On May 26, 2022 Dr. Elizabeth Bryce received the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the category of Research, the Sciences and Technology.  These awards recognize an outstanding woman or business operating in the Lower Mainland. Dr. Bryce was nominated alongside other remarkable women connected to VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation, Dr. Jacqueline Saw and Vendanshi Vala.

Dr. Elizabeth Bryce is a world-leading expert in medical microbiology, a visionary leader and educator in Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC), and now a nominee for the 39th annual YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

Dr. Bryce’s nomination is in recognition of her remarkable 39-year career in the medical field where she initiated many innovative projects that have impacted IPAC locally and globally.

These projects include:

  • Using nasal photodisinfection and chlorhexidine washes pre-surgery. The results were a post-surgical infection reduction by nearly 40 per cent.
  • Reducing bacteria in shared patient bathrooms in hospital by 97 per cent using UVC light mobile disinfection units—a first in Canada.
  • Launching North America’s Canine Scent Detection Program, which trains dogs to detect the potentially deadly C-Difficile bacteria in health care sites.
  • Co-leading first-of-its-kind research into the antimicrobial effectiveness and durability of copper alloys in health care settings. This led to a partnership with Translink to use copper coating on key high-touch surfaces.

Dr. Bryce’s expertise has also been critical in times of crisis, including the H1N1 pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. As a co-founder of the BC Provincial Infection Control Network, Dr. Bryce developed guidelines used province-wide for these infectious events. The National Advisory Committee also turned to Dr. Bryce during the SARS outbreak in 2003, utilizing her protocols to contain and mitigate the impact in Vancouver.

In addition, Dr. Bryce has been a key voice in education, working as a clinical professor at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. Here, she created the UBC IPAC course, training the next generation of infection control practitioners. She received the CIHR grant to create an online module for basic infection control protocols, which has become mandatory training for all Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) employees. This work would later be translated into Spanish by the Pan American Health Organization and is now used in South America.

Dr. Bryce is an invaluable leader in IPAC and BC’s infection control response. Her various initiatives and projects have led to medical breakthroughs, best practices recognized and adopted globally, and she continually inspires and educates the next generation of infection control specialists.

“Through this mentorship and her research, Dr. Bryce has and will continue to have an outsized impact on patient outcomes,” says Dr. Titus Wong, Regional Medical Director, IPAC, VCH. “Her impact has and will continue to be felt not just locally, but nationally and internationally as well.”

Dr. Bryce’s remarkable research and impact on health care has been empowered thanks to donor funding. Donations help fund the future of health care at our hospitals and health care centres, providing health care teams with the equipment, technology and research they need to save lives.