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Good Monday morning,

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  Last week, we remembered and mourned the massacre of women in Montreal 30 years ago on Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Sadly we know violence against women and other equally deserving groups continues around the world today. I encourage each of us to be vocal advocates for groups continuing to suffer discrimination, violence and terrorism in the most extreme cases. In support of eliminating misogyny and all forms of gender-based violence, UHN and our peer hospitals developed this evidence-based module to help colleagues identify signs of violence. If you haven’t reviewed this module yet, please consider doing so ASAP. When we use the term “TeamUHN” we are also making a statement – which is that we are teammates who have each other’s backs. If you see or experience any form of discrimination or abuse, please reach out to our colleagues in Human Resources. Thanks to everyone at UHN who developed this module in partnership with Women’s College Hospital, Sinai Health System and Scarborough Hospital. And, thank you all for looking out for one another.  

Canada’s National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women
Remembering and mourning the women of the Montreal Massacre.

Compassionate Care and Caring  How the Grinch made Christmas at UHN: One of the younger patients we are serving at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre had a beloved Grinch toy he would bring with him while receiving care. Unfortunately, the Grinch was mixed up in some laundry one day and was lost much to this patient’s distress. Our colleagues at Princess Margaret and FM-PRO (Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations) searched for the lost Grinch and even contacted Ecotex, our third-party laundry service, but were unable to find this patient’s lost friend. In a heartwarming display of compassion, Arthur Koloszyc (Supervisor, Patient Portering, UHN) and colleagues took up a collection and bought a replacement Grinch for this patient. The patient’s family shared the following note of appreciation: 

“We are gobsmacked at your kindness. To replace our boy’s beloved Grinch is above and beyond the excellent care and loving attention he has received here at Princess Margaret. Just the fact that everyone was so concerned about Grinch’s whereabouts and the effort that was made to locate him is so much appreciated and so very touching. He will be over the moon to have his cuddle buddy back.”

That’s living the mission! 

Partnerships  Tackling social isolation, building more inclusive spaces, and providing psychosocial supports at UHN through our new Progress Place Kiosk at the Toronto Western atrium. In service of A Healthier World, we’ve been working to ensure the needs of patients come first at UHN – with a renewed emphasis on all patients especially the most disadvantaged. This is one of the reasons we created UHN’s Social Medicine Program this year. Those of us in healthcare know that social factors including loneliness, housing, food security, and employment are directly connected to a person’s health and well-being. Our Social Medicine Program taps into these deep-rooted connections and is working to better integrate medical, behavioural and social services across our health system. In support of this broader work – co-designed with patients, providers, and community organizations – I’m pleased to announce our new Progress Place kiosk at the Toronto Western atrium. Progress Place is a community organization known for providing necessary psychosocial supports to people in need. Patients and visitors now have access to Progress Place staff once a week from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the kiosk located across the Security Office. Our ultimate goal is to build more inclusive spaces at UHN beyond the Toronto Western atrium, including our Emergency Departments and Family Health Team clinics. 

People and Culture  Catching up on responses for my Q&A page on the Corporate Intranet and introducing a new approach in 2020: When I arrived at UHN, we opened this anonymous Q&A page to create another safe channel for me to hear directly from all of you. It may have been a bit ambitious to commit to answering all your questions though – as you have many! This is a good thing though as it signals TeamUHN’s interest in having such a page and our collective desire to have a productive dialogue. So, I am taking the quieter winter months to catch up on all existing submissions and have temporarily placed new submissions on hold until I do so. In the new year, we will be launching a new (more sustainable!) Q&A approach using Slido. Once a month, we will invite new submissions and ask everyone to vote on the questions they’d like me to address. I will commit to answering the top 20 questions and send out my responses a month later. If you have suggestions for improving this new approach, please message my colleague Ingrid Yu (ingrid.yu@uhn.ca; Senior Communications Advisor, Office of the President & CEO).  

Partnerships  Signed an MOU with South Australia’s largest tertiary and quaternary provider, Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN): We will be collaborating across care, research, education and leadership development – although advancing education is one of the biggest priorities for CALHN and likely the place this partnership will start. We all benefit when great health care organizations collaborate and raise the bar in care and scholarship together. During the recent visits of the CALHN Board Chair, Raymond Spencer, and CEO, Lesley Dwyer, it was obvious that we have much to do together. While they were very impressed with UHN overall, they were especially struck by the unique model of having the Michener Institute of Education at UHN as a key component of our family. Something we perhaps forget how unique and fortunate we are to enjoy. I know that together we’ll make great strides towards our vision of A Healthier World! 

2.  What I take away from last week’s premiers’ meeting – the importance of collaboration and a united front

Those who follow the news know that Canada’s 13 premiers met last week including Ontario Premier Doug Ford who hosted the meeting. It’s encouraging to hear the premiers have unanimously agreed to ask the Federal government to raise their annual increase in healthcare spending from 3% to 5.2% which would result, according to the CBC, in approximately $1 B in additional funding. I had the opportunity to share why this funding is so needed by Canadians in an op-ed published on the Friday before the meeting by The Globe and Mail. So, rather than recapping the clinical and financial pressures we are facing, I’ll point to something we should all remember on TeamUHN – the power of collaboration and a united front. Not just within this organization but across the province and country. It’s easy to say no to 5000 people asking for 5000 things, but very hard to say no to 5000 people asking for one thing. It is important we advocate in partnership with our peers across the health system.

3. Leadership reflection: Why inclusive leaders are good for organizations and how to become one 

We are having important discussions about diversity and inclusion at UHN. I wanted to share this article from Harvard Business Review that contains helpful tips on living these values. The article identifies six traits which distinguish inclusive leaders from others – I encourage you to reflect on the list – but what I found equally illuminating were the verbatim descriptions of the least inclusive leaders (pulled from a survey of more than 4,100 employees):

  • Discounts alternative views: “[This leader] can have very set ideas on specific topics. Sometimes it is difficult to get an alternative view across. There is a risk that his team may hold back from bringing forward challenging and alternative points of view.”
  • Displays favoritism: “Work is assigned to the same top performers, creating unsustainable workloads. [There is a] need to give newer team members opportunities to prove themselves.”
  • Overpowers others: “He can be very direct and overpowering which limits the ability of those around him to contribute to meetings or participate in conversations.”

I’ll be reflecting on my actions related to this important research and hope you will as well. Sometimes it can be easier to strengthen a behaviour by observing what not to do instead of solely focusing on what you should do. Another reminder that we all have something to learn and something to teach from those around us.

Have a good week, 

Kevin

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