Senior leaders provide input into EDI and wellness activities

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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 March meeting included updates about medical staff EDI and wellness initiatives.

Medical Staff Equity, Diversity and Inclusion update

EDI Regional Medical Director Dr. Joy Masuhara reviewed the committee’s recent activities.

The regional lactation project is well underway, with spaces opened or soon to open at VGH, UBC Hospital, GF Strong, and Three Bridges Community Health Centre, as well as Lions Gate Hospital and Richmond Hospital. VPSA will host an open house celebration for the VGH lactation pod possibly during the first week of April. An evaluation process is in place; key-card access is required, which means use can be audited. Dr. Masuhara asked the group for suggestions of how to get the word out; there is a plan in place, but she welcomed ideas to sustain awareness.

There was difficulty in getting response to the Medical Staff Disability Project survey; 21 people completed that and there were five one-on-one interviews. Dr. Masuhara is meeting with the VCH Accessibility Strategy engagement team and these findings will help inform the strategy.

Under education and awareness, the committee recently celebrated International Women’s Day with a panel discussion with women surgeons as well as working with VCH Communications to highlight women medical staff. There was very good turnout to an invitation-only EDI data workshop. The committee is working with VCH’s anti-racism team for an event during Anti-Racism Month. The committee’s discussion and affinity groups continue to meet; there is good traction and Dr. Masuhara expressed her hope for that momentum to continue.

The EDI Journal Club+ has met three times so far. VPSA’s project funding for WISE (Women in Surgery in ENT) is ending and this group will merge with the EDI Journal Club+.

The 2.0 version of the mentorship program is coming to a successful close. Version 3.0 will launch in the next fiscal year and will continue to improve and expand. Others attending the meeting asked if the mentorship handbook could be shared as both a retention and recruitment tool as well as more widely with rural MSAs that are interested in developing mentorship opportunities.

VPSA physician wellness initiatives update

Dr. Fahreen Dossa reminded attendees that VPSA conducts wellness activities under two groups: the VA/VC Physician Wellness Steering Committee and the VPSA Community Building and Wellness Task Group.

A top priority for the committee continues to be the deployment of a VCH-wide medical staff wellness survey. Its results will allow for further data-driven interventions and funding. There are several challenges to the survey’s implementation including coordinating among VCH’s various communities of care. The goal is to have a higher response rate than the 2020 wellness survey; however, response rates for similar questionnaires have been declining, largely due to survey fatigue. Dr. Dossa asked for input to address these challenges. Timing wise, there will be a VCH-wide self-identification work experience survey in the fall, so it would be best to avoid then. There was discussion about which email addresses are available to use, with the understanding that Medical Affairs has guaranteed very restrictive access to certain email addresses. There was also concern that many surveys do not result in change and therefore there is a sense of why bother. Wellness is not a current VCH pillar; there was discussion about whether this has an impact on survey results.

Dr. Dossa also highlighted the work being achieved through department and division wellness funding and the challenge of how to improve the work environment and wellness by removing “pebbles in shoes.” She talked about the success of VPSA-funded commensality groups that have been shown to reduce burnout, decrease depression, and improve job satisfaction. Thirty-one groups have funding with 233 physicians taking part. One of the challenges is that approximately a quarter of the groups have never met and fewer than 25 per cent have used their full funding.

Dr. Dossa concluded her presentation with a note about the launch of VPSA’s Kudos Project.

Other business

VMDAS/VPSA President Dr. Ka Wai Cheung raised the new funding available to VPSA for recruitment and retention initiatives. Departments and divisions have been surveyed regarding what they already have for retention and recruitment and where funding assistance would help most.

Following up on issues raised at the February meeting, VCH Director, Strategy Deployment Lori Benning confirmed that gift cards are not an option for VCH long service awards because of tax implications. She will get a list of what is possible. VC Regional Medical Director Michael Norbury confirmed that the Code Silver module rollout during the pandemic was downplayed for trauma-related reasons. Lori Benning will follow up to see if there can be further promotion so more people can be aware of this violence prevention and mitigation process.

Meeting attendees confirmed the addition of Laura Mc Evoy to the group. She was the CST project lead and has been brought on as a provider engagement lead/manager in Vancouver Acute.

Next meeting

The group next meets on April 11. 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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