British Columbia's Medal of Good Citizenship recognizes British Columbians who have acted in a particularly generous, kind or selfless manner for the common good without expectation of reward. Dr. Kendall Ho, emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital, digital emergency medicine researcher and professor in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, is one of the 31 people receiving this accolade this year for his contributions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Kendall is an accomplished and decorated health professional and professor. With three decades of clinical and research experience in emergency medicine and digital health, he has published more than 100 peer reviewed papers, obtained more than $13 million of research grant funding and received provincial and national awards for his research, teaching and community engagement work," said Dr. Chad Kim Sing, Associate Vice President of Medicine, Quality & Safety at Vancouver Coastal Health. “During the past two years, Kendall has gone above and beyond to help to meet the needs of British Columbian's during the COVID-19 pandemic. I have known Kendall for more than 20 years and I am delighted that he has been recognized in this way. I am proud to be colleagues and work alongside him in service of others in ways that build bridges and improve shared understanding and applications of new models of care."
Kendall has made outstanding contributions in two specific areas relevant to COVID-19.
From the early days the COVID‐19 pandemic, rapid and accurate communication to a diverse, multicultural audience has been essential in keeping people healthy, managing community spread of the virus and, more recently, disseminating immunization information.
“Recognizing his leadership and commitment to Chinese communities throughout B.C., we reached out to Kendall and invited him to be our Chinese medical spokesperson on COVID‐19, and he has graciously made himself available at every opportunity," said Charlene Chiang, Vice‐President, Communications and Strategic Partnerships at Vancouver Coastal Health. “Kendall is an effective and impactful communicator who provides a clear, credible and approachable voice to community members seeking critical and timely COVID‐related information. Through his dedicated service, many Chinese community members experiencing language barriers have benefited."
During the pandemic, Kendall has made regular media appearances and has shared COVID-19 information with Chinese media including Omni TV, Fairchild TV and radio as well as Chinese print media. Further, Kendall has participated in and provided meaningful input to the Vancouver Coastal Health Translation and Interpretation Working Group which aims to support culturally safe, quality care by improving patient access to health information.
A new and poorly understood disease, COVID-19 created anxiety for community members and challenged the health system. In March 2020, telephone calls to 8-1-1, the B.C. service connecting community members to health information and advice, experienced a seven fold increase.
“Knowing Kendall's expertise in virtual care, we engaged him to set up a physician virtual care service within 8-1-1 called HealthLinkBC Emergency i-Doctors in-Assistance or HEiDi," says Sandra Sundhu, Executive Director, HealthLinkBC.
The service complements the 8-1-1 line, answering callers' concerns with medical expertise using videoconferencing. Under Kendall's leadership, the physician team has provided advice to more than 65,000 community members and diverted three out of four callers safely away from visiting emergency departments. Kendall also established a rigorous evaluation framework and is leading the development of a learning health system to clearly demonstrate the quality, safety and value of this service.
“Kendall's tireless leadership and strategic thinking is pivotal in setting up and continuously enhancing this innovative and transformational service," added Sandra. “We've identified that this program fills a care gap in our health system and we plan to make it a permanent part of our service going forward. Groups from across the country and beyond continue to approach us to learn more and to emulate this model."
The Medal of Good Citizenship was presented to Kendall by Honourable George Heyman, B.C. Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and MLA for Vancouver-Fairview during a virtual ceremony on March 24.
“I feel very fortunate that, during this challenging time of COVID, I can contribute my medical and language skills, and work with many dedicated people and organizations in B.C. to help provide meaningful support to our community members in their times of need," said Kendall. “I am deeply humbled by this award, and it should be rightly shared with all the folks with whom I have the pleasure of collaborating."
Launched in 2015, the Medal of Good Citizenship is one way for British Columbians to recognize people for their contributions and dedication to community service. The medal reflects their generosity, service, acts of selflessness and contributions to community life. Nominations for the Medal of Good Citizenship are accepted year round, and British Columbians are encouraged to submit people they know who have been particularly kind, generous or self-sacrificing without expectation of reward.Learn more