Over 100 VMDAS members gathered online on March 7 for our most recent quarterly meeting. President Dr. Alison Harris welcomed members as well as the evening’s guests: Doctors of BC President Dr. Ramneek Dosanjh; VCH DEI Committee members Drs. Lynn Straatman and Joy Masuhara; and Vancouver Acute Senior Medical Director Dr. Vinay Dhingra. The minutes from the meeting are available here.
Doctors of BC update
Dr. Dosanjh assumed the presidency of the DoBC on January 1, 2022. As the second female president of colour and the first South Asian female president in the organization’s history, she understands the need to prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Other priorities for the DoBC board during her one-year term include:
- A successful negotiation of the Physician Master Agreement
- Developing a post-pandemic recovery plan
- Building stronger relationships with doctors and our sections and societies
“It’s a privilege to be your president today,” said Dr. Dosanjh. “We’re all feeling the effects of COVID-19. We’re exhausted and burnt out from giving it our all under trying and difficult circumstances. We need to be devoted to our own health and wellness too. We need to embrace the challenge as this can lead to innovation and positive change. We can use this pandemic experience to drive advocacy and transformational change.”
Dr. Dosanjh expects negotiations for the new Physician Master Agreement to be challenging. Bargaining began in January and is under a reporting blackout until it concludes. However, she did comment that Doctors of BC has a strong negotiation mandate and she hopes to see more supports to address violence in the workplace and psychological safety.
“Doctors are the leaders that we have always looked up to,” concluded Dr. Dosanjh. “I look forward to navigating these uncertain times and hope you will reach out to me anytime you have a comment, suggestion, or question. We can do this together.”
VCH Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee update
Drs. Lynn Straatman and Joy Masuhara gave an overview of the committee’s work and updated members on its plans. You can read more about their report here. The committee was formed in 2019 and has made significant inroads into improving DEI issues at VCH. Over 45 physicians from Vancouver Acute, Vancouver Community, Richmond, and Coastal have been or are active members of the committee and its working groups.
“The DEI Committee’s accomplishments over a short period of time are remarkable and VPSA is proud to be working closely with and promoting the group’s work,” said VPSA President Dr. Alison Harris. “Thank you to all the committee members for their commitment to making VCH a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community. Not only do our colleagues benefit from this, so too do our patients.”
Vancouver Acute Senior Medical Directors update
Dr. Vinay Dhingra addressed the meeting on behalf of himself and his co-director Dr. Ladan Sadrehashemi. He acknowledged the work of VCH committees that have been run in partnership with VPSA including a new committee that is being formed to address onboarding.
“How we bring physicians on and how we sustain them has a lot to do with how well they settle into our organization,” he said. “VPSA has been at the forefront of welcoming our new physicians and we are working closely with them on rolling out new orientation sessions.”
Dr. Dhingra also touched on the impact of the pandemic and, in particular, the effect the fourth wave has had.
“We knew it would affect us, but we didn’t know its overall impact. Despite a population with a 90 per cent vaccination rate, our hospitalization rates earlier this year completely eclipsed the other waves. That really taxed our system. We are grateful to the many medical staff who answered our call for action. There was an amazing output from the physician community to help out and we really came together as a community.”
The implementation of CST was also on Dr. Dhingra’s mind.
“Our current system was designed, developed, built, and introduced in the 1980s and cannot support all our current needs. The vendor no longer supports it, and it is long past it’s best before date. That’s a high risk for our organization. It will be a challenging transition, but it is absolutely imperative. The real crux will come with training and implementation. It will likely be three to four months before we are comfortable using CST, however, most users tell me they would never go back to the old system.”
VPSA is currently recruiting members for the CST Task Group. More information on this opportunity to contribute to its success can be found here.
Dr. Dhingra ended his presentation on a happy note. For the second year in a row, VGH has made Newsweek’s list of the world’s best hospitals and is the only Canadian hospital west of Toronto to do so. Congratulations to all medical staff who contribute to this ranking.
Upcoming VMDAS events
- Next quarterly meeting: May 30
- Annual physician awards: September 12