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This is my first day as President & CEO of UHN and my first message to you – all my UHN colleagues. Please forgive the length of this first message and know that future notes from me will be shorter, less formal and will focus on what I've seen, heard and experienced as I get to know all of you and UHN.
It is an honour and a privilege to take on this role and I am committed to giving it my very best every day. I'd like to ask each of you for a favour – I need your support, guidance and advice as I have much to learn from you about the way we can best care for patients; how we can best educate and mentor learners; how we can continue to advance knowledge through scholarly research and pragmatic innovation. I ask this knowing that increasingly the challenges facing you are daunting on many days – especially when having to operate at over 100% capacity frequently – so it is more important than ever that we explore how we can offer the best quality of work life to every member of Team UHN.
I've been in Canadian healthcare for more than 25 years and I have watched, with admiration, UHN become Canada's most research intensive hospital. I am committed to supporting and encouraging that growth, while remaining true to the principle that all Ontarians deserve dignified, high quality care and caring. Increasingly, this means engaging patients in their care as active participants, and working in partnership with other organizations to support the individual patient and family, while advancing with the MOHLTC (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) how our system as a whole, and UHN specifically, can better meet the needs of patients and ensure clinicians have what they need to provide exemplary care.
In my previous role, our organization strategically decided that the 'silos' of our healthcare system must be better connected so patients actually move through a coordinated system of care. This fostered integration of care between the acute sector and community agencies. I firmly believe that seamless integration across the points of transition is the future of healthcare – and no organization is better positioned than UHN to bring these models of care to life. I know that UHN is also working in new ways within the community and I look forward to hearing more about these efforts and how we can accelerate them. Making UHN a partner of choice is high on my radar.
In the weeks ahead I will be spending as much time as possible with on our units with clinical and non-clinical staff, with educators and learners, and with our research teams, listening and learning with and from you and our patients and families. My orientation has already demonstrated to me that no hospital in Canada better understands, and brings to life the essential interplay, between research and innovation, education and patient care. All three parts of UHN's mandate are equally exciting and important.
UHN is a very large organization but I'll do my best to be a quick study. I invite you to share your aspirations for our patients, this place and your career. The Board of Trustees and the search process has helped me understand the breadth and depth of the talent here and the challenges ahead. There is no doubt that Research Hospitals have struggled with economic restraint and increasing demands for our services over these past years. You are to be congratulated for meeting those many challenges while continuing to grow our scholarly mission. I hope we might pause a little more frequently to express our collective gratitude and celebrate your many remarkable accomplishments.
I know that there have been many changes in the way UHN is organized and that my arrival is likely to make you think that more change is ahead. Change for change's sake is not what I'm about but I will be looking at the organization with a view to ensuring that we are delivering the best care possible and making the best use of all our resources – most importantly, the people, who are UHN. My commitment to you is one of openness and transparency and I will continue the regular Monday messages which my predecessors started. I will do my very best to ensure that you understand what we're doing, why we're doing it and how our actions support our patients, our clinicians, our educators, our scientists and our essential support staff. Questions and diverse opinions will be respected, valued and addressed.
At this point, I will pause and say that the Board and UHN as a whole owe a great deal to Charlie Chan who stepped up in October to take on the position of Interim President & CEO. I know that Charlie, the Board and the senior team have a great deal to teach me about UHN and very much look forward to working with everyone.
My Executive Team Colleagues, and the Board, have been very generous in bringing me up to speed on where we're at with our Strategic Plan. I see as a top priority that I understand the work that has gone on to date and, with your continued input, structure a strategic plan as soon as possible. I've also learned about the great work you've done on Caring Safely and look forward to engaging with the programs, the Medical Advisory Committee and the leadership of all the health professions so that we may continue on our journey of making UHN Canada's safest Research Hospital. I've also been very impressed by the work you've done on UHN's commitment to Purpose, Values & Principles and look forward to hearing from you on how we have "walked the talk" to date.
In the digital world we can Google anyone and anything – me included. Should you choose to do so, please feel free to join me at an upcoming Open Forum and don't be shy about asking any questions about my background and experience to date.
I'll close by saying that I'm honoured, humbled and very excited to be joining all of you at UHN. I will work hard to learn as much as I can about the organization and I am delighted to join a team that decided to take on "the needs of the patient come first" as a primary value.