Sunday, February 04, 2007

KOOKY: A definition

In my last KOOKY post, someone asked if the picture of the buildings is UBC. Yes it is. I suppose that some of you started reading my blog after my initial KOOKY posts, and may not know what I'm referring to. So here's an explanation:

I work at UBC, in the Faculty of Medicine. The Faculty of Medicine is roughly divided into what I like to call "The Golden Triangle": academic, research and clinical.

Academic is the area where the programs are run: eg, medical school, physical and occupational therapy, midwifery, etc. Students learn, faculty teach.

Research is the area where people (many faculty who are a part of the Faculty of Medicine) do medical research.

Clinical is the area where there is real health care taking place: doctors (also who are faculty) and nurses treating patients. Although I also believe clinical trials fit in here as well.

Because we are a public body, we have to follow the Golden Rule: The BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act ("FoIPoP"). (We also are governed by the University Act, but that describes how a university is to operate, and doesn't necessarily dictate how IT operates). University polices exist that we normally stick to, but they are also based largely on FoIPoP.

Under FoIPoP, there are two areas which affect us directly (loosely translated of course, don't take this as an absolute translation of the law, I have lawyers at work that will tell me exactly what I'm suppose to do/not do):
  1. Thou shall not store any personal information on servers outside of Canada (Section 30.1)
  2. Thou shall not allow clinical data to be accessed or stored in the same place where non-clinical data is stored or accessed. (Section 35)
As you can see, this cause a lot of challenges for IT folks, and something we need to always be conscientious of every day in our jobs.

Now, where does "KOOKY" come into play? A Hitched poster, who has been working at UBC for a while, once told me that working for this place is kooky, so I decided to use the term for this series.

As much as I would love to tell you what really goes on around here, a lot of it would just get me into big trouble; it's not really different from any other company anyways. But unlike a private company, a university is a unique alternate dimension unto itself, and you have to work for one to really understand how "special" it is. In any case, I try to keep it light and fun.

Is this place political? Oh yeah. The politics, as much as they affect my job, still amuse me after almost two year. Working in a unionized environment (even though I'm not union) is interesting in itself too. According to my Association, I'm still underpaid. Plus, lots of other fun stuff goes on. And again, all these also pose IT challenges for us, and are equally as kooky to try to accommodate.

So stay tuned for more KOOKY-ness!

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