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

  • Last week, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, TeamUHN gathered at the Gitigan (garden) at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN to reflect on the lasting trauma of residential schools and the work to advance reconciliation. My sincere thanks to the Indigenous Health Program and Indigenous Cancer Program for co-hosting such a meaningful event. Read more about it at UHN News.
  • Last Thursday, I was privileged to represent UHN at a special event hosted by the University of Toronto's Temerty Faculty of Medicine to reflect on the Anti-Semitic quota system that Jewish medical students and physicians faced in the mid-20th century. I unequivocally apologized for the shameful use of so-called "Hebrew lists" at Toronto General and Toronto Western to limit the number of Jewish interns at that time, and noted how that discriminative system and other informal barriers tragically pushed some Jewish doctors out of the profession. I spoke alongside the CEOs of The Hospital for Sick Children, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and Sinai Health, as well as leaders from the university and the Toronto Academic Health Science Network. We were all grateful to have the opportunity to not only express profound sorrow for the mistakes of the past but rededicate ourselves to fighting anti-Semitism, today and every day.
  • The 11th annual "Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer" event for The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF) was held Saturday and raised $2.6 million with 1,500 participants registered across almost 140 road hockey teams. My thanks to our clinicians, researchers, and staff who participated, including Dr. Brad Wouters, Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and EVP, Science & Research, UHN, as well as Drs. Marcus Bernardini, Tony Finelli, Peter Ferguson, Jay Wunder, Mike Daly, and several other TeamUHN members. Dr. Keith Stewart, Director, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and VP, Cancer, UHN, was there to cheer on participants. Since its inception in 2011, "Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer" has raised more than $27 million for life-saving cancer research at The Princess Margaret. In 2015, the event set two Guinness World Records for the most participants in a one-day fundraising road hockey event and most funds raised by a one-day fundraising road hockey event. My thanks to everyone who organized such a wonderful day, including our PMCF staff, Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President & CEO of the PMCF, as well as our leaders on the Corporate and Community Partnerships team at the PMCF, Steve Merker, Brendan Ennis, and Jordan Harding.
  • The Government of Canada has lifted COVID-19 border and travel measures, changes that went into effect on Oct. 1. This means foreign visitors no longer require an approved series of vaccinations to enter the country, Canada-bound travelers aren't subject to random COVID-19 tests, and unvaccinated Canadians do not need to isolate when returning to the country. The ArriveCan app is also no longer mandatory. The government has said the removal of these measures has been facilitated by "modelling that indicates that Canada has largely passed the peak of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 fuelled wave," as well as the availability of vaccine boosters, rapid tests, and treatments for COVID-19. Learn more about this decision from the Government of Canada. While masking will become optional for travellers by plane and train, UHN will continue its universal masking policy at our sites to protect both vulnerable patients and fellow TeamUHN members.
  • UHN's Board of Trustees met on September 28. In brief, the Board received updates on UHN's Q1 financial position, ongoing quality and safety initiatives, the status of the Synapse Project, and major capital projects under the Master Plan. The Board engaged in discussion related to key healthcare system pressures impacting UHN and our hospital peers, and how UHN is actively addressing these challenges – in particular, human health resources and acute care capacity. On the Research front, Mark Taylor, Director of Commercialization, provided the Board with an overview of the Commercialization Strategy and the exciting commercialization efforts underway at UHN.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Sivakumar Gulasingam, who was recognized recently with a 'Top 25 Canadian Immigrant of the Year Award' for 2022, organized by Canadian Immigrant magazine, partnering with Western Union and COSTI Immigrant Services. This prestigious award recognizes successful newcomers for their outstanding contributions to Canada. Federal Immigration Minister Hon. Sean Fraser presented Dr. Gulasingam with the award at a reception in August. Dr. Gulasingam, who immigrated to Canada from Sri Lanka in 2008, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation physician attached to Toronto Rehab and an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. He believes that "self-confidence and perseverance are key to success," and his message to fellow newcomers is: "As a newcomer, always remember that you are unique. Don't let others write your story". Learn more about Dr. Gulasingam's career on the Canadian Immigrant website and watch the video linked below to hear what this recognition means to him. Congratulations, Sivakumar!
  • Speaking of awards, do you know a "Difference Maker" at UHN who deserves special recognition? As of Oct. 1, nominations have opened for the Canadian College of Health Leaders' (CCHL) 2023 National Awards Program The program includes 16 awards recognizing leaders in healthcare, including senior executives, emerging leaders, administrative and operational teams, nurses, students and more. The deadline to submit nominations for four individual awards – including the "Celebrating the Human Spirit Award" and "Nursing Leadership Award" – is November 30. The deadline to submit nominations for team and organization awards is February 1, 2023. Award recipients will be recognized during the College's 2023 Honouring Health Leadership event. The date and format of this celebration will be announced later this year. Please visit the CCHL website for more details.

Closing Notes

October is Health Literacy Month! Last night, the CN Tower was lit in orange and blue to mark the occasion and raise awareness about how health literacy impacts patient safety and engagement. As TeamUHN members, you can help patients be partners in their care and build their health literacy skills. For this year's Health Literacy Month, move your awareness into action by providing patients with UHN patient education brochures to support care; using teach-back and other health literacy techniques to ensure information is clear to patients; sharing video tutorials on using the portal and digital health tips, such as How to navigate myUHN Patient Portal and Tech Tips – improve your digital skills; watching and sharing live or archived Health Talks featuring UHN experts and patients. In addition to offering an extensive selection of resources on different health topics, UHN Patient & Family Learning Centres offer special collections tailored to various patient communities, including Black Health, Indigenous Health, 2SLGBTQIA+, Artist's Health, and more. The resources are available in different languages, in print and electronic formats. Patients, families, and staff can visit the Learning Centres to get help from Information Specialists or access a variety of online resources from home.

October 1st was International Day of Older Persons. Recognized by the United Nations, this annual event urges us all to think about the challenges and opportunities facing older persons and the importance of building equitable societies that respect their rights. This year's theme – "Resilience of Older Persons in a Changing World" – captured the strength and determination that so many older persons show each day. According to the UN, the number of older persons worldwide is estimated to more than double over the next three decades, reaching more than 1.5 billion persons in 2050, with 80 per cent of them living in low- and middle-income countries. At UHN, we are seized with the importance of providing an excellent standard of care for older persons and meeting the challenges of an aging population, including by developing the UHN at Home initiative, which seeks to build on the best practices of Integrated Care to enhance the patient experience and quality of services for seniors. UHN/Sinai Health's Healthy Ageing & Geriatrics Program is at the forefront of innovating in the care of older Canadians. The 10th annual UHN/Sinai Health Toronto Geriatrics Update Course, designed to support TeamUHN's ability to diagnose and manage common geriatric syndromes and provide culturally appropriate care for older adults, will be held on November 5th.

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN's 2022 Impact Report is now online. This report uses stories, infographics, and photos to elevate the health professions that Michener teaches and the graduates who diagnose and treat patients across Canada every day. This contemporary digital report looks to the future and reflects Michener's place as Canada's foremost school of health sciences education.

Exclusive for TeamUHN: Altum Health's University Clinic is offering new Registered Massage Therapy services, in addition to Physiotherapy, starting Oct. 5. Pre-booking is now available. The services are offered at the Princess Margaret Research Tower, 620 University Ave., 7th Floor. Altum provides the best care at low prices and 100 per cent of profits go back into UHN. To book your appointment and learn more, visit the Altum on University website. Questions? Contact

Finally, I wanted to flag this remarkable story "When the researcher becomes the patient" – from UHN's KITE Research Institute. KITE scientist Dr. Alex Mihailidis opened up about becoming a patient at Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst site after suffering a devastating spinal cord injury, and how the experience opened his eyes to the importance of translating research into the clinical world. "As a patient, I learned a lot about the rehab experience and where I, as a researcher, could do better. The first thing I learned, though, was how awesome the clinical team is at Lyndhurst, from the doctors to the nurses to everyone else," he said. Read the full story on the KITE website.


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Have a good week,


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