CHAIR - Coalition for Healthcare Acquired Infection Reduction

2020

2020 CHAIR Leadership Award Recipient

Dr. Elizabeth Bryce

Bryce is an alumna of the University of Regina (Campion College) having earned a BSc (Hons) in 1978. She went on to pursue medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and in a long and distinguished career has made significant contributions to medical microbiology and infection prevention. She is qualified in medical microbiology and internal medicine and is a clinical professor at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Bryce is the co-founder of the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) Biological Response Advisory Team whose practices were adopted by Health Canada. She was seconded to work on the National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health during the height of the outbreak. She was also part of the team that planned how to manage biological events during the Summit of the Americas and the PanAm Games. Additionally,  she served on the team that developed Canada’s hospital infection prevention response to the H1N1 pandemic.

She served as regional medical director for Infection Control at VCH Acute and is the co-director of the Provincial Infection Control Network of British Columbia. Her colleagues have been a source of inspiration, and the field of medical microbiology and infection prevention encourages Dr. Bryce to be a critical thinker and to challenge the status quo.

She has published numerous scholarly articles in many of the field’s top national and international journals and, along with her colleague Dr. Annalee Yassi, was awarded the Canadian Medical Association Journal Merit Award for Top Achievements in Health Research in 2011.

In 2012, she received the Champion for Change Award from the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and GroYourBiz. The award recognizes global leaders who envision innovative ways of benefiting their community. More recently, she has received both the British Columbia Health Care Gold Apple Award for Top Innovation and the People First Award for Innovation for her team’s creation of a canine scent detection program to detect hidden hospital reservoirs of infectious bacteria.

Since 2014, Dr. Bryce has been an innovative leader researching the effects of copper as an anti-bacterial product in a ground-breaking ‘proof of concept’ study in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit where the most immune suppressed patients in the Vancouver General Hospital were located.  Furthermore, through her strong leadership, she is the first person in the world to lead the research in several Canadian hospitals that demonstrated the durability of different copper alloys. This critical research will help guide healthcare decisionmakers in Canada and around the world.

In addition, Dr. Bryce has led the country in the practical use of germicidal ultraviolet light as a means of creating safer environments for patients with the use of UVC robots and wall mounted units.  A small but important study at the Lions Gate Hospital yielded amazing results with a reduction of 97% of bacteria in shared patient bathrooms.

For her life-long dedication to medicine and her bold vision for health care, Dr. Elizabeth Bryce BSc’78 (Campion College), DSc (Honorary)’18 has received the University of Regina’s highest honour – an honorary degree.

Dr. Bryce has  been a microbiology leader in the development of Canada’s first National Standard on Cleaning & Disinfection with the Canadian Standards Association. When this CSA standard (Z257.12) was distributed in spring of 2020, healthcare facilities became safer for all Canadians.  She  also participated in an international copper conference in Milan, Italy in the fall of 2018 and were in fact the highlight for all who attended that conference. Plus she has thoroughly investigated several emerging technologies such as smart-flo ozonated water hand hygiene sinks and modular UVC desktop disinfectors with practical feedback to the respective companies.

With the advent of the novel coronavirus pandemic in 2020, she worked tirelessly at VCH to help create safe environments for patients who crowded the organizations many facilities.  That turned your attention to a community issue – Vancouver Transit. Phase 1 of this ‘proof of concept” studied copper alloys and organosilane use on buses and subway vehicles with measurements of ATP and Petri-film.  Phase 2 will hopefully role out in 2021 to address specific bacteria and ground-breaking investigation of viruses killing methods on public transit.

Bryce is an active volunteer and travels to other countries to help healthcare practitioners build safer medical environments that minimize the risk of exposure to transmissible diseases.

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