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President’s Message


Hello everyone, and welcome to your revamped and rebooted MSA Newsletter!

Yes, I know I’ve promised more regular newsletters in the past—but now we have a plan, outside help, and a project manager to keep us on track with timelines. I’m quite hopeful that we can publish issues regularly, every other month, to start. If you have suggestions for content, please contact any of the MSA Executive members, and we’ll hop on it!

With a new newsletter format, it’s a good time to re-introduce the MSA for those of you newly on staff. First of all, welcome! The Medical Staff Association of Children’s and Women’s Hospital is composed of all midwives, nurse practitioners, dentists, and physicians who have privileges at C&W by provincial law. Now, this is the important part—our most important job is to ensure that the voice of the frontline clinician—that is, YOUR voice, is heard at the highest levels of C&W and PHSA administration. To achieve this, the MSA President sits on the Hospital Executive Committee, the Medical Advisory Committee (MAC), and the Health Authority Medical Advisory Committee (HAMAC). In addition, the MSA Executive has a monthly meeting with the Chief Operating Officers of Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital, along with the Chief Medical Officer. We’ve been able to raise such issues as CST frustrations, ambulatory clinic concerns, environmental opportunities, and exercise space on campus (among other topics) directly with the leadership, who have been very receptive to our feedback.

Now, one difficulty is getting feedback from our diverse membership. We can’t voice your opinion if we don’t hear about it! You’re always welcome to email the Executive Team directly with concerns or questions or call me via the hospital switchboard. Over my terms, I’ve fielded several calls from colleagues with questions. I may not always have an answer for you (or an answer you want!), but I can at least point you in the right direction. I’ve tried to meet (virtually) with several departments to introduce myself, but those opportunities are growing scarcer due to clinical commitments.

That’s a good place to segue into my next topic—the issue of time and commitment. The success or failure of the MSA as an organization is truly dependent on the participation of its members. We need people willing to step forward and serve on the Executive, sit on Committees, or run Engagement Projects. Through these mechanisms, we can help enhance our collective working environment, another key role of the MSA. We have a large amount of funding from Doctors of BC to achieve that goal via the Medical Allied Staff Engagement Society (MASES, which is us but different… ask me later!). We need people to help organize events, brainstorm ideas to solve our everyday work frustrations and make BCCW a better place to work and care for patients. Participating in the MSA can seem like a huge effort when we’re all so busy clinically already. I can’t deny that it is a time commitment. But it is an extremely rewarding one. In addition to getting paid (yes, it’s not volunteer work!), you have the opportunity, and most importantly, funding and support, to make an idea of yours come alive!

The success or failure of the MSA as an organization is truly dependent on the participation of its members.

Do you feel a little disconnected from fellow MSA members? Help arrange a weekend social event via the Wellness Committee. Do you have an idea to reduce waste in our workplace? Join the Planetary Health Committee and help reduce our detrimental impact on the world. Want to help encourage the development of leaders on campus? Participate in the Leadership Committee and promote development, either your own or those you mentor! Perhaps you’re partial to an oversight role? Join the Projects Committee and help support and shape the projects on campus run by your colleagues! Do you like writing? Help edit and write for this very newsletter! Do you have an idea for another committee that the MSA should support? Bring it up with us!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that our upcoming elections for the MSA Executive Board positions of President, Vice President, and Secretary/Treasurer (see accompanying article and proposal) will be coming up at our December Annual General Meeting. If you are interested in joining the Executive, please chat with one of us for more details or, heck, just contact Roya Yamini and throw your hat into the ring for the election!

This theme of participation is one that you’ve heard from me in the past, but it bears repeating because the success of any MSA depends on the engagement of its members. Without engagement—poof, no more monthly lunches or coffee and snacks in the lounge! And worse, less engagement from the hospital administration if they see an ineffectual MSA.

So please join us! We’ll do our best to schedule regular committee meetings going forward and become an active part of your MSA community.

If you have questions, I’m always happy to chat. Email me at anytime.

Special Proposal


The MSACW Executive is proposing we increase the size of the Executive Board, by splitting the current Secretary/Treasurer role into separate Secretary and Treasurer roles.

The Treasurer will continue to oversee the finances of the Association, while the Secretary will take on the duties of communication with the membership, including assisting with the publication of this newsletter. Don’t worry—they won’t be taking minutes at meetings; we have (and are looking to increase) our support staff for those duties! As with our other Officers, the role would be held for a term of one year, with re-election being possible and encouraged.

A quick analysis of pros and cons: Having another officer on the Board will help us hear the voices of the entire campus, spread the workload, allow better brainstorming and planning, and increase the depth of our leadership. However, having four officers may make meeting scheduling a bit trickier and would entail a small expenditure for an additional Executive Board member stipend. We, the Executive Board, do feel the pros strongly outweigh the cons.

We’re using the newsletter to circulate the idea; please look for the proposal in your emails sometime in November before our AGM in December. We’ll have the membership vote at the AGM.

Now, a corollary – if the proposal passes at the AGM, we’ll need to elect someone for the role! Please give some consideration to taking this role on. As the inaugural Secretary, it will be an opportunity to shape and define the role. You’ll get a better understanding of the operations of C&W hospital and of the MSA itself. The time commitment is also not onerous. We have a monthly Executive Board meeting and a monthly meeting with C&W leadership (COOs and CMO). In addition, you can spend whatever time you’d like to devote to improving communication within the MSACW. Did I mention you’re compensated for your time?

If you have an interest in communication on campus or with your colleagues, please consider raising your hand! I’m quite sure we’ll all benefit!

Guest Columnist

Advancing Female Physicians in Leadership Program


Leads: K Armstrong, Z Brown, A De Souza, L Leveille, A Simmonds

In September 2022, with Medical Allied Staff Engagement Society (MASES) facilitation and support, five females from Cardiology, Anesthesiology and Orthopedics were brought together with a similar aim to advance female physicians as leaders across the Children & Women’s (C&W) Campus.

Female physicians account for two-thirds of the physician workforce in the Department of Pediatrics. Many of these women face challenges related to work-life integration, inequities and biases within the workplace. In comparison to their male counterparts, female physicians experience greater discrimination and harassment in the workplace. They also experience higher degrees of career disruption due to conflict between work and family roles.
Consequently, the workplace is often viewed more negatively, and these challenges may contribute to higher levels of physician burnout.

In November 2022, our group hosted an inaugural event with Professor Maja, a sociologist, author and TEDx speaker renowned for her work on confidence, communication, and mindset. Her talk entitled “Forget the Apologies and Learn How to Lead with Confidence” brought together over 70 female physicians from the C&W campus. From this event, it became apparent that there was a burgeoning need to support women at this institution. The positive feedback from the event was overwhelming, and 100% of attendees confirmed they were interested in further leadership development.

Our second event took place at VanDusen Gardens in March 2023. We had the pleasure of welcoming Indira Samarasekera and Martha Piper as our speakers for the evening. Indira Samarasekera served as the first woman president of the University of Alberta, is a director of Magna International, TC Energy, Intact Financial Corporation and Stelco and has served as a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia. Martha Piper served as the first woman president of the University of British Columbia and has been a director of the Bank of Montreal, Shoppers Drug Mart, and TransAlta Corporation. They are both Officers of the Order of Canada who live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Together, they have written the inspiring book, Nerve: Lessons on Leadership from Two Women Who Went First, which formed a large part of the discussion. The event was very well attended and once again highlighted the challenges that women face in the workplace.

In June 2023, we organized a half-day event with the Maslow Centre for Executive Leadership. Facilitators with expertise in leadership coaching provided a space for self-assessment, building a language of psychological needs and planning for growth in the workplace. This event created a safe space for physicians to connect and share their lived experiences working in healthcare.

Female Physician Leadership Group:
L Leveille, K Armstrong, Z Brown, A De Souza, A Simmonds

Attendees of the Inaugural Women in Leadership Program in November 2022

The support for this work across the C&W campus is evident in the number of females (and males!) who have attended these events in their own free time. We hope to continue to support this valuable work as we enter 2024!


MSA Membership Means Paying Your Dues

Just once a year, and it’s never too late.  If you haven’t paid for 2023, you still can!

Committee Updates

MSACW members can participate in a number of exciting committees that cover a variety of topics. Learn more about our committees or email to join.

Planetary Health Committee


The Committee has supported two projects this year so far, summarized below. We will be joining campus-wide conversations on how to coordinate Planetary Health efforts on campus; please come to us with suggestions for future projects.

Project SPRUCE (Saving Our Planet by Reducing Carbon Emissions)

Volatile anesthetics (Desflurane, Sevoflurane and Isoflurane) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O) are potent greenhouse gases (GHG) with a significant ability to trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet. The heat-trapping ability is measured by their Global Warming Potential (GWP), which is significantly higher than that of CO2, the most common GHG. In addition, N2O and Isoflurane also cause ozone depletion.

These agents are used daily in the operating room and can account for up to 50% of total perioperative GHG emissions. Reducing the emission of anesthesia gas is an effective way for anesthesia departments to curb anesthesia GHG emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.

The anesthesiology department at BCCH has joined a multi-institutional Pediatric Anesthesiology Quality Improvement Project, which aims to reduce carbon footprint by lowering volatile anesthetic emissions. The project aims to obtain baseline GHG emission data and compare interventions and results across multiple institutions working to reduce their anesthesia GHGs by 50% from baseline. Volatile agent usage data will be collected every minute during general anesthesia and retrospectively analyzed to calculate the institution’s anesthesia GHG emissions in kg carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e) per minute to compare outcomes across institutions. The results will be shared with the collaborative group monthly, allowing comparison of the results and planning of subsequent QI interventions that will benefit each institution.

Integral to the project’s success involves utilizing a sophisticated software program called AdaptX, which provides access to these large data sets and allows the GHG emissions to be calculated in CO2e per minute. Funding for the software was obtained through a MASES grant.

Environmental Impact of a Paediatric Cardiology Community Outreach Program on Travel-Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The Children’s Heart Center at BCCH provides community outreach services to families living with congenital and acquired heart disease throughout BC and the Yukon. The vastness and geographical diversity of this region create many logistical issues for families who need to travel great distances to access healthcare and highlight the need for a more sustainable environmental approach to their travel. The environmental impact of providing community outreach services on travel-related greenhouse gas emissions (GHG, C02e) before and during the COVID-19 pandemic was recently studied for a period between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2022.

For the pre-pandemic years, the total C02e emitted if all patients had to drive to BCCH to receive care would approximate 1,128 tonnes(t). C02e would be reduced by 86% if patients received care at an outreach clinic in their local community. Similarly, for the peri-pandemic years, the total C02e would be reduced from 987t to 147t, a reduction of 85%. Driving distance would be reduced by 85%, and driving time would be reduced by 82%.

The advent of the outreach clinical service has had a profound effect on reducing GHG emissions, driving distances and time and brings equitable healthcare closer to home for children and their families in BC and the Yukon.

The cardiology program recently presented an abstract on this topic at the 8th World Congress of Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery.

Projects Committee Update


The MSACW Projects Committee is a group of MSA members who come together to review and allocate funding to the Facility Engagement funded physician-led projects. To date, the Projects Committee has met twice this year, and 11 BCCHW physician-led engagement projects have been funded at a current total of $117,500.00.

If you have any interest in taking part in the Projects Committee, please email the Engagement Team.


After Hours Meals Cheat Sheet

Check here for quick tips on how to easily submit your meal expenses through FEMS. If you have any questions, email

  1. Create a FEMS and VoPay account at
  2. Email to be manually linked to the activity.
  3. Order your meal to be delivered to the hospital! Meals ordered and received between 5 p.m. – 5 a.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends/stat-holidays can apply.
  4. Keep your receipt/proof of payment (and please ensure it shows delivery to the hospital).
  5. Submit on FEMS: Click the “Submit an Expense” button in the top right-hand corner (note this only works on the desktop FEMS browser, please do not submit an hourly claim alongside this). Each individual is eligible for two (2) meals a month (at a max of $25 per meal). Should your meal exceed $25, please submit the original receipt but do not input more than $25 into the FEMS Expense claim.
  6. Click “Submit” to complete your claim.
  7. The MASES Support team reviews these claims manually. Once approved, you will be reimbursed by direct deposit via VoPay.

Upcoming Events

MSACW Wellness Family Movie Event:
“Taylor Swift The Eras Tour”

Date: November 4, 2023
Time: 1:00 – 4:00 pm
Location: Cineplex Marine Gateway Theatre, 452 South West Marine Drive, Vancouver

Popcorn and drink will be complimentary. RSVP before noon on Wednesday, November 1st. More info!

MSA Annual General Meeting
Includes elections for 2024 MSA Executive Board

Date: December 4th, 2023
Time: 5:00 – 6:30pm
Location: Zoom


Attending:  “How is our 5-year-old patient who swallowed 10 dimes last night?”

Resident:  “No change yet.”

The MSACW Monitor is published six times a year by the MSACW Executive. Please direct all feedback, questions, and contributions to