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 Visit from the Larry O'Brien trophy, which is awarded annually to the winners of the NBA Finals – most recently our own Toronto Raptors! Thanks to Brian and Megan Porter, Scotiabank, MLSE (Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment) and Jeff Deline (Chief Revenue Officer, MLSE) for arranging this visit and brightening the day of patients and TeamUHN. Special shout out to Raptors Superfan Nav Bhatia for visiting as well and taking photos with so many fellow Raptors fans. It was great viewing the trophy with many of you and celebrating the things that UHN and the Raptors have in common: Great teamwork, being world champions in our respective domains, and a track record of making history! Thanks to UHN's Medical Staff Association and its President Eric Horlick for generously donating refreshments for TeamUHN to enjoy while waiting in line.

Partnerships Honoured to attend the 2019 Gairdner awards – considered Canada's Nobels! We spent the evening celebrating amazing science and scientists, including a number of young budding scientists who will transform science and society in the years to come. It is wonderfully humbling to spend time amongst such brilliant minds and this gathering was a testament to the wealth of scientific knowledge available in our country. UHN is proud to take part. Kudos to Janet Rossant (President & Scientific Director of The Gairdner Foundation) for driving the vision for this celebration and the associated program that spans our nation. Janet also serves on UHN's Board of Trustees – lucky for us! – and is a champion for exemplary research and innovation.

Partnerships University of Toronto's (U of T) Department of Surgery named #4 on the U.S. News and World Report Global Ranking – following Harvard University, John Hopkins University and the University of Pittsburgh: This is a proud moment for Toronto. The Department of Surgery's faculty members are the surgeons of the affiliated hospitals and all play an important role in achieving this ranking. This is another example of where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts! Their remarkable impact across care, research and education is made possible thanks to many people integral to the Department of Surgery itself – as well as our colleagues in anesthesia, biomedical engineering, MDRD (medical device reprocessing department), medical imaging, nursing, pre- and post-admission staff, research and education staff, administrative staff and beyond. Like the Larry O'Brien trophy, this honour emphasizes the importance of the team.

People and Culture Last week, Barbara Tatham passed away at the age of 32. She will be remembered as a true advocate for patients and an honorary member of TeamUHN. Barbara was to begin work at UHN in 2018 following her residency training as an emergency medicine physician. Three weeks before she was scheduled to start, Barbara was diagnosed with a type of sarcoma. She underwent many surgeries and received treatment at UHN and was in our Emergency Rooms on countless occasions. I am saddened by the journey she had to endure but uplifted by her message of optimism for others. Through her care experience, Barbara became a strong advocate for the patient journey and encouraged many members of TeamUHN. She would have been an excellent colleague and I extend my deepest sympathies to Barbara's loved ones. I encourage you to listen to her powerful message here.

2. Talking about evolving Canada's economy at the TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) commercialization meeting

Last week, several TAHSN [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] leaders including myself came together to discuss our city's commercialization footprint. Boston and San Francisco's Bay Area are currently viewed as the world's reigning biotech hubs – but Toronto is on par with these cities with high-quality health sciences personnel, meaning we have the talent and key ingredients to grow as a global destination. I'm happy to report that all TAHSN hospitals agree we must work together and move forward with this direction. By elevating our commercial output, we can fuel Canada's knowledge-based economy and create sustainable jobs – which will have the added benefit of balancing the changes to our industrial and manufacturing economy. This is why we've made this goal a Strategic Priority at UHN: "Elevate Canada as a world destination for commercialization and discovery." At the TAHSN meeting, we reviewed what's working well in Toronto and ideas for moving forward. Our aim will be to focus on areas to collectively rally around while allowing each hospital to have autonomy.

3. Leadership reflection: How to plan and run effective meetings

In UHN's Engagement Survey results, some of you spoke up and said you don't get time with your managers because they are in constant meetings. It should come as no surprise that I also spend a significant amount of time in meetings! Those who work closely with me know I aim for 30 minutes or less whenever appropriate – as I like to free up as much time as possible to interact with patients and families, TeamUHN colleagues and our strategic partners. Time is our most precious resource and we have an opportunity to evolve the way we use it, including in meetings, to maximize our impact at UHN and improve quality of work life.

This Harvard Business Review article reviews five common complaints about how meetings are run and what you can do to address those challenges:

  • "One or two people dominate the conversation and no one does anything about it."
  • "My boss doesn't lead meetings effectively."
  • "Most of our meetings are just passing along information that could be sent in an email."
  • "No one is paying attention because they're on their phones or laptops."
  • "We keep having the same conversations because nothing gets done between meetings."

There are many other approaches for running meetings available for consideration. One interesting idea comes from Jeff Bezos, CEO of, who starts meetings with each attendee silently reading a briefing note or memo. The memo contextualizes the discussion that follows. I invite you to try new approaches with your colleagues and see what works. In terms of creating a UHN-wide approach to meetings, our Executive Leadership Forum has approved some actions including: Creating protected time for managers to connect with teams, and having no meetings on Friday afternoons to allow for quiet work time. Stay tuned for next steps.

Have a good week,


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