My colleagues,

It's hard to believe this is my last weekly message as your Interim President & CEO. As you know, I've watched UHN grow and evolve over the last 23 years but serving our community in this role has renewed my deep appreciation for this place. I am grateful for the opportunity to have celebrated your successes alongside you and hopeful that I was able to help offset some of your challenges.

Our incoming President & CEO Dr. Kevin Smith is starting on May 22. He is a focused, experienced leader and shares our patient-centered values. So please join me in making his welcome as warm as possible.

This month, our friends at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation are celebrating Colour Your Hair to Conquer Cancer. I'm showing my support by dying my hair. As you can see, my wife had a lot of fun choosing my colour. If you want some temporary dye sprayed into your hair, there is an event tomorrow at the Princess Margaret 7th floor atrium starting at 11:30 a.m. More importantly, you can donate here.

Charlie Chan

Last week, Dr. David Jaffray and I answered your questions during the CEO Town Hall. One popular topic was related to our Clinical Information System at UHN. As some of you know, we were close to a final decision on the purchase of the software for a new electronic medical record a few years ago but the projected total cost over 15 years and our lack of readiness stopped us from moving forward.

If you've heard about the problems with the federal payroll system called Phoenix, you'll understand why lack of readiness for implementation can turn into a nightmare. The new software is fine but because they didn't have the right supports in place, people are underpaid, overpaid or completely unpaid for months at a time.

It is a lesson in ensuring you are ready for implementation. The good news is that UHN Digital, under David's leadership, has been preparing for our future and whatever system we decide to move forward with, we are in a better position to implement across UHN. Once Kevin joins, we'll consider the government's position in terms of the providers they're getting ready to recommend and how we'll move forward.

I like the Q&A format of these Town Halls because it helps us to address the topics that matter to you the most. Written responses and a video recording of the Town Hall will be sent via email for those who weren't able to make it. If you have two minutes and want to help shape what the next Town Hall looks like, please fill out this feedback survey.

In addition to the Town Hall, David and I teamed up to meet with Federal Deputy Minister Simon Kennedy and Associate Deputy Minister David McGovern last Thursday. We were invited by HealthCareCAN to discuss the value of research hospitals and the work you all do.

Last week, we also had our Spring Long Service Tea at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Congratulations to all staff who received their pins — and a big round of applause for Dr. Mary Gospodarowicz (Program Medical Director), Dr. Gary Rodin (Head, Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care), Natalie Aldeia (Support Partner, Housekeeping) and Dr. Gregory Thompson (Radiation Oncology) for reaching 40 years of service at UHN. And special acknowledgement for Lois Alli (Patient Care Aide, Housekeeping) for reaching 45 years.

Last week was North American Occupational Safety and Health week, and this provides me with a final opportunity to remind everyone that we are committed to creating a safe working environment for our staff. This is part of our work in Caring Safely which is one of UHN's Foundational Elements. The folks at Occupational Health and Safety organized a number of booths across our sites for the week but this is important to all of us every day. So thank you all for doing your part. 

It was also Mental Health Awareness Week. While our profession allows us to have a unique impact on people's lives, feeling burned out or stressed is all too common. We provide many resources here at UHN so please don't feel hesitant to reach out for support — in fact this is something I strongly encourage everyone to do.

I hope the coming long weekend is a good one for those who have the opportunity to enjoy three days off and a huge thanks to those who will be here working so that your colleagues can spend time with their loved ones.  

It's been an honour to serve as your Interim President & CEO these past months. Thank you for all your support and hard work.

Signing off,


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