Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 BCCFP awards!
Dr. Joshua Greggain is described by his nominator as “the quintessential rural family doc.” He is a respected figure in the community of Hope, where he has maintained a full-time practice since 2007 and has been in a practice share with Dr. Jeff Schulz since 2018. Dr. Greggain and his team of providers in Hope are privileged to provide full-service family practice on the traditional and ancestral territories of Stó:lō and Nlaka'pamux First Nations.
Dr. Greggain has served as the medical director at the Hope Medical Centre and the Fraser Canyon Clinic; site medical director at Fraser Canyon Hospital; and the chairperson of the Chilliwack Division of Family Practice. Through his leadership in these roles, Dr. Greggain recruited and expanded his local medical community in order to stabilize 24/7 access to care in Hope and surrounding areas. He was actively involved in advocating for and implementing the Hope Health and Wellbeing Initiative, which provides $500,000 of annual funding to improve the health and well-being of underserved people in the region.
Working in collaboration with local Indigenous and health authority partners, Chief Delores O’Donahey and Dr. Greggain were driving forces in the development of the House of Sexwna7m, an Indigenous-led primary care outreach clinic in Anderson Creek, established in 2009. At the clinic on reserve, a team of primary care and allied health professionals provide outreach to both First Nations and non-Indigenous patients, including virtual care. Dr. Greggain’s colleagues note that he models the importance of cultural safety and humility in health care and has helped build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Dr. Greggain has been acknowledged by the Boston Bar Band from the Nlaka’pamux Nation, the Seabird Island Band, and the Stó:lō Nation.
Since the start of the pandemic, Dr. Greggain has provided family practice care and facilitated COVID testing and immunizations clinics in the rural areas of Hope and the Fraser Canyon. He has endeavoured to provide accurate and positive information to his community regarding the COVID pandemic. He has fought alongside family medicine colleagues to adapt to an ever-changing world of virtual primary care. Nominators describe how Dr. Greggain has been an ally and friend to several colleagues and health care workers at the hospital, the clinic, and through a weekly Zoom prayer meeting.
Dr. Greggain co-leads the Network of Rural Divisions alongside Dr. Brenda Huff on behalf of the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc). He is a recently appointed member of the Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues, one of the Joint Collaboration Committees (JCC).
Dr. Greggain shares his knowledge and passion for rural family medicine as a teacher of the CARE Course (Comprehensive Approaches to Rural Emergencies) and teaches the Practice Ready Assessment – IMG (PRA-IMG) introduction to rural ER. He is also a clinical instructor with UBC’s Department of Family Medicine, helping inspire medical students and family practice residents to pursue generalist rural medicine.
Dr. Greggain’s nominator told us: “Dr. Greggain is as comfortable doing an outreach clinic in a remote Indigenous community as he is in a small-town emergency room. He is a phenomenal medical leader who has the special gift of moving conversations and ideas forward in a way in which all parties feel heard and respected. He cares for his family as much as he cares for his patients and he is an incredible friend through good times and bad. If we had more “Joshes” in the world, we would have a much brighter one.”
In the coming months, Dr. Greggain will be transitioning to Vancouver Island, where his wife, Jennifer, has recently taken a position as national coach with Golf Canada’s junior development program. They are proud parents of a son and daughter. In his spare time, Dr. Greggain loves exploring the outdoors, whether by boat, on foot or in his Jeep.
Dr Greggain has been grateful to stand alongside his family medicine colleagues and is proud to be honoured and considered a “specialist” in family medicine, for now and for the future.
My Family Doctor Award: Dr. Lauren Baerg (Island Health)Dr. Lauren Baerg’s nominator told us, “Dr. Baerg is one of the best listeners I have encountered in our healthcare system. She is careful and methodical and not quick to dismiss any symptoms. She investigates thoroughly and communicates clearly and thoughtfully with our whole family, regardless of age or issue. She is light when it's needed and serious when required. Her care has given us the opportunity to trust the system and feel supported as we make decisions… Our community needs more doctors and role models like her.”
Dr. Baerg is a family physician practising in Comox. She graduated from the University of British Columbia in 2016 before completing her residency program in Nanaimo in 2018. She provides full-service family practice involving clinic work, following patients’ care in hospital and long-term care, as well as primary care obstetrics. She feels privileged to be a part of patients’ lives through some of the most vulnerable times; whether it be attending the birth of a child, addressing an acute illness or supporting end-of-life care. Dr. Baerg feels very connected with her patients after only a few years of practice and looks forward to seeing how these relationships change and grow over time. Outside of medicine, Dr. Baerg enjoys running, hiking and kayaking to explore the beauty of the west coast.
My Family Doctor Award: Dr. Louise Corcoran (Vancouver Coastal Health)Dr. Corcoran’s nominator told us, “Dr. Corcoran has been my family doctor for many years. I went to get my flu shot and, as she started asking other questions, she didn't like the way I looked so sent me immediately for tests. It turned out I had had a heart attack and was rushed to ER, then transferred for surgery. The cardiologist said the next attack would have been fatal. I will be forever grateful to her that she took the time to treat me as a whole person and not just an arm to jab and go on to the next patient. Somehow, she makes me feel like I am the only person that matters."
Dr. Louise Corcoran is a family physician practising in North Vancouver. She grew up in Calgary, Alberta and then Victoria, British Columbia before moving abroad to Dublin, Ireland to study medicine at University College Dublin. After completing her medical degree in 1994, Dr. Corcoran completed her postgraduate residency training in family medicine in Ireland, Australia, and Scotland. Dr. Corcoran returned to B.C. to work in Chilliwack in 2002, then to North Vancouver in 2005.
Dr. Corcoran enjoys all aspects of her work as a family physician. She cares for patients of all ages. When not at the office, she loves to take advantage of the abundant nature that the North Shore offers through hiking, biking, and skiing, all alongside her husband and three children.
My Family Doctor Award: Dr. Teresa Cordoni (Fraser Health)Dr. Teresa Cordoni’s nominator told us, “I am part of a very large, multi-generation family. Dr. Cordoni has always made each of us feel welcome, comfortable and, most of all, heard and safe in her trusted care. Dr. Cordoni has laughed with us, cried with us, held our hands, delivered our babies and given us straight-up advice when we need it... It is reassuring (and slightly amazing) that she knows each of our family members’ health histories from memory and takes this information into account in her assessments and plans for treatment.”
Dr. Cordoni is a family physician practising in Port Coquitlam. She graduated from UBC, interned in New Zealand, and completed a year of orthopedics in Vancouver before realizing how much she missed family medicine. She set up practice in Port Coquitlam 38 years ago and has never moved. Dr. Cordoni has a multigenerational practice and, for the last 10+ years, has worked with the Port Moody maternity clinic to do referral obstetrics in the community. She feels very privileged to have the opportunity to be a part of her patients’ lives, both the joys and the sorrows. She has cared for the grandparents, the parents, delivered their children, and is now delivering the babies of children that she delivered. Dr. Cordoni says, “My staff have travelled this road with me for nearly the entire time, and we form a family within a community with our patients.”
My Family Doctor Award: Dr. Shu Fung Ho (Northern Health)Dr. Shu Fung Ho’s nominator told us, “Dr. Fung Ho has made going to the doctor a safe place. His calm manner. His listening skills and, when appropriate, a very nice sense of humour. I feel really listened to. I feel he considers all aspects of my care. I am in my early 60’s and have had my fair share of doctors, but none with this man’s bedside manner. He has made a huge difference in how I view our medical system and I feel very blessed he has taken me as a patient. Living in a smaller community, we are so very lucky to have many good doctors practising here.”
Dr. Shu Fung Ho is a family physician practising in Vanderhoof. He graduated from UBC medicine in 2010 and undertook his family medicine residency in the northern medical program at the University Hospital of Northern British Columbia. He also undertook the Department of Family Practice Enhanced Skills Program in anesthesia at UBC, graduating in 2014. Dr. Fung Ho currently focuses on rural family practice, working in the hospital ER and managing the cardiac stress testing program. He provides anesthesia services in the operating room as well as obstetrics anesthesia and trauma on-call. Dr. Fung Ho enjoys the diversity of his practice and the flexibility that family medicine allows in being able to build additional skills in response to community needs. He enjoys the continuous learning that is a part of family practice. Dr. Fung Ho’s spare time is spent outdoors with his wife, their one-year-old child, and two big dogs.
My Family Doctor Award: Dr. Deon Van Rensburg (Interior Health)Dr. Deon Van Rensburg’s nominator told us, “Dr. Van Rensburg is a caring and knowledgeable physician who goes above and beyond. He is such an asset to our community and has been a rock in my health care journey. He is the type of doctor you trust and feel confident that he will follow up on results and oversee your health. He has been a huge asset to our family as we have journeyed through challenging diagnoses for our children – he not only took care of our medical needs but held our hand through the emotional aspect of all of it. We are so blessed to have him in our community!"
Dr. Deon Van Rensburg is a family physician in Cranbrook. He earned his Bachelor of Science from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg and his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery at the University of Pretoria, Pretoria. He moved to Cranbrook in 2009 and has been enjoying the Kootenays ever since. Dr. Van Rensburg practises with a supportive group of full-service physicians at a multi-faceted family practice, where he also engages in obstetrics, inpatients, and geriatric care. He feels blessed to be able to work in a beautiful area of BC and enjoys the wonderful outdoor lifestyle that it offers, in contrast to his upbringing in the urban setting of Durban, South Africa. He encourages his community to engage in healthy outdoor lifestyle choices.
First Five Years of Practice Award: Dr. Birinder NarangDr. Birinder Narang has made a big impact in his first few years of practice, emerging as a trusted source of public health advice and information throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He has shown the positive power of family physicians as community leaders.
Dr. Narang is a family physician working in Burnaby and East Vancouver. He practises in a range of settings, delivering longitudinal care at a community health centre, residential care centres, and in hospitals. As Vice-Chair of the Burnaby Division of Family Practice, he advocates for the well-being of family physicians and their role in the health system.
Dr. Narang is part of the South Asian COVID Task Force steering committee. He provides leadership for this group and helps produce public announcements, videos, and infographics, communicating in five languages and engaging with community and faith-based groups locally and nationally to help educate the South Asian community on COVID-19.
Many are familiar with Dr. Narang through his social media platforms, where he delivers COVID-19 information and advice every day, as well as serving as a spokesperson for local, provincial and national media. He is outspoken about vaccine safety, helping combat vaccine hesitancy and promoting the family physician role in tackling the pandemic.
Dr. Narang has shared his experiences of racism with the public and media, raising awareness of the ongoing realities of race-based intolerance and advocating for the importance of vigilance and active anti-racism in Canada.
These exceptional efforts have been made alongside his role as a Clinical instructor in the UBC Department of Family Medicine, in which he educates future generations of family physicians.
Dr. Birinder Narang’s nominator says: “He is what family medicine and being Canadian is all about and that’s why he is so deserving of this award. If he has done this much in 5 years, I can’t wait to see what the next 25 years will bring.”
R2 Resident Award: Dr. Jessica LukstsDr. Jessica Luksts is a second-year family medicine resident at the UBC Okanagan South site. She earned her Doctor of Medicine degree from McMaster University in 2019. Known for her warm, caring and professional manner and her effective communication skills, Dr. Luksts has made a positive impact on the lives of her co-residents and her patients.
In her role as the co-lead resident of the program site, Dr. Luksts worked with new technologies, exercised creativity and found strategies to support and lead not just her co‐residents, but the entire residency site through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Luksts worked to ensure there was adequate personal protective equipment by sitting on the local Division committee for the region, and also advocated for residents to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations alongside local family physicians. Her efforts to bring comfort and cohesion to her colleagues were evidenced through her facilitation of COVID-safe social events and sourcing of food for the hospital learner lounge, providing a great boost to site morale.
With an interest in obstetrics, Dr. Luksts has been a strong advocate within the program site and on behalf of her colleagues for ways to improve the obstetrics rotation. She has also been the liaison for resident program committee meetings. In addition, she was the resident in charge of the CaRMS presentation and information sessions this academic year.
Dr. Luksts’ nominator says, “She is kind, she is thoughtful and she is dedicated to being the best family physician she can be. I wish to emulate more of her in myself. She has made our program better, enriched her co‐residents’ lives and made my job more enjoyable. I see her future as so bright.”
R2 Resident Award: Dr. Maheen MujtabaDr. Maheen Mujtaba is an R2 resident at the Prince George family medicine site, having trained at the Shifa College of Medicine in Pakistan. She served as the first female resident lead for the International Medical Graduates (IMG) in the UBC Family Practice Residency Program, acting as a passionate advocate on behalf of her fellow residents.
Dr. Mujtaba led a pivotal survey of all 300 family physician residents aimed to uncover the presence of racism within the residency program. She responded to the results with determination, expanding the working group to include program leadership and faculty and making sure that racism and mistreatment was recognized and addressed through real, actionable change. Thanks to her work, the program is establishing new anti-discrimination policies.
Dr. Mujtaba sits on various other program committees, including the Resident Selection Committee and the Postgraduate Education Committee.
Dr. Mujtaba advocated tirelessly for the BC IMG orientation, a 10-day long complex introductory program for incoming residents who trained abroad. She also worked with program administrators and Ministry of Health representatives to mitigate the impact of the return of service contract on the educational experience of residents.
Dr. Mujtaba’s nominator says, “She is an excellent clinician, a dedicated leader with strong advocacy skills, charisma and kind manners. She is humble and curious yet determined and solution focused. She is a true “peaceful warrior” and exemplary support for her colleagues.”
R2 Resident Award: Dr. Irfan RajaniDr. Irfan Rajani is an R2 resident at the UBC Victoria Site. He completed his bachelors in pharmacy at UBC and his medical degree at the University of Limerick, Ireland. With a keen desire to engage with his community and improve the resident experience, Dr. Rajani has advocated for his colleagues through several leadership roles. His nominator tells us that Dr. Rajani has an immense passion when it comes to equity, diversity, and inclusion.
Dr. Rajani served as the Lead International Medical Graduates (IMG) resident representative for the Victoria site, co-founded a program-wide IMG resident working group on racism and discrimination, and served on the IMG Advisory Committee. This included the formation of a subcommittee on racism and discrimination and grassroots efforts to identify policies and behaviours that disenfranchise residents. Dr. Rajani also served as a resident board member at the Victoria Division of Family Practice and on the Council of Program Representatives with Resident Doctors of BC.
Dr. Rajani is passionate about mentorship. He has supported numerous residents over the last two years and acknowledges the value of ensuring that the resident community is healthy and supported.
Dr. Rajani’s nominator says: “Beyond his involvements on paper, Dr. Rajani is genuinely a compassionate and kind practitioner and colleague. He is always available to discuss difficulties, adversities, or challenges of residency and offers a helping hand to navigate these issues. He is enthusiastic about innovative projects or hearing new ideas to help us grow the family medicine community and lends guidance in how to fulfill these projects.”
Dr. Manoo and Jean Gurjar Award: Dr. Taran MainDr. Taran Main is an R2 resident at the Okanagan Rural/Regional site. His preceptors and attending physicians know him for his compassionate, calm and caring professionalism, in addition to his outstanding scholarship. Dr. Main has demonstrated a commitment to serving marginalized populations and improving his community.
Dr. Main served as lead resident of the site for two years, providing calm, straightforward, supportive communication to improve the wellness of his colleagues throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Main has also been effective in advocating for curriculum change in the program, including ongoing efforts to increase addictions medicine and Indigenous health training at the site. He has sought out additional educational opportunities to serve underserved populations during his residency, as well as volunteering for an outreach program.
Dr. Main has been a passionate advocate for family medicine to incoming residents. He plans to pursue PGY-3 training in addictions medicine, with the goal of returning to Kelowna after graduation to serve as a family physician working with priority populations, such as those experiencing addictions and homelessness.
Dr. Main’s nominator says, “His passion for family medicine is infectious. Throughout his successful residency, Dr. Main has strived to maintain a healthy work/life balance. He has a rich family and spiritual life. His wonderful sense of humour makes him an absolute joy to be around.”
Dr. Manoo and Jean Gurjar Award: Dr. Mei WenDr. Mei Wen is an R2 resident at the UBC St. Paul’s site. She was inspired to enter family medicine after experiencing the kindness and knowledgeable reassurance of her family physician as a teenager. Working at Raven Song Community Health Center, Dr. Wen has served patients with polysubstance use disorder, severe psychiatric illness, and/or those experiencing homelessness. Through these experiences, she has re-oriented herself back to the basic principle of the strong physician-patient therapeutic relationship that her own family physician showed her.
Dr. Wen has served patients in the Downtown East Side of Vancouver throughout her residency, drawing on her own experiences as a first generation immigrant growing up in impoverished neighbourhoods to practise empathy and trauma-informed care towards those impacted by poverty and substance use disorder. In residency, she volunteered at May’s Place, a hospice in the Downtown East Side dedicated to serving terminally ill patients who also experience concurrent substance use disorder and/or homelessness, where she would visit and paint with patients.
Aware of the importance of wellness and maintaining an identity outside work, Dr. Wen co-founded narrative medicine workshops for residents in BC to have a space to share and connect through writing, poetry and art. She also co-facilitated the inaugural narrative medicine workshop for the South Island Division of Family Practice for practising family physicians. To maintain balance and wellness, she practices meditation and yoga and enjoys spending time paddleboarding and snowboarding.
Following residency, Dr. Wen will be undertaking a palliative care fellowship at UBC. She hopes to practise primary care with a focus on caring for patients with end-of-life and addictions-related needs.
Medical Student Scholarship: Dr. Chelsea MonellChelsea is an Indigenous graduate from the UBC Northern Medical Program who is now training in family medicine with the UBC Indigenous Family Medicine program in Vancouver.
She is Anishinaabe and Scottish through her mother with roots from Treaty 3 territory (Kenora, Ontario) and mixed European through her father. She grew up on Lheidli T’enneh territory (Prince George, BC), which hosts the UBC Northern Medical Program.
Since starting in medicine, Chelsea has been an advocate for Indigenous health and rights through student council and community involvement, and she was a member of the first graduating cohort in the UBC Master’s Certificate of Indigenous Public Health program. She is also passionate about reproductive health and justice, and has been involved in reproductive choice groups such as Medical Students for Choice and the National Abortion Federation of Canada.
Chelsea is excited to now be a part of one of the only Indigenous-specific family medicine programs in the country at the UBC Vancouver site. After completing residency Chelsea intends to work in northern rural family practice with a focus on outreach to Indigenous communities. She hopes to develop a full-scope practice that includes addictions, obstetrics, contraception, abortion, and palliative care.
Medical Student Scholarship: Dr. Cassia TremblayCassia Tremblay is a first year family medicine resident in UBC's Kootenay Boundary Program.
She completed medical school through the UBC Island Medical Program in Victoria, where dedicated staff and faculty modelled flexibility and passion in family medicine. Originally from Calgary, she completed a BSc at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, and now is thrilled to be practicing medicine in the mountains of Beautiful British Columbia. She’s interested in the arts in medicine, and her poem “In That Regard” appears in the Fall 2020 Intima Journal of Narrative Medicine