Coronavirus (COVID-19) information for the Faculty of Medicine community


On this page:

Information for: Faculty and Staff | Students and Learners

Information on: Research Activities

Messages from Dermot Kelleher, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President, Health, UBC


Information for faculty and staff

Find the latest on COVID-19 and UBC’s response on UBC’s COVID-19 website, including:

  • Updates on travel
    • Travel guide
    • Canceling research-related travel
  • Precautions you can take to stay healthy and prevent the spread of infections
  • What UBC is doing
  • Guidance for managers and supervisors
  • Business continuing planning template
  • Mental health support and resources
    • Helping a colleague in distress
    • UBC Employee and Family Assistant Program
    • UBC extended health benefits
    • UBC mental health supports

 

UBC Information and FAQs

 

Support for teaching remotely

Learn about resources for faculty to transition to online classes and assessments for the remainder of the term at https://keepteaching.ubc.ca.

Faculty teaching in the MD undergraduate program

Find teacher support and information relating to running online sessions through Faculty Development, including:

  • How to deliver lectures online
  • How to conduct small group interactive sessions online
  • How to get support for teaching in an online environment
  • Daily key messages from the Undergraduate Medical Education (UGME) COVID-19 taskforce

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Resources

Browse the resource hub to view resources about COVID-19 offered by UBC CPD and other education providers.

Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME)

For information about registration and the virtual event, visit the CCME website.

Teaching hospitals information

Faculty and staff working in locations such as the teaching hospitals should follow UBC’s advised protocols as well as the other organizations’ protocols. If the protocols are differing, please contact your HR Advisor or Faculty Relations.

IT information for working from home

VPN

Our VPN capacity has been increased dramatically. However, we are dealing with a situation we never experienced before. VPN is only needed for some of our applications (e.g., Peoplesoft, PAT, Workspace).

  • Only use it when you need it and then disconnect. If something at UBC doesn’t work, then switch it back on again
  • Do not stream video or music while connected to the VPN – when you are on VPN all communications to/from your device goes via UBC Vancouver Campus, using up VPN and network capacity.
  • Switch off VPN for videoconferences – unless you need to work on the applications during the call. Do so before you join a call.

Virtual Meetings

The Faculty of Medicine has also dramatically increased its videoconferencing capability, however, having a large number of individual participants on calls presents its own challenges. The following suggestions will facilitate more effective virtual meetings:

  • Mute your mic unless you are speaking
  • If playback occurs, everyone needs to mute their microphones and then only the person who was speaking should unmute.
  • If you have separate voice and video connections to a call, make sure you mute both of them and only unmute one if you need to speak.
  • Having poor audio/visual quality on videoconference? Switch off your camera – your home Wi-Fi maybe struggling, particularly if others in the vicinity are using the same router.
  • Putting your hand up for attention may not work with a large number of participants as your image may not be visible to the moderator. Use the chat feature and designate someone to monitor it for the call.
Videoconferencing
  • Technical issues: Call MedIT VC Service Desk at 1-877-266-0666 (option 2) or email medit.servicedesk@ubc.ca (Hours: Monday-Friday 7:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
  • Room booking support (making new ones, updating existing ones, or cancellations) or transitioning non-VC meetings to VC meetings: Call MedIT Resource Coordination team at 1-877-266-0666 (option 3) or medit.resourcecoordination@ubc.ca (Hours: Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

Information for students and learners

We have actively begun to transition to the online delivery of classes as announced by UBC. This means we are moving educational delivery to online modalities whenever possible.

For classes that cannot be accommodated online, please check with your respective program for further details.

In the interest of both student and patient safety, medical students in Years 1 & 2 will not be participating in clinical visits for the time being. This includes Family Practice clinical placements, clinical skills sessions, and shadowing experiences. Programs are working to identify alternative learning experiences whenever possible.

In the interest of both student and patient safety, health professional students in pre-clinical placements will not be participating in clinical visits for the time being. This includes clinical skills sessions and shadowing experiences. Programs are working to identify alternative learning experiences whenever possible.

In the interest of student and learner safety and wellness, effective immediately the Faculty of Medicine has placed a hold on all clinical experiences for medical students in Years 3 & 4 on clinical rotations and electives. We will be reassessing this decision in due course, at which time we will reassess the future status of these clinical experiences.

Students and learners with questions or concerns should reach out directly to the Regional Associate Dean or the Associate Dean for their respective programs.

In the interest of student and learner safety and wellness, effective immediately the Faculty of Medicine has placed a hold on all clinical experiences for health professional students on clinical placements. We will be reassessing this decision in due course, at which time we will reassess the future status of these clinical experiences.

Students and learners with questions or concerns should reach out directly to their respective program.

If you are a graduate student or postdoctoral trainee, your exposure and access to clinical settings may be limited. However if you do have exposure to clinical settings you should contact your supervisor or program director for further advice.

As always, the safety and wellness of our students and learners, in the context of providing patient-centred care, remain the top priority for the Faculty of Medicine. Please bring any concerns that you may have to your program leadership (i.e. the Regional Associate Dean or Associate Dean for your program).

If you are concerned about exposure to COVID-19, call public health at 8-1-1. For more information and the latest updates, visit http://www.bccdc.ca.

At this time, there is no mandatory restriction on medical residents and postgraduate medical trainees (including clinical fellows) with regard to their participation in the triage and/or management of suspected or known cases of COVID-19.

As part of the health care delivery team, medical residents and postgraduate medical trainees (including clinical fellows) are expected to follow the guidelines and recommendations provided by Public Health (that is, Medical Health Officers of the Health Authority) and the Health Authority in which they are working. Updated guidelines can be found here: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-professionals/clinical-resources/novel-coronavirus-(covid-19).

The Postgraduate Medical Education (PGME) Office is maintaining an updated FAQ on their website with specific information about how COVID-19 may affect medical residents and postgraduate medical trainees, including clinical fellows.

For more information, please visit: https://postgrad.med.ubc.ca/current-trainees/covid-19-how-is-ubc-faculty-of-medicine-monitoring-the-situation/

With respect to academic activities, program electives, conferences and meetings, residency programs, fellowship programs, medical residents and postgraduate medical trainees (including clinical fellows) must follow recommendations provided in the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Travel Advice, including avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Please note that non-essential travel includes all officially-sanctioned and previously-approved educational activities, such as elective rotations and conferences.

Students and postdoctoral trainees who plan to travel outside the province for electives, other curricular activities, or non-curricular educational activities such as conferences or non-credit electives must must follow recommendations provided in the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Travel Advice, including avoiding all non-essential travel outside of Canada. Please note that non-essential travel includes all officially-sanctioned and previously-approved educational activities and electives.

All students and postdoctoral trainees must register with UBC Go Global before any travel. They must also consult with their respective programs, as the fluid situation globally could lead to unexpected circumstances that could affect the continuity of study, such as quarantine leading to missed periods of study and/or examinations.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC has made the decision to not accept applications for electives from medical students, medical residents, and postgraduate medical trainees, including clinical fellows, until further notice, given that physicians will be focused on care in response to the COVID-19 situation. We will provide updated information as we receive it from the College. Any applications that are currently in progress will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Additional Information

Additional information is available on UBC’s COVID-19 website.

Graduate Students

Find additional information for graduate students on the Graduate & Postdoctoral Studies website.

MD Undergraduate Students

Find additional information for students in the MD undergraduate program on Entrada (CWL required).

Postgraduate Medical Residents

Find additional information for residents on the Postgraduate Medical Education website.

Information on research activities

As announced by UBC, the university is curtailing on-campus research activities on its Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. This is in line with social distancing protocols regarding remote teaching and working arrangements implemented in the last week.

For Research at Vancouver (Point Grey) and Okanagan Campuses
Critical research exemptions that were granted to cover the entire initial period of curtailment will be extended to April 30. Other fixed date exemptions must still adhere to the granted exemption date.

To continue research activities on our campuses, researchers must receive an exemption to be classed as critical research or maintaining critical research resources. For all other research on UBC’s campuses, research teams should immediately start to develop and implement plans to work remotely, and to have these plans fully operational by the end of day on Tuesday, March 24.

The exemption process is outlined at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. It involves approval at the departmental, Faculty and Vice-President, Research & Innovation levels. For Faculty of Medicine exemption requests, we ask for the following:

  • Completed form signed by the Department Head (email approvals accepted)
  • In the cover email, please outline the safety plan for the individuals who will be requesting access. We need to know that you have systems in place for infection and overall protection for the staff:
    • If there are at least 2 members of a research group present, we want the Principle Investigator’s confirmation that there will be protocols for safe distancing, proper hand washing, and other protection as required.
    • If a researcher must work alone in a lab, we would like the documented process that has been shared with anyone who will be working alone to report and/or monitor their presence and safety in the building.
  • Send all completed information to Dr. Rob McMaster, Executive Associate Dean, Research (robert.mcmaster@vch.ca) and Dr. Michelle Wong, Senior Director, Research (michelle.wong@ubc.ca) with copy to Meredith Ladner, Executive Coordinator (meredith.ladner@ubc.ca)
  • For approved forms from the Dean of Medicine:
    • The Office of the Dean will be sending those over to the VPRI for review and approval
    • The VPRI will respond back to the email address provided for the Principal Investigator as noted in the form, with copy to the Dean and Department Head
  • For forms that are not approved by the Dean of Medicine:
    • The Office of the Dean will be sending the Department Head a communication to this effect for further distribution back to the Principal Investigator

Examples of critical research may include COVID-19 research and clinical trials. Critical research resources may include data, cell lines, materials and reagents that are deemed essential and difficult to replace. The exceptional circumstances in which we find ourselves mean we can only continue the most essential research operations. Guidance, a planning checklist and FAQs are available at https://research.ubc.ca/covid-19. These guidelines facilitate the temporary curtailment of most on-campus research activities and prioritize health and safety, first and foremost.

For Research at Health Authority sites
Faculty, staff and students conducting research in Health Authority-based facilities must follow the directives of the Health Authorities:

During this time we must follow UBC and health authority directives relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, and be aware that these directives will change to accommodate the rapidly evolving situation. Researchers with drugs, treatments or medical devices that may be effective in treating or diagnosing COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Public Health Authority of Canada for assistance with facilitating clinical trials. A list of all COVID-19 clinical trials authorized in Canada is available on Health Canada's website.

Please see Health Canada’s notice to clinical trial sponsors on the management of clinical trials during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please contact your institutional clinical trials operations or your research ethics board for more information.

Clinical researchers should also be aware of the US FDA Guidance on conduct of clinical trials of medical products during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Efforts to reduce, minimize or eliminate risks related to research participants and the public are critical at this point, and we must minimize any burden that clinical trials and clinical research activity can create for our health care system.

Key principles:

  1. Safety of our research participants, their families and staff.
  2. Limit excessive use of resources within VCH and PHC, given the increased risks involved with decreased number of staff and increasing demands on our health care system.
  3. Minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.
  4. Limit adverse impact on the integrity of ongoing trials.
  5. Guidance is subject to change as the situation evolves. We will review and advise on any changes on a regular basis.

Clinical trials and clinical research operations at hospital sites
With consideration for continuity of care and participant and staff safety, hospital sites are suspending the initiation of new clinical trials/clinical research projects and halting recruitment for new and ongoing clinical trials/clinical research studies currently for a limited time.

Enrollment into clinical trials and clinical research studies that are part of essential clinical care, projects related to the COVID-19 outbreak, or those that have significant cost or time-related implications will be assessed by your hospital site. We recognize that some ongoing clinical trials and clinical research studies require important safety monitoring and/or on-site visits that are critical to the participant’s clinical care, and therefore encourage investigators to use good judgment and consider the level at which this is appropriate for each ongoing protocol and patient participant.

All researchers conducting studies at any of the Health Authority sites must, first and foremost, follow the directives of the relevant Health Authority. For ongoing clinical trials and clinical research at our hospital sites, please find more information at your respected location:

In addition to the advice received from the relevant Institutions, UBC’s clinical REBs have developed operational advice which can be found at the following:

BC’s clinical research ethics boards have developed a rapid ethical review process for provincial clinical research pertaining to COVID-19. For more information, see https://researchethicsbc.ca/rapid-review-process/

For all research involving human participants, the guidance of the UBC Research Ethics Boards must be followed. All in-person research has been suspended effective immediately and until further notice (exceptions may be made in special situations, such as research involving COVID-19 or where stopping the research could put participants at risk). The UBC BREB and BREB-Okanagan will make every effort to continue reviewing and approving ethics applications (where appropriate); however, no new research involving in-person contact can begin until the University resumes regular activity.

The BREB and BREB-O Chairs have provided a COVID-19 Bulletin.

For additional operational advice, please check the BREB and BREB-O websites or e-mail jean.ruiz@ors.ubc.ca (BREB) or lisa.shearer@ubc.ca (BREB-O)

In addition to the advice received from the relevant Institutions, UBC’s clinical REBs have developed operational advice which can be found at the following:

For more information, please visit UBC’s Office of Research Ethics website.

All research being conducted by faculty, medical residents and students at Faculty of Medicine sites — both on and off UBC Vancouver (Point Grey campus) — must follow the guidelines and recommendations provided by UBC, their local university and the health authority in which they are working. For more information about research planning in relation to COVID-19, please visit https://research.ubc.ca/research-faqs-relating-covid-19.

Faculty, staff, and trainees who plan to travel outside the province for research related activities, including conferences, must first consult the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Travel Advice for information on the current level of health risk and recommended precautions, including avoiding non-essential travel to certain destinations as applicable. Please note that non-essential travel includes all officially-sanctioned and previously-approved research related activities and meetings.

As of March 12, 2020, the Government of BC is recommending against any non-essential travel outside of Canada and is directing anyone who travels outside of Canada to self-isolate for 14-days following their return. As the global situation continues to evolve, the changes in regulation are fluid and decisions to travel could affect the continuity of research studies due to quarantines.

For projects funded by NSERC, SSHRC and CIHR, the granting agencies have confirmed that the reimbursement of non-refundable travel fees from agency funds is acceptable for meetings or other research-related activities impacted by COVID-19.

The reimbursements can apply to both principal investigators and research personnel, when cancellation occurs either due to factors such as travel advisories (including from Health Canada or Global Affairs Canada), cancelled conferences, or from personal choice due to health or other concerns.

For those planning to travel for NSERC/SSHRC/CIHR-funded research, the agencies suggest to consider purchasing cancellation insurance or to book tickets that are at least partially refundable. In this specific situation some additional cost could still be viewed as economical if it allows for partial or full reimbursement/credit in the event of cancellation due to COVID-19.

See the full statement from the Tri-Agency here: https://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/Media-Media/ProgramNewsDetails-NouvellesDesProgrammesDetails_eng.asp?ID=1133

UBC is reviewing whether this will apply to non-tri council funding and will communicate further when information is available.

UBC has taken the decision to cancel all on-campus and off-campus events until May 30, 2020, regardless of size. That includes indoor and outdoor events.

Maintaining research continuity to ensure ongoing research activities is a priority for us.

At this time, all research labs should be conducting contingency planning. Resources are available here: https://ready.ubc.ca/get-prepared/continuity-planning/

Additional Information

For more information about research planning in relation to COVID-19, please visit https://research.ubc.ca/research-faqs-relating-covid-19.

For information about UBC research responses to COVID-19 and access to research funding, support and resources, please visit https://covid19.research.ubc.ca/.

COVID-19 Clinical Research Coordination Initiative

The COVID-19 Clinical Research Coordination Initiative (CCRCI) is a province-wide program. Learn more

Virtual BC COVID-19 Symposium

Watch a recording of the virtual BC COVID-19 Symposium held on April 9, 2020 by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia. Watch video

Mailing List

Sign up to receive emails to share outputs from UBC and BCCDC’s virtual COVID-19 research meetings, details about future meetings, and information on COVID-19 research around B.C. Sign up now

Messages from Dermot Kelleher, Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Vice-President, Health, UBC

 

Last updated: May 26, 2020 – 11:34 a.m. PDT

Quick Links

News

  • Combatting COVID-19: Hear from UBC experts, learn more about work on the frontlines, and discover the latest research helping to combat the global outbreak. Read more
  • COVID-19 and Seniors’ Health:
    Read the special edition of Pathways, our digital magazine. Read more