​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

  • Drumroll, please! The winners of UHN's Local Impact Awards will be unveiled at a Holiday Virtual Open Forum on Tuesday, Dec. 13 at noon. Join us as we celebrate TeamUHN members and teams who went above and beyond this year and were nominated by their peers for awards that align with UHN's five core Strategic Priorities.
  • Congratulations to Drs. Heather Ross and Joseph Cafazzo on their having been crowned winners of UHN's 19 th annual Inventor of the Year award, sponsored by Commercialization at UHN. The researchers were recognized for their discovery accelerating the commercialization of the Medly platform, a companion for heart care powered by software and artificial intelligence that was developed at UHN and is small enough to fit in a pocket. Medly is a remarkable self-management tool for Canadians living with heart failure, offering 24/7 monitoring technology that is easy to use. "Leveraging the incredible power of big data, artificial intelligence, and predictive analytics, Medly provides a more proactive, scalable, and affordable solution to manage the epidemic of heart failure – and research is continually ongoing to enhance it," Dr. Ross told UHN News. Learn more about Medly (and what's next) with this story and be sure to check out our TikTok celebrating the win.
  • Be sure to check out this story about how a groundbreaking transplant at UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre has transformed the life of an Ottawa police officer and mother of four. After battling thyroid cancer more than a decade ago, Dawn Ethier was left with hypoparathyroidism – little to no function of parathyroid glands – and taking 100 pills a day. Showing the dauntlessness that sets UHN apart, Dr. Karen Devon, an endocrine surgeon at UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery, agreed to perform a rare parathyroid transplant. After a long journey and a lot of homework by Dr. Devon, four healthy parathyroid glands about the size of grains of rice were implanted on Dawn's right forearm in May and they began functioning weeks later. This was the first successful procedure of its kind in North America. "This saved my life, it changed everything," Dawn said. UHN's Physician-in-Chief, Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, played an essential role in determining the compatability and risk for this patient. Read more on UHN News. This amazing success story was also covered last week by The Toronto Star and CTV News, among other outlets. This is another example of the bold thinking and interdisciplinary excellence at UHN that underpins so much of the life-changing and life-saving work done here each day.
  • Last week, I was honoured to speak to the 2020 and 2021 graduates of all programs at Temerty Medicine and the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto. These talented people saw their hard-earned celebrations postponed because of the pressures of the pandemic. I was happy to tell the group how much we believe in them and, indeed, are counting on them to show leadership and vision for our healthcare system. In the immortal words of John F. Kennedy: "If not us, who? If not now, when?" Many congratulations to the graduates who are already making their mark in their careers.
  • Starting today, Ontario pharmacists will be able to prescribe Paxlovid, Pfizer's anti-viral COVID-19 treatment, in-person or virtually at no cost. While thousands of pharmacies are already dispensing the drug, this will no doubt make it easier for eligible Ontarians with COVID symptoms or a positive test and who are within five days of symptom onset to access Paxlovid and reduce their odds of experiencing severe symptoms. Approved by Health Canada last January, Paxlovid is shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths among those most at-risk from COVID, including older adults and people with compromised immune systems. This is all welcome news that will hopefully contribute to fewer hospitalizations in the system. Read more about this decision on the Government of Ontario website

Closing Notes

Give the gift of education by supporting student bursaries at The Michener Institute of Education at UHN. We've all been affected by the rising cost of living. For many Michener students, this means taking on two or three jobs just to get by. You can make a difference for Michener students by donating $25, $50, or even $100 to a Michener student bursary by just clicking here. And as Michener's way of thanking you, Michener will match every dollar that you donate. This will double your gift! Thank you for continuing to support Michener students.

December 10 was Human Rights Day, recognized annually on the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This year's theme – "Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All" – encapsulates the collective action that is needed to protect the rights to which all people are entitled. With human rights under assault in different corners of the world, it is always worth remembering that Article 1 of the UDHR notes that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Learn more about Human Rights Day on the UN website. Learn more about the UDHR in this video.

And now… our TikTok of the week. This video introduces us to the team of healthcare workers who care for stroke patients, from symptoms to recovery.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,

Kevin


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