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Good Monday morning,

1. Highlights on UHN’s Essentials 

UHN’s Essentials are essential to the work we do as a leading academic health sciences centre – hence the name! Read here to learn more. Below, you’ll find highlights on UHN’s Essentials from last week.

Quality and Safety  Outstanding work in response to the COVID-19 situation from TeamUHN – and a reminder of what you need to know. When faced with potential challenges, people across the health system look to UHN to help solve problems and this is a responsibility we embrace. Thanks to our colleagues in IPAC (Infection Prevention & Control) and Occupational Health & Safety, we’ve been proactively updating our pandemic planning and exchanging best practices with Toronto’s academic hospitals. As we see the rapidly changing situation with COVID-19, it is this preparation and evidence-based approach that will best prepare us to serve patients and protect TeamUHN. This is what we do at UHN when confronted with potential challenges. We step up and do whatever it takes to keep people safe. Thanks to all colleagues involved and a special shout out to the COVID-19 Steering Committee and COVID-19 Planning and Operations Committee for the hard work. We are very proud of your leadership and commitment. TeamUHN representing public service at its best!

I’ll reiterate some key points for keeping patients, TeamUHN and Canadians safe below: 

How we would respond at UHN if a COVID-19 pandemic were called: UHN has a comprehensive pandemic plan in place. Elements of this were recently reviewed in preparing for flu season and we will further refine it to prepare for COVID-19. Pandemic planning allows our teams to identify ways of managing: Increased patient volumes for testing and treatment of COVID-19, potential escalation space for patient care, the continuation of care for patients if staff become ill or quarantined, adequate supplies. 

• What to do if you are traveling internationally (outside of Canada): Upon returning from your travels you are required to call Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) before returning to work; you will be screened by the OHS team for ability to return to work. If your first shift back begins outside of the Occupational Health Clinic hours, you may only return to work without OHS clearance if you are completely free of any symptoms of a respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath, etc.) and you must connect with Occupational Health & Safety as soon as possible. If you are experiencing any symptoms, you must stay home and call Occupational Health & Safety for clearance to return to work. We are working to streamline this process. Please stay tuned for updates.   

Occupational Health & Safety

• If you are traveling to countries with reported cases of COVID-19: Please see the Government of Canada’s website which identifies countries reporting COVID-19 cases here. Upon return, you may be quarantined at home if that country has reported cases of COVID-19 or you have travelled on an aircraft or other vessel with reported cases of COVID-19.

• If you have questions about how your benefits might cover you during a potential quarantine: Please contact the Employee Help Line at 416-340-5995. 

• The responsibility of staying informed: This is a quickly evolving situation so it’s important to pay close attention to emails sent from IPAC (Infection Prevent & Control), Susy Hota (Medical Director, IPAC) and/or myself. I know it can be challenging to read the updates when managing a significant workload. Your commitment to staying informed and helping patients and colleagues remain calm is greatly appreciated. Reminder that IPAC is regularly updating the COVID-19 Intranet page here.  

Compassionate Care and Caring  Update on UHN’s 2019 holiday drive: TeamUHN coming together to help the most disadvantaged patients we serve. Last winter, many of you spoke up and asked how we can support fellow Torontonians who are in most need (in addition to the United Way campaign). One of the opportunities was created in partnership with Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and involved collecting funds which would go towards the purchase of winter boots and coats. Thanks to your initiative and generosity, we were able to purchase many and will hopefully make a tangible difference in some peoples’ winters. Kudos to Rebecca Fulton (Discipline Head – Social Work, Collaborative Academic Practice, UHN) and Kevin Rodrigues (Bioethicist, UHN) for creating guidelines on the use of the donations so they will be equitably, respectfully and ethically distributed. We hope to build off this initiative in alignment with UHN’s Social Medicine Program and look for ways of better supporting those most in need within the community, including those facing socioeconomic barriers and those who are vulnerably housed. The other opportunity presented during last year’s holiday drive was donating funds for grocery gift cards, which were distributed to some of the most vulnerable patients we serve. The total amount raised for this initiative, led by UHN’s Centre for Mental Health, was $5,500. 

Kevin Rodrigues and Rebecca Fulton
Kevin Rodrigues (Bioethicist, UHN) and Rebecca Fulton (Discipline Head - Social Work, Collaborative Academic Practice, UHN) with some of the winter boots and jackets acquired thanks to the generosity of TeamUHN.

People and Culture  Renowned environmental activist David Suzuki stopped by UHN’s Challenging Environment Assessment Laboratory (CEAL) at The Kite Research Institute. As part of an episode on aging well for his CBC show “The Nature of Things”, David put his sensory abilities to the test by navigating the virtual roads of DriverLab and walking the streets of StreetLab. DriverLab and StreetLab are state-of-the-art simulators at UHN used by scientists to research the effects of aging on safety and mobility. Thank you to Jennifer Campos (CEAL Chief Scientist and The Kite Research Institute’s Academic Director) for sharing her expertise with David and the public for the episode. Read more on UHN News and watch the full episode.

2. Thinking about the elements of good strategy 

I wanted to share this set of guidelines shared by Helen Bevan (Chief Transformation Officer, NHS Horizons in the U.K.) on Twitter. This is timely as we recently entered the second year for UHN’s 2019-23 Strategic Plan – which was designed by patients, partners and TeamUHN in service of A Healthier World. The “elements” in the image below present a useful checklist for any initiative, not just formal strategic plans. I’ve highlighted three parts that stand out to me below, and encourage everyone to use this as a framework to evaluate their own initiatives. You might find an opportunity for improvement – something we should seek often at UHN! 

• Distinctive: Adds unique value to existing efforts. 

• Human-scale: Grounded in empathetic understanding of the needs of everyone in the system of concern.  

• Integrated: Aligned with UHN’s unique assets, connections and identity. Our 2019-23 Strategic Plan serves as a helpful guideline for assessing this alignment. 


collaborative strategy

3. Congratulations to all Order of Ontario appointees

It’s always a pleasure to celebrate the people appointed to the Order of Ontario. These are Ontarians who have been recognized for substantially making our province a better place for all. On behalf of UHN, we offer our congratulations to all recognized this year with special shout out to Emmanuelle Gattuso who is one of UHN’s greatest and most passionate philanthropic supporters. We also shout out Peter Menkes, who lends his talents to UHN’s Board of Trustees, as well as Salah Bachir and Philip Epstein, who are dedicated philanthropic supporters of UHN. I’d also like to recognize my colleague Michelle DiEmanuele (CEO, Trillium Health Partners). See the full list of appointees here. 

Have a good week, 

Kevin


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