Good Monday morning,

It's Election Day! If you haven't already voted, head to the polls and help shape the future of our remarkable country. Remember that the Canada Elections Act provides that employees will have time off work to vote on Election Day if their hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote. In most instances, the polling hours (9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.) allow for voting after a regular day shift and before evening shift hours. If you have questions, please talk to your manager.

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.

People and Culture On Friday, there was a shooting near UHN's Garrison Creek clinic. A bullet came through the window resulting in an immediate lockdown. Thankfully no one was hurt. I want to commend and recognize all team members including Rita Kang (Clinical Manager, Toronto Western Family Health Team) who worked with Toronto Police Service and UHN Security to ensure patients and staff were safe. Everyone knew their lockdown procedure and everything went as smoothly as could be expected, demonstrating the importance of our emergency preparedness processes. Thank you also to Teri Arany (Executive Director, Toronto Western Family Health Team) for providing critical support from off site. I wish we could just say "we hope this never happens again", but what we need more than hope is preparation and action. UHN is working together with peer hospitals across Toronto and preparing for a GTA-wide Code Orange exercise on Nov. 28.

Quality and Safety Three cheers for TeamUHN Flu Fighters – double the number of flu shots administered this year compared to last: On the first two days of UHN's flu campaign, more than 3,700 flu shots were administered – nearly double compared to last year with just under 1,980. Terrific team effort. Thanks to Kamala Haciyeva (Occupational Health Nurse) for stopping by again this year and administering my flu shot. Remember to get yours before Nov. 8! If you would like one of our flu carts to visit your unit or department, contact the Occupational Health & Safety office at your site for more information. Times and locations for the rest of our flu carts are available here.

Flu Fighters
For those wondering, yes I did ask for Coffee Crisp (my favourite) again this year!

Partnerships Last week, I attended an event celebrating the creation of the McCain Centre for Urological Innovation and Education. UHN is fortunate to have a world-class biobank available to researchers. This collection of specimens allows existing and future researchers to better understand disease and what biological factors are associated with illness. Thanks to the generosity of Michael McCain and his family, we are expanding the McCain GU BioBank and establishing this centre in partnership with the University of Toronto, which will be led by Neil Fleshner (Director, McCain Centre for Urological Innovation and Education). There are few places in the world better equipped than UHN's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto to drive meaningful advancement in cancer care, research and education.

Compassionate Care and Caring Recognizing exemplary compassionate care at UHN's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre – congratulations to Shelley Westergard (Nurse Navigator) and David Shultz (Oncologist)! Last week, I attended the 20th annual Kirsh Awards which were established thanks to the generosity of the Kirsh family. These awards are a special opportunity for grateful patients and families to nominate members of TeamUHN for demonstrating excellent compassionate care. Hats off to all nominees for earning this highest form of praise and recognition – and to the patients and families who took the time to write such thoughtful nominations.

2. UHN's Science in the 6ix: Research reminds us all to ask "why" and learn from perceived "failures"

Last week, it was my pleasure to attend UHN's inaugural Science in the 6ix event. We spent the evening listening to UHN scientists deliver short TED Talk-style presentations about their work. Research was the focus of the night – but I found many of the themes relevant to everyone and not just those in science or healthcare. Those themes were the importance of asking "why" and remembering the valuable lessons we learn from perceived "failure." All knowledge is valuable even when the initial benefits are unclear. Some of the world's most significant advancements have grown years later out of basic "curiosity-driven" research, conducted in an effort to answer questions that may have seemed absurd at the time. When we do identify findings that can be translated into helping people, we must do all we can to accelerate the translation of those findings into practice. In his keynote, André Picard, columnist with The Globe and Mail, had this advice: "The best way to show the value of science is to do good science. It's crucial to get your research out there and tell Canadians why its important." Knowing how to inform the public is an important start! I am proud we are creating opportunities for researchers to practice these important skills at UHN.

Science in the 6ix
Presenters at "Science in the 6ix" (L to R): Jimmy Qiu (Techna), Nicole Woods (Michener & The Institute for Education Research), Taufik Valiante (Krembil Brain Institute), Stephanie Protze (McEwen Stem Cell Institute), Bastien Moineau (KITE Research Institute - Toronto Rehab), Beate Sander (Toronto General Hospital Research Institute), Shane Harding (Princess Margaret Cancer Centre).

3. What we discussed at our Executive Leadership Forum meeting

Here is what we discussed at last week's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) meeting. See who attends these meetings on

  • Health Information System (HIS) Update
    Presenter: Duska Kennedy (Senior Director, Digital Clinical and Corporate Lead)
    We reviewed the project timelines to get a sense of how this important work will unfold between now and January 2020. There is a significant amount of scope review, training, financial modelling, risk assessment and legal work that will take up our attention over the months ahead – meaning we will need to consult a number of groups across care, research and education for their input. Important to note we have formed a Clinical Working Group (co-chaired by Barry Rubin, Program Medical Director, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre; Terri Stuart-McEwan, Executive Director, Surgical Services) who will provide recommendations alongside to UHN's HIS Executive Steering Committee, ensuring we are incorporating the needs of patients and TeamUHN in our new HIS.
  • UHN Strategy Forum – Bringing forward recommendations for ELF endorsement Presenters: Marijana Zubrinic (Nurse Practitioner, Division of Thoracic Surgery, TeleMonitoring & Nurse Practitioner Innovation Lead); Justin Young (Director, Business Development & Consulting, Commercial Strategy)
    To learn more about how UHN's Strategy Forum is shaping our future, read this story on UHN News. Thank you again to the highly-engaged individuals who make up our Strategy Forum for volunteering their time. UHN's Strategy Forum is the only group that will meet with all programs and departments about their strategic plans – so ELF will be relying on this group for their insights and recommendations. Strategy Forum Co-Chairs Marijana and Justin presented general observations from their first meeting on Sept. 26, where they heard from the first scheduled set of programs and departments. Positives include excellent involvement of UHN Patient Partners and alignment to UHN's five overarching Strategic Priorities. Opportunities include breaking down silos and using more outcome-based data when measuring success at UHN. The members of ELF endorsed the Strategy Forum's request to help programs and departments further refine their strategic plans (e.g. help link programs through common elements and goals).
  • KPMG Update – What UHN's internal auditors will be focusing on for 2020 Presenters: Nick Rolfe and Libby Duckworth, KPMG
    For those who don't know, KPMG (an external firm) performs an ongoing internal audit of UHN to ensure we are operating as effectively as possible. Every year, we work together to figure out where they will focus their auditing efforts for the year ahead. In last week's ELF meeting, we reviewed a list of possible areas of focus (which was generated by KPMG after they consulted each ELF member individually) and narrowed it down to the following: Payroll, staff scheduling, discharge processes, accounts receivable and cash management, overtime and absence management, and research project budgeting. Next steps are to bring this forward to the Finance & Audit Committee of the Board and seek approval.
  • Clinical Operations Group – 2020/21 Budget Planning is starting
    Presenter: Catherine Wang (Vice President of Clinical Operations and Diagnostic Partnerships)
    The Clinical Operations Group includes UHN's Site Vice Presidents (Marnie Escaf, Susan Jewell, Janet Newton, Fayez Quereshy), Brian Hodges (Chief Medical Officer; Executive Vice President, Education), Emily Musing (Chief Patient Safety Officer), Joy Richards (Chief Health Professions), Ron Swail (Vice President, Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations) and Catherine Wang. In addition to managing UHN's 2019/20 financial pressures, the Clinical Operations Group will be partnering with Clinical Directors and Program Medical Directors to create a 3-year budget plan – which will be implemented starting 2020/21. Once they complete their joint recommendation, they will bring it forward to ELF.

Have a good week,


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