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

  • Exciting updates on two initiatives that support new mothers at UHN were given during last week's virtual International Women's Day (IWD) event, attended by more than 900 participants! The Working Moms Mentorship Program provides education and advocacy for mothers at UHN, and access to a safe and empowering network. With one-on-one support from a thoughtfully matched mentor, the program provides support for women before, during, and after maternity leave. While 25 mentees and 21 mentors have been matched in the year since the program's launch, UHNWomen is always looking for more mentors willing to offer their time. To learn more and to sign up to be a mentor or mentee, visit the People & Culture Intranet page (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture > Working Moms Mentorship). Questions?

    It was also shared that all UHN sites will have designated lactation rooms to provide new mothers with a secure, clean, private space to express and store milk during working hours. For more than two years, a multi-disciplinary team has worked to identify accessible locations and standards to ensure a relaxing, soothing environment in all rooms, including lounge chairs and uniform lighting. UHN begins the tendering process this month and seeks to have substantial completion in August 2023. These rooms will be booked much the same way TeamUHN already books meeting spaces.

    Congratulations to UHNWomen for another meaningful IWD event and for all you do to advocate for change and inspire TeamUHN. Please watch a recording of the IWD event by clicking this link.

  • The federal government has made a $20-million investment to support the "Long COVID Web", a national network co-led by UHN's Dr. Angela Cheung, a Senior Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI). The funding, announced Thursday by the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, the federal Minister of Health, will help the team advance their understanding of the condition which has already impacted more than 1.4 million Canadians, as well as improve care for patients and discover new treatments. Dr. Cheung told UHN News there has been a tremendous national response to efforts to create the Long COVID Web, with almost 300 researchers, clinicians, and community partners joining in mere weeks and patient partners that include representation from underserved and marginalized communities to ensure "nobody is left behind." Long COVID can cause chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, difficulty thinking, and more symptoms. Learn more about this work on UHN News or by watching this video.
  • UHN Nursing is now eligible to facilitate the Community Commitment Program for Nurses (CCPN), provided by Health Force Ontario. This is a great recruitment opportunity for UHN. The program is geared to attract Registered Nurses (RNs) and Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) to work in the hospitals, long-term care (LTC) homes, home and community care (HCC) agencies, Primary Care and Mental Health and Addiction agencies in greatest need across Ontario. The CCPN provides $25,000 in grant funding to eligible nurses in exchange for a two-year commitment to an employer. In addition, Education grant funds of $1,500 will be provided to UHN for each eligible nurse actively employed through the CCPN to support professional development and training opportunities for nurses. If you suspect that you might be eligible, and you would like to participate in the program, fill out the questionnaire here, and let your manager know that you would like to participate. Please note, each hospital was allocated limited spots. For more information on the program and to see eligibility requirements, please visit the Health Force Ontario website.
  • Ontario's Financial Accountability Office (FAO) released a healthcare report last week that projects a funding shortfall of $21.3 billion by 2027-2028. The report also projects a shortfall of 33,000 nurses and personal support workers (PSWs) by that time. The provincial government has argued that the FAO report does not consider Ontario's pending deal with the federal government for $8.4 billion in new money and a $776 million top-up to address urgent needs. From my perspective, the FAO's findings present opportunities for UHN as the watchdog did not look at the areas of innovation our organization is seized with to help address the pressures on the system, including new models of care, digital health, and research that can unlock fresh approaches to care. As a preeminent leader in Canadian healthcare, UHN is focused on solutions that will scale for our community, province, and country. The FAO's review of the Ontario Health Sector can be read online. For more of my thoughts on this matter and other issues, listen to my interview with CBC's "The Current" last week.
  • At UHN, we recognize that underinvestment in research puts Canadians' health at risk. That's why I am pleased that Dr. Brad Wouters, UHN's Executive Vice President, Science & Research, signed an open letter from Research Canada's Board of Directors on behalf of Canada's research and innovation community. The letter notes that governments in the United States, Europe, and Asia invest far more in life-saving health research than Canada and that, under the current approach, our country is at risk of driving away talented researchers, undermining our health security, and stifling our ability to make a global difference. With a federal budget set to be delivered on March 28, this is an important and timely message urging us all to advocate for greater research support. Read the letter by clicking here or on the image below.
  • UHN's new pilot service at the Toronto Western, the Substance Use Intervention Team (SUIT), brings addiction care and bedside support to hospitalized patients with substance use disorder. Substance use-related visits to UHN are growing across almost every major clinical program area, with between 4,000 to 5,000 unique patients each year seeking help, often in the Emergency Department. Centred on patients who use opioids and alcohol, SUIT includes a multi-disciplinary team of physicians from emergency, family and internal medicine and psychiatry, who provide counselling, recommend medications, including those to manage withdrawals, and refer patients to other services upon discharge. This work seeks to cut through the stigma and discrimination around substance use disorder, rightly treating it as a medical condition rather than a moral failing. As Dr. Jon Mong told UHN News, this work is being done in a non-judgmental way. “It is a very simple and basic thing to say, but we need to have empathy and respect for these patients and make sure that we give them the best care that we can," he said. Learn more about this pilot on UHN News.

Closing Notes

March 13-19 is Brain Awareness Week and we're recognizing teams across UHN, who are supporting patients, through research and care, at every step of a patient's journey. One in three Canadians will experience a brain-related condition such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Epilepsy, Stroke, or Concussion, in their lifetime. The Krembil Brain Institute (KBI) is a world-leading hub for brain-related research and care, where researchers and clinicians uniquely work hand-in-hand to prevent and confront problems of the brain and spine. Season 2 of KBI's podcast, Your Complex Brain, launches March 21st. Get a sneak peek here! In Toronto Rehab's Brain Program, interprofessional teams provide specialized rehabilitation for adults whose lives have changed because of brain injury, stroke, and related neurological conditions. Toronto Rehab is home to the leading brain rehabilitation program in Canada, where care focuses on improving patients' functional abilities so they can live as independently as possible. At The Kite Research Institute, The Brain Discovery & Recovery (BDR) team focuses on Canadians with enduring effects of traumatic brain injury – effects that can be debilitating and life-long. This team has been at the forefront of research that re-conceptualizes moderate-severe TBI as a chronic and progressive disease process rather than a one-time event. Read about a recent study that provides a detailed view into how the brain changes after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury over the long term. At UHN Altum Health, the Neurology Assessment and Treatment teams support clients with mild/moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBI) to get back to work and life. Altum's interdisciplinary care teams address the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial challenges related to brain injury – driven by the clinical expertise of physician specialists and various registered health care professionals across 12 locations.

March is Epilepsy Awareness Month in Canada, and we celebrate Purple Day – a day of action for those living with epilepsy and those working for the epilepsy community – on March 26 th. UHN continues to be a leader in epilepsy research and care. The Krembil Brain Institute is home to one of the largest Epilepsy Monitoring Units in Canada, where individuals are observed closely to locate the source of their seizures. The data is then used to develop individualized treatment plans for patients. The staff, scientists and researchers at the Krembil Brain Institute continue to be on the cutting edge of epilepsy research and innovation. Listen to episode 3 of Your Complex Brain to learn how researchers are using Mozart to reduce the frequency of seizures. For more information on UHN's Epilepsy Program and special lectures on epilepsy-related topics, visit here.

Celebrate our exceptional nurses at UHN by submitting a nomination for Hospital News' 18 th annual National Nursing Hero Awards. Nominations can be submitted by colleagues, managers, patients, and patient family members until April 1. To enter, submit a nursing hero story of at least 500 words, highlighting how a nurse went above and beyond the call of duty. Submissions can be made to Along with having their story published, the top prize is $1,500. Be sure to include the full name of the nurse, the facility where he or she worked at the time, and your contact information. Winners will be unveiled during National Nursing Week from May 8 to 14.

Be sure to check out this UHN News story on how The Michener Institute of Education at UHN is focused meeting the health-system needs "we don't even know we need yet" with its Fundamentals of Health Care diploma program. This new program, which begins in September 2023, aims to give learners the skills they need to work in careers across the healthcare spectrum and meet current and anticipated health human resource pressures. It's just another example of how Canada's only “school with a hospital" is creating the right programs at the right time. Learn more.

And now… our video of the week. In this clip, we follow a cancer patient at the Princess Margaret through her radiation therapy journey.

Note: Last week, the Ontario government banned TikTok on government devices. UHN's Public Affairs and Communications team is exploring other platforms to best tell the stories at UHN in short-form video. Also, in the text promoting our video last Monday, we did not properly identify our physician assistants (PAs). We apologize to our much-appreciated PAs!


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Have a good week,


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