17 December 2021

17 People & Projects Have Received 2021 BC Quality Awards for Improving Quality of Care

Vancouver, BC – The BC Patient Safety & Quality Council has announced the 17 recipients of its 2021 BC Quality Awards, recognizing their accomplishments in improving the quality of health care for British Columbians.

The BC Quality Awards are presented annually by the Council, which provides system-wide leadership to support high-quality care for every person in the province. This includes leading networks of care providers who are improving quality in numerous clinical areas, bringing stakeholders together to share learnings and develop strategies for better care, working to ensure person- and family-centred care throughout the health system and developing resources and education programs so that anyone can lead change for better care. As well, since 2009, it has celebrated more than 100 outstanding people and projects from across British Columbia through its awards program.

“I congratulate the well-deserving winners of this year’s BC Quality Awards,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Health-care workers are tireless in their commitment to help people get better and they have gone even further during the pandemic. On behalf of the provincial government, I thank them for all they do to support public health care in BC.”

Individual award categories recognize an Everyday Champion, a Leader in Advancing the Patient Voice, a Leader in Quality and a Quality Culture Trailblazer. As well, five Excellence in Quality categories represent the areas of care: Optimizing the Early Years, Strengthening Health & Wellness, Returning to Health & Wellness, Living with Illness or Disability, and Coping with Transition from Life.

Together, this year’s winners and runners-up paint a vivid picture of what it means to provide high-quality care. They supported children to develop healthy behaviours, and made sure that patients with severe injuries are brought to the right place for their trauma care. They found a creative way to give rural dialysis patients a place to stay while learning how to manage their treatments at home, and influenced significant policy changes by advocating on behalf of patients and families.

As well, many of their accomplishments were achieved in the face of significant challenges during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Work they led during this time included switching the delivery of health services to virtual formats, developing new resources and education materials for health care providers and patients and engaging patients in research and evaluation related to COVID-19.

“The BC Quality Awards celebrate some of the most impactful work in our health care system, during a hard time for our health care system and our province,” said Christina Krause, Chief Executive Officer of the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. “This work, championed by innovative leaders, makes a lasting difference in the care and experiences of British Columbians and we’re proud to support the winners and their important work.”

Quick Facts

The BC Patient Safety & Quality Council receives its mandate from the Minister of Health to:

  • Bring system-wide leadership and co-ordination in advancing a culture of quality within the province;
  • Facilitate the building of capability and expertise for patient safety and quality in the BC health system;
  • Support health authorities and other health sector stakeholders in their continuing efforts to improve quality;
  • Improve health system transparency and accountability to patients and the public for the safety and quality of care provided in BC; and
  • Identify and promote local, regional and provincial opportunities for engaging the patient perspective in health care transformation.

Descriptions of BC Quality Award Winners and Runners-Up

Full summaries of the winners and runners-up can be found at https://www.bcpsqc.ca/quality-awards. Winners receive a $2,500 sponsorship to support or disseminate learning from their projects or to support ongoing learning and development and will be recognized in a ceremony at the Council’s Health Talks event on May 31, 2022.

Everyday Champion

Paul Winston
Physiatrist, Island Health
Patients with spasticity — a disabling condition where muscles are involuntarily contracted — often hit a plateau with conventional treatments. Paul Winston has made it his life’s mission to help those patients live better, by developing novel treatments and sharing them with providers around the world. Learn More

Runner-up: 10 out of every 100 people think they have an allergy to penicillin, but only one of those 10 people is right about that. Pediatric allergist Tiffany Wong is tackling this global issue through innovation, outreach and education — starting with her work at BC Children’s Hospital. Learn More

Leadership in Advancing the Patient Voice

Michelle Peltier
Patient & Family Engagement Advisor, BC Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
After her daughter was born preterm, Michelle Peltier became an advocate for person-centred support at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre. Learn More

Runner-up: Christine Wallsworth’s late husband had dementia, and she often saw that his voice was ignored. That drove her to become an advocate for patients and influence major policy changes at Providence Health Care and many other organizations. Learn More

Doug Cochrane Leadership in Quality

Harsh Hundal
Executive Medical Director, Physician Engagement & Resource Planning, Interior Health
In 2017, Interior Health had the lowest physician satisfaction scores of any health authority in BC. To address that crisis, Harsh Hundal started by building relationships, empowering leaders and cultivating a culture of trust — a strategy that has more than doubled physician satisfaction. Learn More

Runner-up: Women and people’s gynecologic and reproductive care needs are often poorly met by the health care system. Through her work at BC Women’s Hospital, Stephanie Rhone has created new models for providing better care for these patients, addressing both their physical and emotional needs. Learn More

Quality Culture Trailblazer

Beverley Pomeroy
Patient Engagement Specialist, BC SUPPORT Unit Fraser Centre
When Beverley Pomeroy joined the BC SUPPORT Unit Fraser Centre team just one month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they immediately identified a lack of resources to support researchers engaging with patient partners who’ve experienced trauma – and then set out to change that. Learn More

Runner-up: Glenn McRae knew there was an opportunity to improve Interior Health’s person- and family-centred care culture. He tackled the issue head-on by giving patient and public partners a voice. Learn More

Optimizing the Early Years

Appetite to Play
Child Health BC
After hearing concerns about children’s decreasing physical activity levels, fruit and vegetable intake and increasing screen time, Child Health BC, in collaboration with provincial partners (Sport for Life, YMCA of Greater Vancouver, Childhood Obesity Foundation and the Ministry of Health) launched Appetite to Play to enable children to make healthy choices that will benefit them later in life. Learn More

Runner-Up: The Provincial Perinatal Substance Use Project is transforming perinatal services across the province to become more compassionate, trauma-informed and culturally safe for pregnant and parenting women who are using substances. Learn More

Strengthening Health & Wellness

Spirit of Healthy Kids Regional Program
Northern Health, Prince George Cougars and Spirit of the North Health Care Foundation
The Spirit of Healthy Kids program, led by Northern Health, the Prince George Cougars and the Spirit of the North Health Care Foundation, focuses on elementary schools as a place to nurture a lifetime of healthier habits, connecting students with positive role models who encourage them to take care of their bodies, minds and communities. Learn More

Runner-up: When the First Nations Health Authority realized that many Indigenous patients were being prescribed large numbers of medications, they knew patients and doctors needed help talking about medication management in a safe, supportive way. So they used traditional storytelling to create Coyote’s Food Medicines, a unique resource designed to empower patients and educate providers. Learn More

Returning to Health & Wellness

Getting to the Right Place: Implementation of Triage and Transportation Guidelines in Fraser Health
BC Emergency Health Services and Trauma Services BC
Patients with severe injuries have better outcomes when they are treated at a designated trauma hospital — but sometimes they are transported to local emergency departments that are less equipped to care for them. BC Emergency Health Services led a collaborative with Trauma Services BC in Fraser Health which ensures patients are brought to the right place for their trauma care, the first time. Learn More

Runner-up: After realizing that gaps in coordination of care were leading to critical safety events for children with cardiac conditions during non-cardiac surgery, an interdisciplinary team at BC Children’s Hospital sprung into action. Together, they developed a protocol that has brought the number of critical safety events down to zero, ensuring safer care for their vulnerable young patients. Learn More

Living with Illness or Disability

Total Contact Casting for Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Island Health
In Nanaimo, a treatment for diabetic foot ulcers is improving patients’ quality of life, decreasing wait times and preventing amputations. Learn More

Runner-up: Patients on Central or North Vancouver Island who are eligible for in-home dialysis require six or more weeks of training in Nanaimo. But they often live in rural areas and face barriers to accessing this training, leading a dedicated team at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital to open “The Nanaimo Kidney Condo.” Learn More

Coping With Transition from Life

Improving Support for Families Experiencing Perinatal Loss
Population Health Promotion, BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre
Working closely with bereaved parents and clinicians, the Population Health Promotion team at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre has developed resources for families coping with perinatal loss that are accurate, appropriate, sensitive and accessible. Learn More