Ten members of the UBC Faculty of Medicine community have been nominated for the 2022 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.
The awards recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the well-being of communities across Metro Vancouver. Nominees include:
Dr. Andrea MacNeill, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Surgery
Andrea is Founder and Principal Investigator of the UBC Planetary Healthcare Lab, bringing together researchers to generate data-driven solutions to the paradox of unhealthy healthcare delivery. One of a few global pioneers of healthcare sustainability, Dr. MacNeill was lead author on a study that modeled emissions from the Canadian healthcare system, which has been replicated at a global level and shows that healthcare contributes equivalent greenhouse gases to the aviation industry. The Planetary Healthcare Lab is the only entity of its kind worldwide, and its partner, Vancouver Coastal Health, recently appointed her to the newly created role of Medical Director of Planetary Health. Andrea is also an oncological surgeon at VGH and clinical faculty member with the UBC Department of Surgery.
Health & Wellness
Dr. Sharlene Gill, Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine
A BC Cancer medical oncologist, researcher, UBC Professor of Medicine and President-Elect of the Canadian Association of Medical Oncologists, Sharlene is an internationally recognized clinician and leader in the field of gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies. She was responsible for defining provincial cancer management guidelines as chair of the BC Cancer GI Tumour Group and currently leads the GI Disease site of the Canadian Clinical Trials Group. She has more than 100 peer-reviewed research publications to her credit and has trained and mentored countless young physicians, while being actively involved in advancing the continuing medical education of her peers. Last year, Sharlene led a series of national webinars and surveys to raise awareness of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the oncology workforce, physician wellness and the delivery of cancer care in Canada.
Cheyenne Johnson, Executive Director, BC Centre on Substance Use
As Executive Director at the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), Cheyenne is advancing evidence-based responses to substance use harms and the ongoing toxic drug crisis to identify its root cause. Cheyenne co-developed the vision and mandate that led to the creation of the BCCSU, and oversaw the development of BC’s first clinical guidelines for treating opioid addiction and the training to support its implementation. These guidelines became a blueprint for similar national guidelines adopted by the Canadian Research Initiative in Substance Misuse (CRISM). A nurse by training, Cheyenne helped establish the Addiction Nursing Fellowship, which prepares nursing fellows to work clinically and be leaders in the field of addiction. The program is now the largest of its kind in North America and Canada’s only addiction nursing fellowship-training program.
Dr. Laura Sauve, Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Pediatrics
As a pediatric infectious disease specialist at BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital, in addition to clinical care, Laura’s career focus is on the care of children experiencing social marginalisation, especially those with HIV. Dr. Sauve is a leader to pediatric learners on caring for children in families experiencing marginalisation and developed a “three tier global health curriculum” to ensure that future pediatricians understand the social determinants of health. Since 2012, she has led the Canadian Perinatal HIV Surveillance Program, which tracks prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, ensuring funding, publication and liaison with the Public Health Agency of Canada around prevention of vertical transmission of HIV. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Laura temporarily shifted her focus to take on substantial leadership as infection control medical lead.
Dr. Jacqueline Saw, Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine
Jacqueline is VGH Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program Director, UBC Professor and a leader in the research, diagnosis and care of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD), a rare heart condition that affects young women for reasons still largely unknown. Dr. Saw is a leading expert on the condition, serving as the principal investigator of a multi-centre prospective Canadian SCAD Study and running the only SCAD rehab program in the world. Patients who attend Dr. Saw’s rehab program have better outcomes and she is currently conducting genetic studies and expanding the SCAD registry internationally, hoping to uncover genetic links and medications that can be used to address the problem. She has literally written the book on SCAD and her work is saving lives and educating the next generation of heart health specialists.
Dr. Carolyn Shiau, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
As an anatomic pathologist, Carolyn was integral in the COVID-19 vaccine roll out, where she used her expertise in systems management to improve the efficiency of the process. She recommended adding an online component, calculated the ideal number of immunizers to rest space available and developed protocols to pre-draw vaccines. Her models and recommendations were adopted throughout the region and vaccination time was cut in half. At Royal Columbian Hospital, she joined a physician quality improvement committee and promptly improved lab turnaround times, resulting in RCH’s ongoing standing as a province-wide leader in efficient diagnosis, significantly improving outcomes for patients. As one of the few dermatopathologists in the country, Carolyn is often asked to consult and testify nationally in litigation. Carolyn is a singer and board member with Phoenix Chamber Choir.
Research, the Sciences & Technology
Dr. Elizabeth Bryce, Clinical Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Elizabeth is a leader and educator in Infection Prevention and Control, a Medical Microbiologist with Vancouver Coastal Health and Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, UBC. Elizabeth co-founded the BC Provincial Infection Control Network and played a major role in developing infection prevention guidelines, performing surveillance on multi-resistant organisms, developing educational programs and providing expertise for emerging infectious events. Elizabeth’s work with the VCH Canine Scent Detection team is a Canadian hospital first as is the successful training of dogs for environmental COVID detection. She spearheaded VCH’s initiative to use photodisinfection to significantly decrease infection in high risk surgeries and introduced the use of UVC light mobile disinfection units. Her interest in environmental infection control has led to the adoption of numerous new technologies, including self-sanitizing surfaces.
Dr. Janessa Laskin, Clinical Associate Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine
Janessa, a Medical Oncologist at BC Cancer and Clinical Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine’s Division of Medical Oncology at UBC, has brought cutting edge genomics technologies to clinical research. Her work identifies unknown cancer cell vulnerabilities that could be targeted using specific drugs to help patients with incurable cancers. Committed to expanding her vision, Janessa recruited a core group of physicians to establish BC Cancer’s Personalized OncoGenomics (POG) program, where she works as the clinical leader. She helped create BC Cancer’s “Molecular Tumour Board”, a weekly meeting of clinicians and scientists that has resulted in hundreds of patients gaining access to therapies. Janessa designed and implemented training programs for medical practitioners on precision cancer genomic medicine, and she has emerged as a global leader in the field.
Dr. Jerilynn Prior, Professor, Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine
Jerilynn founded the unique research/knowledge-sharing UBC Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) and has spent her career researching and discovering ways to improve the lives and health of women. Jerilynn’s innovative approaches to collaborative leadership, knowledge translation and research have led to the discovery that silent ovulatory disturbances commonly occur in clinically normal menstrual cycles and are related to bone loss. She coined perimenopause as “estrogen’s storm season,” and put progesterone on the map as effective for hot flush therapy and estrogen’s partner hormone. Jerilynn hypothesizes premenopausal estrogen-progesterone balance will prevent osteoporosis, heart disease, breast and endometrial cancers. Jerilynn has been called a “disruptor” because of “her impactful research and its presentation has challenged dogma and changed practice in the field of medicine, menstrual cycles, hormone therapy.”
Dr. Anna Tinker, Clinical Assistant Professor, Division of Medical Oncology, Department of Medicine
As a medical oncologist with BC Cancer, Anna is a healthcare innovator and a champion for women in BC, with an expertise in gynecologic malignancies. As Chair of B.C.’s Gynecologic Cancer Initiative Clinical Trials Group, Anna has been instrumental in increasing access to innovative and promising clinical trials for women in BC with gynecological cancers. Anna works closely with BC’s Gynecologic Cancer Research Program, innovating research in early cancer detection and treatment. She is leading the development of a new tool for cancer detection and as BC Cancer’s Gyne-Tumour Group Chair, she leads the gynecologic cancer care community to foster and implement changes in clinical treatment guidelines, enhancing equal access to care for women across BC. She is also a Clinical Assistant Professor in UBC’s Faculty of Medicine.