2017 Award Recipients

Gold Apple

Award of Merit
Health Care Hero 

Gold Apple Top Innovation: Affiliate


Confident Parents: Thriving Kids Program

When a child engages in a pattern of defiant behavior, their parent or caregiver normally intervenes to try and steer the child back on course. However, the behavior can be worsened if there is an attempt to force the child into compliance.

A more effective approach is to engage in positive parenting practices that reward pro-social behavior. With this type of training, parents or caregivers can prevent a lifetime of conduct issues that lead the child down limiting social, educational and occupational paths.

The team at the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA), BC Division has made this training accessible to parents at no charge through the Confident Parents: Thriving Kids program. For parents and caregivers who completed the program last year, 84.6 per cent report good or very good improvement in their children’s behavior. Behavioral challenges were resolved in 56.5 per cent of children and a further 24 per cent were significantly improved.

For helping parents and caregivers to engage in positive parenting practices, we award the Gold Apple for Top Innovation – Affiliates to the Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division.

Project Leader: Tara Wolff
Project Team: Bev Gutray; Katie Rapson-Stecula; Benson Lee; Catherine Mahony
Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

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Gold Apple Top Innovation: Health Authority


Integrated Smartphone Communication technology into Clinical Practice: A Mixed Methods Research Study

When responding to patient needs, seconds can make the difference between life and death. On the other hand, there is nothing worse than dropping everything to respond to a call only to find out that it is not an emergency and you have left one patient to see another for no good reason.

Nearly everyone has smartphone, and yet paging systems continue to be used by the majority of hospitals. Clinicians report that pagers are frustrating because they don’t indicate who is paging, and whether or not the call is urgent. 

At Island Health, they knew there was a better way and set out to prove it by launching the first pilot project in Canada to test an integrated smartphone application in place of pagers in a hospital setting. The results showed a statistically significant reduction in turnaround times using the pilot system. Clinicians also reported that the pilot system reduced interruptions to patient care and supported them in using their time more efficiently.

For embracing technology and working to improve both patient care and work flow for its clinicians, we are award the Gold Apple in the Top Innovation – Health Authority category to Island Health.

Project Leader: Dr. Sean Spina and Ms. Shirley Young
Project Team: Ms. Carly Webb, Mrs. Lynette Bateman, Mr. William Kempthorne, Mr. Guy Weeks, Mr. Richard Jones, Dr. Curtis Harder
Royal Jubilee Hospital, Island Health

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Award of Merit Top Innovation: Affiliate

Test Review Committee

In an age of rapidly changing technologically, new clinical test are being developed all the time, but do they improve patient care? BC’s Agency for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, part of BC Clinical Support Services, established a Test Review Committee (TRC) to review and evaluate new tests for clinical and analytical validity and makes evidence-based recommendations regarding the introduction, amendment and/or elimination of publicly-funded clinical laboratory tests.

Not only is the TRC ensuring effectiveness, it is also reducing the length of time it takes for a new clinically proven test to be available to BC patients. This is a significant improvement, which allows for a more responsive process in a constantly changing laboratory environment.

For making evidence-based recommendations that improve patient care, we award the Award of Merit to the BC’s Agency for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BC Clinical Support Services. 

Project Leader: Meghan McLennan
Project Team: Dr. Louis Wadsworth, Dr. Ian Dubé, Dr. James Cupples, Dr. Morris Pudek, Dr. Lawrence Haley, Ms. Sherrie Warren, Mr. Richard Walker, Dr. Michael Allard, Dr. John Galbraith, Dr. Pat Doyle, Dr. Michael Nimmo, Mr. Peter McLellan, Mr. Mark Anderson, Ms. Heidi Cheung, Mr. John Andruschak, Dr. Louis Wadsworth
BC’s Agency for Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, BC Clinical and Support Services

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Award of Merit Top Innovation: Health Authority

1. Surgical Site Infection Cardiac Surgery QI Working Group

Undergoing cardiac surgery is a significant event for patients. Neither the patient nor the surgeon wants (or expects) complications due to surgical site infections (SSIs) – particularly when they are preventable. Quality standards and practices, such as those of the American College of Surgeons’ National Surgical Quality Improvement Program are designed to minimize the risk of SSIs.

When Vancouver General Hospital noticed their cardiac SSI rate rising, they quickly formed the Cardiac Surgery Quality Improvement Team. The team has combined best practices in SSI prevention and local data to significantly improve the hospital’s cardiac SSI rate from 7-8 per cent in 2013 to 3.8 per cent in 2015. The team is applying a similar strategy to address SSI in the leg region where blood vessels are harvested for use in cardiac surgery. 

For yielding tangible, positive results for cardiac patients, we award the Award of Merit to VGH’s Cardiac Surgery Quality Team.

Project Leader: Jessie Rodrigue
Project Team: Barbara Drake, Jamie McDowell, Howard Paje, Jennifer Kelly, Emily Trew
Vancouver General Hospital, Vancouver Coastal Health

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2. Ceiling Lift Program Team

Imagine you are a nurse who must lift a patient to provide care. In an effort to help, he puts his arms around your neck and his body weight results in an injury, causing you chronic pain and disability for the rest of your life. To avoid this type of scenario, ceiling lifts were introduced in BC health facilities 15 years ago as a safer alternative to manually lifting.

Naturally, these lifts need to be repaired over time. In 2015, Fraser Health (FH) was faced with a significant increase in the cost of a third-party maintenance package. FH’s Ceiling Lift Program Team responded by organizing their own shop that now provides ceiling lift maintenance to health authorities across the province. To-date, they have repaired 571 lifts, realizing significant savings in parts and labour. 

For their dedication to maintaining patient and staff safety in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner, we award an Award of Merit to the Fraser Health Ceiling Lift Program Team.

Project Leader: Alan Kelly and Les Cleveland
Project Team: Tim Kelly, Mitch Weimer, Michael Mankwald, Mark Spanjers, Lionel Haricombe, Dan Huchuk
Royal Columbian Hospital, Fraser Health

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Gold Apple Workplace Health Innovation


Critical Incident Stress Program

Paramedics and dispatchers experience high levels of occupational stress. Compared to the general public, the incidence of both Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and suicide is much higher in these professions. 

BC Emergency Health Services has responded by implementing the Critical Incident Stress Program. Anchored by a volunteer peer support team, the program helps colleagues to help each other prepare for, respond to and recover from the trauma they’re exposed to day to day.

Peer support team members go through four days of rigorous training and mental health checks and participate in ongoing skill development, including suicide prevention and management. The peer support component is supplemented by a network of specialized mental health clinicians who follow up with first responders after critical incidents occur. 

Since the launch of the program, peer support team members have responded to the needs of their colleagues 537 times and 206 paramedics/dispatchers have been linked with trauma counsellors across the province. In 2016, four employees said that their lives had been saved because of the program.

For supporting the well-being of BC’s first responders, we award the Gold Apple in Workplace Health Innovation to BC Emergency Health Services.

Project Leader: Marsha McCall and Lindsay Kellosalmi
Project Team: Shannon Hinter, 90 BCEHS Peer Volunteers
BC Emergency Health Services, Provincial Health Services Authority

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Award of Merit Workplace Health Innovation

Gentle Persuasive Approach Video Learning Support Tool

When working in specialized dementia care, employees can find themselves on the receiving end of aggressive behaviour such as hitting, biting and yelling. That aggression is often a behavioural response to an underlying unmet need that the resident is no longer able to communicate. The Gentle Persuasive Approach (GPA) is a person-centred, compassionate way of responding to this kind of aggressive behaviour. 

From December 2014 to April 2016, almost half of The Fair Haven United Church Homes’ Vancouver and Burnaby employees completed GPA training. To support retention of the training, Nurse Manager Loretta Lo created a video learning tool that reinforced the application of GPA. Both staff and family members have noticed a difference in the comfort level and trust among residents. Workplace injuries related to violence have also decreased. 

For supporting the sustainability of the GPA approach, we award an Award of Merit to the Leading the Way Gentle Persuasive Approach Video Learning Support Tool project.

Project Leader: Loretta Lo
Project Team: Laura Mailloux, Marilyn Gaite, Sheethal Kuriakose, Martin Agustin, Elena Ramos, Michelle Chan,  James Zhao, Susan Higginbotham
The Fair Haven United Church Homes

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Gold Apple Collaborative Solutions


Insulin Safety Initiative

Insulin is among a group of high-alert medications that carry a heightened risk of serious patient harm if used in error. Technologies and practice changes designed to reduce the risk of medication error are critical components of patient safety initiatives.

Interior Health Authority’s Insulin Safety Initiative (ISI) was a large collaborative, multi-stakeholder, multi-site project designed to mitigate serious medication errors involving insulin and to standardize practice in this area. A major component of the project was to implement a standardized, pre-filled insulin pen delivery system, to replace the traditional vial and syringe.

Although the pens offer several practical and safety advantages, they do carry unintended patient safety risks if used improperly. Recognizing this, Interior Health implemented a number of safeguards and practice changes related to insulin ordering, dispensing, administration and documentation. Interior Health’s post-implementation evaluation indicates that these safety processes are well established in practice. The project serves as a model for inter-professional collaboration, effective knowledge translation and the adoption of system-wide best practices. 

For working with several stakeholder groups across multiple sites to increase patient safety, we award the Gold Apple in Collaborative Solutions to Interior Health.

Project Leader: Dr. Maureen Clement
Project Team: Paul Filiatrault, Michael Conci, Angela Chapman, Amanda McDougall, Darshan Patel, Alison Gregory, Allison Griffiths, Melanie Beatty, Andrea Archibald, Robert Labelle, Insulin Safety Task Group Committee, Wrae Hill, Sean Gorman
Interior Health

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Award of Merit Collaborative Solutions

1. Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic

Many survivors of sexual assault won’t seek support if they have to go to an Emergency Department or police station, which means that they don’t always get the care and crisis support they need, and perpetrators may also go unreported.

To address this problem, Island Health Forensic Nurse Examiners, the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre, municipal police and RCMP in the Greater Victoria region worked together to open the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic, the first of its kind in BC. The clinic is a warm, supportive place where the healing process can begin as soon as a survivor of sexual violence walks through the door. Accessible 24 hours a day, the clinic provides medical and forensic exams, crisis support, counselling services and police and crown council interviews to recent survivors of sexual assault.

For working together to improve the care and crisis support provided to survivors of sexual violence, we award an Award of Merit to the Victoria Sexual Assault Clinic.

Project Leader: Janet Calnan
Project Team: South Island Forensic Nurse Program
Island Health

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2. Mobile Medical Unit Deployment, Downtown Eastside – Response to the Opioid Overdose Crisis

Overwhelmed by patients flooding into local emergency departments due to Vancouver’s fentanyl overdose crisis, health care providers needed a unique, flexible, and fast solution.

Enter PHSA’s Mobile Medical Unit, a team of health care specialists, logistics experts, and operations specialists supported by a highly modified system of tractor trailers, tents, and portable medical equipment. Within two weeks of getting the call, MMU leadership met with stakeholders, including police, ambulance and Downtown Eastside social service agencies, determined the best way to respond, and the MMU was operational. In the first two months, more than 1,500 patients visited the clinic, and the MMU received more than 400 ambulance transports, enabling paramedics to get to the next call faster.

For its quick respond to crisis that involved many health care and community partners, we award an Award of Merit to PHSA’s Mobile Medical Unit.

Project Leader: Peter Hennecke and Michelle de Moor
Project Team: Alyshia Higgins, Dara Davies, Jay Francescutti, Robin Gardner, Jamie Carballo, Jesse Sheridan, Landon James, Alex Wong, Tracy Johnson, Fariba Wilson, Barb Harvey, Mike Flesher, Ross Brown, Dr. Eric Grafstein, Lori Korchinski, Dr. Keith Ahamad, Dr. Annabel Mead, Miranda Compton, Caitlin Etherington, Afshan Nathoo, Dr. Ross Brown, Dr. Stan de Vlaming, Dr. Michael Norbury, Tim Chu, Joe Acker, Randy Slemko, Dr. Christy Sutherland
Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health

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Health Care Hero Gold Apple



Dr. Victoria Su
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist in Cystic Fribrosis, St. Paul’s Hospital

Dr. Victoria Su cares about her patients. As a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at St. Paul`s Hospital Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic, Dr. Su cares for patients who have been on antibiotics and other medications their entire lives, and are often resistant to frontline therapies.

To ensure her patients experience the best possible quality of life, Dr. Su navigates
the complex process of obtaining experimental and compassionate treatment regimens. She reviews each case extensively so her patients don’t miss out on therapies that could improve their health, and will not take no for an answer when she finds a treatment she believes is right.

Dr. Su is involved in all aspects of her patient`s care, whether in hospital, at the clinic, or even at home. Once these complicated regimens are started, Dr. Su uses her extensive knowledge of pharmacology to ensure that doses are adjusted appropriately, and changes are made in response to her patient’s symptoms and laboratory results.

Dr. Su is also actively involved in research aimed at improving the outcomes and care for cystic fibrosis patients. For putting her extensive knowledge of pharmacology to work as a tenacious advocate for her patients’ well-being and quality of life, Dr. Victoria Su has been named this year’s Affiliate employer Health Care Hero.

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Fraser Health


Misty Stephens
Enterostomal Therapist, Peace Arch Hospital, Fraser Health

Adjusting to life with an ostomy following bowel surgery isn`t easy, but if Misty Stephens is your nurse, you can be sure that you are receiving the best possible care.

Misty is a Registered Nurse at Peace Arch and Burnaby hospitals who specializes in wound, ostomy and continence care. Ostomy patients have both physical and emotional care needs as they adjust to life post-surgery, and Misty is committed to caring for the entire patient, ensuring that their wounds are properly cared for to prevent infections, and connecting her patients with support programs so they have access to the emotional or even financial support they may need.

Misty launched an outpatient ostomy clinic to ensure that her patients have the support and care they need after they are discharged. Colleagues report that patients often come to the clinic crying, overcome by stress, but leave laughing as Misty helps them to see that life does not end with an ostomy, it just changes.

For raising the standards of care for ostomy patients, and supporting patients throughout their entire journey, Misty Stephens has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Fraser Health.

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Interior Health


Cheryl Jardine
Home Support Supervisor, Barriere/Clearwater Home Health

Imagine being responsible for 60 home health care clients and a team of homesupport workers scattered across hundreds of kilometers. Now imagine a wild fire is spreading rapidly through the area. The residents are anxious to evacuate. Your home support workers are worried about their own families, pets and livestock at home. Your own thoughts are with your ailing 61 year old spouse and horses that need to be evacuated. You need to act fast and have had no warning to prepare a plan.

That’s exactly the scenario Cheryl Jardine faced during the 2003 wildfire that swept through the valley between Barriere and Clearwater. Without hesitation, Cheryl snapped into action and implemented a plan that would ensure both her homebound clients and home support team were evacuated safely. But she didn’t stop there. Recognizing her clients were not coping well outside their homes, Cheryl became the hub of “Operation Return Home,” with the goal of returning clients home within 10 days, working around the clock to make that happen.

This is just one example of how Cheryl has gone above and beyond the expectations of those she’s worked with at Interior Health. From inspiring employees to further their education and supporting them through difficult times to taking action to literally protecting their safety, Cheryl is recognized by many for her problem-solving skills, judgement and compassion.

For inspiring others and doing whatever it takes to get the job done, Cheryl Jardine has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Interior Health.

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Island Health


Griffin Russell
Regional Harm Reduction Coordinator, Island Health

As Regional Harm Reduction Coordinator for Island Health, Griffin Russell has been
deeply impacted by BC’s fentanyl crisis. Thousands have overdosed during the crisis, but hundreds more have been saved by Griffin’s efforts to “mainstream” Island Health’s Take Home Naloxone initiative. Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, can reverse the effects of an overdose and save lives.

As the fentanyl crisis took hold across BC, Griffin initiated partnerships with government, the health authority, direct care providers, first responders, community agencies and people who use substances, and shifted a culture of apathy into a commitment for action.

Under Griffin’s leadership, Island Health expanded the distribution of naloxone kits from a few hundred high-risk situations to a network of training and distribution sites that have mobilized over 5,000 kits. His compassionate and empathetic approach to harm reduction has changed attitudes about how care should be provided to the high-risk population of people who use substances.

Griffin believes that everyone is deserving of empathetic and quality care that acknowledges and responds to their individual circumstances. His leadership and approach is reducing the stigma experienced by people who use substances and breaking down the barriers to receiving care and support that they face.

For accepting people for who they are, and where they are at, and leading his community’s fentanyl crisis response, Griffin Russell has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Island Health.

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---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Northern Health


Nancy Viney
Regional Nursing Lead - Tobacco Reduction, Centre for Healthy Living, Northern Health

Nancy Viney has worked in a range of clinical areas and communities, but it was her transfer to Public Health in 2000 that led her on the most significant chapter of her career.

As a public health nurse, Nancy encountered children living in poverty, with family
income going towards tobacco products. She also saw children exposed to secondhand smoke and eventually go on to become smokers themselves, placing them at risk for chronic diseases. This ignited a passion in Nancy to work to reduce chronic disease and early death caused by tobacco use.

In 2008, Nancy took on her current position of Regional Nursing Lead, Tobacco
Reduction for Northern Health. In northern BC, smoking rates trend about 10 percent above the provincial average, but rather than get discouraged, Nancy saw this as a rallying cry!

Her work is grounded in the belief that everyone has a role to play in creating smokefree communities and as a passionate advocate, her grassroots marketing approach is impossible to ignore. Nancy was instrumental in getting the 2015 Winter Games in Prince George declared “100% smoke-free,” and played a critical role in drafting Prince George’s new smoke-free places bylaw.

Nancy understands that tobacco reduction needs to be integrated into all aspects of
health care to be successful and she routinely makes herself available outside work
hours to support and lead community events.

For her relentless dedication to improving the lives of Northerners through reducing
tobacco use, Nancy Viney has been named this year`s Health Care Hero for Northern Health.

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Provincial Health Services


Hilary Horlock
Enterprise Architect, Business Architecture & User Experience, Provincial Health Services Authority

When Hilary Horlock joined Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) ten years ago, she knew a lot about web development, but very little about health care.

Hilary works in information technology as a User Experience Architect, championing the rights of “end users,” which in health care means clinicians and patients. As her knowledge grew, so did her commitment to the needs of clinical end users, and what started as a six-month assignment turned into a lifelong passion for improving the health system from the inside out.

What Hilary couldn’t have known when she started was that she would become critically dependent on just how good that “end-user” experience was. In 2015, Hilary found out she had breast cancer. Rather than being defeated, she chose to use her diagnosis to improve the patient experience for others fighting cancer.

Two days before her second round of chemotherapy, Hilary stood before 400 PHSA managers and directors and shared her patient experience journey. She told PHSA leaders that the amount and type of information shared with patients is scary, complex and overwhelming – and there’s no app for that; but there should be, and she asked for money to build one.

In 2016, Hilary got the news that PHSA will fund the design of the app and she has been hard at work helping to design those digital tools. The health news for Hilary has also been good. Her treatment was successful and she is cancer free.

For helping to transform how cancer patients are treated while she herself was fighting cancer, Hilary Horlock is this year’s Health Care Hero for Provincial Health Services Authority.

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Vancouver Coastal Health - Provincial Health Care Hero


Dianna Mah-Jones
Occupational Therapist, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre

Most of us take for granted that we can glance down and comfortably read a book,prepare a meal or watch our step while walking. However, one GF Strong patient with muscular dystrophy couldn’t see past the rigid collar she had to wear to hold her head upright. To help her gain more independence in performing her daily activities, she was referred to occupational therapy for assistance.

That’s where she met Dianna Mah-Jones, who was able to identify that the dynamic neck support the woman needed could be achieved using a latex balloon. Two design modifications later, the client’s functional goals were met through the “Lidia Collar” – an inexpensive, easily made device that even comes in multiple colours to match the patient’s wardrobe. In fact, the client was able to wear a white one to her son’s wedding.

Dianna Mah-Jones has demonstrated creativity and innovative problem solving throughout her career and not just in the area of assistive devices. To get the attention of clients receiving education about managing spinal cord conditions, Dianna wrote and choreographed a poetic rap number called “Save the Shoulder.” She’s even produced a successful fashion show with models from the BC Paraplegic Association titled Fashion Meets Function.

Dianna’s colleagues describe her as the heart of the GF Strong inpatient team, well known for her knack for finding solutions where others don’t see them.

For her innovative abilities, creative flair and boundless energy across all facets of her practice, Dianna Mah-Jones has been named this year’s Health Care Hero for Vancouver Health.

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