President’s Update

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It’s been a tough year. We have faced unprecedented challenges both professionally and personally. I would like to thank each and every one of you for the sacrifices you have made and the commitment and dedication you have shown. The medical staff came together as we faced down the pandemic, with very good results. We all have high hopes for 2021. There is light at the end of the tunnel but remember to pace yourself as we near the end of this critical time.

I was pleased to see a good turnout for our recent VMDAS and VPSA AGMs. It was a chance to thank Drs. Alex Lee, Sophia Park (Wong), and Vivian Yin for their service as board members over the past year and a chance to welcome our new board members Drs. John Ridley (treasurer), Michael Nimmo (secretary), and Ka Wai Chung (member-at-large). A special thank you also to Dr. Alison Harris who will continue to serve as vice president, as well as to our past president, Dr. Simon Rabkin. We are also stronger for the work done by Dr. Joy Masuhara who serves as a non-voting member of the VPSA board.

We had the pleasure of hearing from VCH Board Chair Dr. Penny Ballem during our AGM. Dr. Ballem spoke passionately about the recently released government report about systemic racism in our health-care system and the importance of cultural safety training. She reminded us that we are leaders and role models and she encouraged us to reach out to Leslie Bonshor and her team at Aboriginal Health if we require assistance or resources. Dr. Ballem also touched on the sense of connection that has grown between VCH leadership and physicians during the pandemic and how she hopes that we will build on that long after COVID-19 is behind us.

For those who would like to hear Dr. Ballem’s presentation, it is available here (password: AGM2020*).

Year in Review

Over the past 12 months, your VMDAS board has represented the medical staff on the VGH and VCH Medical Affairs committees as well as to the Vancouver Acute executive team. We have and will continue to support operational and capital costs in the VGH Physician Hub for Engagement and Wellness. In September, VMDAS recognized medical staff celebrating long-term service milestones as well as those members who were nominated by their peers for our physician awards. Our Hall of Honour Committee has been working behind the scenes and we look forward to the next induction ceremony in 2021 once it is safe to gather.

On the VPSA front, we have worked to optimize physician engagement through such things as appreciation lunches at VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong, and at Vancouver Community sites. We developed a new format for our meetings with VCH’s senior leadership team and addressed such issues as racism, wellness, parking, and onboarding. We conducted wellness and diversity surveys of our members (preliminary results will be published soon), as well as another regarding the difficulty of parking at VGH during the pandemic. We hosted Dr. Tait Shanafelt for an evening discussion. In VPSA’s work to strengthen physician leadership, we collaborated with VCH’s Patient Experience and Risk Management Office to fund 16 physicians who took the train-the-trainer Communicating Unexpected Medical Outcomes course. And, to strengthen our physician community our projects task group accepted new applications for funding, we hosted several community building events, and coordinated a meet-and-greet event to welcome our newest colleagues.

We have endeavoured to support you as much as possible during the pandemic with joint VMDAS/VPSA measures. These included providing food to frontline staff, creating and curating the Slack platform, facilitating childcare, offering wellness opportunities, and negotiating special rates at local hotels for on-call staff. We were proud to present certificates recognizing frontline members as well as a Royal Canadian Mint COVID-19 recognition medal. And, for those members on call on Christmas day, we have arranged for food for you.

Whether you are new to your career or close to retiring, I encourage you to get involved by participating in our events. In the new year we will be looking to engage with the members to decide on our activities and strategy in the months and years ahead. We hope you will participate; we are stronger when we work together.

The very best to you and your families for the holidays.


Dr. Eric Yoshida, President
December 2020

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