Good Tuesday morning,

I hope you all had a good Family Day long weekend. Thanks to all who worked in service of patients, families and fellow colleagues.

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 Discussing ideal structures for UHN's new Quality and Safety subcommittee of the Medical Advisory Committee: We have many committees at UHN and while they serve different purposes, it's important they share some key characteristics. They should be designed in such a way that 1) puts the needs of patients first, 2) removes siloes to ensure we are not duplicating efforts across the organization, and 3) support quality of work life by outlining clear decision rights, simplifying processes and removing bureaucracy. When considering the possibility of a new committee, we should also conduct environmental scans to ensure there is a need. Thanks to Fei-Fei Liu (Chair, Medical Advisory Committee), Brian Hodges (Chief Medical Officer; Executive Vice President, Education) and Emily Musing (Chief Patient Safety Officer) for working in partnership with our physician colleagues to understand their experience with quality and safety at UHN. The data from this scan was presented to UHN's Quality of Care Committee, MAC and MAC Executive. The consensus is to form a new Quality and Safety subcommittee of the MAC which will report to Brian and Fei-Fei. We are emphasizing the importance of collaborating with all professional groups – a TeamUHN approach is the only way we can advance our quality and safety culture. If we want a culture where evaluation is embraced, we need to build a strong sense of trust with each other. No shame or blame. A group that is not hitting their quality and safety target signals they need support and may be managing factors beyond their immediate control. It is not a reflection of how hard they work nor how committed they are to patients and families.

People and Culture Recognition is best given early and often – introducing UHN's "Pass it Forward" recognition badges which give us another opportunity to shout out colleagues who demonstrate UHN values. Learn more about how the recognition badges work here [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] and pass one forward. The company JetBlue ran a similar peer-to-peer recognition program and their data suggested a 3% increase in retention and a 2% increase in engagement for every 10% increase in people recognizing others. We are taking a multifaceted approach to improving quality of work life at UHN and this is one component of the broader People Strategy [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available]. When you pass a badge forward, you are invited to visit this page and share why you think your colleague deserves it. I've been so pleased to offer these to a number of colleagues since this launch. Our colleagues in Human Resources are gathering these stories and will publish them for all of TeamUHN to see.

In the meantime, here are some examples:

  • Safety: "Krista Marquis - notified microbiology lab of a potentially dangerous pathogen before patient specimens got to lab. Above and beyond role!"
  • Integrity: "Dr. Reena Kilian for treating a former patient with respect and kindness by checking in with them when she saw them by chance in lobby."
  • Compassion: "Melissa Yan. She demonstrates compassion with patients and staff on a daily basis."
  • Stewardship: "Seham Nourelding for her amazing job and passion in managing one of the best Research Team at UHN."
  • Teamwork: "Kate Macdonald because she is very helpful with teaching new things to another student while starting her own PhD!"

2. Meeting with the CEOs of Toronto's academic hospitals – part of our work to collectively elevate Canada as a leader in serving patients and supporting providers

Last week, I attended the TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) CEO Committee meeting where we reviewed a number of city-wide initiatives:

  • Debrief on the Jan. 23 TAHSN CEO Strategic Retreat – taking collective action on wellness at Toronto's academic hospitals (as mentioned in my previous weekly update).
  • Toronto's academic hospitals will continue coordinating our COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) response as much as possible. If you haven't had a chance to watch UHN's Open Forum on COVID-19, you can watch here or see our recently updated Intranet page which is the best resource for up-to-date, accurate information.
  • Next steps for creating a unified approach to commercialization across TAHSN, aligning with UHN's Strategic Priority: "Elevate Canada as a world destination for commercialization and discovery." We know Toronto is a city brimming with innovation but we have not yet maximized our commercialization footprint, as our hospitals are still operating in a largely individual manner. To help unify our approach, an environmental scan of current commercialization activity was conducted and a suggested roadmap will be drafted based on these findings.
  • Update on our partnership with Toronto Public Health to address the opioid crisis. We started a TAHSN/Toronto Public Health Opioid Task Force in September 2019 which includes community partners and people with lived experience. The Task Force has identified a service gap across the city in the early engagement, treatment and support of people suffering with addictions issues. Great to hear how UHN’s development of a Harm Reduction Policy aligns with this city-wide effort, in addition to UHN's 2019-23 Mental Health Strategy and Social Medicine Program.
  • Efforts to create an environmentally sustainable community of practice across the health system in partnership with the Council of Health Sciences, which represents the University of Toronto health sciences sector. We view this work as not only an important health issue – but as a social one as well. Yet another reason to bring health and social services together more closely.

We are stronger when we work together. You've heard me say this time and time again because it remains true. This not only applies to TAHSN but also within UHN. We are privileged to represent Canada’s largest research hospital – let's ensure we maximize the advantages of our scale, breadth and depth of work across care, research and education.

Have a good week,


Back to Top