Doug Cochrane Leadership in Quality - Winner - Kris Gustavson

Kris Gustavson is well-known in health care circles for her compassion and commitment, and for sharing her wisdom. As the Corporate Director of Accreditation and Patient Experience for the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), she is respected, trusted and admired for her ability to engage at all levels, and for creating an environment that fosters learning and improving.  

Kris would be the first to credit others, and yet it is through her sustained leadership and thoughtful guidance that PHSA has consistently received exemplary accreditation awards and accolades.  

“Kris is exceptional in her sustained energy and commitment to quality improvement and her ability to form and lead networks to ensure sustained quality improvement plans,” says Dianne Doyle, former President and CEO of Providence Health Care and a current member of PHSA’s Board of Directors. 

With Kris’ support, PHSA has achieved many Health Standards Organization (HSO) Leading Practice award designations. As a surveyor with Accreditation Canada since 2004, Kris has contributed to health quality improvement on six continents. She is currently leading efforts with PHSA’s Indigenous Health, Quality, Safety and Professional Practice related to the HSO BC Cultural Safety and Humility Standard to increase awareness and uptake to eradicate Indigenous-specific racism. 

Kris embodies teamwork and was instrumental in supporting physicians at BC Children’s & Women’s Hospitals and BC Cancer in acquiring Specialist Services Committee Health System Redesign funds to increase awareness and embed and sustain accreditation efforts among physicians.  

She has supported and steered numerous award-winning projects, such as the Canadian College of Health Leaders 3M Quality Team Award for BC Cancer Emotional Support, and the Health Quality BC Excellence in Improving the Patient Experience Award for Informed, Prepared, Educated: The Waiting Room Potential Captured at BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department. In 2022, Kris was selected by the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua) as an expert to the global network of health care leaders’ speakers’ bureau. She has presented nationally and internationally on topics related to graduate nurse transition, mentorship, accreditation, patient experience and partnerships. 

Although many people know about Kris’ work at PHSA and as an Accreditation Canada surveyor, what’s less known is her active community leadership and demonstrated positive outcomes in the broader health context. 

As adjunct faculty at UBC, Kris bridges academia and practice – teaching, mentoring and supporting countless students. Kris has also served on elected and government-appointed boards, sharing her expertise to improve patient and public safety and quality of care. Not only was she a board member of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice for six years, but she also initiated and chaired the Quality Committee. 

“Kris’ compassion and commitment to quality beautifully intersect in the way she supports others while also lifting them up to expect a higher standard,” says Suzanne Steenburgh, Board Chair at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. “Kris is the epitome of what health care has been longing to achieve in the pursuit of quality: attention to detail to achieve the best care while holding providers accountable in a supportive way to carve the trail for the best possible outcomes.” 

It is clear Kris has had an inspirational, significant, positive and lasting impact on her colleagues, students, fellow board members and, most importantly, patients and the community. Kris is an authentic and trusted leader in the quality improvement community nationally and internationally.