​​​Good morning, TeamUHN!

It is a pleasure to connect with you across care, research, and education through this weekly CEO update – all in service of A Healthier World.

Key reminders and updates

  • Like many of you, I am following the increasing numbers of COVID infections and those now being admitted to hospital with some concern. We're serving about 20 active and 150 recovering patients. The active numbers have been increasing these past 10 days. While the provincial requirements around masking and gathering have been removed/relaxed, I want to encourage members of TeamUHN to please continue to use masks – it's mandatory while at work – but also please consider doing so when in other environments where transmission is possible. I ask this on behalf of those we serve and our colleagues.
  • I'm pleased to hear of the Government of Canada's recent announcement of a new fund to support Ukrainian researchers and trainees. The Special Response Fund for Trainees (Ukraine) will support graduate students and post-doctoral researchers in Canada who were poised to return to Ukraine this year, but who cannot due to the invasion of their country. It will also help trainees in Ukraine who wish to continue their research and studies in Canada – and there's nothing I would like more than to welcome those trainees to UHN. Learn more on the Government of Canada website.
  • On March 31, UHN's Ossington Men's Detox Program was officially transferred to Unity Health Toronto which will continue to run the program in its current space until its new site is built. The program's current location, 16 Ossington Avenue, was built in 1878 as Toronto Fire Hall #9. Ossington Men's Withdrawal was the first Ministry of Health & Long-term Care (MOHLTC) funded agency and was established on November 17, 1971 – a true legacy of care has taken place at this site for over four decades. My thanks to all the dedicated staff who supported this critical service for many years and worked to ensure a smooth transfer, with a special shout out to James (Jim) Skembaris, Senior Clinical Manager, Addictions & Mental Health who has been with the program for the last 20 years.
  • Starting this week, Altum Health is offering an exclusive pop-up clinic for TeamUHN. Located at Princess Margaret Research Tower (620 University) and using the gym facilities on the 7th floor, staff will have access to affordable care from UHN's top rehab and wellness professionals. Wellness is top priority for members of UHN, and this is a great opportunity to book your next appointment with Altum. As a UHN Program, all of Altum's profits go back into our hospitals and support funding for infrastructure, research and operations.
  • On May 16, staff who schedule patient appointments will start using Epic to schedule new appointments that will occur after go-live on June 4. PHS and other current scheduling systems will continue to be used to manage appointments that occur between May 16 and June 4. All existing appointments that will occur after June 4 will be converted to Epic during the weekend of May 14-15 when the existing systems can be safely and temporarily frozen. This best practice to convert and add future-dated appointments and link associated orders to Epic in advance of the enterprise-wide go-live, improves the transition to Epic for patients and staff alike. For more information, visit the Synapse site. Watch last week's Virtual Open Forum on Synapse

Closing Notes

  • April is BeADonor Month.There are more than 1,600 people waiting for a lifesaving transplant in Ontario, and every three days one of them will die because they didn't receive the organ in time. The need for awareness is dire, as only about a third of Ontarians have registered their interest to beadonor.ca. Through the Ajmera Transplant Centre – one of the largest programs in North America – we will be sharing stories and posts about the amazing impact organ donors have, and I encourage everyone in TeamUHN to have conversations with their colleagues and loved ones about organ donation. On April 7, we also celebrate Green Shirt Day and we invite everyone to wear green in support of organ and tissue donation.
  • April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. Parkinson's disease is the fastest-growing neurological disease in Canada with more than 100,000 Canadians currently living with the disease. The Edmond J. Safra Program in Parkinson's Disease and the Morton and Gloria Shulman Movement Disorders Clinic at Toronto Western Hospital, part of the Krembil Brain Institute, is the largest of its kind in Canada, specializing in cutting-edge treatment and research for Parkinson's disease and related movement disorders. The clinic, led by Dr. Anthony Lang, has also been awarded a Parkinson's Foundation Centre of Excellence designation due to its international reputation for excellence in research, teaching, and patient care. For more information: www.uhn.ca/Krembil/Clinics/Movement_Disorders.
  • April is also Earth Month at UHN! Celebrate our shared home during Earth Month and every month. As there is a lot to being green, we've broken it down into free-range, organic, bite-sized weekly features.Take two minutes to test your knowledge on the weekly topics – energy and water, climate change, transportation, 5Rs waste reduction, food and gardens – and earn a chance to win some great green prizes. More here: https://talkintrashwithuhn.com/events/earth-month/
  • April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. As many as 5-7.5 million Canadians live with IBS, but only 40 per cent will seek medical help, according to the GI Society, Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. IBS affects people of all ages, with three quarters of patients between age 20-65 years. Women are two times more likely to have IBS than men. Many suffer alone because this condition is rarely discussed openly as many patients feel embarrassed by IBS symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. IBS is associated with high personal, healthcare and societal costs. It's estimated that Canadians with IBS miss an average of 13 days of work per year, creating an economic burden of approximately $8 billion. UHN's Centre for Digestive Health and Gastroenterology, is the leading centre for digestive health disorders in Canada. Its committed team of gastroenterologists, nurses, and registered dieticians provide comprehensive, integrated care to patients, and both educate and empower them to manage their condition.
  • April 6 is National Caregiver Day, a time to celebrate the millions of people who are sometimes referred to as invisible partners in care – the family, friends, and neighbours who step up in so many different ways to help those in need of physical and emotional support. It is estimated that caregivers contribute over $5 billion worth of unpaid work that eases the burden on our health care system, according to the Canadian Association of Retired Persons. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre offers a comprehensive program to help cancer caregivers, including an online course and a caregiver clinic. The Caregiver Support & Skills Program is a digital education program that was built to address a comprehensive set of caregiver needs. The digital format addresses limitations of in-person teaching such as limited reach and engagement, time constraints, travel, and out of pocket costs. The program launched in November 2021 and is situated as the foundation of the PM Caregiver Support Program designed to improve the patient and caregiver experience while equipping them to be prepared and proactive in cancer care. The Caregiver Clinic provides one-on-one support to caregivers based on their individual needs.
  • World Health Day will be marked on April 7. This year's theme – "Our planet, our health" — speaks to how our health is inextricably linked to the health of our world. According to the World Health Organization, more than 13 million deaths are due to avoidable environmental causes. I'm proud of the strong culture of sustainability across UHN, led by our Energy and Environment department, including UHN's 700-strong Green Team, donations of unused medical supplies via Operation Green, our gardens, our focus on energy conservation, recycling, composting, and reducing waste. All of these actions help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, and help us practice patient and planet-centred care.


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Have a good week,


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