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.
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.
“There was no particular ‘ah ha’ moment for medicine as a calling,” she says. “I loved science and thought I would enjoy the challenge of medicine and its ever-evolving nature.”
“Without question, it is the people – those I work with and those I serve – that provide me with the most satisfaction,” she says. “The patient comes first - knowing that you have changed an outcome or prevented a complication such as an infection is so rewarding.”
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. As well, 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.
“Without question, it is the people – those I work with and those I serve – that provide me with the most satisfaction,” she says. “The patient comes first - knowing that you have changed an outcome or prevented a complication such as an infection is so rewarding. My colleagues have been a source of inspiration, and the field of medical microbiology and infection prevention encourages you to be a critical thinker and to challenge the status quo. Life is rarely boring when you work in such an exciting environment.”
Bryce is the co-lead for the University of British Columbia Certificate in Infection Control program and the co-creator of several on-line educational infection control modules. Her animated module on how healthcare workers can protect themselves from infections has been translated and distributed throughout South America.
“I am touched and humbled by this award,” Bryce says of the honorary degree. “It serves to remind me of the many people who helped me along my career path.”
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 diarrhea.
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.
“I am touched and humbled by this award,” Bryce says of the honorary degree. “It serves to remind me of the many people who helped me along my career path. I am truly the product of the proverbial village – from those who have supported, guided and mentored me, to those who gave me the freedom and encouraged me to pursue an intriguing question or an innovative idea.”
Bryce received her honorary Doctor of Science on October 19.