A continued focus on our next strategic plan: VCH leaders provide input

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VPSA/VMDAS board and staff meet regularly with VCH senior leaders to develop a collaborative relationship between medical staff and the health authority. The January meeting continued December’s focus on VPSA’s new strategic plan. There was also an update on the lactation project as well as on the ongoing work of our EPIC Task Group.

Input into VPSA’s strategic plan

Doctors of BC Engagement Partner Russell Stead led the discussion about the development of the new plan. He sought input from VCH leaders regarding future opportunities for showcasing project accomplishments as well as developing a collective voice in VCH strategic planning.

VPSA wants to showcase its successes more often and more effectively, particularly projects that have been initiated with VPSA funding and that have made significant differences to how we care for our patients. Highlighting these projects encourages other physicians to consider applying for support.

One difficulty VPSA has encountered is where to direct physicians for assistance early on in their project. Another is the challenge of completing quality improvement projects within the funding’s timeline.

VCH Director, Strategy Deployment, Lori Benning offered to assist with determining who physicians should contact at VA and VC for initial project assistance. She is in touch with many departments that could potentially lean in.

Other suggestions included showcasing projects that support both VCH and VPSA pillars as a way of demonstrating how closely aligned the two organizations are and reaching out to the Coastal and Richmond Communities of Care to highlight projects that could act as inspiration to VA and VC physicians.

VPSA also expressed interest in understanding how the VCH strategic plan is developed and ways to inform it.

President & CEO Vivian Eliopoulos described the process, which includes engaging with the board of directors as well as holding a symposium with the health authority’s senior leaders. VCH looks to the local medical advisory committees to connect with the people they represent to provide their feedback. (The VMDAS/VPSA president sits on both the Vancouver Medical Advisory Committee (VMAC) and the Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee (HAMAC) and uses these venues for engagement.) Vivian also emphasized that VCH operates under a strategic mandate that comes from the provincial government. That provides a general framework, with VCH able to develop pillars that reflect the region’s population and needs. Feedback from the board and leadership helps to determine what initiatives are embedded under the different pillars.

Lactation initiative update

Regional Leader of Physician Engagement and Program Development Salima Noormohamed described the lactation initiative as an example of a small but mighty project that has brought about meaningful change thanks to medical staff engagement.

A working group led by VCH Regional Director Medical for DEI Dr. Joy Masuhara and VPSA Past President Dr. Alison Harris was able to secure $117,000 in funding from the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation.

The first site to open was at Three Bridges Community Health Centre in October, where there were physicians about to return from mat leave. A dedicated room in the Leon Blackmore Pavilion at VGH is expected to be operational by March 1. A Mamava pod is on order for the ground floor at UBC Hospital; its anticipated operational date is mid-March. A room on the main floor of GF Strong has also been identified, with the expectation that it will open in April or May.

Lactation facilities are also planned for Richmond and Lions Gate hospitals with funding support from their hospital foundations.

Salima noted that signage will be developed and that key card access will allow VCH to evaluate how well used the rooms are.

EPIC Task Group update

Dr. Kendall Ho and iCON Program Manager Betsy Leimbigler provided updates on the work of the Engaging Physicians in Indigenous Cultural Safety (EPIC) Task Group. The committee’s goal is to advance Indigenous cultural safety in acute and primary care settings.

iCON-VCH Indigenous Health Rounds (IHRs) continue to be effective in bringing Indigenous voices to health-care professionals for knowledge sharing, dialogue, and discussing ways to advance culturally safe care for Indigenous patients and families. UBC Continuing Professional Development credits are offered to physicians attending IHRs. The task group has co-developed summary resources from past IHRs and an accessible repository of past recordings is available for on-demand learning. The group has also supported VCH and the director of Indigenous cultural safety in the development of an educational online course.

An Indigenous artist has been engaged to create infographics reflecting the learnings of the IHRs. EPIC plans to develop an interactive, reflective guide based on the IHR findings to support physician learning and professional development. The group is also collaborating with the South Island Division of Family Practice and the Provincial Health Services Authority to facilitate a pro-D session on traditional practitioners for physicians.

VPSA President Dr. Ka Wai Cheung related that she has heard of an Island Health initiative whereby Indigenous people walk through hospitals and make recommendations on how to make the facilities feel culturally safe and welcoming. VCH President Vivian Eliopoulos added that the health authority has an Elders in Residence program and suggested that the team be asked to think about a similar project here.

Next meeting

The group next meets on February 8. If you have an item you wish to be brought forward at these meetings, please contact VPSA Operations Director Andrew Pinfold.  

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