COVID-19: Memo to the Department

Dear Department members,

As you are aware, the Government of Canada, the BC Ministry of Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and the University of British Columbia have announced a number of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus. The purpose of this memo is to provide you with a summary of the impact of these measures on our Departmental activities.

 

UBC Department, Postgraduate and Undergraduate Education Offices:

We are encouraging all staff to work from home as soon as arrangements can be made to facilitate this. The Departmental staff can be reached through email.

 

UGME: 

UGE Year 3 – Clerkship Rotations ON HOLD Effective Immediately

In the interest of student and learner safety and wellness, effective immediately the Faculty of Medicine has put year 3, MEDD 431 clinical clerkship on hold.   Dr. Roger Wong, Executive Associate Dean, is sending out a memo to all faculty, however we encourage you to share this email with your preceptor.  Upon receiving this email, you can finish your task, then you are asked that you stop your rotation.  Your clerkship will be on hold up until and including March 29.  Updates will be provided regularly and a plan is anticipated to be in place for you by March 29. While your clerkship will be on hold until March 29, it is anticipated that it will in reality need to be for longer. Please be reassured, however, that everything is being done at the moment to operationalize mechanisms for you to obtain learning experiences in order to progress towards your year 3 milestones.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • For students on rural family practice placements: It is recommended that you return home, knowing that this may not be possible for all students.
  • For ICC students: please remain at your ICC sites as these sites are your home for one year.

Early next week you will be provided with a mechanism by which you may ask questions and will be provided with additional information with regards to assessments. Please consult Entrada for regular updates.  You may also send emails to your Regional Associate Dean for specific questions. 

UGE Year 4 + VS – Electives Cancelled

In the interest of student and learner safety and wellness, effective immediately the Faculty of Medicine has cancelled your current year 4 elective placements. Dr. Roger Wong, Executive Associate Dean, is sending out a memo to all faculty, however we encourage you to share this email with your preceptor. Upon receiving this email, you can finish your task, then you are asked to you stop your elective placement. Next week, you will be provided with other options to fulfill the academic requirements of your elective required for graduation. These may include options such as literature reviews, generation of online learning materials, reflective writing or participating in the public health response to COVID-19.

Please keep in mind the following:

  • For UBC students on in province electives: It is recommended that you return home, noting that this may not be possible for all students.
  • For students from UBC who are out of province and out of country: Please arrange to come home immediately. You will need to follow isolation precautions as per the BC CDC recommendations upon your return.  http://www.bccdc.ca/about/news-stories/stories/2020/information-on-novel-coronavirus
  • For students from out of province/out of country who are taking electives at UBC: Please arrange to return home as soon as possible/immediately.

Transition into Postgraduate Training and Practice (TIPP) leads have already begun the process of operationalizing the remainder of the curriculum in an online / work from home format.  Early next week, you will be provided with a mechanism by which you may ask questions and you will be provided with additional information with regards to assessments. Please consult Entrada for regular updates.  You may also send emails to your Regional Associate Dean for specific questions.

 

PGME and Other Activities: 

Psychiatry Resident Academic Day

Psychiatry Resident Academic Day will not be cancelled, however the format will change from in-class teaching to online/digital (e.g. via video conferencing, etc.). Should any clinical faculty or residents have questions or concerns regarding these changes, you are encouraged contact our program staff at psych.pge@ubc.ca. 

Educational Rounds and other Group Meetings 

On Thursday March 12th, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCHA) sent out a communication which states, in part, that “all non-essential group meetings (for example, educational rounds) should be suspended. Group meetings that are deemed essential for patient care may continue at this time at the discretion of the division and the department heads.”  As a result, all resident in-person group academic sessions are to be suspended and alternate arrangements (where possible) made.  As residents are all employees of the Health Authorities and we want to ensure safety and fairness for everyone, this applies to all UBC residents, regardless of training site.

More detailed information can be found on the PGME website at:

https://postgrad.med.ubc.ca/current-trainees/covid-19-how-is-ubc-faculty-of-medicine-monitoring-the-situation/

Resident Re-deployment

In exceptional circumstances such as with COVID-19, the individual postgraduate education programs may redeploy residents for a short periods of time (see attached memo). Psychiatry is not considering such an option at present, but we will inform you should the situation change.

 

Cancellation of Vancouver Summer Program:

With the spread of COVID-19 globally and the risk that poses to travelling students and faculty, on Friday March 13th UBC has announced the difficult decision to cancel the Vancouver Summer Program for 2020.  Applications for Summer 2021 will open in Fall 2020.

Please contact Julia Lew at julia.lew@ubc.ca if you have any questions, or visit https://vancouversummerprogram.ubc.ca/ for further information and updates.

 

Postponement of Department Research Day:

Given the uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 outbreak for the weeks and months to come, the Department has made the decision to postpone Research Day, which had been planned for Thursday May 28, 2020.  Department members will be notified in the near future as soon as a new date for Research Day has been confirmed.

 

Steps to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are
  • Practice proper hygiene etiquette during the cold and flu season. This includes proper hand-washing with soap and water or with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or
  • If you have a patient or a client with symptoms of respiratory illness, give them a mask and provide them with care using the same level of personal protective equipment you would use during any flu.
  • If you notice an admitted patient with new symptoms of respiratory illness, please alert the Infection Prevention and Control Professional (ICP) and your supervisor/manager and observe droplet precautions. This step will assist in heightening our surveillance of admitted patients
  • If any of you develop symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and headache), please contact your primary care provider or 811. Avoid all non-essential travel and follow the guidelines.

We know that these are challenging times, but we will get through this in due course. In the meantime, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued dedication and professionalism during this difficult period. Stay safe.

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Lakshmi N. Yatham, Professor and Head, UBC Department of Psychiatry
Ms. Vicky Yau, Director of Administration, UBC Department of Psychiatry