A brief history….
Located in Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), the Canadian Pathology Quality Assurance – Assurance qualité canadienne en pathologie (CPQA-AQCP) was originally founded as an academic program at the University of British Columbia and the University of Saskatchewan before becoming a not-for-profit corporation. As a provider of external quality assurance the CPQA-AQCP distributes clinically validated samples that allow participating diagnostic medical laboratories to systematically monitor and improve the quality of their immunohistochemistry and molecular biomarker testing. This process of external proficiency testing is an integral component of medical laboratory practice. The CPQA-AQCP facilitates proficiency testing for laboratories within Canada and internationally regardless of jurisdiction or existing accreditation requirements.
Founding member of the Board of Directors, CPQA Chair
Dr. Blake Gilks, MD, FRCPC, is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia and a consultant pathologist at Vancouver General Hospital, the site of the largest surgical oncology program in the province. Dr. Gilks leads a research program focused on gynecological cancers and is co-founder of OvCaRe, a multidisciplinary team studying ovarian cancer. In addition, he is also a co-founder of the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre, a collaborative research venture of the Pathology Department, the Prostate Research Centre of the Vancouver General Hospital, and the BC Cancer Agency, utilizing tissue microarray technology to uncover novel cancer biomarkers.
Founding member of the Board of Directors, CPQA Secretary-Treasurer and Manager
For many years John Garratt, RT (cyto), was the Anatomic Pathology Technical Specialist for Vancouver Coastal Health, for which there are four surgical pathology laboratories in the health region with a combined volume of over 80,000 cases per annum. In his retirement he has remained actively involved in the development and maintenance of standards in Surgical Pathology and Diagnostic Cytology with the Diagnostic Accreditation Program of British Columbia, as well as his invaluable contribution to the CPQA-AQCP team.
Biography on the way!
Vidya Beharry is currently the technical specialist and immunohistochemistry department lead technologist at Unity Health Toronto. Her lab department serves two large Pathology Departments (St. Michael’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital), and she brings more than 25 years of experience in immunohistochemistry to the CPQA-AQCP team.
Her job includes optimization and validation of Class 1 and Class 2 antibodies as well as chromogenic in situ hybridization test stains (CISH). It also includes the development of dual stains, quality management, technical trouble-shooting and problem solving. She is frequently consulted for expert opinion by other IHC labs, as well as heavily involved in Quality Control and Quality Improvement teaching to the next generation of IHC technologists. In addition, she established of a point of care lab in Rambia/Uganda, as a volunteer service. Her work has been recognized by the Canadian Association of Pathologists, Medical Technologist award for Continuing Professional Development, at the 66th Annual Scientific Meeting.
Director, Molecular Pathology
Biography on the way!
Jennifer Renae Won, PhD, completed her graduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Torsten Nielsen at the Genetic Pathology Evaluation Centre. Her dissertation began as an investigation of novel diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers for hormone-receptor negative breast cancers, but evolved into a project focused on breast cancer biomarker clinical utility and quality assurance in hospital laboratories with Dr. Gilks. The rest is history!