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

  • I begin this week with a message of gratitude to all TeamUHN members who worked in service of patients, colleagues, learners, and the community over the Thanksgiving weekend. We appreciate all those who stepped up to deliver top-quality care for patients. I am thankful to work at UHN because of the many exceptional colleagues who work so hard every day.
  • This week, UHN launches its first Self-Identification and Inclusion Survey from Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Anti-Racism (IDEAA), a major initiative to better understand TeamUHN and the barriers for equity-seeking people within the organization. UHN has partnered with external consultants, Employment Matters and WorkTango, to ensure staff confidentiality and anonymity. The survey, which takes just 15 minutes to complete, is a critical component of UHN's plan to embed IDEAA in our clinical care, education, and research environments through our organizational systems. Staff experience and feedback are crucial first steps. The survey will close on Oct. 26. Please have your say today by visiting this link. My thanks to Jacqueline Silvera and Zainab Jafri from the IDEAA team for leading this exciting project. For more information, read today's UHN News story. Questions? Reach out to If you are having trouble locating your Employee ID, you can find it by looking at your pay stub – it's above your name and formatted CORP XXXXXX X – which can be found in the Employee Self Service Portal (Corporate Intranet > Employee Tools > Employee Self Service). You can also reach out to NOTE: With many TeamUHN members accessing the survey at once, some may experience brief technical delays. Please return to the survey if you are having any issues participating due to the traffic volume.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Jaideep Bains, who has been named the new Director of the Krembil Research Institute after an international search. A renowned expert in brain research, Dr. Bains served as the Scientific Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary, where for two decades he ran a research library and discovered insights into how the brain adapts to stress. I look forward to his continuing to drive research excellence at UHN, working closely with leaders of the Krembil Brain Institute, the Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, and the Schroeder Arthritis Institute.
  • UHN's 2022 flu campaign launches tomorrow, Oct. 12. 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. Did you know that influenza is one of the top 10 infectious diseases in Ontario? We're making it as easy as possible for staff to participate in this year's campaign. Between Oct 12. and Nov. 3, you can book an appointment at one of our Health Services clinics. If you choose to book an appointment at a local pharmacy, be sure to upload proof of vaccination here. I understand many of you are feeling vaccine fatigue, and you may have some questions about whether the flu shot is right for you. You may also want to know more about the relationship between the flu vaccine and the COVID-19 vaccine (which are safe to get at the same time). For more information, check out our FAQs and if you still have questions, contact Health Services at 416-979-4441. And yes, we are still giving out a sweet or salty treat to every TeamUHN member who receives a shot, so register today! We know that this will be a challenging flu year with many TeamUHN members who are feeling fatigued, in no small part because of the tremendous efforts staff have made dealing with COVID, and concerned about another wave of volume while already facing a high isolation burden. Thank you for doing your part to protect our community.
  • Last Friday, Health Canada approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 booster vaccine targeting the BA.4 and BA.5 strains of the Omicron variant. Canadians aged 12 and up will be able to receive the shot, given three to six months after a second dose of the primary vaccine series or the most recent booster shot. This comes on the heels of Health Canada's approval of Moderna's bivalent vaccine weeks ago, which targets the original virus and the first Omicron variant. Learn more about the latest approval from Health Canada. More details will be shared with TeamUHN once the provincial ministry has announced eligibility criteria and a release date for this vaccine.

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on Thursday, Oct. 6.

  • ELF held an "open agenda" session to assess what was on the members' minds. It was a wide-ranging conversation on different issues bubbling up at UHN, a shift from the formal agenda typically heard in that Forum. The group focused on staff fatigue and quality of work-life issues. We also spent time on how we can all better support quality and safety objectives, particularly when it comes to spotting and tracking trends with precursor and near-miss events. The group plans to continue that conversation at future meetings. ELF also addressed some issues of team dynamics for those providing patient care and how to ensure collegial practice while feeling pressure and stress.

Closing Notes

October 10 was World Mental Health Day. We are talking more and more about our mental health — particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic — and this has been enormously positive. But stigma and silence persist. Mental illness still affects 1 in 5 Canadians and is the leading cause of disability. It is routinely not recognized and undertreated. Our colleagues at UHN's Centre for Mental Health oversee Canada's largest medical psychiatry team and are at the forefront of designing and implementing strategies that bring physical and mental health care closer together. Outcomes are poorer for those with physical and mental comorbidities – a patient's life expectancy can be shortened by as much as 15 to 20 years. To help address this problem, the Centre created the new Mental Health in Medicine Clinic to ensure that all UHN outpatients receiving medical or surgical care can also access mental health supports. (A similar service exists for UHN inpatients and those in areas such as Psychosocial Oncology or multi-organ transplant.) Expanding our clinical services in this direction underlines our commitment to a future where mental and physical health are treated together and not separately, resulting in better outcomes for our patients.

It's Healthcare Security and Safety Week (Oct. 9-15), an important moment to express our gratitude to the dedicated professionals who work to keep staff, patients, and visitors safe at UHN sites each day. This year's theme – "Leading with Excellence. Protecting with Care" – highlights both the diligence and thoughtful compassion that UHN's safety and security professionals show while responding to challenges. UHN's Security Operations team safeguards our community, including the privacy and confidentiality of patients, and helps thwart acts of vandalism and theft 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 two incredibly valuable safety initiatives: 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 the 100th annual Fire Prevention Week. This year's theme – "Fire Won't Wait. Plan Your Escape" – highlights the importance of preparing a fire escape plan in your home, something that could be as simple as identifying two ways out of every room and sketching a floor plan including rooms, windows, and exits. Last week, I had a chance to meet with UHN Fire Marshall Vito D'Amico to review our departmental fire procedure for the first floor of the R. Fraser Elliott Building and, of course, pose with "Sparky," the fire safety dog. Be sure to review your own departmental fire procedure, which you can find on the Fire & Life Safety (FLS) Corporate Intranet page, under the Resources section. (Corporate Intranet > Departments > Fire & Life Safety) Also be sure to 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)

Season 4 of UHN's acclaimed "Behind the Breakthrough" podcast launches this Wednesday, Oct. 12. This season includes 10 new episodes, dropping every Wednesday until Dec. 14, featuring in-depth conversations with UHN scientists about their groundbreaking discoveries -- from the invention of a perfusion machine that sustains and repairs damaged lungs outside the body to a toolkit that has gone global as a standard of care in long-term care. Hosted by Christian Cote and co-produced by UHN Research and Public Affairs and Communications, "Behind the Breakthrough" has been nominated in two categories at the 2022 Canadian Podcast Awards, including "Outstanding Health and Fitness Series" and "Outstanding Science Series." Visit this website or click on the photo below to learn more about the show, listen to past episodes, and subscribe. Be sure to check out UHN's other excellent podcasts while you are at it.

The Government of Ontario passed an amendment to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) in April 2022 known as Bill 88, The Working for Workers Act, 2022. Bill 88 introduced the requirement for employers to develop an electronic monitoring policy. In accordance with the amendments to the ESA, the requirement for compliance and issuance of the policy takes effect October 11, 2022. UHN's People & Culture team has prepared and launched the new policy to ensure compliance with new legislation. If you have any questions, please contact your People Consultant. (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture > Contacts > People Consultants)

A study from Public Health Agency of Canada scientists estimates as many as 800,000 people would have died from COVID-19 in Canada if not for public health measures and vaccines. The report, co-authored by Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, was published in the Canadian Communicable Disease Report. The researchers also compared Canada's approach to the pandemic to other countries such as the United States, United Kingdom, Sweden, France, and Germany. It's interesting food for thought and another reminder about why UHN will continue our policy to mask at our sites, as it is another layer of protection for particularly vulnerable patients and our staff. The full report can be read online.


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Have a good week,


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