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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.

  • ‎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.

  • 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

  • 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.
  • ‎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 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.
  • ‎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.
  • 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. 

  • 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.

SOURCE: 2019 Highlights ( )
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