National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

In June of this year, the federal government passed legislation to mark September 30, 2021 as a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Earlier this month, the Province of BC followed suit recognizing this as a day of commemoration in the public sector. UBC will be observing this day as a holiday on both campuses and our distributed learning sites. Classes will be cancelled and university employees who are normally entitled to provincial and federal holidays will receive this day off.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is designated as an opportunity to ‘recognize and commemorate the legacy of residential schools.’ It was originally proposed in 2015 by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which under Action 80 called upon the federal government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, to establish a statutory holiday “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.” 

You may already be aware that September 30 has been observed since 2013 as Orange Shirt Day, a movement to recognize the colonial legacy of residential schools and commit to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Orange Shirt Day recalls the experience of residential school Survivor Phyllis Webstad, who at six was stripped of her shiny new orange shirt on her first day attending the St. Joseph Mission Residential School near Williams Lake, BC. The date of September 30 was chosen because it was the time of year when Indigenous children were removed from their families and forced to attend residential schools. 

UBC is committed to advancing Indigenous human rights through truth and reconciliation. The 2020 Indigenous Strategic Plan represents a university-wide response to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice. It also represents the UBC Vancouver campus’ response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. In 2019, UBC Okanagan published a public declaration of five commitments in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

I want to encourage all members of the UBC community to honour the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, whether through personal reflection, education and awareness activities, or by participating in Orange Shirt Day or other events within your communities.

Santa J. Ono
President and Vice-Chancellor

Virtual-First to Patient-Directed

“In July 2020, I wrote a post on this blog to guide family doctors on how to ramp up in-person visits in their practices. A year later, the topic is still timely although the context is different: we are now fifteen months into the COVID-19 pandemic, a large proportion of the population is vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2 . How should primary care operate going forward?

Great question! Read Dr. Kiran’s response “From virtual-first to patient-directed: A new normal for primary care” via CMAJ.

Health Innovation Funding Investment Awards: Call for Proposals

The call for proposals for the Health Innovation Funding Investment (HIFI) Awards is now open to faculty members at UBC Vancouver and UBC Okanagan. UBC Health is offering awards of $10,000 to $25,000 to faculty members who are collaborating across Faculties, disciplines, and campuses to develop new teams, pursue new ideas, or translate findings from innovative health-related research. 

Health is produced by a complex interplay of individual, social, political, and economic factors. Interdisciplinary and cross-Faculty collaborations have the potential to lead to more innovative solutions to improve health and address health inequities. The HIFI Awards are intended to catalyze these collaborations by supporting cross-Faculty and cross-campus research at UBC. 

For information on eligibility criteria, key dates, and how to apply, visit the HIFI page. Proposals are due October 31, 2021. Learn more here.

And Breathe…

“Dr Stephanie Luongo often uses art as a therapeutic outlet during her downtime in her residency. This chalk artwork is an integration of anatomy and nature, expressing, she says, “that life is beautiful and precious, and at times can feel delicate—much like nature itself.” When trying to alleviate the stresses of residency, COVID-19, and working as a physician, Dr Luongo finds that reminding herself to breathe can make all the difference.” via BCMJ

Exercise Prescriptions

The Grouse Grind!

“In the words of exercise medicine advocate Dr Robert Sallis, what if there was one prescription that could prevent and treat dozens of diseases? Regular physical activity is known to reduce the risk of premature death and at least 35 chronic diseases, from obesity to dementia to depression.[1] It has also been reported that nearly 20% of adult deaths can be attributed to physical inactivity and its associated low cardiorespiratory fitness, which is more than obesity (2% to 3%), smoking (8% to 9%), diabetes (2% to 4%), and high cholesterol (2% to 4%) combined.[2] The positive effects on patient health of a prescription to increase physical activity cannot be denied.

Physical activity is often more effective than prescription medications for preventing and managing chronic conditions, and it improves overall patient well-being. It is also less expensive, more accessible, and results in fewer medication interactions and side effects. Despite extensive evidence supporting the benefits of physical activity, Canadians as a whole are insufficiently active to achieve these health benefits.[3] With the recent publication of the groundbreaking Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for all ages (,[4] there has never been a better time to discuss the importance of helping patients be more active.”

More on Incorporating Exercise Prescriptions into Medical Education via BCMJ.