Happy New Year!

I've been thinking a lot about TeamUHN during my time off and start 2020 filled with optimism and purpose. The holiday season gave me the chance to reflect on the impact we have serving patients and families thanks to all of you. We could all be somewhere else – doing entirely different jobs – but we made the choice to improve the lives of others in healthcare. I'll acknowledge that 2019 presented some challenges and it will take ingenuity and strong teamwork to address them over the next months. The good thing is we have the brains and determination on TeamUHN. So welcome back and thank you for stepping up. I have no doubt we will rise to the occasion.

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 World Health Organization (WHO) names 2020 the "Year of the Nurse and Midwife" – UHN proud to celebrate all nursing colleagues on TeamUHN: WHO and a number of their partners including the International Council of Nurses and the United Nations Population Fund are committing to a year-long effort [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] to celebrate the valued work of nurses and midwives. When it comes to any profession at UHN, we are aiming for recognition early and often – not just during a specific year or observance week – but this is a special opportunity to thank nurses for being the glue that binds our health system together. Our nursing colleagues represent more than 20% of TeamUHN, making them the largest professional group. Their discipline continues to grow and evolve, spanning across acute settings, rehab, long-term care and beyond. It's our privilege to help draw attention to their significant impact.

Technology "With our current budget situation, how will we pay for the new Health Information System (HIS)?" – the technology and innovation question with the most votes thus far for our next Open Forum on Jan. 15: For those who are new to TeamUHN, our Open Forums represent our approach to town halls. Everyone is invited to submit and vote on anonymous questions in advance of the event. During the actual event, we answer questions in order of total votes, which means your votes shape the discussion. The theme of the next Open Forum is "unleashing the power of technology & innovation" – one of our five Strategic Priorities – and I look forward to hearing many subject matter experts across UHN discuss the work we're doing.

  • Submit your anonymous questions about technology & innovation: Tap here or go to Slido.com and enter #UHNtech.
  • Date: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020
  • Time: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
  • Location: Michener Institute auditorium – main floor (222 St. Patrick St.).

2. Leadership reflection: Making a 2020 commitment for TeamUHN

I believe in consistent improvement and not waiting until New Year's to set a resolution. But I can't help but think about the new year as a new page for TeamUHN. Based on what we've heard from the development of our People Strategy, Engagement Survey, Open Forums, Thoughtexchange sessions and beyond, it seems clear we all want the same culture. We want to work in a place that enables us to deliver excellent care, research and education, in an environment that supports quality of work life. This means everyone feeling safe, valued and heard.

The tough part is how do we get there? The literature suggests it takes years to shift organizational culture. I don't know about you but I don't want to wait that long. If you feel the same way and want to see change sooner, join me in improving quality of work life at UHN. Pick the behaviour you want to personally develop and commit to practicing it over the next year – whether it's encouraging others to speak up, finding a disarming way of calling out disrespectful behaviour, taking an honest look at how your ego might get in the way sometimes, or something else you consider meaningful.

One of the behaviours I would like to champion is encouraging spirited debate in meetings by creating a safe and respectful environment. This was inspired by this piece from Harvard Business Review: "Let Your Team Have That Heated Conversation." Many practical tips inside, including how to show someone they're being heard even if you can't execute on their idea. I have the privilege of working with many talented leaders across UHN and their meeting agendas are filled with important decisions that must be made. If we want these discussions to improve ideas, spark innovation and mitigate risk (as the article outlines), everyone has to have the confidence they can speak freely with colleagues who want to understand their views.

We all have something to gain if we choose to make a difference in service of A Healthier World together. Thank you all for what you collectively do.

Have a good week,


Back to Top