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VCH physician Dr. Sakakibara and end-of-life initiative iPACE recognized at BC Health Care Awards


For recognizing that a culture shift was necessary to support staff in having critical conversations, Vancouver Coastal Health’s iPACE project has been awarded the Dianna Mah-Jones Award of Excellence in Person-Centred Care Gold Apple.

Presented by the Health Employers Association of BC (HEABC), the awards were created in 2007 to celebrate excellence and innovation in BC's health care community by recognizing deserving teams that are improving health care delivery in BC and individuals whose achievements and actions inspire those around them. Awards are given to projects or initiatives improving health care delivery in BC and for individual health employees who are shining stars and inspire those around them.

Dr. Todd Sakakibara honoured as Health Care Hero

Dr. Todd Sakakibara is a primary care physician at Vancouver Coastal Health's Three Bridges Community Health Centre. He has made a long-term commitment to improving health care for residents of Vancouver's vulnerable and under-served populations. His innovative approach to community medicine can be seen in his leadership of the Vancouver BOOST Collaborative at his clinic that sees the highest concentration of opioid overdose deaths. Improving access to integrated, evidence-based care for opioid users has resulted in a significant increase in the number of individuals who receive and remain on opioid treatment therapy. 

Dr. Sakakibara is also an educator, researcher and mentor in the areas of LGBTQ health, substance use, mental health, transgender care, and addictions. Working with UBC's Community Health Initiative, he developed an innovative, multidisciplinary rotation model to expose students and residents to the impact of the social determinants of health for marginalized populations in the downtown eastside.

In 2015, he was involved in a continuing professional development workshop called “But I Don't Have any Gay Patients! Care for Men Who have Sex with Men," which aims to build capacity for family physicians to provide primary care for this patient population, and move beyond sexual health into more complex issues.

For his commitment to improving health care in vulnerable and under-served communities, Dr. Sakakibara has been named this year's Health Care Hero for Vancouver Coastal Health. Watch a video about why Dr. Sakakibara is a Health Care Hero.

VCH Regional End of Life program awarded Gold Apple

VCH's End of Life program was honoured with the Gold Apple for the Dianna Mah-Jones Award of Excellence In Person-Centred Care for its iPACE (Integrating a Palliative Approach by Having Conversations Early) initiative.
iPACE seeks to improve the quality of end-of-life care by supporting caregivers to align care plans with the wishes and values of people, and ensure those wishes are communicated with family members and care teams.

The iPACE team provides on-site education, coaching and mentoring to health care staff across disciplines and care settings who have not traditionally been trained in a palliative, or end-of-life, approach to care. Staff members are encouraged to have early conversations with people who have a serious illness and may benefit from a palliative approach to their care, and learn how to document the conversations so that their wishes are respected.

Since its launch in 2017, the iPACE team has delivered 835 education sessions to 3,486 staff across VCH and has provided additional support and training to 314 champions across community and acute care settings. Staff members who received training report increased confidence in having “goals of care" conversations, with a documented increase from 14 new conversations per month to 100.

Watch a video about the iPACE and why they have been recognized.

Workplace Health Innovation Award of Merit

In 2017, Vancouver Coastal Health set out to redesign its attendance and wellness program to provide improved attendance management services for employees who are ill, and better support for employees to stay healthy when they are at work. The goal was to create a caring and supportive health-focused program that would also foster better workplace relationships among leaders and their teams.

By shifting to a more client-focused and responsive approach aligned with the provincial Enhanced Disability Management Program, the program, which was developed by a steering committee made up of frontline staff, union representatives and administrators, has resulted in faster, more sustainable return-to-work plans for ill employees, reduced sick leave, and an overall healthier and more productive workplace.

SOURCE: VCH physician Dr. Sakakibara and end-of-life initiative iPACE recognized at BC Health Care Awards ( )
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