Vancouver Local Funds Cutting-Edge Burn Research


February 27, 2014


Standing, from left: Barb Wilson, CEO, VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation; Dr. Aziz Ghahary, Lead Researcher; Tony Brand, President Local 258 IBEW; Dan Klassen, ABM; Klaus Kraft, Unit 1 Chair; Colin Kenney, Unit 3 Chair; Rick Gerrard, Organizer; Doug McKay, Business Manager; Tom Greenwell, Unit 4 Chair; Gerry Pope, Unit 2 Chair, Dr. Nick Carr, former Head of Plastic Surgery, VGH; Angela Chapman, Senior VP, VGH/UBC Hospital Foundation. Seated are Chris Carter, Unit 6 Chair and Cathy Tagseth, Unit 5 Chair.

For nearly 125 years, the IBEW has relentlessly fought to improve on-the-job safety for electrical workers, and the positive impact of the Brotherhood’s advocacy is unquestionable.


But every year, brothers and sisters are hurt on the job and some of the most dangerous and difficult injuries to recover from are electrical contact burns.

For this reason, the IBEW also has a long history of supporting burn care centers as well as basic research to improve the prognosis of all burn victims. In recent years, Vancouver, B.C., Local 258 has been a particularly generous benefactor of the burn and wound healing research lab at Vancouver General Hospital. Last summer, Business Manager Doug McKay and the Local’s Executive Board presented a check for $100,000 (Canadian) to the director of the lab, bringing their total donations to nearly $400,000 in the last five years.

 “The very generous membership of Local 258 has been a crucial support for the research we do here,” said Barb Wilson, director of major gifts at Vancouver General Hospital. “We sincerely value this relationship that has grown over the past number of years.”

The money supports the work of Dr. Aziz Ghahary, director of the hospital’s BC Professional Fire Fighters’ burn and wound healing research group. Dr. Ghahary’s team has been developing promising methods that prevent debilitating scarring that greatly complicates recovery from serious burns. The most recent donation will be used to begin human trials of anti-scarring agents discovered in the lab.

“Supporting the burn center’s research gets almost unanimous backing when our membership votes on the donation,” McKay said. “It is important work that without question benefits our members, the brotherhood and our community. We’re proud to do our part.”