Physician wellness and planetary health the focus of July VPSA/VCH leaders meeting

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VPSA board and staff meet monthly with VCH senior leaders. The July meeting began with kudos to those involved with organizing the recent Vancouver Community appreciation evening, which was well received by those who took part. The meeting then moved to its primary focuses: physician wellness and planetary health.

VA/VC Physician Wellness Steering Committee update

VCH Executive Director, Physician Engagement and Contract Strategies Michael Ducie and committee co-chair Dr. Fahreen Dossa provided an overview of the group’s progress.

The committee is currently supporting nine departments/divisions with funding to address physician burnout and fulfillment. Committee members and VPSA staff monitor the progress of these groups and have leveraged support from the VCH People Team with coaching, focus group facilitation, and change management. A Wellness Champions Working Group has been established and meets quarterly. This allows the members to share their learnings with other departments/divisions.

The committee had intended to follow up its fall 2020 wellness survey of VA and VC physicians with another survey this fall. However, with the deployment of CST, the wellness survey will be delayed until spring 2023. We can expect there will be some specific questions about CST and its impact on physicians to be included in this survey.

Committee members are engaging with other communities of care within VCH to collaborate on wellness initiatives and are looking forward to sharing their experiences provincially as part of a new Doctors of BC wellness network. We can also expect the committee to develop a good working relationship with the VCH Regional Medical Director for Wellness once this position is filled.

VA/VC Medical Staff Planetary Health Committee

This is a new joint committee of the VPSA and VCH. Co-chair Dr. Rashmi Chadha updated the group on its purpose: to engage medical staff in advancing efforts to improve planetary health. The committee will be guided by the framework for sustainable health-care systems developed by Reginal Medical Director of Planetary Health Dr. Andrea MacNeill.

Health care is responsible for four per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. As such, the committee has an ambitious list of objectives:

  • Provide education on planetary health to medical staff at a departmental level.
  • Empower medical staff to become leaders on planetary health at a department level by means of:
    • Planetary-health-based events to promote the concept and foster discussion and action
    • Weekly presence in the VPSA newsletter to members
    • Collaborative work with other VPSA committees that have overlap
    • Funding department/division level interventions seeking to improve planetary health
  • Support and connect physicians with QI initiatives that can lead to health-systems change.
  • Develop strategies to support and promote planetary-health initiatives within VCH’s VA and VC communities.
  • Support VCH’s own planetary-health initiatives in collaboration with VCH’s regional medical director for planetary health.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of the VA/VC Planetary Health Committee in achieving its goals.
  • Support Greencare initiatives from the medical staff perspective.
  • Identify opportunities to partner with external stakeholders to support the promotion of planetary-health initiatives.
  • Develop a budget to support its mandate for consideration and approval by the VPSA executive.
  • Allocate funding to groups.

The committee will be looking for medical staff representation from Vancouver Acute, Vancouver Community, Public Health, and Infection Control. There will be ad hoc members from other clinical areas as well as representatives from VPSA, VCH senior management, VCH’s Planetary Health Department, and BC Greencare.

Dr. Chadha presented some examples of key initiatives the committee will work on along with information on its 2022/23 budget.

The committee’s terms of reference will be finalized over the summer and expects to seek expressions of interest to join it in September, after which the process of member selection will take place. The committee is hoping to meet for the first time in October/November, depending on the deployment of CST.

Next meeting

The next meeting of the VPSA-SLT will take place on August 11. Leaders will discuss issues regarding the upcoming implementation of CST, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion (including the newly launched VCH anti-racism strategy), and common actions we can take to address Indigenous health.

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