BC Patient Safety & Quality Council

Vote for the 2018 Everyday Champion

QA 2017 AwardBanner_EverydayChampion

Voting is now finished! We’ll announce the winner in November – stay tuned!

Our Everyday Champion Quality Award captures the story of someone working in the health system who showed a passion and commitment for improving quality of care. He or she may not work in a role that specifies participation in quality improvement activities or in a formal leadership position. The “Everyday Champion” saw a need for improvement, committed to change, led by example and inspired others!

The winner will receive a $2,500 sponsorship to help support or disseminate learning from his or her project, and will be celebrated a ceremony at Health Talks on February 21, 2018.

  • Charlene Burmeister

    Provincial Peer Coordinator
    Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement Initiative

    Click here to read Charlene's Story

    Charlene Burmeister has been involved in harm reduction work throughout British Columbia for over nine years. She began by volunteering in her home community of Quesnel, helping at-risk people – who would likely not otherwise seek care – access safe, clean supplies and care providers they could trust. Now, she is improving access to respectful care across the province in her role as Provincial Peer Coordinator for the Compassion, Inclusion and Engagement (CIE) initiative.

    Charlene believes that the unprecedented number of overdose deaths in BC since 2016 is a direct result of stigma – like the harmful perception of addiction as a personal weakness – that prevents people who use substances from accessing care due to fear. Involving peers (people with lived experience of substance use) in harm reduction policy and planning, and letting them know they are heard and valued, are key to creating change, and Charlene is a leader in building their confidence and capacity. Throughout her work, Charlene advocates for equal treatment and inclusion of First Nations peers and other vulnerable, minority populations.

    As part of the CIE team, Charlene has facilitated community dialogues between 77 peers and 98 harm reduction service providers in multiple health authorities. She accomplishes the sensitive task of entering new communities, engaging peers, and forming valuable relationships with them. At the dialogues, peers discuss the challenges they face in accessing care, and providers learn how to adapt their services to better meet the community’s needs. Through the CIE dialogues, peers in many north-western communities are now included in harm reduction committee meetings in their communities. In addition to this work, Charlene has represented the North at many provincial tables, including the most recent Overdose Action Exchange in Vancouver. Charlene brings the rural and remote lens to her provincial work as a member of the Harm Reduction Strategies and Services Committee as well as the Peer Engagement and Evaluation Project (PEEP).

    Charlene advocates for peers to be compensated fairly for their participation in harm reduction policy and planning, and supports their involvement even when their circumstances make taking part a challenge. For example, she was committed to bringing a peer who had a disability and multiple health concerns to a recent harm reduction meeting in Vancouver. She coordinated with the airline, the hotel and the peer’s medical provider to ensure a positive travel experience, and that peer is still involved in this work despite her health challenges.

    Charlene is working to change the conversation about substance use by amplifying the voices of those most affected – people with lived experience – as an integral part of that conversation. She draws on her own lived experience – including taking part in Northern Health’s Stop Stigma Save Lives campaign – to build empathetic relationships with and between peers and service providers. Her philosophy is “meeting people where they are at,” and her acceptance and compassion help peers find the agency to participate as equals in the harm reduction work BC needs.

    Jenna Smith-Forrester

    Student & Year 3 Class President
    Northern Medical Program, UBC

    Click here to read Jenna's Story

    As a full-time medical student, Jenna Smith-Forrester dedicated more than 2000 hours to providing her fellow students with quality improvement training and education, in her former voluntary role as UBC Chapter President for the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Open School.

    Medical school doesn’t exactly leave students with abundant free time, but Jenna managed to facilitate a diverse array of learning opportunities, including dozens of workshops, a scholarship program, an international campaign, an elective course, and an international conference. Altogether, thousands of students across the spectrum of health disciplines have learned about and integrated quality improvement methods into their education and work as a result of Jenna’s efforts.

    Jenna’s stewardship of the UBC IHI Open School chapter was so exemplary that she is featured in IHI’s online training videos, viewed by over 500,000 students and professionals, and was invited to the “Student Organizing Leadership Academy” at IHI’s head office. As a result, the IHI Open School Chapter at UBC is internationally recognized, and her efforts have even created two new Open School Chapters (IHI UBCO in Kelowna and IHI UNBC in Prince George).

    In June, Jenna organized and hosted the “Health Innovation for All” conference, bringing together IHI Open School leaders from 22 chapters across Canada for a three-day interprofessional event. The conference hosted over 400 students and professionals, and explored how technological advances, systems-level thinking, and collaborative approaches were improving accessibility of health services and overall health equity. Activities included 13 interactive workshops, a panel discussion, four professional and patient keynote presentations, a storyboard reception and more. The conference was the result of over nine months of planning and organization on Jenna’s part, and she independently raised over $23,000 in sponsorship funding to make it possible.

    Jenna’s work carries a strong message of student action and advocacy for quality improvement education and integration into formal health care curriculums, which has had a significant impact on her peers. She engaged fellow students and faculty in designing, implementing and facilitating an elective course that involved teaching medical students the science of improvement, leadership, and quality improvement tools. In the program’s first year, over 40 medical students at UBC undertook the 25-30 hours of training and received certificates in patient safety – the program is still running and growing in popularity. Many were inspired to participate in or create their own quality improvement projects.

    Through her dedicated and inclusive efforts that go far above and beyond her role as a student, Jenna exemplifies exceptional leadership and inspires the next generation of health care providers to embrace their roles in transforming the health system.

    ShelleyLynn Gardner

    Rehabilitation Assistant
    Surrey Memorial Hospital

    Click here to read ShelleyLynn's Story

    ShelleyLynn Gardner, a Rehabilitation Assistant and member of the Fraser Health Engagement Radical Network (E-Rads), has a passion for improving patient care at Surrey Memorial Hospital, and a talent for creative and compassionate ideas that make a big difference.

    E-Rads are informal volunteer leadership roles that empower staff at all levels to engage their peers in improvement efforts and learning. ShelleyLynn’s commitment to this role is evident in the diverse and well-received events and initiatives she has led, such as a peer-recognition program called Pay It Forward, a Mental Health Awareness Week, and Change Day; she has also created social events that build team culture and relationships, such as an annual staff barbeque.

    One example was her observation that fabric soaker pads, used in hospital beds to reposition patients, were causing injuries and discomfort for both patients and staff; as a result, she led the transition to a disposable product that lowered costs and decreased the length of stay for patients. She also recognized that some patients may not be able to purchase the mobility equipment they need for their rehabilitation and treatment, and organized a loaner cupboard and program in the emergency department.

    And a particularly impactful program she has led in her role as an E-Rad is the “Puppy Love” days. This series provides education to staff, teaching the difference between service dogs and therapy dogs, and their roles within health care settings. This not only provides staff with an improved understanding of how animal interventions work, but also inspires them to consider how they can bring animal therapies to their patients. Pet therapy interventions have increased as a result.

    ShelleyLynn also led the “What Matters to You?” Day initiative at Surrey Memorial, granting wishes to patients that ranged from arranging special meals to bringing surprise visitors to a long-term patient. The patient had been at Surrey Memorial for five months and had shared with staff that he loved horses and missed interacting with them through his work with the Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities Association. ShelleyLynn arranged for two horses to visit in the hospital’s parking lot, and the team wheeled him out to see them. Her efforts not only made an incredible impact on that patient, but also raised the profile of “What Matters to You?” Day, garnering front-page news coverage and inspiring others across BC.

    These examples demonstrate how ShelleyLynn’s efforts, ingenuity and empathy are improving care at Surrey Memorial Hospital in large and small ways, and implementing effective and engaging actions across Fraser Health and beyond.