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

  • Great news to start your week – early results from Pfizer and now Moderna show their COVID-19 vaccines are 90%+ effective at preventing the virus. While this news is our light at the end of the tunnel, we still need to get the growing number of COVID-19 case numbers under control ASAP (see next bullet point below). Distribution of any vaccine is likely more than four months away (Spring/Summer 2021). UHN is helping Canada prepare for the anticipated distribution by sourcing storage freezers and units that would keep the vaccines stable.
  • COVID-19 cases are dramatically increasing – avoid in-person meetings at all costs, remain physically distant, mask and wash your hands: As you will have seen in the media, it is time for us to take more aggressive action with our COVID-19 prevention measures. Our colleagues at William Osler Health System and Scarborough Health Network are managing high COVID-19 volumes and it will not be long until we experience the ripple effects. There is also significant uptick in the number of outbreaks, not only in hospitals but also long-term care, schools and congregate living. Do your part to prevent transmission.
  • Tomorrow on Nov. 17 at 12:00 p.m. – Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19: Fayez Quereshy (Vice President, Clinical) will be presenting on UHN's Clinical Activity Ramp Down blue print which was finalized last week. Our hope is that we will not need to ramp down scheduled activity, however, in light of the growing daily COVID-19 numbers and the possibility of a surge in hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients, it is essential we have an outstanding plan should it be required. Read answers to FAQs here – updated regularly. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Virtual Open Forum (top right box) > Open Forum FAQ). Submit new questions here or enter #UHNCOVID-19x32 on

Overview of last week

1. UHN playing a leading role in launching the Ontario Workforce Reserve for Senior Support program

  • Background: The province is continuing to face long-term care staffing shortages, especially in Ottawa, Peel, Toronto and York. In response, UHN, The Ottawa Hospital, Trillium Health Partners and Mackenzie Health are collaborating and have launched the Ontario Workforce Reserve for Senior Support program. The purpose is to recruit, train and deploy people as Resident Support Aides so they can support seniors with daily activities such as meal set-up, social interactions, and virtual visits. The province has identified a broad pool of eligible candidates which includes students, people who are unemployed, and people who have been displaced from the retail and hospitality industries. The hope is these individuals will be interested in the opportunity to help seniors and alleviate the crisis in long-term care.
  • What happened last week? Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, announced the program on Nov. 9. I've been privileged to play a role in launching this initiative.
  • What do I need to know? Human Resources, through Diana Elder (Interim Chief Human Resources Officer) and team have played a huge role in launching this needed initiative to help long-term care residents. In addition, The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is supporting this provincial initiative through virtual education under the leadership of Brian Hodges (Executive Vice President, Education; Chief Medical Officer) and Maria Tassone (Senior Director, School of Continuing Education). Michener, with system partners, has created a new learning platform and online educational resources and modules for Resident Support Aides to prepare them for work in long-term care. Additional orientation and onsite training will be provided by long-term care homes and partner agencies. Ultimately, Michener hopes to create a micro-credentialing process for Resident Support Aides who are looking to pursue a career in healthcare.

2. Edward Cole's last Medical Grand Rounds as UHN's Physician-in-Chief

  • Background: Ed Cole (Physician-in-Chief) will complete his term as Physician-in-Chief in the coming months. We have now completed an external review and the Search Advisory Committee for the next Physician-in-Chief is in the process of reviewing candidates.
  • What happened last week? Ed presented an excellent Medical Grand Rounds as UHN's Physician-in-Chief and reflected on his 10 years with the Department of Medicine and role as Medical Director of the Medical and Community care program.
  • What do I need to know? Ed is a prime example of what it means to be a strong physician leader. He is clear in his vision but open to new perspectives, both advocate and facilitator, values-driven, approachable, and focused on mentorship and faculty development. Over the past 10 years, he has successfully recruited 157 staff physicians across 11 clinical divisions – the recruits are outstanding and proof of Ed's excellent command of UHN's clinical and academic mandates. We are grateful for what he has accomplished in service of patients and the next generation of providers, especially when it comes to enhancing collegiality, professionalism and civility.

3. Finance & Audit Committee of the Board meeting

  • Background: The role of UHN's Finance & Audit Committee is to make recommendations to the UHN Board of Trustees (and Michener Board of Governors) on financial management, facilities and space management, information technology, and compliance oversight. The committee is chaired by Barbara Stymiest (UHN Trustee) and they meet at least five times per year.
  • What happened last week? The Finance & Audit Committee met to discuss UHN's Q2 results (operating deficit of $4.5 M), the financial impact of COVID-19, financial planning, debt financing for Synapse, ongoing cyber security efforts, and other items.
  • What do I need to know? The Finance & Audit Committee recommended that the Board of Trustees approve the Q2 Financial Statements, and authorize the loan that is required to finance Synapse as part of our Clinical Transformation journey. The Finance & Audit Committee also supported our preliminary financial planning approach for 2021/22 which includes maintaining existing financial targets and achieving a balanced budget. UHN will continue to work closely with the Ministry of Health to manage financial pressures in this most unusual of years.

Closing notes

Newsweek recognizes UHN programs as some of the world's best specialized hospital programs for 2021. Programs that ranked in the top 50 include the gastrointestinal clinic at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, our endocrinology program, and Krembil Brain Institute. Princess Margaret was also named one of the top 10 oncology programs by Newsweek for 2020.

Acknowledging Nurse Practitioner Week and Perioperative Nurses Week (Nov. 8-14): The World Health Organization named 2020 the Year of the Nurse and Midwife and we have seen the entire profession rise up in response to COVID-19. National and provincial recognition weeks were held last week specifically for Nurse Practitioners and perioperative nurses – it's our pleasure to call them out and thank them for their tireless work in service of patients and A Healthier World.

Toronto Rehab Foundation releases their 2020 Report to Our Community: Read about the great work they've done [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] to support essential post-acute and preventative care, and to fuel research that enables better health, safety and independence for all.


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Have a good week,


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