The UBC Board of Governors met via Zoom on December 3 for its final regular meeting of the year, discussing Dr. Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond’s report on anti-Indigenous racism in health care and COVID-19’s impact on research, along with approving a few committee motions.
Here are the highlights.
Ono says UBC will ‘actively collaborate’ to transform health care in BC after Turpel-Lafond report
Turpel-Lafond, an Allard School of Law professor and the academic director of the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC, released her months-in-the-making provincial health care report on November 30. The report, “In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care,” reported widespread racism against Indigenous peoples in health care.
Health Minister Adrian Dix commissioned the independent probe over the summer after allegations of health care staff playing a racist game in emergency rooms.
In his remarks at the meeting, President Santa Ono spoke of the report’s implications for UBC. Some of the recommendations in the report apply specifically to UBC, as UBC plays a large role in training health care professionals in the province.
“I want to state very clearly that I and the university are fully committed to supporting those specific recommendations and, indeed, to the entire report,” he said.
Conversation with the medical school on how to address and implement these recommendations has already begun, Ono said.
“[Indigenous peoples] don't feel safe receiving health care in our province and it simply has to stop,” he said.
“Let there be no doubt that we at UBC will actively collaborate in the work needed to transform our health care system to make accessible, safe and positive contributions to the health and wellness of Indigenous peoples.”
Research response to COVID-19
Dr. David Patrick, a professor in the School of Population and Public Health and the executive medical director at the BC Centre for Disease Control gave a presentation to the Board on research and COVID-19.
Patrick highlighted the scale of BC’s research response, reporting that the research effort has over $200 million in funding, and includes 500 different projects.
BC’s short-term priorities are to improve patient recruitment, public health management and vaccine development processes. Long-term priorities include organizing BC clinical trials to replicate the success of the United Kingdom’s recovery model and increasing the manufacturing capacity of BC’s biotech industry.
Managing Director of Athletics & Recreation Kavie Toor asked about research coordination on campus and the communication of UBC’s COVID-19 research effort.
Patrick [use full name as Parker isn’t mentioned prior in the article]ririsaid the Faculty of Medicine’s COVID-19 Clinical Research Coordination Initiative is leading the charge. For communication, Patrick expressed a desire to make UBC’s role in the response more visible.
“It’s awkward to work both within the response and be providing commentary at the same time, but we may want to solve that one because it would be nice to see the UBC role more vividly displayed in the media.”