Good afternoon, 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.

One TeamUHN

Dear Colleagues:

This was a bittersweet Thanksgiving. While many here at home enjoyed friends and family, many TeamUHN members were worried about loved ones around the globe.

From the catastrophic earthquake in Afghanistan to the tragedy unfolding in Israel and Gaza, our international community is experiencing a period of unprecedented and devastating loss.

The tragedy unfolding weighs heavy on all of us right now.

Since sharing my message this weekend, I heard from several TeamUHN members expressing concerns for safety at work and at home. I want to unequivocally remind people that at UHN there is no room for hatred, Anti-Semitism, or Islamophobia.

We are one TeamUHN.

Unfortunately, we will continue to watch tragedy and the loss of more innocent lives unfold in the days ahead. We must all be especially sensitive to just how fragile things are right now and come together to support each other during this difficult time.

Please take care of one another and reach out if you need any support.

Dr. Kevin Smith

Key reminders and updates

  • We begin with a note of gratitude for all TeamUHN members who worked in service of patients, colleagues, learners, and their community over the Thanksgiving weekend. Thank you for continuing to step up to put the needs of our patients first.
  • Congratulations to Dr. John Dick, Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, who will be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (CMHF)! Dr. Dick is being recognized for his outstanding contributions to medicine and health sciences, in particular his pioneering research in cancer stem cell biology. Dr. Dick and five other inductees will be celebrated at a ceremony at The University of British Columbia in April. Learn more about the CMHF online and read more about this recognition on UHN News.
  • UHN's Statutory Compliance program needs you! In October, the Legal and Compliance group reaches out to certain leaders and subject matter experts (SMEs) at TeamUHN to provide and receive updates on new legislation and to get feedback on compliance with existing statutory requirements. These may be aligned with or in addition to UHN program or policy obligations. Given the breadth of UHN operations and the specialized knowledge of TeamUHN, the information exchange significantly helps with risk mitigation, operational effectiveness, continuous improvement, and reporting to our Board of Trustees. This year, we will enhance our process by also asking for confirmation from our SMEs on statutory reporting obligations within their areas. Thank you to those who are engaged in the program, either through your active participation in this annual review or by speaking with your manager if you have input or questions. For more information, please contact, Director of Corporate Legal and Compliance.
  • UHN's 2023 Flu Campaign launches tomorrow, October 11!  It's that time of year again when we encourage TeamUHN to roll up their sleeves for the flu vaccine – an important step to protecting patients, loved ones, and ourselves. From October 11-25, you can find the flu stations located at designated entrances of hospital sites or get your flu vaccine from your family physician, at a local pharmacy or public health units, or in the Health Services Offices until Oct. 31. TeamUHN members who get a vaccine and report it to Health Services have a chance to win tickets to a Leafs or Raptors game! We thank the UHN Foundation and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation for their generous support with these prizes. COVID-19 booster eligibility cards will be handed out at the flu stations. Questions? Read the FAQs and check the Health Services intranet page.
  • A team of four UHN clinicians and educators visited SingHealth in Singapore last month to deliver the Centre for Advancing Collaborative Healthcare & Education (CACHE)'s award-winning ehpic program. Dean Lising, Ivy Oandasan, Lynne Sinclair, and Belinda Vilhen made the trip during the week of Sept. 18. "Educating Health Professionals in Interprofessional Care" (ehpic) is a certificate program for health professionals and educators. Together with collaborators from SingHealth, CACHE spent the week developing leaders in interprofessional education and care who have the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to teach both learners and colleagues the art and science of working collaboratively for patient-partnered care. Kevin Tan from SingHealth remarked that their teams have felt "inspired, invigorated, and impacted" by the experience and look forward to advancing collaborative health care and education together. This is yet another example of how UHN is thinking globally to build A Healthier World. Learn more about ehpic online.

Closing Notes

It's Healthcare Security and Safety Week (Oct. 8-14), which gives us a chance to say thank you to the dedicated professionals who help keep staff, patients, and visitors safe at UHN each day. UHN's Security Operations team safeguards our community, including the privacy of patients, with an approach centred on prevention and risk management. UHN security guards respond to 200,000 calls a year, ranging from security incidents to requests for site access. UHN's Security Operations team also offers the Walk-Safe program, with which a security guard will safely escort staff, students, volunteers, and visitors between UHN's sites, and the Call-Safe Program, which sees a member of the Security team place hourly safety-check calls to staff, students, or volunteers who are working alone or feel they are in high-risk situations. Learn more on the Corporate Intranet (Corporate Intranet > Departments > Security Operations > Walk-safe & Call-safe Programs).

It's also Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme – "Cooking safety starts with YOU. Pay attention to fire prevention" – highlights the importance of cooking safety at work and at home. According to the UHN Fire & Life Safety (FLS) Department, unattended cooking, incorrect cooking times, and faulty or unapproved appliances have spurred dozens of Code Red calls since 2019 – each costing more than $1,500 per code call. Read this UHN News story for tips from Vito D'Amico, UHN's Fire & Life Safety Manager, for cooking safely at work and home. Visit the FLS Fire Prevention Week Intranet page to learn more about fire safety, contests and prizes this week. (Corporate Intranet > Departments > Fire & Life Safety > Fire Prevention Week). And be sure to check out the video of the week posted below for some more tips from “Sparky the Fire Dog!"

October 10 is World Mental Health Day. While patients at UHN primarily seek physical health care, many also grapple with undetected or unaddressed mental health challenges during their hospital stay, worsening their overall well-being. With mental illness affecting 1 in 5 Canadians, there is a pressing need for comprehensive mental health care for all. Comorbidities can shorten a patient's life expectancy by 15-20 years. UHN's Centre for Mental Health, home to the country's largest medical psychiatry team, leads efforts to integrate mental and physical health care. You can read about their Inpatient Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Service in today's UHN News story and how they ensure that hospitalized patients have access to mental health support during their medical or surgical care. (A similar service exists for UHN outpatients as well.) UHN remains dedicated to a future where mental and physical health are treated together.

October 11 marks International Day of the Girl (IDG), an annual observance emphasizing the crucial need to empower girls and address the various inequalities they encounter, including health. The 2023 IDG Theme, "Invest in Girls' Rights: Leadership and Well-Being," highlights the significance of recognizing, celebrating, and supporting girls' leadership by creating opportunities for them to voice their opinions and take on active roles in their communities. At UHN, we are fortunate to have the dynamic group, UHNWomen, to help promote and embed equity and inclusivity for women as they lead, grow, and achieve success. Let's continue to work together to remove barriers, challenge bias, and create a world where every girl can reach her full potential.

October 12 is World Sight Day, an annual event to raise awareness about the importance of eye health, and to bring attention to vision loss and blindness. Today, more than 5.5 million Canadians live with eye diseases, such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, and this number is expected to double over the next 20 years. Many of these sight-threatening diseases are treatable and early intervention can prevent vision loss. At the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, researchers and clinicians are at the forefront of innovation, conducting cutting-edge research and developing new treatments for patients. A recent study led by Dr. Brian Ballios, a scientist and ophthalmologist at DKJEI, in collaboration with SickKids, has provided valuable insights into why individuals with Roifman syndrome experience vision-related symptoms. Read the full study here.

UHN's podcasts continue to inform, inspire, and impress. "Behind the Breakthrough," the first hospital-produced podcast to win a Canadian Podcast Award, kicks off its fifth season on Oct. 10. Host Christian Cote chats with Dr. Andrew Boozary, founding Director of UHN's Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine, about how UHN is tackling one of the top challenges to health for marginalized people – homelessness. "Behind the Breakthrough" features an all-star lineup of UHN scientists and their pioneering medical research this season. "Your Complex Brain," a podcast from Krembil Brain Institute exploring the most powerful organ in our bodies, won a Podcast Award earlier this month in the Science & Medicine category. Listen and follow both shows and other excellent UHN podcasts here.

And now… our video of the week. This clip highlights safety tips for fire prevention week!


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Have a good week,


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