These profiles were posted as part of Infection Control Week 2016. You can read about the roles of PICNet’s Management office and Medical Co-Leads here.
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Dr. Elizabeth Bryce

Regional Medical Director, Infection Control/Medical Microbiology, Vancouver Coastal Health;
Co-Medical Lead, PICNet

We should never forget that we live in a microbial world – it’s all about maintaining a healthy relationship between ourselves and microbes.

What is your education and work background?
Bachelor of Science (Hons); MD, FRCPC Internal Medicine, FRCPC Medical Microbiology.

What got you interested in infection control?
It evolved naturally through my interest in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology.

What does your current job involve?
The duties of a medical microbiologist for a large regional laboratory as well as medical oversight for the infection prevention and control program at VCH.

What do you like best about your job?
I like the fact that there is often no one correct answer, that you have to be a critical thinker and pragmatic and that you have the ability to interact with workers across the spectrum of healthcare.

Why is your job important?
It impacts directly on patient outcomes, and the quality of their healthcare experience.

What message would you like to share with staff?
We should never forget that we live in a microbial world – it’s all about maintaining ahealthy relationship between ourselves and microbes.

Tell us about your hobbies!
I love to hike and garden. My entire yard (back and front) is nothing but plants.

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Dr. Linda Hoang

Medical Microbiologist, Program Head, Public Health Advanced Bacteriology/ Mycology Lab, BCCDC Public Health Laboratory;
Co-Medical Lead, PICNet

 

Dr. Linda Hoang received her Master’s and Medical Degrees from UBC and is FRCP(C) qualified in Medical Microbiology (UBC). She also obtained a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Epidemiology, UK.

Dr. Hoang has been formally based at the BC Centre for Disease Control as the Program Head for Bacteriology & Mycology laboratory since 2006, but has been involved in BCCDC-led projects in Vietnam and BC starting in 1998. She enjoys teaching and is the BCCDC site-supervisor for the UBC Medical Microbiology Residency Training Program.

Her clinical and academic interests include agents of bioterrorism and containment level-3 pathogens, healthcare-acquired infections and antibiotic resistant organisms, Cryptococcus gattii, and enteric bacterial pathogens related outbreaks in BC.

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Bruce Gamage, RN, BScN, CIC

Network Director

Working as a nurse with severely immunocompromised patients really brought home the importance of infection control. It literally meant the difference between life and death.

What is your education and work background?
I have a degree in Microbiology and a degree in Nursing. I worked as a critical care nurse on the leukemia/BMT unit at VGH before becoming an ICP in 1996. I became the provincial Infection Control Consultant at BCCDC in 2000, and PICNet Manager in 2008.

What got you interested in infection control?
My combined background in both microbiology and nursing was a natural fit for a career in infection control. Working as a nurse with severely immunocompromised patients really brought home the importance of infection control. It literally meant the difference between life and death for these patients, and infection control was integral to my everyday practice.

What does your current job involve?
I am responsible for steering our provincial program. I work with our team to ensure our program is effective and productive.

What do you like best about your job?
I love the energy and passion of the people I work with. I also really enjoy liaising and networking with other ICPs locally, provincially and nationally. Bringing all the shared wisdom and knowledge of my colleagues together helps us all be more effective in improving patient care.

Why is your job important?
Having a strong provincial program is essential for ensuring we can effectively support our infection control colleagues working in the health authorities to strengthen infection control practices in all health care settings. My role is to ensure our program continues to be effective and productive and maintains the high quality output that our colleagues in BC rely upon.

What message would you like to share with staff?
Infection control is everyone’s business. We work with our colleagues around the province to support them in bringing that message to all health care providers. Fewer infections = better health care.

Tell us about your hobbies!
I love to sing. I sing as a tenor in a local community choir.

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Dr. Guanghong Han

Surveillance Epidemiologist

Guanghong Many infections are preventable – and everyone can contribute.

What is your education and work background?
My undergraduate was in preventive medicine, then I obtained my master’s degree in epidemiology and biostatistics, and doctoral degree in epidemiology. I also completed the Canadian Field Epidemiology Program as a field epidemiologist.

What got you interested in infection control?
After working in public health surveillance and research for many years, I found that I liked the new opportunities and challenges in the field of infection prevention and control.

What does your current job involve?
Monitoring healthcare-associated infections and intervention activities in healthcare facilities, and reporting back to healthcare providers, administrators, and the public.

What do you like best about your job?
It feels great to work with people who care about vulnerable patients, and who all do a good job.

Why is your job important?
Surveillance helps people understand the importance of infection control, and also helps them make sound decisions. It provides transparency and accountability on patient safety and quality care.

What message would you like to share with staff?
Many infections are preventable; and everyone can contribute.

Tell us about your hobbies!
Jogging and travel.

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Joanne Archer, RN, BTech, MA, CIC

Education and Practice Coordinator

Infection prevention and control principles and practices should be woven into every element of health care

What is your education and work background?
I completed my RN at Douglas College, BTech in Specialty Nursing (Emergency) at BCIT and Masters in Disability Management at UNBC. I began working as a nurse in 1977, and have worked in several different facilities in BC and Alberta, from small community to large tertiary facilities. The majority of my time at the point of care was spent in ICU or Emergency. I was among the first group of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in the new program in Victoria, in 1996. Other positions included Chief Nurse at 2015 Canada Winter Games, and Coordinator of Injury Prevention Programs for youth and teens and School Nurse at Brentwood College. I have taken breaks from nursing and worked as a Travel Agent and a Computer Data Technician for the Federal Department of Fisheries (research data).

What got you interested in infection control?
While coordinating a teen injury prevention program that was based out of a large hospital, I became involved with the management of these students during a Norovirus outbreak.

What does your current job involve?
Many things: critical appraisal of research; writing evidence-based guidelines and discussion/advice papers; collaborating with various experts to develop protocols for new patient therapies that have significant infection control elements; providing support and advice, as requested, by Infection Control Services and professionals and the Ministry of Health; collaborating with groups across BC and the rest of Canada to work toward improving infection prevention and control knowledge and practices; developing education opportunities and learning modules for health care providers; planning an annual conference for the education of those involved in Infection Prevention and Control.

What do you like best about your job?
The opportunity to work at more of a systems level to improve the safe care of our beloved patients and the safety of my colleagues at the point of care, and the opportunity to meet and collaborate with many people involved in the preventing and controlling infections and various experts in BC and across Canada.

Why is your job important?
Infection prevention and control principles and practices should be woven into every element of health care, like a tapestry. Historically there has not been a coordinated, unified approach in BC or Canada.

What message would you like to share with staff?
Infection prevention and control practices are as fundamental as breathing. Know what they are and weave them into your care so that they become as rooted into the way you provide care as breathing is for your body.

Tell us about your hobbies!
I love to travel, dance, figure skate, track and field, hike. My big adventure this summer was canoeing the Bowren Lakes chain (106 km, 10 lakes, 6 portages). I was a recipient of the ARNBC Award of Excellence in Education award, 2016.

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Helen Evans, MA

Communications Officer

PICNet is here for you if you need resources, education refreshers, or have any questions about infection control!

What is your education and work background?
I have an MA in French and Business from the University of Edinburgh. I worked in the private sector for many years before moving into health research, and from there to health care.

What got you interested in infection control?
All that I knew about infection control, before I started this job, came from my mom (who was a nurse) – but I find the topic fascinating. I’ve discovered that for those of us without a Health Sciences background, YouTube is your new best friend. (Search virus or vaccine animations – they make learning so much easier!)

What does your current job involve?
I do all things communications-related for PICNet, as well as some education planning and delivery. The condensed list: website editing; creating educational materials like brochures, booklets, posters; graphics and pre-press work; doing photo shoots; video editing; planning workshops and other events; giving in-services, presentaitons, and webinars; writing and editing reports; planning conferences and education days; representing PICNet on provincial Communications committees; working with all the health authorities on provincial campaigns (such as hand hygiene); liaising with PHSA Corporate Communications and the Ministry of Health; conducting surveys of our Community of Practice; and trying to brainstorm new ways to spread the gospel of infection control. And probably more that I can’t think of right now!

What do you like best about your job?
The variety! See above. I’ve never before had a job that draws on so many of my skills; it’s great being able to use them all, and to also continue to learn. And no two days are ever the same, which I love.

Why is your job important?
Infection control is such a huge part of patient safety, so anything we can do to keep our point-of-care staff trained and prepared is incredibly important. So is providing resources to help the Infection Control Practitioners in their job.

What message would you like to share with staff?
PICNet is here for you if you need resources, education refreshers, or have any questions about infection control! Feel free to call us, email us, and check out our website regularly.

Tell us about your hobbies!
I’m an amateur photographer, which I’ve also been able to put to use in this job. Searching for healthcare-related photos on stock photo sites can be an exercise in frustration (there will be so many things “wrong” in the stock photos, in terms of actual health care practice), so sometimes we do our own photo shoots. Which is fun, and I always learn something new!

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Romi Ranasinghe

Surveillance Systems Coordinator

After watching the movie Contagion, I knew that I wanted to chase infectious monkeys, leap out of helicopters, and use epidemiology to save the day.

What is your education and work background?
I have a Master of Public Health degree from UBC, and had some background in TB research and influenza surveillance, prior to joining PICNet.

What got you interested in infection control?
I watched the movie Contagion, and knew right away that I wanted to one day chase infectious monkeys, leap out of helicopters, and use epidemiology to save the day.

What does your current job involve?
Mostly working with data provided to PICNet by the health authorities. We look at rates and general trends of MRSA, C. difficile infection, CPO, and hand cleaning compliance in hospitals, from a provincial perspective, and compile quarterly and annual reports.

What do you like best about your job?
How collaborative it is: it involves working with so many different players in different roles and levels throughout the province.

Why is your job important?
Antibiotic resistance is a huge worldwide issue. Surveillance and monitoring is just one of the many ways to address this new issue.

What message would you like to share with staff?
Go watch the movie Contagion. :)

Tell us about your hobbies!
I love water: being in it, on it, near it. I even really like it when it falls from the sky (rain), which is a plus when living in Vancouver!

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