March 2019 Newsletter
Welcome to 2019! This new year marks both the beginning of my term as MSA President, and the introduction of this new communication channel for MSA membership. Although the year is just getting started, there are already many plans in the works that we hope will improve the value that the MSA brings to its members. Here is a taste of what to look out for in 2019:
1) Announcement of a new, simplified organization of MSA with integration of engagement team.
2) New initiatives in medical staff engagement – both led by the engagement leadership and developed by the members at large.
3) Changes to MSA Meeting format to improve interaction and feedback
4) Creation of a Compact to guide the working relationship between medical staff and administration and the establishment of a joint priorities and planning committee.
Creating a culture of engagement in a large institution with a large and diverse medical staff is a huge challenge. I strongly believe that our current situation offers unprecedented opportunities to build that culture and work toward creating a workplace environment that welcomes and supports everyone within its walls. I look forward to getting to know even more of you during my term, and to working together with you to achieve this goal.
Dr. Diana Louie wants to sew the seeds of physician wellness and engagement early. For this reason, her engagement project sought to bring together the attending physicians and pediatric residents of the Clinical Teaching Unit. As the BCCH Resident Wellness Lead and the UBC PGME Resident Wellness director, Dr. Louie has always had keen interest in physician wellness and engagement. Her vision was that a greater sense of appreciation, good will, and joy at work would follow from a greater insight into each other. Moreover, “it has been proven that more engagement and appreciation not only improve wellness, but retention.”
For these reasons, Dr. Louie planned events that the physicians voted on. Event diversity was paramount and included cooking classes, yoga classes, and even a food truck one sunny afternoon to gather the physicians and residents together while on site where they could discuss non-work related topics. For her, such team-building events help “attain collegiality” such that “there would be more than just a working relationship” between the two groups. In a few short years she says, “these residents will be our colleagues” and creating a shared community is paramount in allowing for a smooth transition to that kind of relationship.
If money was no object, Dr. Louie would like to see this kind of engagement carried forward and expanded. To maintain such a program, she would see a Wellness Coordinator hired whose sole responsibility would be facilitating events for attendings and residents. She would also like to offer small funding to physicians for random acts of wellness. “There are areas for all of us that would significantly increase our wellness that would not cost a lot of money. They just involve time, commitment and ongoing support.” Throughout this project she offered small tokens of wellness to the physicians and residents, including matching S’well water bottles, and a new pair of cozy socks during a long shift, which brought no small amount of joy to recipients: “there is nothing better than getting a new pair of warm socks on an a night shift”.
When asked why physician engagement is important to her? “Because these are my colleagues and my friends. I spend most of my time with them and if we can create a community of wellness and happiness, I think that we are less likely to burn out and leave this amazing profession.”
GET TO KNOW DR. VO
Dr. Dzung Vo comes to BC Children’s as a specialist in adolescent medicine from North Carolina. American by birth and training, he came to Canada in 2010 to take a post at BC Children’s and has not looked back since. “It was a difficult move”, he says, “but I’m glad to live in Vancouver and Canada”. Professionally, Dr. Vo has a deep passion for mindfulness practice, and attends retreats once or twice every year to restore his mind and spirit. Furthermore, Dr. Vo is passionate about young people, and the treatment of the adolescence population. “Adolescents are an invisible population. Pediatric systems are not designed for them because they are focused on younger children, and adult systems are not designed for them either, so they are lost in the gap between the systems.” For him, addressing this gap is critical, as investing in and guiding young people will make a huge difference in their lives. This remains an important way to pay diffidence to society and future generations.
Beyond medicine, Dr. Vo is an avid jazz musician, and even performs as a part of a jazz trio locally. Music performance has always been a significant part of his life, having even been a guitar player in a punk band in his grade school days. When asked what he would have become in another life? “Probably a jazz pianist, or maybe a Zen Monk”. For him, music is another type of mindfulness practice, and he is constantly trying to find ways to integrate music and medicine together in his life. If you’re lucky, you might find Dr. Vo enjoying a coffee at what he believes is the best coffee shop in town, Le Marché St. George on St. George and 28th.
But SHHH, don’t spread that information around.
Favorite ice cream: Coconut or Mango
Cats or Dogs? Definitely dogs.
Musical Influences: Green Day
HOLIDAY PARTY RECAP
Thank you to everyone who joined us at our first annual holiday party! We welcomed over 120 of you and your families to the Floral Hall at VanDusen Botanical Gardens back in December.
Here’s a quick recap:
- Chef Trevor Bird of Fable Kitchen and Fable Diner (and he was on Top Chef Canada!) served a mouth-watering spread of delicious eats, including the most beautiful charcuterie board you’ve ever seen
- The Mighty Oak set up a mini version of their coffee shop on-site, making espresso shot coffees, hot chocolate, teas, and other hot drinks on demand
- VIP Kids provided on-site childcare for the entire evening, and Chef Trevor Bird even cooked up some special kid-friendly treats
- Kids, teens, and adults all enjoyed some friendly competition at Air Hockey and Foosball
- And to keep the holiday spirit going strong, everyone received a free flex ticket for the Festival of Lights
Take a look at the photo gallery from the evening below.