HR News and Updates

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Dear Faculty, Staff and Students,

This fall is a busy one with several changes and updates. November 1st, we will welcome our new Department Head, Dr. Zu-hua Gao. Dr. Gao joins UBC from McGill University, where he served as Chair and Chief of the Department of Pathology. As a surgical pathologist, Dr. Gao's clinical expertise is in gastrointestinal and liver pathology. His research focus is on transplantation immunology and cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, especially pancreatic cancer. In this role as Department Head, Dr. Gao will provide strategic leadership to the Department by creating and advancing a strategic plan that both continues to promote excellence in teaching, research and service and also aligns with the Faculty of Medicine’s strategic plan Building the Future. His appointment follows the interim leadership of Dr. Don Brooks to whom we are grateful to for his leadership and support.

In September, we saw the return of students to campus, and the return of more faculty and staff to onsite work. To ensure faculty, staff and students remain safe, UBC is asking that all faculty, staff and students declare their vaccination status and upload a copy of their vaccine card/passport to Faculty and staff working in UBC space are also asked to complete the COVID 19 online safety course which can be found at Additional information about UBC’s COVID 19 safety plan and declaration of vaccination history can be found at

Lastly, I wanted to provide you with an update on the Inclusion Action Committee which was created 11 months ago under the leadership of Dr. Suzanne Vercauteren. The Committee’s role is to advise the Department on how to improve its ability to include all Department members within the Department’s research, teaching and service regardless of their ancestry, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or age. Seventeen members of the Department, whom represent staff, students, clinical faculty and academic faculty members, as well as represent the Department’s geographic presence, volunteered to be members of the Committee. The Committee decided its first priority was to create a base-line survey and determine whom the Department members are, if we are representative of the Canadian population, and to assess how included our members feel within the Department.

We are very grateful to have received a 50% response rate for the survey. Overall, the majority of our members did feel the Department was inclusive but there were some areas that immediately stood out as to how we can improve and these areas included: sharing with the Department the processes for determining how faculty and staff are appointed or hired; creating a more engaged Department; and providing more opportunities for education on equity diversity and inclusion. The Department’s Inclusion Action Committee will be reviewing the survey results to determine where there needs to be further improvement in inclusivity and provide recommendations on how to make these improvements. The survey data will also be shared with the Department.

We also learned from the survey that some members of our Department identified as First Nations. And for those members who do identify as First Nations and would like to further expand on their experience with the Department’s culture, communication and processes, we would welcome your comments and encourage you to contact Dr. Vercauteren at Dr. Suzanne Vercauteren.

Genevieve MacMillan
Director, HR and Administration