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Meet BC Renal's Leadership Team

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British Columbia's kidney care network, which includes BC Renal, the regional health authority renal programs, patient and family partners, and a range of partner organizations, is recognized provincially, nationally and around the world as a best practice model for planning, delivering and continuously improving care for those living with chronic kidney disease. At the hub of the network is BC Renal, a small organization with a big mandate. 

Here, we're pleased to highlight the individuals who make up the BC Renal leadership team. With brief summaries of their roles and answers to our one-question Q & A, we hope you gain new insight into how each contributes to better care for patients in BC.

Dr. Adeera Levin, Executive Director
Adeera is responsible for the overall governance and strategic direction of BC Renal and the network, ensuring that collectively we're continuously improving and supporting access to the highest quality, person-centred care for those living with kidney disease. She is also head of the UBC Division of Nephrology, co-principal investigator of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network, senior medical lead of the Integration Clinical and Academic Networks at Providence Health Care, lead of the Post-COVID-19 Interdisciplinary Clinical Care Network, and recipient of the Order of Canada.

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

I believe patients should always be at the centre of everything we do. My vision for BC Renal in the late 1990s was to create a network that brought together all the components that support best practice care: partnerships with the regional programs that deliver care, multidisciplinary provincial committees that develop standards and guidelines, as well as robust research and knowledge translation. Also very important in this best practice mix are a data-driven information system, analytics that measure and report on patient and system outcomes, a patient-centred funding model, and cost-saving provincial contracts for equipment, supplies and medications. We're always a work in progress, but I'm proud of what we've achieved together over the past two decades plus. 
Erlyn Amano, Director, Business Planning

Erlyn’s portfolio includes providing strategic business planning services and financial reporting. Working closely with the rest of the BC Renal leadership team, Erlyn oversees the development of annual business plans and budgets. 
 

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

By providing timely, meaningful and reliable financial information, my team and I aim to assist senior management with strategic decision-making to optimize the use of finite resources. We support effective and efficient use of funding by maintaining strong financial controls, practices and processes for the benefit of BC Renal and every patient we serve across the province.
Dr. John Antonsen, Senior Medical Lead
In this newer role with the leadership team, John supports provincial alignment across health authority renal programs as well as BC Renal provincial committees, identifying and navigating operational issues that have provincial impact on quality and patient care. John also leads the BC Renal Medical Advisory Group and co-leads BC Renal's pandemic operational response. His other network roles include medical director, Kidney Services for Island Health and chair of the provincial Hemodialysis Committee.

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

My role helps to ensure the province’s health authority renal programs and provincial committees share a collaborative and strategic approach that identifies key kidney care operational issues and allows health professionals to deliver quality patient care in their own local context, under the umbrella of BC Renal and its resources. We work together to ensure synergy and to leverage capacity for key working group initiatives and health authority leadership teams.

Babita Basra, Director, Learning, People and Operations
Babita is responsible for strategic planning, human resources and overall operations, including committee structure and physician compensation. Her role oversees process improvement and internal education across the organization. 

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

My team is committed to BC Renal having the right people and tools in place to support the network in providing care for patients across BC. That can mean advocating for specific resources and roles, such as project managers, providing access to the latest leadership strategies or ensuring transparency and equity in our provincial processes. By supporting people to be the best at their jobs, they in turn can help create a health system that best supports patients.

Dr. Michael Copland, Senior Medical Lead
A newer addition to the leadership team, Michael supports provincial alignment across health authority renal programs, identifies and navigates operational issues that have provincial impact on quality and patient care, and oversees our diversity/inclusion strategic priority. Michael is also a member of the team that develops the provincial facilities and equipment planning committee's 10-year capital plan and co-leads BC Renal's pandemic operational response. His other network roles include medical director, Kidney Services for Vancouver Coastal Health/Providence Health Care and chair of the provincial Home Hemodialysis Committee.

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

This role allows me to ensure BC Renal “walks the talk” on incorporating diversity, inclusion and cultural safety at every step in our service delivery. The more we learn about the needs of our Indigenous patients, as well as BC residents of African ancestry and all people of colour, the better we perform. Just as importantly, in this role I can engage with patients and health care providers in rural and remote settings to ensure complex kidney care access is equitable, safe and welcoming for all.

Ognjenka Djurdjev, Senior Officer for Analytics and Methodology
Ognjenka has played a fundamental leadership role in the development and ongoing evolution of BC Renal since its inception. In her current part-time role, she leads the Analytics and Methodology team and plays a key role in strategies to increase research activities provincially. Ognjenka is also the executive director for the PHSA Provincial Clinical Policy Analytics and Registry Initiatives. 

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

I dedicate about 20 percent of my time to my BC Renal role, where I work with a committed team of statisticians to ensure statistical and methodological rigour for all BC Renal activities and initiatives, as well as key indicator reporting to the network, PHSA and the Ministry of Health. This work informs the development of clinical guidelines and protocols, supports clinical decision making, enables BC Renal to appropriately plan and advocate for resources and supports a broad range of research and quality improvement projects. 

Gloria Freeborn, Director of Strategic Initiatives and Development
Gloria’s portfolio includes strategic planning, educational strategies and events, patient and family engagement, patient experience, partnership development and reporting to PHSA and the Ministry of Health. She also oversees BC Renal’s communications platforms, including the website, e-newsletters and social media.

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

The connecting theme across my role and those of my dedicated team members is to help empower patients and care teams with information and resources, and to help shift the culture to one that puts the patient and family voice at the centre of all that we do. We aim to do that through resources on our website, our webinars and conferences, our awareness campaigns, our partnerships and collaborations, our patient experience surveys and our patient and family engagement strategy.

Karin Jackson, Director of Operations, PROMIS
Karin is responsible for leading the PROMIS (Patient Records and Outcome Management Information System) team and the talented individuals who design, develop, implement and support the PROMIS provincial registry and clinical information system. The system, which is used by health professionals, supports the treatment and care of chronic kidney disease, solid organ transplant and post-COVID recovery patients across the province.
 

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

At PROMIS, my team and I enable technology to make important clinical information available to providers engaged in specialized care, no matter where the provider is, and importantly, no matter where the patient is. That includes combining core clinical information with specialized health information that is unique to the provincial programs that we serve. Not only is that information available in real-time for individual patient care management, it helps inform outcomes reporting and planning to ensure patients receive high quality services and equitable access to those services.

Dan Martinusen, Provincial Director, Pharmacy, BC Renal 
Dan is responsible for the pharmaceutical budget, contracts for pharmaceuticals and pharmacy services as well as nutritional supplements. He is also responsible for planning, designing, implementing, maintaining and monitoring all drug-use processes and related guidelines. This includes medication guideline development, drug formularies, drug invoice approval, pharmacist education and research. The focus is to provide timely, patient-centred, safe, evidence-informed and cost-effective drug therapy.

This year, Dan has also taken on an interim role to lead the provincial Emergency Management Committee and BC Renal contract management in concert with the rest of the team.

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

My guiding philosophy has been to ensure kidney patients in BC get the right drug for the right condition at the right dose at the right time, eliminating financial barriers while also ensuring the best value for our public health dollars. I'm proud to say that our patients have the most extensive financial support for kidney medications in Canada, and in recent years we've extended that support to those with glomerulonephritis and polycystic kidney disease. We have achieved this by developing extensive guidelines and algorithms for formulary drugs and symptom management, negotiating provincial contracts and redirecting savings to enhance kidney care. 

Sushila Saunders, Director Home Therapies and Palliative Care
Sushila provides strategic and operational leadership to the provincial Peritoneal Dialysis (PD), Home Hemodialysis (HHD) and Palliative Care committees and nursing groups, and collaborates with the regional PD and HHD programs. In her role, she oversees annual work plans and projects for these committees, as well as supports PD/HHD vendor management. She also manages BC Renal value-add funding for regional and provincial initiatives. 
 

Q: How does your role contribute to better care for patients in BC, directly or indirectly?

My role directly impacts how care and services are provided to home therapy patients and the quality of care that kidney patients receive at the end of their lives. Advocacy for equitable services throughout BC, improvements in quality of patient care, and excellence in service delivery are key priorities for my team to ensure patient support and professional resources work hand in hand.  


 
 

 

 

SOURCE: Meet BC Renal's Leadership Team ( )
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