Recently, the BC Renal leadership team added two new part-time positions to increase our capacity to serve people living with kidney disease. The contributions of these two experts, who already have key roles within our network, will help us continue our mandate of planning and coordinating kidney services in BC, helping to focus on service and care innovations that support both health professionals and the kidney patients we all serve.
Here, we introduce each individual and their roles, and below, you can hear directly from each about their thoughts on their new positions.
Dr. John Antonsen is joining the leadership team as senior medical lead, provincial quality and networks, HARP alignment and provincial committees. In this new role, John will support provincial alignment across health authority renal programs (HARPs) and provincial committees, identifying and navigating operational issues that have provincial impact on quality and patient care.
John's new position will also support BC Renal's pandemic operational response and will lead the medical advisory group that provides advice and counsel on the practice of nephrology.
He will continue his nephrology practice and his role as chair of the provincial hemodialysis clinicians' committee, as well as his administrative roles for Island Health, which include medical director, kidney services and head of the division of nephrology.
Also joining the leadership team is Dr. Michael Copland, in the new position of senior medical lead, provincial quality and networks, HARP alignment, diversity and inclusion. Michael will support provincial alignment across health authority renal programs, identifying and navigating operational issues that have provincial impact on quality and patient care, and will oversee the diversity/inclusion strategic priority across our network.
Michael will also be a member of the team that develops the provincial facilities and equipment planning committee's 10-year capital plan and will co-lead BC Renal's pandemic operational response.
He will continue his nephrology practice and his role as chair of the provincial home hemodialysis committee, as well as his administrative role of medical director, kidney services for Vancouver Coastal Health, and as clinical associate professor with UBC.
I plan to attend and participate in each core committee as a BC Renal liaison, helping ensure synergy and leverage capacity among all the important initiatives across working groups. Similarly, I hope to be a provincial resource to each health authority renal/kidney program leadership team, meet with them as needed and provide support in their efforts to deliver care in their own local context, but under the umbrella of BC Renal and its resources.
BC Renal has evolved over more than two decades from what was initially a funding and resource support agency, to a much larger and broader coalition of administrators and care providers focusing on broader aspects of renal care, such as quality, patient experience and engagement, research and education. The small and nimble leadership at BC Renal recognized the increase in breadth and depth of work and the benefit of adding experienced medical leadership on its executive.
Recognizing the increasing complexity of BC Renal's work, senior medical leads will work with all the teams of dedicated practitioners in their efforts to continually improve and optimize the care for kidney patients, while being accountable to the Provincial Health Services Authority and the Ministry of Health, which fund and support our work. Sharing the workload of BC Renal's executive will increase capacity and ensure sustainability in leadership in the years to come.
A foundational principle of BC Renal – BC Renal Agency, in the day – was ensuring equitable and equal access to renal services regardless of where an individual lives. This is vitally important.
In 2021, I believe that this needs to be considered in a different, but hopefully complimentary, way. As a British Columbian I am learning more and more about our historic relationship with our Indigenous neighbours as well as our fellow British Columbians of African-Canadian ancestry and people of colour. Recent media reports and the recently released "In Plain Sight" report pertaining to systemic racism within BC's health care system are sobering stories. They are difficult reads, but important reads nonetheless for everyone in the health care system.
In this new role, diversity and inclusion will be a focus on how to partner better to provide safe and culturally sensitive care to Indigenous people as we digest the information coming from "In Plain Sight." As well, we need to look at how we partner with patients, physicians, nurses, and other health care providers in the rural and remote communities to ensure access to complex care, for example, chronic kidney disease and dialysis, is available.
A major focus for the BC Renal community, and indeed the health care system as a whole in British Columbia, is to confront the reality of systemic racism in BC.
We are all in health care to care for people – I hope! As such, it is hard to read the stories of how people view their interactions with BC's health system. We must do better as a society and I think the creation of this role is a step in that direction and a confirmation that BC Renal is committed to making our system equitable, safe and welcoming for everyone.
I hope to see a few things:
- A new relationship with Indigenous peoples
- A new relationship with people of colour
- A new relationship with rural and remote community members.
Ultimately, I hope to see this role help further the original founding principle of BC Renal –equitable care for all people regardless of where they live in BC.
Thank You and Stay Tuned
We very much appreciate the time and thought Drs. Antonsen and Copland put into sharing their views on the expanded work our senior leadership team has underway. In upcoming issues of Renal News Express, we will feature the other members of the BC Renal leadership team and the portfolios they oversee.