Messages to SPPH Community Regarding COVID-19

Update – July 20, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

I hope this message finds you well. It has been an unusual summer for all of us. The uncertainty and stress of the pandemic – and daily life – can take a toll on our wellbeing over time, nudging us towards burnout and exhaustion.

BUT, it is still summer!  I hope you are able to take some time this summer to step away from your inbox and the news in order to relax and reset. I will be taking my own advice later this month, so this may be my last update for a couple of weeks. 😊

As much as possible, we need to take advantage of the summer pace and weather to decompress so we can return in the fall ready for a new school year of teaching, research, and hard work. We are our best at work when we’ve first taken time to practice self-care. This is always true, but especially important in challenging times.

Those paying attention have noticed the number of cases of COVID-19 in B.C. creeping up over the past few weeks. This weekend we had 102 cases over 3 days; over triple that of several weeks ago. Let’s keep in mind that BC is still in a very positive position – as a result of a spring of diligence and sacrifice. But as was made clear in the modelling projections released today, we can see that it’s more important than ever to remain diligent in following with the guidelines from our outstanding health leadership: keep a safe distance, continue regularly washing our hands, and wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.

Looking across the border is a stark reminder of the risks that can accompany becoming less vigilant. As much as we would all love to get ‘back to normal’, the fastest way to some safe normalcy is through controlling COVID-19 and doing our part to prevent the spread.

I know that many of you are feeling anxious or uncertain about the coming semester. I can assure you that you’re not alone. It’s hard to plan without knowing exactly what comes next. We will continue to navigate it together. We have a great team in place, and we are all here to support each other.

In the meantime, take some time to have fun, relax, and decompress. We’ve all (more than) earned it! To get in the vacation mindset, here are a few of my favourite songs for summer, along with a few that are applicable to the current times:

And something similar but more recent:

Enjoy!

Thinking of y’all and looking forward getting back with you soon.

Best,
Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – June 24, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

A belated Happy Father’s Day and Happy Summer Solstice (where did that sun go?)! There is no better way to enjoy the longer days and our surroundings than by spending time outside with our loved ones. We are so fortunate to live and work in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and our scenery is a constant reminder to never take our fresh air and environment for granted.

We have a wealth of ongoing research in this field, and I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight a few recent contributions from our community, like Dr. Brauer’s commentary and publications on clean air, Dr. Henderson’s work and interview and publication on wildfire smoke risks, Dr. Weinberger’s recent paper on the risk of mortality in hot weather, and Dr. Frank’s work on the impacts of COVID policy on transportation and health. Keep up the great work!

In the way of updates, last week contained a number of announcements and milestones.

We celebrated graduation on Wednesday with UBC’s virtual ceremony, featuring a number of thoughtful speeches. As Rick Mercer pointed out in his commencement address, we all have a responsibility to the land and to our community to leave our surroundings – physical and societal – in a better position than in which we found it.

Dr. Dermot Kelleher received an extension of his appointment as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine. I look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Kelleher to make UBC and SPPH an inclusive and welcoming place for education, research, and positive impact.

UBC also appointed former B.C. Lieutenant Governor Steven Lewis Point as UBC’s next Chancellor. As a member of the Skowkale First Nation, he will also be UBC’s first Indigenous Chancellor. In his announcement, he spoke about his father who is from the Musqueam Nation, and his close connection to the land of his father’s heritage.

I also want to acknowledge that Sunday was National Indigenous Persons Day, where we recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Reflecting on the significance of this day reminded me of our Voices in Health event in February with Dr. Shannon Waters, who joined us for a conversation about the relationship between indigenous sovereignty, public health, and sustainability. Dr. Waters described some of the ways collaboration and partnering with Indigenous communities can lead to improved environmental stewardship for all. If you missed the conversation, you can watch the YouTube video or share it with someone who might be interested.

If you are more comfortable speaking the language of music than listening to recordings of lectures – no matter how excellent – I recommend taking a journey across the north with Inuk throat singers – and sisters – PIQSIQ with the song Nuna to Qilak: Land to Sky from their 2019 debut album, Altering the Timeline. Although there are no lyrics for me to share, this song does remind me that I am lucky to be living in such a wondrous place, and that it is worth protecting.

It was good to hear this week’s press briefing from Dr. Bonnie Henry (always carefully) noting the measured effects of BC’s moving to Phase 2 on increasing mobility and interactions and the, so far, encouraging findings of little evidence of increased COVID-19 infection in the province. We are all rooting for continued positive progress and learning to live more normally with safe practices.

As always, thank you for your hard work and grace in navigating this evolving situation. I hope you will have the opportunity to get outside with your family this week!

Best,
Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – May 25, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

Welcome to Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan! Thanks to our province’s capable leadership, we have been able to move relatively smoothly into this next stage. Now that we are able to expand our bubbles a bit, I hope you can enjoy some quality time (with safe practices) with some friends and family members outside of your immediate household.

I know there have been a lot of questions about what the province’s Restart Plan means for the fall semester, classes, research, and returning to work. In terms of classes, UBC has announced that larger classes will be online with selected smaller classes conducted in-person, adhering to physical distancing and other public health requirements. While we are still awaiting further details about reopening and what that means for SPPH, you can read UBC’s Operational update and On-Campus Research update. When we know more, we will share details. I am grateful for your patience, understanding, and continued hard work.

In case you missed my note earlier this week, we launched two exciting new webpages at SPPH: the Future of Public Health Fund, a fundraising effort to support future research, and a COVID-19 Research at SPPH research page. This is a moment of unprecedented interest in population and public health. I would encourage all of you to share the above links with your networks. And to all colleagues working on COVID-19, please  enter your project info into the AHSN COVID-19 research inventory database. This database is the master list for the province’s COVID-19 research efforts.

Don’t forget to join us TOMORROW 930a for the latest “Voices in Health” featuring Professor Rainer Sauerborn from the University of Heidelberg, Germany on “Climate Change and Health: Impacts and Responses” see this link for details: https://www.spph.ubc.ca/spph-voices-in-health/. Taking advantage of physical distancing to bring in speakers from far-off places!

BCCDC this week launched a survey of BC’s population to gather more data on behavior and perceptions which can help improve future responses. I urge you to take the 15 minutes to complete the survey which can be accessed at http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/covid-19/covid-19-survey

Let’s also acknowledge the skillful efforts of those of you involved in our province’s much-lauded modeling and strategy. We are grateful for your expertise, and have seen coverage from around the world about your hard work and success. Bloomberg was only one of the many outlets writing recently about these efforts and the great work of our esteemed colleague Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Last but certainly not least, congratulations to our (almost) graduates! We are so proud of you. We appreciate the boundless energy, new ideas, and enthusiasm for learning that you have contributed to the SPPH over the course of your program. I shared this graduation message, and hope everyone in the SPPH community will reach out to the graduating students you worked with to let them know you are celebrating their achievement.

Until next week – be kind, be calm, be safe!

Best,
Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – April 28, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

So, how ARE you doing? As our days of physical distancing go on, what often felt like a formality – asking one another this question – has become increasingly genuine. It’s a small silver lining in all of this that we are able to connect with one another in a meaningful way through conversations about our shared experience.

In this time of concern and without diminishing our pain about those who have suffered and been lost, let me remind us all of how we can also be grateful for the protection we collectively have enjoyed. This week, the CBC published this chart:

That shortest bar at the bottom – that’s us.

Last week, Dr. Bonnie Henry talked about the sense of restlessness many of us are feeling as our current situation goes on. “People are getting frustrated and angry and I think we have to realize that this is often a manifestation of anxiety and fear that we have…This is a time where we really have to stand together, to support each other, to respond to anger with kindness.” Let’s take her advice and see this through together.

To that end, we’re all invited to attend our inaugural virtual happy hour on Thursday, April 30 from 4-5pm. We hope this HAPPY hour, full of song, gratitude and games will shine a light on the benefit of community. If you didn’t receive an invitation in your inbox, please let Alexandra Warren (alexandra.warren@ubc.ca) know.

A particular shout-out to our faculty members. This was a difficult and unusual end to the semester, and I want to let you know how much I appreciate and see your efforts to step up and meet our challenges. I’m not alone in my gratitude – our students have been fortunate to have your leadership and hard work. Thank you for all that you continue to do to contribute to our community and public health.

Our days are getting longer, sunnier, and warmer. Open the window, breathe deeply that less polluted air, let out a shout or bang a pot at 7pm, hug a person, hug a pet, or hug a pillow. Wait until Monday to do that email you forgot (and I promise to do the same).

As always, stay safe, continue your great work, and reach out if there is anything we can do to support you. Know how much you are appreciated, and that I am very grateful for your fellowship.

Best,
Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – April 15, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

This is a festive season throughout the world. We welcome Spring – at least in the northern hemisphere. It’s a time of hope, of preparation, of anticipation of future well-being. This year, many of us celebrate Easter, Passover, Vaisakhi, or Ramadan in these weeks – holidays when we spend time with family and friends, and share meals with loved ones. Although this year’s celebrations will be different and we may miss our traditions, let’s keep our thoughts on the optimism of Spring.

We can call or video-connect with people in our lives who have been more distant. I am doing that much more than before and benefitting so much from the unprecedented capacity we have to connect internationally (I remember living in India when you had to “book” an international phone call a day in advance and were limited to ten minutes!). We can practice gratitude – a good idea anytime, but especially right now.

One thing I’m grateful for in my life is the opportunity to be part of our community’s efforts to improve population and public health. Let’s appreciate the work we have chosen, and think about why we do what we do. Reminders of why it matters appear before us every day – we are making a difference!

There has been a fair amount of fretting about “productivity” in this unusual time. Consider that there may be different forms of productivity, some of which we don’t always have the space to engage in – especially the big-picture, creative thinking that sometimes falls behind the urgent day-to-day.

It is important to acknowledge that not everyone’s situation is the same, and that for those with children at home or those with challenging family conditions, working from home is all the more difficult. Continue to do what you can, and rely on your support networks as we navigate this together.

As always, we are here to support you. If you are having any difficulties adjusting to working remotely, please reach out to your colleagues and our incredible SPPH staff who are available to help. As Dr. Bonnie Henry has reminded us, be kind (to yourself and to others), be calm, and be safe. I’ve attached two recent articles, one local, one from the New York Times, recognizing the good work being done.  Continue to help by practicing physical distancing, regular hand washing, and heeding the advice of our tremendously capable public health officials.

And finally, as my education into great Canadian musicians makes headway, I would like to share a song and video from one of my favourites, harking back to fun times before physical distancing in Vancouver. In the words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive,

Takin’ care of business (every day)
Takin’ care of business (every way)
I’ve been takin’ care of business (it’s all mine)
Takin’ care of business and working overtime.

OK, don’t worry about the overtime for now…

A couple of other things – we are still urging remote work and stay at home, but for those with urgent and essential and authorized needs to visit SPPH, please remember to maintain safe practices. And please take note of the recent announcement accepting donations to assist students in need at UBC. And a shout-out to Dean Kelleher for his own contribution to “takin’ care of business” with this playlist, in case you missed it.

As before, for up to date information:

For those who are celebrating, Happy Easter, Chag Sameach, Happy Vaisakhi, and Ramadan Mubarak.

Best,

Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – April 6, 2020

Dear colleagues,

I hope this email finds you well in an uncertain and ever-changing situation. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, but we are fortunate to have the guidance of some of the world’s preeminent health leaders here in British Columbia, including our own Dr. Bonnie Henry. Watching her daily updates with Minister Dix and hearing some level of optimism about our collective success at flattening the curve has been a comfort.

To our students, I know that this was not the end of term you likely imagined for yourself and your peers. For those set to graduate this term, it may seem anticlimactic or disappointing to know that graduation ceremonies are unable to happen in person. These feelings are natural and undoubtedly shared amongst your peers and mentors, who have looked forward to recognizing your hard work. Please know that the delay in a physical celebration does not diminish our community’s celebration of your achievements. We will celebrate them from home for now, and together when it is safe.

Times of challenge and hardship test our patience, but they also build our resilience as individuals and as a community. Maya Angelou wrote, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” As a community and as individuals, we can refuse to be reduced by this difficult situation by supporting one another, being patient and kind to ourselves and others, and by supporting our province’s continued efforts to flatten the curve through physical distancing and regular hand washing.

In the meantime, I am particularly heartened by the number of SPPH students volunteering their time and expertise to support others during this critical time. Thank you to all our students for engaging and responding to this critical situation. Your efforts are valued.

Finally, for all of us who are feeling the pressure to be equally (or extra) productive during this time, I direct your attention to this article. Let us have compassion for ourselves as we focus on the most important things.

As before, for more general info:

Stay well, stay safe, and take care of yourselves and each other.

Best,

 

 

Peter

PETER BERMAN, PhD
Professor and Director
School of Population and Public Health

Update – March 31, 2020

Dear SPPH Community,

As we have moved through this past week, we continue to learn more about the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of particular note, and for those who haven’t seen it, I would like to share with you a link to last Friday’s news conference with Dr. Bonnie Henry and Min. Adrian Dix sharing BC’s plans to prepare clinical services for different levels of potential “surges” in need for hospitalization and ICU care. The link can be found here:

https://globalnews.ca/news/6741258/bc-covid-19-forecast-modelling/

Since the video doesn’t show the slide presentation well, you can find the actual slides shown attached to this message and review them as you watch. A more complete slide deck is on the BCCDC website.

While we may be worried and stressed, as educators, researchers, students, and citizens, we should also take advantage of this “learning opportunity” in population and public health. Some things I observed include:

  • This easy-to-understand benchmark-linked modelling was nicely linked to specific action plans to prepare for adequate clinical response (in other jurisdictions I am observing, there is often much more hand-wringing (or worse) about the problem and not much offered about the solution).
  • Dr. Henry and Min. Dix clearly and carefully distinguished between what we know and don’t know and avoided making predictions that went beyond the available evidence.
  • The next two weeks (as they have explained) will tell us much more about where things are and where they are heading – to me, there was reason for cautious and modest optimism (my words, not theirs).
  • Having said that,  we are still in a serious situation and we must all (100% — Min. Dix) continue to maintain mitigation measures.
  • Learning questions – how clear and effective are these messages to the people you know? Are people feeling trust and confidence in what they are hearing and in leadership? What would you do differently? (great material for next year’s classes in public health communications!)

Closer to home, we are now well into the transition to online learning with 10 days left for classes in the term and work underway to successfully navigate exams and assessments. Great work education team and faculty! We are have also transitioned SPPH to remote work arrangements. Our building is now 100% on swipe access and limited to use by those with formal exemptions or urgent work-related needs. Remember, if you are there for any (approved) reason, adhere to sound infection control and mitigation practices! The initial plan for remote work arrangements was through April 6. I think it is reasonable and would advise you to assume that this will be extended beyond that date, although we await more specific guidance. Other specific updates will be forthcoming as needed from our education, research, faculty affairs, and admin and operations teams.

We are pulling together our stories of how the SPPH community is stepping up to contribute its time and effort and expertise to address this crisis. If you have some to share, please email to Alexandra Warren (alexandra.warren@ubc.ca). There are many great “unsung” initiatives keeping us all connected. The first edition of our SPPH newsletter just came out! Don’t forget the upcoming virtual Voices in Health Thursday, April 16 from 4-530 PT with Willie Ermine. Check out www.spph.ubc.ca regularly for updates, events, news.

As before, for more general info:

And another nice thought on which to close:

“Kindred spirits are not as scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.” L. M. Montgomery, author of the beloved Anne of Green Gables.

Thanks to everyone in our great community.

Hangin’ in there…

 

 

Peter

Update – March 20, 2020

As we transition from our vibrant and social workplaces to remote work arrangements, there are questions, concerns and adjustments. How will we be able to do our work with childcare and schools closed? What if our jobs are difficult or cannot be done from home? How do we find and maintain the balance between taking care of the physical health of our community and ensuring we maintain the health and the social connection we, as individuals, need?

There aren’t any simple answers and we are in a changing situation. The transition will take some time.  We look to the Canadian and British Columbian governments as well as UBC to keep us informed. Those guiding us are working hard to make evidence-based decisions. We can all support their efforts by following the advice of experts and by practicing patience and understanding. More than ever, we are all called upon to be patient and kind to ourselves as well as to others as we navigate these new challenges.

It is natural to feel anxiety or stress in a time of change and uncertainty. If you are having difficulty, I strongly encourage you to seek help through the resources available to many of you through our extended benefits plans. Individuals can check their coverage by employee group. For students, counselling services are being offered by phone. Check here for more information.

In 1918, physician and then-President of UBC Frank Wesbrook addressed the student body, saying, “It is human nature to translate it [Tuum est] as ‘It is your own’ which is to eliminate any idea of obligation…. It is very gratifying to me to know that there is an increasing tendency on the part of the students to translate it as ‘It’s up to you.’” It is up to all of us.

B.C.’s Minister of Health Adrian Dix echoed this sentiment yesterday. “It’s not too late to join the fight,” he reminds us. It is up to all of us to care for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the broader community by reducing transmission and the spread of this virus and “flattening the curve”.

Please take care of yourselves and one another by checking in and talking to your loved ones by phone, text, or email, especially those who are elderly, immunocompromised or live alone.

As you are there for your loved ones, let’s be here for each other and count on SPPH being here for you. Our staff members and faculty continue to work diligently from home, and are only a phone call or email away should you need assistance in adjusting to working remotely. Your normal staff contacts remain available to help troubleshoot as we all navigate these new circumstances. So please reach out, ask for help, and stay happy and safe.

 

As before, for up to date information:

One of our students shared with me today a quote from Malcolm X:

“When I is replaced by We, even Illness becomes Wellness”

Best,

Peter

 

 

PETER BERMAN, PhD

Professor and Director

School of Population and Public Health

Update – March 16, 2020

The last couple of days have seen some important new developments in British Columbia’s and UBC’s responses to the rapidly evolving COVID-19 epidemic. Here is an update to keep you in the loop in terms of these recent developments as well as some thoughts on how they relate to us at SPPH.

What are the remote work guidelines?
On Monday, March 16, UBC announced a three-week pilot to enable remote work. UBC and SPPH remain open for work. However, starting this week, those faculty, staff, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and student employees who are able to work from home should consult with their manager, research lead, or principal investigator (PI) to determine remote working options. Our administration team led by Shannon Charney, Director of Administration and Operations, is working with staff, faculty who supervise staff, and university authorities to develop remote work options and communicate those as required. More information will be forthcoming before the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17. For those who are working from home, please see the updated ergonomics guide for remote work.

Are there resources for working from home?
Please visit the SPPH Working Remotely page for detailed information about how to setup core SPPH services on your device.

What classes are being delivered online?
On Friday, March 13, UBC announced that all classes would transition to online education starting today, March 16. Classes are not cancelled, but students should not attend in-person classes for the rest of this term. Our education team, led by Prof. Charlyn Black, Associate Director, Education, will work with Term 2 instructors to develop online education options. Students will hear from their instructors as to actions being put in place.

Has anything else been put on hold?
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 and health professional students on clinical placements. The faculty will be reassessing this decision in 10 days.

Should anyone else stay home?
For anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, including cough, sneezing, fever, sore throat, and/or difficulty breathing, please do not come to work. For anyone who has returned from travel outside Canada since this Thursday, March 12, you must adhere to Canada’s policy to self-isolate for 14 days. If you attended the Pacific Dental Conference from March 5-7 in Vancouver, you must self-isolate for 14 days. Today, Canada announced new restrictions on non-Canadian visitors to Canada. Please take note of these in relation to travel of your family and friends and do your best to make sure they adhere to any guidelines. We all need to follow the best evidence-based advice to enable effective social distancing to inhibit the growth of this epidemic.

Who should I contact at SPPH when I have specific questions?
In order to better focus our efforts, please use the following as primary contacts on different areas of concern:

For students seeking information on your courses – contact the primary instructor or teaching assistant
For matters related to education – Prof. Charlyn Black (charlyn.black@ubc.ca)
For matters related staff concerns or school operations – Ms. Shannon Charney (shannon.charney@ubc.ca)
For matters related to research concerns – Prof. Craig Mitton (craig.mitton@ubc.ca)
For faculty-related matters – Prof. Mieke Koehoorn (mieke.koehoorn@ubc.ca) or Prof. Peter Berman (peter.berman@ubc.ca)

Is there any other information we should know?
On Monday, March 16, the BC Provincial Health Officer has issued an order to prohibit all gatherings over 50 people. This has changed from the limit to 250-person gatherings implemented last week.

Stay-tuned for further messages from the School of Population and Public Health, the Faculty of Medicine, and UBC. And as before, please do consult the appropriate public authorities for the latest information:

UBC: Link here
Vancouver Coastal Health: Link here
BC Centre for Disease Control: Link here
Government of British Columbia: Link here
Government of Canada: Link here
World Health Organization: Link here

Stay healthy and let us all contribute to effectively managing this public health challenge.

T’UUM EST! (and all of us together)

Best,

 

 

PETER BERMAN, PhD

Professor and Director

School of Population and Public Health

Update – March 13, 2020

As we are all increasingly aware, our local environment and the world at large is confronting the spread of a new infectious disease – COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus. To date, we in British Columbia have benefitted from the calm leadership and measured guidance of our public health officials and government.

It is natural to feel anxiety or have questions in a rapidly evolving situation, and at this time we would encourage anyone looking for more information to seek out reliable resources including Vancouver Coastal Health, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the Government of Canada, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

These trustworthy and evidence-based organizations are asking all of us to take specific measures to reduce and prevent the spread of infection. At this time, we are encouraged to:

  • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Increase the physical space between yourself and others (“social distancing”)
  • Stay at home if you are sick
  • If you have health concerns, call HealthLink BC at 8-1-1

British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, has been providing the public with daily updates on COVID-19. I encourage our community to keep abreast of recommendations from the Government of British Columbia and the Government of Canada, including travel advisories and participation in large groups. It is important that we take these recommendations seriously for the safety of not only ourselves, but also for those in our community who may be at increased risk of becoming ill.

I want to thank our population and public health colleagues who are leading the research and public health practice underway to address this current challenge. This is an important aspect of what we do at the School of Population and Public Health, and we should all be proud to be a part of this effort.

For up-to-date information about UBC’s operations, please check the website.

Thank you for your continued understanding.

Sincerely,

 

 

Peter Berman

Director, School of Population and Public Health

Our SPPH community has rallied in a way we can all be proud of!!
Sending a huge ‘shout-out’ to our fabulous staff, faculty and students whom have worked tirelessly to keep our organization running as smoothly as possible…

As many of you are aware, there are discussions being had within UBC leadership on phasing of business resumption, and what that will mean for staff, faculty, students and our research labs.

The province is currently in Phase 1 and expected to enter Phase 2 after the May long weekend when additional sectors will be reopened under enhanced protocols. BC will enter subsequent phases as transmission rates stay low and continue to decline. Post-secondary institutions have been identified as a component of Phase 3, which will take place between June and September, if transmission rates remain low. The final phase will be reached at the time when there is wide vaccination, community immunity, or broad successful treatments for COVID-19.

The provincial government is working with representatives from various sectors to develop the health and safety measures that will need to be in place before moving to the next phase. In parallel with these sector plans, UBC is developing an operational safety plan and approval process that Faculties and administrative units will be required to complete before any changes can be made to the remote work arrangements currently in place. We will provide you with more information about this process within the next two weeks.

Last week my message also touched on what this remote working has been like, and for many of us, the difficulties that arise as we try to be engaged in our busy work lives as well as fully ‘present’ for our families and friends. Please know you are not alone in this; I honestly can’t imagine anyone that hasn’t had to overcome struggles these past months….

I really encourage all of you to find ways that help you smooth out your day and those of your colleagues, and hopefully soak up some rest in the ‘solo’ moments that you’re able to create along the way… . For myself, I’m continuing to do my best to keep the Zoom mtgs to manageable levels, emailing during normal work hours/days, using my calendar to keep myself on track (and able to focus on tasks at hand), and carving out ‘me’ and ‘we’ time each day. All told, it’s been full days, but pretty fruitful ones — some funny moments in between, and lots of time to share in a way that honestly wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

To keep you all in the loop, please find below just a few administrative updates and helpful reminders/tools:

UBC/FOM is supporting those units whom require additional Zoom accounts for continued remote working arrangements
Please contact our IT team/create an online ticket for your unit/Division requests

We’ve summarized our administrative updates in the links provided below

We have also incorporated a lot of resources and helpful links for you in the other tabs provided, and encourage you to visit those as well for the relevant updates

Building Access Update

With remote working arrangements estimated to continue into the summer months, please note that campus mail will continue to be 'on hold'.
Should you need to access important items being received, please contact campus mail directly to arrange for individual pickup: http://campusmail.ubc.ca/

To protect the safety of those that remain on campus, we have procedures that will be continued until further notice for those requiring access to our building.

The province is currently in Phase 1 and expected to enter Phase 2 after the May long weekend when additional sectors will be reopened under enhanced protocols. BC will enter subsequent phases as transmission rates stay low and continue to decline. Post-secondary institutions have been identified as a component of Phase 3, which will take place between June and September, if transmission rates remain low. The final phase will be reached at the time when there is wide vaccination, community immunity, or broad successful treatments for COVID-19.

The provincial government is working with representatives from various sectors to develop the health and safety measures that will need to be in place before moving to the next phase. In parallel with these sector plans, UBC is developing an operational safety plan and approval process that Faculties and administrative units will be required to complete before any changes can be made to the remote work arrangements currently in place. We will provide you with more information about this process within the next two weeks.

  • It's extremely important to please follow the enhanced security and preauthorized permission procedures in place
  • For those of you with approved access requests:
    • Please note there are currently building contractors and custodial staff on site that have been vetted by campus building operations, and have been granted access to the building
      • They have been instructed not to open doors or allow other means of entry for persons that have difficulty accessing the premises
    • Campus security is asking everyone on campus to please have their UBC ID on display or ready to show when accessing campus buildings
      • Please note they will not be granting access to anyone that has not been pre-vetted
      • If you are on site and have any concerns about unknown persons in the building, please contact Campus Security at 604-822-2222

HR/Finance Updates

The province is currently in Phase 1 and expected to enter Phase 2 after the May long weekend when additional sectors will be reopened under enhanced protocols. BC will enter subsequent phases as transmission rates stay low and continue to decline. Post-secondary institutions have been identified as a component of Phase 3, which will take place between June and September, if transmission rates remain low. The final phase will be reached at the time when there is wide vaccination, community immunity, or broad successful treatments for COVID-19.

The provincial government is working with representatives from various sectors to develop the health and safety measures that will need to be in place before moving to the next phase. In parallel with these sector plans, UBC is developing an operational safety plan and approval process that Faculties and administrative units will be required to complete before any changes can be made to the remote work arrangements currently in place. We will provide you with more information about this process within the next two weeks.

Operational Updates

UBC Broadcasts were sent out, confirming the continuation of Remote Work Arrangements until further notice, with direction provided to public sector employers by the provincial government. As part of this direction, PSEC Secretariat has provided guidance regarding the principles that should be followed in making staffing decisions, as the situation regarding COVID-19 evolves.

For UBC campuses, many services are dependent on enrolment and on-campus activities, and with the expected budget challenges we've been asked to mitigate the effect on staffing and operations, including minimizing discretionary spending.

At this time, there have been no permanent financial/operational changes made, and we do not anticipate making any changes to our staffing levels.

Volunteer Opportunities
If you are interested in having a 2nd year biochemistry student volunteer with your group this summer, please contact Craig Mitton for further information.

Vacation Planning (reminder)
With the University's Remote Working Arrangements still in place, and as COVID-19 related travel restrictions and physical distancing protocols continue, supervisors may need to consider how best to manage vacation requests, and planning for your units.

  • Employees who are working from home may still take vacation, the purpose of which is to provide a break from work and the opportunity to rejuvenate
  • Particularly where faculty and staff are struggling to balance childcare and work obligations, vacation time should be a consideration
  • If operationally feasible, supervisors should consider allowing employees to cancel pre-scheduled vacation requests; please also consider the ability to manage significant vacation requests when normal operations resume
  • While vacation payouts are not permissible, the maximum vacation carry-over limits for those employee groups who have carry-over will be increased to up to 15 days with management approval and for the year 2020 only, to provide flexibility in managing vacation
  • Supervisors are encouraged to develop vacation plans for the balance of the year to determine operational feasibility of scheduling alternative vacation dates
  • *More information can be found on UBC HR's FAQ page for Managers/Supervisors

If you have questions about vacation entitlements, please contact the following:

For staff and students:

 

For faculty:

Hourly payroll
All units with anyone on hourly payroll that has decreased and/or hours of work eliminated during this period of working remotely is asked to please contact Christine Kerr, HR Assistant, or Taryn Lowther, for further guidance

IT Updates

COVID–19 — Action required: New minimum cybersecurity controls for accessing UBC systems and information

As UBC continues to navigate its response to COVID–19, we are seeing a significant increase in the volume and sophistication of cyber attacks specifically targeting universities and healthcare research facilities.

• To help protect our systems and information, the UBC Executive has mandated that increased cybersecurity controls must be implemented on servers and computers that are accessing, processing or storing Medium Risk, High Risk, or Very High-Risk information

◦ Devices that require physical access on campus:

▪ It is neither necessary nor recommended to deploy the new minimum cybersecurity controls at this time

▪ these devices can be updated once regular campus operations resume

◦ Devices located offsite/ usage at home:

Encryption must be enabled, and current anti-malware software be installed on personally-owned computers used for accessing UBC systems and information.
▪ There are many options for your choice of current anti-malware, including the installation of UBC-approved software at no cost.
▪ Details about the various options are available on the UBC Privacy Matters website or by contacting SPPH IT at spphit.support@ubc.ca

Zoom Accounts:

If you are looking into setting up a Zoom account, please contact Stefan Mladenovic for account provisioning and setup.

UBC/FOM continues to support those units whom require additional Zoom accounts for continued remote working arrangements. Please contact our IT team or create an online support ticket with your requests

Zoom is also undergoing a full privacy assessment:

  • UBC Legal has approved the use of Zoom, with the following proviso which is listed on the IT website
  • Zoom stores personal information on servers outside Canada
    • Under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA), it is acceptable to use Zoom provided that you use the following guidance:
      • Faculty who are using the tool should inform students that the Zoom servers are located outside Canada, and that they can maintain their privacy by logging in using only their first name or a nickname, turning off their camera, and muting their microphone.
      • Staff who are using Zoom for sensitive discussions should not use the Record feature

VPN Access

  • In order to access any to connect to the UBC myVPN service.You can login using your UBC CWL credentials.

Voicemail Access

  • To access your voicemail, dial 604-822-2010 and press #, and enter the last 5 digits of your UBC phone number and then your voicemail password.

Email Access

  • UBC webmail link: http://mail.ubc.ca/ can be accessed from any device with an internet connection. You’ll be asked to authenticate using Duo so you may need to have your mobile device handy

Sharedrive and Workspace Access

  • Accessing shared files can be done by mapping a connection to Teamshare. This still requires a VPN connection. The SPPH Teamshare location is: \\files.ubc.ca\TEAM\SPPH\CORE (Windows) or smb://files.ubc.ca/Team/SPPH/CORE (Mac)

Your username to login is EAD\<CWL USERNAME>.
On Windows, you will have to select More choices and then enter EAD\CWL <USERNAME>.
On Macs, the path is smb://files.ubc.ca/Team/SPPH

  • For the education team only: The share drive mapping is \\community.spph.ubc.ca\SPPH (Windows) and afp://community.spph.ubc.ca/SPPH (Mac)

The username/password is not your CWL information, but a custom password provided to you directly. If you can’t remember the password, contact spphit.support@ubc.ca to get it reset.

Teaching and Canvas

  • You can access Canvas by going to this link from any device: http://canvas.ubc.ca and logging in with your CWL credentials. You will be asked to authenticate via Duo as well.

Collaboration and audio conferencing

  • To use Skype for Business for collaboration, download the Windows or Mac version depending on your system. The UBC collaboration site has information on how to sign in if you’re having issues.
  • If you are hosting a telephone meeting only via Skype for Business, you'll need your Skype for Business PIN. This was provided to you when you were provisioned with access.
  • For optimal performance please disconnect from VPN and use a wired internet connection if you plan to use the call/video options in Skype for Business
  • To reset your Skype for Business PIN, please do so here.

Adobe Acrobat DC

Tips to increase social connection
At work:
  • One of the most rewarding parts of the daily bustle in an office environment is getting to chat with colleagues about non-work topics. In order to continue these valuable and fun interactions as part of our daily routines, many offices are setting up a Zoom "water cooler" meeting, where everyone can enjoy their coffee and chat for 15-30 minutes about the funny video they saw that morning, or how their day is going.
  • Much of our conversation comes from our expression, tone, and gestures. It's easy to lose this if you're emailing all of your communications. We encourage you to video-conference, or speak on the phone when possible - especially for debating details that require back-and-forth or nuanced conversations.
  • For your daily check-ins with staff, supervisors and colleagues, using more interactive modalities such as teleconferencing or videoconferencing serves two purposes: you can see how one another is doing in what is a stressful time for many, and you can review the tasks and expectations for the day. See which methods works best for your team.
  • Check in with your colleagues and manager by phone at the beginning and/or end of the day. This serves two purposes: you can see how one another is doing in what is a stressful time for many, and you can review the tasks and expectations for the day.
  • Share the tips for working from home that have worked for you with your coworkers. Maybe you need to set up a separate workspace away from where you relax, or set a timer and practice the Pomodoro method. Share what works and bond over what doesn't.
  • Start a group chat with your coworkers. Chats using platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or iMessage can be a fun and useful way to stay engaged on a personal or work level with your colleagues.

In your personal life:

  • Schedule dinner or coffee by video chat with friends to catch up.
  • Join a virtual book club, or set up your own and meet on a conference video chat with your friends and family to discuss the book. Try to pick something available for free online, or that is available to everyone through an electronic resource.
  • When you plan out your meals in advance to limit the number of trips you need to make to the grocery store, look for new and exciting recipes online. To make meal-planning a social activity, choose a recipe with a friend who you can't visit in person, and then talk on the phone while you make it together - but physically apart.
  • If you find yourself missing your usual fitness class, look for a streaming or app-based version. There are free yoga classes on YouTube, or subscription-based apps like YYoga or DownDog Yoga. There are also High Intensity Interval Training videos available for free.
  • Call those in your life who might be especially isolated during this time of physical distancing: those who live alone, are immunocompromised, or elderly.
  • Practice gratitude for the little and big things in your life - research shows this will make you feel happier.
  • Plan specific activities to do with those in your household that allow you to connect, like having a Friday movie night or playing a board game, and then designate quiet or alone time for when you need to work or enjoy some space. Talk about what you need to feel fulfilled and energized with those that you live with, because everyone's needs are different. Some people need more quiet or interaction than others, and now more than ever it is important to respect and plan for that.


I’m sure there will be many more questions, and we will do our best to keep you informed and stay connected.

Please stay-tuned for further messages from the School of Population and Public Health, the Faculty of Medicine, and UBC, and continue to consult the appropriate public authorities for the latest information.

Thank you everyone for your continued patience  — stay healthy, stay safe!

Cheers,

Shannon

Director, Administration & Operations (DAO)

UBC Curtailing Research Activities on UBC Campuses
See this link for updates

UBC Research-Related Travel and Reimbursements Updates (as of March 10th, 2020)
As our community works through the current impact of COVID-19, we’ve had a number of inquiries regarding reimbursements for cancellations of research-related travel, non-refundable travel fees, etc. and considerations for future travel planning.
Please find below our current guidelines and recommendations based on information as of March 10th, 2020:
UBC Campus notifications website has the following published FAQS/guidelines for Tri-Agency funded accounts and research activity:
 
If I need to cancel research-related travel due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus, will I be reimbursed for any non-refundable travel fees?
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
*Please find updates here for UBC Campus: https://www.ubc.ca/campus-notifications/
 
For members of our SPPH community that have approved research/academic travel/travel-related charges not funded by the Tri-Agencies:
  • For claims already in queue for approved research/academic travel/travel-related charge:
    •  IF YOUR CONFERENCE OR EVENT IS CANCELLED AND YOU WILL BE RECEIVING REIMBURSEMENT DIRECTLY FROM THE EVENT, you are required to let your finance administrator know immediately so that your expense claim can be modified to avoid duplication, and comply with audit standards
·         For claims yet to be submitted:
    • For all items that are cancelled without reimbursement from the venue/agency, you are asked to include this correspondence/documentation as part of your reimbursement submission
    • For all items that receive credit in lieu of reimbursement, you are asked to include this correspondence/documentation as part of your reimbursement submission

As communities around the world grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, research into public health, infectious diseases, epidemiology, and our collective health and safety has never been more relevant or important. At the School of Population and Public Health, we’ve been conducting groundbreaking research in these fields for decades – so it’s no surprise that our researchers, students and staff have answered the call of our time. Read below to learn more about how faculty and graduate students are applying their expertise to solving the medical, public health, social, and policy challenges of COVID-19.

If you believe that investing in our health matters, consider contributing to the SPPH Public Health Fund. Every contribution – regardless of the amount – pushes us closer to better health.

 

 

  • Dr. Michael Brauer, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Health (OEH)
    Dr. Brauer has applied his expertise in the relationship between the built environment and human health to COVID-19 by looking at how our surroundings impact infection control and disease course. He has also contributed important commentary to the public discourse through columns, Q&As, and media interviews. Dr. Brauer has previously written about the global health disparities in access to handwashing, a key component in reducing risk of COVID-19 transmission, and is working with UN Environment on a commentary to make structural changes to a more sustainable economy in the post-pandemic recovery.

  • Dr. Mariana Brussoni, Associate Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Pediatrics
    As a leader of Outdoor Play Canada, Dr. Brussoni has detailed the ramifications of COVID-19 on children’s outdoor play and has looked to highlight how children can play within physical distancing guidelines. Her work is increasingly relevant as the province seeks to open up while continuing to practice social distancing and limit infections. Echoing the advice of British Columbia’s Public Health Officials, including Dr. Bonnie Henry, Dr. Brussoni encourages families to spend time outdoors responsibly to strengthen their immune systems and maintain their physical and mental health.

  • Dr. Lawrence Frank, Bombardier Chair Professor, Transportation & Health, Schools of Population & Public Health & Community & Regional Planning Director, Health and Community Design Lab
    Dr. Frank measures and predicts the health impacts of the built and natural environment, and has recently been evaluating the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on active forms of transportation. As an expert in transportation planning and health, he has been a regular commenter in both domestic and international press.

  • Dr. Paul Kershaw, Associate Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, MPH Director
    The founder of Generation Squeeze and a familiar face in Canadian media, Dr. Kershaw is applying his expertise in advocating for the financial, social, emotional and physical well-being of Canadians to the COVID-19 crisis. He is compiling financial support information as public health measures being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disrupt the livelihoods and homes of Canadians across the country, and his organization is updating their website daily with new government support being announced at all levels, as well as clarification on the requirements for each funding.

  • Dr. Louise Mâsse, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Scientist Level 3, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
    Dr. Masse, a Behavioural Scientist with expertise in children’s health behaviours and transitional periods – an area that is increasingly relevant during this time of uncertainty and change – is focused on the future impacts of COVID-19-related social and physical distancing measures on families with children. Dr. Masse is extending her current HABITs study with the University of Victoria, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Waterloo to address how the pandemic is influencing children’s lifestyle behaviours, and what this means for their health in the long-term.
  • Dr. Maureen Mayhew, Clinical Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Health in Populations (HiP)
    Dr. Mayhew is a clinician with experience in cross-cultural medicine and public health since 1988, serving immigrants, refugees, Inuit, Metis and First Nations in Canada and abroad. She, along with SPPH alumnus Angeli Rawat and Faculty of Medicine graduate students have created a series of posters and infographics to share practical COVID-19 tips with the general public. For more information and to access these posters, click here.

  • Dr. Farah Shroff, Associate Member, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Health in Populations (HiP)
    Dr. Shroff has been an active commentator and expert in Canadian media, discussing issues that include the sensitivities around collecting race-based COVID-19 data, gender divides in the response to COVID-19, and the effects of COVID-19 on marginalized communities. She is actively working on several COVID-19 policy issues including a policy paper on housing and health; a report card on Canada’s response; and on-going research questions about the mental health aspects of the crisis, women's issues related to COVID-19, and climate justice.

  • Dr. Patti Spittal, Professor, Head, Division of Health in Populations, Interim Associate Director—Research, Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health
    Dr. Spittal is an anthropologist with extensive experience working with marginalized communities living in both resource-rich and resource-poor countries. She is the co-principal investigator of the Cedar Project, which has received a research exemption to keep their doors open in the Downtown East Side (DTES) to support the indigenous community during COVID- 19. They are continuing their crucial work with participants in indigenous community – but also the DTES community at large – doing outreach and trying to distribute harm reduction equipment. Dr. Spittal and her team are working to fill the needs created by the high number of organizations that have had to close their physical spaces due to COVID-19, and normally serve the marginalized communities of the DTES.
  • Katherine White, MSc Student, Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) program, UBC School of Population and Public Health
    Katherine White is one of the many graduate students at SPPH who has worked to couple her education with practical experience by conducting innovative research during the global pandemic. She is Masters of Science student at SPPH who also works as a research assistant in the Health and Community Design Lab, where she is looking at how appeals that focus on benefits to the self versus benefits to others may influence people's behavioural intentions around COVID-19 mitigating behaviors. Her study aims to look at potential moderators of this effect, including whether or not the appeal includes an advance gratitude statement, political identity, and moral identity.

 

 

  • Dr. Peter Berman, Professor and Director of the School of Population and Public Health
    Dr. Berman is a health economist with forty years of experience in research, policy analysis and development, and training and education in global health. Despite his busy schedule as the Director of SPPH, he has found the time to work on addressing COVID-19 through inter-jurisdictional collaborations. He is coordinating an International Network on Health System Responses to COVID-19, which is developing studies to examine the continuum from national political, economic, and social structures to public health and health systems organizations and on to interventions to address COVID-19. Dr. Berman and his colleagues are working to identify how jurisdictions can learn from the COVID-19 experience to improve preparedness in the future. Going forward, a key next step in the network is the development of “jurisdiction-focussed team” to do the work. A UBC team involving SPPH and SPPGA is developing collaborations in different jurisdictions in Canada, Asia (China, Hong Kong, and India), Latin America, Africa (Ethiopia).

  • Dr. John Carsley, Clinical Associate Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health
    A committed public servant and former Medical Health Offier of Vancouver Coastal Health, Dr. John Carsley has returned from retirement to support BC CDC with their professional and public communications amidst COVID-19.
  • Dr. Corinne Hohl, Associate Member, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Associate Professor in UBC’s Department of Emergency Medicine and a Scientist at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation.
    Dr. Hohl has an impressive background in emergency medicine, drug safety and effectiveness and adverse drug event surveillance. She is working on a Canadian COVID-19 Registry looking at health system capacity and health care service effects on clinically underrepresented populations, including marginalized populations and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Ultimately, Dr. Hohl aims to help characterize the burden, prognosis and resource allocation of ED COVID-19 patients in Canada, which in turn will have a significant impact on resource allocation and planning, allowing the province and health authorties to best respond to the current – and future – healthcare resource challenges.
  • Dr. Jason Sutherland, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public HealthProgram Head, Health Services and Outcomes, Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences
    Dr. Sutherland’s expertise in health systems’ efficiency, effectiveness, quality of care, and the policies that support them have long been in demand from governments across the country. He is now applying these skills and his extensive experience advising governments to policy questions around structuring health care systems to address COVID-19 and ensuring jurisdictions can appropriately care for COVID-19 patients.

 

  • Dr. Karen Bartlett, Professor, Program Director, MSc OEH
    Dr. Bartlett is part of an interdisciplinary initiative that includes faculty from UBC Mechanical Engineering, Barrelwise – a UBC spin off engineering think tank – and occupational hygienists in the health authorities. They are doing proof of concept work in improving the fit and efficacy of respiratory protection for healthcare workers in BC, who are on the front lines of fighting and treating COVID-19. The Mechanical Engineering group are testing the filter materials, and our laboratory manager, Matty Jeronimo, is coordinating the initiative to document the improved fit.
  • Dr. Annalee Yassi, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Health and Capacity-Building
    Dr. Yassi is a member of a 20-person international ad-hoc community established by WHO bringing together the global experience of protecting healthcare workers. Locally, she is establishing surveillance and follow-up procedures for patient care workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19 as the new Physician Lead in Occupational Health at Vancouver Coastal Health.

 

  • Dr. Patti Janssen, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Associate Faculty, Depts of Obstetrics and Family Practice, Adjunct School of Nursing
    Dr. Janssen is the founder of the lauded texting program SmartMom, a Senior Scholar at the Child and Family Research Institute and the leader of Optimal Birth BC, a consortium of clinician-scientists and public health practitioners who undertake both institutional quality improvement initiatives and the development of information resources for childbearing families in BC. She is applying her wealth of experience and leadership to the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting a national study of the safety of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy, which will help researchers understand the effects of a COVID-19 vaccine once available.
  • Dr. Deborah Money, Associate Member, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Health in Populations (HiP). Executive Vice Dean, UBC Faculty of Medicine, Professor, UBC Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
    Dr. Money is a researcher and physician. You may recognize her name as one of the world-renound experts named by Dr. Bonnie Henry in the daily press conference on May 9th as a leading researcher in our province. She is working on the Canadian Surveillance of COVID-19 in Pregnancy: Epidemiology and Maternal and Infant Outcomes, a multi-provincial observational project on the influence of comorbidities on susceptibility and outcomes, Development of decision support treatment and guidelines.
  • Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Health in Populations (HiP), Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Global Control of HPV related diseases and prevention, Senior Public Health Scientist, BCCDC, Senior Research Advisor, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre
    In collaboration with other researchers, and led by Dr. Steve Jones, Dr. Ogilvie is working on a germline analysis of COVID-19 patients to determine if there are any genetic determinants of the severity of the virus in confirmed patients. You may recognize her name as one of the exceptional faculty members named by Dr. Bonnie Henry in her daily press conference on May 9th as a leading researcher in our province. Her aim is to help create a database of genetic variants that can be correlated with features of the virus and patient phenotype information that can be shared nationally and internationally to better understand the infection.
  • Dr. David Patrick, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Medical Epidemiology Lead for Antimicrobial Resistance, British Columbia Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC)
    Dr. Patrick is an infectious disease modeller who has been instrumental in developing the modelling graphs shown at the daily provincial updates from Dr. Bonnie Henry and Minister of Health Adrian Dix. He is also on the front lines of researching treatments for COVID-19. In collaboration with other UBC faculty, Dr. Patrick is working on a multi-provincial and multi-national study funded by the CIHR called CATCO: Canadian Treatments for COVID-19, focused on understanding more about the virus, as well as potential drug therapies through a randomized, controlled trial with hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 cases.
  • Dr. Joel Singer, Professor, UBC School of Population and Public Health, Associate Director, MHSc Program
    Dr. Singer is on the front lines of researching potential treatments to COVID-19. In a CIHR-funded study led by Dr. Jim Russell, Dr. Singer examines the potential role of angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) in the treatment of COVID-19. The study evaluates similarities between the influenza virus and coronavirus and highlights the possibility of limiting lung injury in COVID-19 patients. If shown to be effective, ARBs would be an inexpensive and clinically available resource that would help immensely in the clinical treatment of COVID-19.

 

To view the most up to date information on the COVID19 research response in British Columbia, click here.