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2020 Awards of Excellence Recipients

March 29, 2021: A correction has been made to Dr. Bernard Ho’s involvement with Resident Doctors of Canada.

The annual Awards of Excellence recognize members of the healthcare community for their contributions to creating an optimal training environment for residents in BC. There were a number of exceptional candidates this year, and we thank everyone for their valuable efforts. The recipients of the year’s awards are as follows:

Award of Merit

The Award of Merit recognizes a resident whose achievements and/or leadership reflect the aims and objectives of Resident Doctors of BC. The award is presented annually to a resident who has shown outstanding initiative in resident health and well-being, promotion of the role of residents in the health care system, or advocacy and representation of residents leading to improved work or learning environments.

Recipient: Dr. Bernard Ho

Dr. Bernard Ho is a PGY-3 Family Medicine – Emergency Medicine resident whose nominators praise him for his leadership skills, dedication to bettering the residency experience and patient care. Dr. Ho has promoted the role of residents in the healthcare system on a national level, through his involvement as a Board Member and resident representative to Canadian Doctors for Medicare (CDM); his involvement with Resident Doctors of Canada (RDoC) through committee and project work; and the CCFP-EM resident representative for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), where he acts as the voice for over 100 CCFP-EM residents across Canada.

Through his work with CDM, Dr. Ho has met with MPs and MPPs, and media publications, to strongly advocate for a national pharmacare strategy. He helped create the Trainee Liaison Committee within CDM to help train medical students and residents in becoming stronger advocates and help disseminate CDM’s work to a wider audience. Through his work with RDoC, Dr. Ho has worked on many committees, including the National Licensure project team. He worked with a group of residents across Canada to advocate for a single national physician licensure system. Dr. Ho met with stakeholders such as the CMA, CFPC, and FMRAC to discuss the implementation of such a system, and went on to present the group’s findings at the International Conference on Residency Education.

Dr. Ho is also praised by his nominators for being an advocate for resident wellness and wellbeing. In his role as the Co-Chief Resident for UBC’s Enhanced Skills program, Dr. Ho created a Wellness Committee which has allowed for a safe space for residents to discuss concerns around their training. This has been especially crucial during the COVID-19 pandemic. These concerns are then anonymously brought to respective Program Directors to find solutions and improve the residency experience. The existence of this committee has also led to the first ever inter-program socials.

Dr. Ho is involved with other projects, such as his work with CAEP to standardize the weekly academic half day teachings, and leading the Virtual Care Project Team under RDoC. The latter especially has been essential during the pandemic as many residents have been providing virtual care, and the Project Team allows the gathering of feedback for virtual care and resident training in the future.

Dr. Patricia Clugston Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching Award

The Dr. Patricia Clugston Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching recognizes a physician clinical educator for his or her contributions to residents’ medical education. The recipient will have created a safe learning environment that encourages self-inquiry, supports adult learning, and fosters within learners a desire to achieve their highest potential.

Recipient: Dr. Kaila Holtz

Dr. Kaila Holtz is a physiatrist working at both the Vancouver General Hospital as a consultant and in her own practice, Triumph Health.

Dr. Holtz, who once competed for Canada as a member of the Olympic Softball Team, describes herself as a coach, rather than a teacher and views her bedside teaching as an active rather than passive process. She invites residents to problem solve on the spot when a teaching opportunity arises, and encourages novel thinking and confidence. She ensures the final plan is a cooperative effort with her residents. Her patient plans are evidence based, and she touches upon topics that are sure to make an appearance on the Royal College exam. She does this while including patients in a meaningful way.

Dr. Holtz is described by her nominators as:

“A pioneer in our specialty within the residency program in that she actively uses ultrasound for diagnosis and management of her musculoskeletal patients. Despite ultrasound rapidly becoming a mainstay of advanced clinical practice, it has yet to see widespread uptake in our training program. Dr. Holtz is one of six, out of more than fifty, preceptors we have that actively pushes ultrasound into her practice and encourages residents to use the tool. This rapid implementation of a novel tool in an evidence-based way greatly improves the quality of education we receive here in British Columbia.”

Dr. Holtz also spearheaded the restructuring of the program’s Academic Halfday curriculum. Dr. Holtz took it upon herself to restructure the way the MSK curriculum was delivered, and now ensures appropriate pre-reading is assigned, each resident is assigned a 15 minute short didactic presentation on a specific diagnosis, and then the group practices their MSK exams together. This model encourages residents to arrive prepared, and to fully participate throughout the content delivery. Her nominators praise it as a much more engaging method of content delivery.

Dr. Holtz has also been featured in our Resident Spotlight during her time as a resident. If you would like to find out more about Dr. Holtz, please visit our interview.

Drs. Ho and Holtz will receive commemoration on a plaque at the Resident Doctors of BC office, a personal commemorative award, and a $1000 donation each to the charity/charities of their choice.

author: Sasha Zalyvadna