called VitalPAD that’s designed to improve care for critically ill children in the pediatric ICU (PICU). To help clinicians in the PICU provide the best possible care, VitalPAD integrates readings from different medical devices on one display and gives health care workers tools to help them share information and communicate with each other. Researchers are now continuing to test the prototype in simulated situations. Once they’ve further refined the tool, they will start assessing its use in real clinical settings in the BC Children’s Hospital PICU.  
 

  • ‎BC Cancer Victoria researchers may open new avenues for the future treatment of lymphoma by working on a world-first approach to Adoptive T Cell Therapy. Led by Dr. Julie Nielsen, the innovative approach is called Oncogene-targeted T cell therapy, where patients are infused with T cells that recognize the very mutations that drive a cancerous tumour’s growth. Found in very low numbers in patients, they can be isolated from blood and expanded to very large numbers (tens of billions) in the lab. This approach is another step forward in providing a precise and powerful way to target cancer cells.

  • Dr. Xiaoyan Jiang, a distinguished scientist at BC Cancer, has recently uncovered protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) as a critical therapeutic target in drug-resistant blood cancers, particularly in blood cancer stem cells from chronic myeloid leukemia patients. PP2A is a ubiquitous enzyme that regulates multiple cell signaling networks important to cell growth, division and death. This new finding has recently been published in the journal Science Translation Medicine.

  • A new study by BC Cancer scientists is setting the stage for a better understanding of how and why patients respond to promising new immunotherapies for ovarian cancer. The study, Interfaces of malignant and immunologic clonal dynamics in ovarian cancer, is published in Cell. It used advanced molecular and computational techniques to analyze how tumour cells in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer — the most common and lethal subtype of epithelial ovarian cancers —escape attack from immune cells. 
  • New research will provide valuable information to families and clinicians as they work together to decide whether or not a child should have scoliosis surgery. A recent study led by BC Children’s Hospital investigator and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Firoz Miyanji shows that surgery to correct scoliosis, a sideways curvature of the spine, improves the quality of life of children with severe cerebral palsy (CP) and their caregivers. 
  • Children with hard-to-treat cancers will receive improved care through expanding clinical trials and accelerated development of leading-edge immunotherapy treatments through CureWorks. CureWorks is an international collaborative of leading academic children’s hospitals. In partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital-based CureWorks, BC Children’s Hospital researchers will further the science of a promising type of immunotherapy called chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, adding to the body of knowledge around this treatment, and developing expertise within the research institute and the hospital. The first CAR T-cell clinical trials will launch this fall at BC Children’s Hospital and will initially be available to children with certain types of leukemia that are no longer responding to conventional treatment.
  • BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) will now be able to reach more patients safely with night vision imaging technology aboard three of its air ambulance helicopters. The installation and necessary flight crew training is the result of an agreement reached last year between BCEHS and its primary helicopter service provider, Helijet International. A fourth BCEHS air ambulance helicopter is based in Kamloops, and will be equipped to provide night vision flight operations later this year.
  • Patients, their families and caregivers will be more empowered to make important decisions about their own cancer care and treatment with the opening of the BC Cancer Patient Family Centre in Abbotsford on May 31. Funded by the BC Cancer Foundation, the facility is a focal point for education and information on a wide range of cancer-related topics. Information workshops and group teaching opportunities will be possible, including group chemotherapy information sessions and video-link services to other regional centres for enhanced educational opportunities.
 
  • Senior scientist at BC Children’s Hospital Research Dr. Ruth Grunau has received the 2018 Jeffrey Lawson Award for Advocacy in Children’s Pain Relief from the American Pain Society in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the understanding and management of infant pain. At one time, many doctors believed that newborns couldn’t feel pain. Over the course of her career, Dr. Grunau has helped change this misconception and shown that pain early in life can have long-term effects on development, stress regulation and cognition in babies born prematurely. Her research has influenced health care policy and practices around the world by showing the importance of recognizing and treating pain in infants who require intensive medical care.

  • Dr. Connie Eaves, Distinguished Scientist in the Terry Fox Laboratory at BC Cancer, has been named winner of the International Society for Stem Cell Research Tobias Award. The Tobias Award Lecture, started in 2016, is supported by the Tobias Foundation, and recognizes original and promising basic hematology research and direct translational or clinical research related to cell therapy in hematological disorders. 

  • Dr. Johann Brink, Vice President of Medical Affairs for BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services , received the very prestigious Bruno Cormier Award, which is presented by Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. The award is given out at the Board's discretion to psychiatrists who have made significant contributions to forensic psychiatry in Canada.

  • Dr. Gina Ogilvie was honoured as Options for Sexual Health (OPT) 2018 Sexual Health Champion for her outstanding contributions in sexual health. She was recognized at OPT’s annual breakfast held during Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness week where various organizations promote awareness of sexual health. Dr. Ogilvie is the Women’s Health Research Institute Assistant Director and Senior Advisor of Research, and she is a Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV Related Diseases at UBC.

SOURCE: 2018 Highlights ( )
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