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A partnership of Doctors of BC
and Ministry of Health
December 2016

Changes to SSC

In March, Kelly McQuillen left the Ministry of Health to join the Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation. Due to her departure, Kelly stepped down as the government Co-chair for the Specialist Services Committee (SSC). We thank Kelly for her guidance and dedication. We also welcome Michele Lane as the new SSC Co-chair. Michele joins the Ministry from HealthLink BC and is the Executive Director, Acute and Provincial Services Branch.

SSC also said a fond farewell to Dr Ken Seethram, former co-chair, whose time as a committee member has come to an end. Ken has been an integral part of SSC for many years, and a member whose equanimity was renowned on a committee that can at times be contentious. His dry yet quirky sense of humour was best reflected in his icebreaker games, trivia contests and truly unusual prizes, and the sound of his rallying cry “no googling” will be missed in the boardroom. Yet it was Ken’s calm leadership style and his ability to find common ground with stakeholders, doctors, patients and the Ministry that has contributed most in the strides SSC has taken during his tenure. We thank him for all he has contributed, he will be missed.

Meanwhile, the SSC is happy to announce the addition of two new members to the team Drs Matthew Chow, Psychiatry, and Kathy Lee, General Surgery.

Surgical Checklists

A recently published paper by Urback et al about surgical checklists created a strong reaction in BC’s surgical community. As a result, a number of key stakeholders have written a communique to provide another perspective to the paper and to help redirect the discussion to the potential value of the surgical checklist and the culture of the surgical team. Read the communique

Video Story: “Heart-pounding” doesn’t always mean fun

Heart-pounding excitement is extolled by many theme parks and any monster truck rally, but for Vancouver engineer Emmanuel Domingo it has a very different meaning.

An inherited heart arrhythmia runs in Mr. Domingo’s family. It took the lives of four close relatives in their 40s and 50s. Domingo, now 56, not only fears for this own life, but is worried he may have passed on the genetic condition to his three sons, aged 18 to 25

"I don't want my sons to go through what I did," says Domingo who  experiences frequent episodes in which his heart suddenly starts pounding violently in his chest, often when he is at rest. .

View video to learn more about the provincial Inherited Arrhythmia Program

Innovative Ideas Flow from Specialists

In April, SSC dedicated $15 million to fund specialist-led ideas in quality and innovation. The call for ideas went out through an Expression of Interest (EOI). And BC specialists didn’t disappoint. SSC received over 300 ideas – a total value of $177 million. The EOI submissions came from specialists within all health regions. Decisions for submissions going forward to a proposal stage are expected to be made in Fall 2014

Raising the Level of Emergency Medicine

Dr. Michael Ertel has been practicing medicine for over 25 years. He’s a physician with a focused practice in Emergency medicine in Kelowna. Since his initial training, Ertel has seen younger ER doctors with enhanced skills in ultrasound use, airway management and simulation training. Being a life-long learner, he wanted to be properly trained in these skills. He also thought other doctors would be interested, too.

Spotlight on a Specialty – Neurology

Magicians can trick our brains with a sleight of hand and we are delighted. But what happens when our brain tricks itself?  An individual is often left confused, scared, and anxious – and that’s when the expertise of a neurologist is needed. Neurology is endlessly fascinating because the brain defines the essence of who we are.

About Us

SSC supports specialists’ work and professional growth. Formed in 2006 under the Physician Master Agreement to help the Doctors of BC, BC government and health authorities collaborate on the delivery of specialist services and support improvement of the specialist care system in BC.

Sharing your knowledge is important - if you have stories to tell, information to share or feedback to give, please send us an email:

Specialist Services Committee
115-1665 West Broadway Vancouver, BC V6J 5A4

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