VMDAS honours members with remarkable service

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There was a celebratory mood as VA and VC medical staff gathered September 18 in person and online to acknowledge members attaining service milestones as well as eight physicians who have made remarkable contributions to our communities of care.

“This event is one of the highlights of our calendar,” said VMDAS President Dr. Alison Harris as she welcomed attendees. “This year, we’ll hear from representatives of medical staff observing five, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and even 50 years of service. We will also introduce you to the members receiving academic awards along with their nominees. What they all have in common is their dedication to excellent patient care and their commitment to teamwork.”

Years of service

Nurse Practitioner Viviane Chan was the class speaker representing 126 members with five years of service. She spoke of her peers resilience and strength with several of their early years spanning the pandemic. She also gave a shout out to nurse practitioners, whose numbers have grown from about 30 when she started to approximately 120 now.

Dr. Heather Lindsay represented the 55 medical staff who have called VA/VC home for 10 years. She described her time with the Emergency Department as much more than a workplace; it has been a place where she has made lifelong friends. While no one could have anticipated a worldwide health crisis in this time, Dr. Lindsay noted that her class has been tested but are still here and are ready to move from being mentees to mentors.

Hospitalist Dr. Rod Tukker stood up for the 45 medical staff marking 15 years of service with the Vancouver Community of Care. He thanked everyone who makes this a great place to work, noting that we work best when we respect each other and what each person brings to the table. He encouraged colleagues who have hit their stride to find new ways to challenge themselves to make the organization stronger and better.

In a nod to AI, Dr. Raju Heran enlisted the assistance of ChatGPT for his remarks on behalf of the 49 medical staff who have called Vancouver Acute and Vancouver Community home for 20 years. Breaking from that speech, he noted that the organization has been a great place to spread your wings and do what really matters: look after people.

The number of VA/VC medical staff dropped to 16 at the 25-year mark, with Senior Medical Director Dr. Vinay Dhingra representing this cohort. He reminisced about house prices in 1998 (a whopping $500K for a home on the west side) and the Y2K fear that all computers would stop working on New Years Day 2000. He also recalled that teamwork wasn’t stressed as much when he started his career here; work was much more individualistic and getting a job was extremely competitive.

Dr. Kelly Mayson also took attendees on a quick trip down memory lane as she recalled 1993—the year she and 20 other medical staff joined VA/VC. Over the 30 years she has been with the organization, she has seen many changes including the work becoming more complex and diverse, and more physicians involved with quality improvement work.

Dr. Katherine Paton represented the 13 medical staff marking the 35-years-of-service milestone. She recalled the significant changes she and others have seen to VGH’s building footprint as well as the changes to processes including managing more outpatients. Over the years, the constant has been delivering excellent care in a respectful way. Dr. Paton noted that it is a great privilege to be teaching a new generation.

Dr. Victor Huckell, one of three medical staff celebrating 45 years of service, spoke on behalf of his “classmates” as well as the five members marking 40 years. He talked about the importance of institutional memory and the physical and cognitive attributes of “super agers.” Dr. Huckell thanked the groups’ partners, colleagues, the university, the hospitals, and patients for the opportunities to enter the “super” period of their careers.

As the sole member with 50 years of service under his belt, Dr. Monte Glanzberg took the spotlight. He recalled hospitals that have come and gone, reminisced about the days of free parking, and the changing role of the family physician. He thanked the organization for the opportunity to have many meaningful relationships with his colleagues.

2023 Academic Awards

Next up was the presentation of the prestigious academic awards. This year’s recipients are:

  • Bobby Miller Award for Excellence in Teaching: Dr. Amanda Hu
    Dr. Hu remarked that it is a privilege to teach the next generation and that the only constant is change.
  • Clinical Excellence Award: Dr. Wendy Yeomans
    Dr. Yeomans declared she was tickled pink and thrilled to have been recognized by her colleagues for this award. She noted she is the fourth woman to win in this category but expects many more women to follow in her footsteps.
  • Scientific Achievement Award: Dr. Jason Andrade
    Dr. Andrade thanked his remarkable colleagues, observing that research doesn’t happen in isolation. He encouraged everyone to help each other to do better.
  • The Larry Collins Award for Committee Service: Dr. Nadia Zalunardo
    Dr. Zalunardo’s work with VMAC has been significant and she was “honoured to be honoured” for the time she spent on the committee. She noted that we can only work well when we work together.
  • Bringing Clinical Renown to Vancouver Community of Care: Dr. John Mayo
    Dr. Mayo described the award as a massive honour and advised others to choose who they collaborate with wisely. “I’m an incredibly lucky guy,” he said, “to have worked with many tremendous people.”
  • Special Service Award: Dr. Jan Hayek
    Dr. Hayek was recognized for his work with Doctors Without Borders and other instances of significant service. He thanked his colleagues, remarking that he couldn’t do what he does without the division’s support.
  • Excellence in Early Career Award: Dr. Ryan Flannigan
    Dr. Flannigan thanked his colleagues for this honour and said that achievements are thanks to the community and that he has a great community. Nothing he has accomplished was started from scratch and he has leaned on many people for guidance.
  • Community Service Award: Dr. Nori MacGowan
    Dr. MacGowan commented that being recognized by your colleagues is the highest honour. She also thanked her family given how difficult it is to be a physician, a leader, and a mom. She thanked her partner and children for the great perspectives they bring to her work.

Read about the work of the 2023 Academic Award recipients.

Check out photos from the event.

A shout out also to all those who helped organize this year’s awards, including Precious Amaya, Brigitte Malana, Andrew Pinfold, Annapurna Chavali, and the VDMAS board members. Thank you!

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