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2019 Highlights

Here is a sample of PHSA's latest achievements in health care for British Columbians:
  • ‎BC Children's Hospital used innovative Design Thinking Methodology to reimagine and co-design a pre-admission process to prepare children and family for surgery. This approach was recognized as a "Leading Practice" by the Health Standards Organization, a non-profit affiliate of Accreditation Canada. 

  • BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre's Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Model of Care: Mother Baby Care was accepted as a “Leading Practice” by the Health Standards Organization (HSO), a non-profit affiliate of Accreditation Canada.  

  • BC Cancer achieved Accredited with Exemplary standing status by Accreditation Canada. This designation is the highest award available through the hospital accreditation program.

  • PHSA's Integrated Protection Services ranked fourth out of all of North America’s health care security programs in Security Magazine’s 2018 Security 500 listing, up from 7th place in 2017.

  • The Correctional Health Services Transition project, led by BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, was awarded with the Correctional Healthcare Award by the International Corrections and Prisons Association, positioning B.C. as a national leader in correctional health reform.

  • PHSA Communications, in partnership with HR talent acquisition, earned three national awards from the International Association of Business Communicators for its unique I am your nurse video campaign which captured the voices and experiences of nurse across our organization and the province for Nursing Week. I am your nurse is PHSA’s most popular Facebook post ever, reaching 1.2 million people.

  • ‎Thanks to the incredible gift of organ donation, 502 British Columbians received a transplant in 2018, setting a new record for the total number of transplants in a calendar year.

  • Terri-Lou Woods, coordinator with Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC), was recently awarded the Governor General’s Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

  • BC Emergency Health Services staff are featured in a 10-part Knowledge Network documentary series called Paramedics: Life on the Line, beginning April 2019. Paramedics: Life on the Line won a Leo Award for Best Documentary Series.

  • Two PHSA program areas were recognized with 2020 Quality Awards this year: 
    • Health Emergency Management BC's Provincial Overdose Mobile Response Team won in the Staying Healthy category.
    • BC Children's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit's Wishing Well program was a runner-up in the Coping with End of Life category.

  • PHSA people and programs won six BC Health Care Awards in 2019. Since the awards’ inception in 2007, PHSA has accumulated over 40 accolades. Winners this year included:
    • Denise Bradshaw, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre: Provincial Health Care Hero and Health Care Hero Gold Apple – PHSA (two awards)
    • Dr. Michael Flesher, Mobile Medical Unit: Top Innovation – Gold Apple for the Applied Disaster Medicine Course
    • Dr. David Landsberg, BC Transplant: Collaborative Solutions – Award of Merit for Transplant First
    • Lance Stephenson and Brad Cameron, BC Emergency Health Services: Gold Apple - Collaborative Solutions for the Harbour Community Health and Wellness Centre
    • Jaimini Thakore, Trauma Services BC: Top Innovation – Award of Merit for the Trauma Dashboard

  • With external research funding of more than $134 million, PHSA continues to be one of Canada’s largest academic health science organizations. 

  • After months of hard work and careful planning, on Sunday, December 8, at 6:00 a.m., the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction became the first PHSA site to start using CST Cerner to provide client care.

  • The evidence is in: online sexually transmitted infection testing services like GetCheckedOnline, offered by the BC Centre for Disease Control, work. Research shows that online testing removes some of the barriers that prevent people from getting testing and improves the user experience by providing users more comfort and control over the process. More than 12,000 tests have been completed since it launched in 2014, and 43 per cent of people have used it for testing more than once.

  • Breaking Free Online, a new online program at the Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addiction, is helping clients with substance use challenges stay on their recovery journeys. The online substance use relapse prevention program allows clients to develop skills and access key resources that will continue to be available to them as they transition out of Burnaby Centre and back to their homes. 

  • New research led by BC Centre for Disease Control suggests that the rapid expansion of harm reduction services in response to B.C.’s overdose crisis prevented more than 3,000 possible overdose deaths during a 20-month period.

  • PHSA's research community received more than $5.8 million in new grants through the highly competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Project Grant Spring 2019 competition. Projects received funding for innovation and potential to advance child health research and care.

  • Seventeen of the 59 recipients of this year's Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and Research Trainee awards are affiliated with PHSA and its programs.

  • Sometimes less is more, or at least the same. Researchers at BC Children’s Hospital, BC Women's Hospital + Health Centre and the University of British Columbia announced findings in a first-of-its-kind study that support the World Health Organization’s recommendation for two-dose HPV vaccine schedules in children. 
  • ‎Dr. Chris Maxwell and Dr. Philipp Lange scientists at the University of British Columbia and BC Children’s Hospital, are the first in Canada to use a new test for pediatric tumour analysis that may one day guide personalized treatments for children with cancer.

  • Psychiatrist Dr. Brad Locke runs mindfulness groups alongside his father, Dr. Jake Locke, at BC Children's Hospital, together facilitating the only known research-based mindfulness workshops for new dads

  • Allergy Check, a new assessment tool that guides users through the likelihood of having a food allergy with just a few clicks, has launched as an app on allergycheck.ca. The app, created by investigators at the University of British Columbia and the Digital Lab at BC Children’s Hospital is intended to help patients and parents understand whether specific symptoms may be caused by a food allergy and whether further advice from an allergist is recommended.

  • BC Children’s opened a 9th and partial 10th operating room to reduce waitlists for both Catch Up and Keep Up. BC Children's also successfully implemented the OR Booking Redesign (ORBR) project, which focused on improving processes related to the scheduling of waitlisted surgeries. This project included providing a single point of contact and notifications to patients during their wait for surgery.

  • BC Children’s increased the number of MRIs performed in 2018/19 from the previous year by more than 37 per cent to reduce wait times and help meet demand. In 2018/19, BC Children’s conducted 6,883 MRIs, providing 2,377 expansions exams over baseline funding. Wait times were reduced for all priority levels.

  • BC Children’s successfully launched the Compass Program to support care of children and youth with mental health and substance use challenges across the province. Compass provides advice to providers by phone, via telehealth or by connecting them with online resources or training and education closer to home, mitigating transfer to Vancouver for care. To date, more than 1,000 cases have been supported remotely and 800 community care providers have enrolled.

  • The BC Early Hearing Program celebrated screening 500,000 babies in the province for hearing loss this November.

  • BC Children's performed its 300th kidney transplant this year.

  • Researchers from BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the University of British Columbia made the cover of the December issue of Gastroenterology with their study showing how specific specialized immune cells could dampen the body's immune response and help repair the gut as a potential therapy for patients with inflammatory bowel disorders (IBD), which affects more than 7,000 Canadian children.
  • ‎BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services has five new community transitions teams in place across B.C. to help prevent overdose and get clients who have recently released from correctional centres on a healthier, more meaningful path.

  • Interior Health’s Cardiac Program, in collaboration with Cardiac Services BC, began offering TAVI (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation) procedures in September 2018, with plans for 30 procedures per year for patients in the Southern Interior region of B.C.

  • The BC Centre for Disease Control delivered 1.5 million doses of influenza vaccine across the province in seven weeks and ahead of schedule for the 2018/19 flu season to enable rapid immunization.

  • After a school-based measles outbreak in the Lower Mainland, the Province of B.C. launched a measles vaccine catch-up campaign to immunize school-aged who have not previously been immunized or who have not received their second dose of vaccine. The BC Centre for Disease Control is working in close partnership with the Ministry of Health to deliver the campaign and has secured measles-containing vaccines to distribute around the province for health authorities to use. BCCDC has sourced and distributed more than 204,000 doses of measles containing vaccine across the province since the beginning of 2019.

  • Cochlear Implants Services at BC Children’s Hospital launched the first virtual care clinic in Canada for patients and families in Prince George in June 2019.

  • People living on Vancouver Island will have improved cancer care with a new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at BC Cancer - Victoria. Previously, Vancouver Island cancer patients had to travel to the Lower Mainland to receive their cancer-related PET/CT scans. Once fully operational, the new PET/CT scanner is expected to provide over 2,200 scans per year.

  • To address the opioid overdose crisis in B.C., BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services is expanding services for clients with opioid use disorders at all six regional forensic psychiatry clinics. Clients can see a physician specializing in addictions medicine, as well as counsellors or outreach workers who will provide trauma-informed substance use and mental health counselling services.

  • A palliative care training program for paramedics was introduced in Kamloops this summer, giving them the option of caring for a patient and not having to transport to hospital.

  • The Surgical Services teams at BC Children’s, BC Women’s and BC Cancer worked collaboratively to address waitlists and optimize surgical services resources. The teams exceeded last year’s target by 14 per cent, performing more than 1,300 surgeries – leading to better access and faster care.

  • The Gender Surgery Program of B.C. opened at Vancouver General Hospital in September 2019 with client consults beginning in October. The opening of this clinic addresses an unmet need identified in PHSA’s Trans Care Plan and will ensure this population receives the full range of care in B.C.

  • PHSA has distributed more than 175,000 life-saving naloxone kits across the province through the Take Home Naloxone program. At least 50,000 kits have been used to reverse opioid overdoses. 

  • BC Transplant and Vancouver Coastal Health’s Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion program, a partnership with the talented care team at Vancouver General Hospital, uses technology to allow donor lungs to live outside the body for up to 12 hours. In 2018, 50 double-lung transplants were performed in B.C. and with the Ex Vivo program in place, that number is expected to increase to 60.  

  • Saving time, reducing paperwork and creating a more seamless transfer of health records – BC Emergency Health Services swapped paper reports for digital records for all patients this year. Paramedics are now using laptops, customized with a Canadian-developed software called Siren, to document patient information digitally, in near-real time.
  • BC Cancer's Dr. Robert Holt has received Grand Challenge funding from Cancer Research UK, the most ambitious cancer research grant in the world – a series of multi-million dollar awards seeking international, multidisciplinary teams willing to take on the toughest challenges in cancer. Dr. Holt will be studying the role microbiomes play in gastrointestinal cancer.

  • Dr. Connie Eaves, distinguished scientist at BC Cancer’s Terry Fox Laboratory, received the 2019 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award. The Canada Gairdner Awards recognize the world’s most creative and accomplished biomedical scientists who are advancing humanity and the world. Dr. Eaves has worked at BC Cancer for 45 years, making her the organization's longest-serving employee. She was also inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and included as one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year as an “all-around awesome woman who helped put Canada on the world stage.” 

  • BC Cancer distinguished scientist Dr. Poul Sorensen and clinical cancer geneticist Dr. David Huntsman have been named as Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, the highest honour an academic can achieve in Canada.

  • Dr. Jehannine Austin, the executive director of BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services’ Research Institute, received the 2019 Dr. Samarthji Lal Award for Mental Health Research for her work in genetic counselling. The annual award recognizes a researcher working in a Canadian institution in the area of mental health, specifically with a focus on major mental disorders.

  • BC Cancer pharmacist, Dr. Mario de Lemos, received the prestigious fellowship of the Canadian Association of Pharmacyin Oncology. He is one of only seven other phamarcists in Canada to be awarded this distinction.

  • BC Children's Dr. Bahaa Abu Raya was awarded a prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship for his research into whooping cough immunization in pregnancy that helped change Canada’s national immunization guidelines on when expectant mothers should get a booster shot.

  • Women’s Health Research Institute investigator, Dr. Jerilynn Prior, was awarded the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research’s 2019 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize, which is given annually to a B.C.-based clinician scientist whose work in health research is internationally recognized and has had a significant impact on advancing research to improve health and the health system in B.C. and globally. Dr. Prior has spent her career studying women’s menstrual cycles, menopause, perimenopause and osteoporosis.

  • Fifteen researchers from BC Cancer were named in the annual Highly Cited Researchers list from Clarivate Analytics, which identifies researchers and academics who have demonstrated significant influence in their fields.

  • Dr. Marco Marra will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2020. Dr. Marra is one of the world’s most cited scientists in his field with more than 400 scientific publications and under his leadership, BC Cancer’s Personalized Oncogenomics (POG) program was one of the first applications of whole genome sequencing in a clinical setting.

  • Cancer patients on Vancouver Island can stay close to home with a new state-of-the-art PET/CT scanner suite at BC Cancer – Victoria. Previously, patients had to travel to the Lower Mainland to receive their cancer-related PET/CT scans.
  • BC Cancer, the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council and First Nations Health Authority co-produced and released The Journey Mapping in Cancer Care Report. Involving patients, families and health providers, the report sets out to inform cancer care throughout the entire care experience and improve transitions for patients receiving care treatment in B.C.

  • A BC Cancer-led clinical trial demonstrated a 33 per cent reduction in the risk of prostate cancer death. Results from a clinical trial called the TITAN study examined the use of a new type of hormone-reducing medication in treating prostate cancer.

  • A new study co-led by BC Cancer researchers has found that the use of Stereotactic Ablative Radiotherapy (SABR) technology may improve survival rates for patients with limited metastatic cancer.

  • A study led by BC Cancer researchers which looked into the genetic profiles of advanced pancreatic cancers has led to a unique treatment and is offering reason to be hopeful with a cancer that is hard to diagnose and treat effectively.

  • Initial results of an ongoing BC Cancer clinical trial have delivered some incredible results in the pursuit of better treating recurrent prostate cancer. These results have lead physicians to change cancer management plans in 87 per cent of cases.

  • Dr. Poul Sorensen, along with Drs. Karen Gelmon, Brad Nelson, Samuel Aparicio, Gregg Morin, and Shoukat Dedhar, were invited to be part of a national group of cancer care researchers and clinicians tasked to investigate a new way to help stop the spread of breast cancer, forming a Canadian metastatic cancer "Dream Team."


SOURCE: 2019 Highlights ( )
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