​Last week, I quietly popped into both of our Emergency Departments (ED) – the front door to acute care hospitals – and was struck by two things:

  1. The people. There was a clear camaraderie amongst the ED teams and I noticed the personal touches they used to improve the patient experience – for example, bright yellow name plates at the nursing stations. What an effective way to make patients feel more comfortable when approaching staff.
  2. The challenges of the physical plants! It emphasized to me the need for redesign and redevelopment at UHN, especially given the increasing number of patients we see. This has to be a key future priority.

I also dropped by the BRITE (Building Resilience within Institutions Together with Employees) event at Princess Margaret. I know Toronto Rehab is planning a launch very soon! Thanks to MarnieEscaf, Mary Elliott and Mary Gospodarowicz for leading the way. Overall, I am so impressed with the work being done across all sites to build our resiliency in an environment where staff are so often asked to go above and beyond. There is still opportunity for us to do even better though so I'll be seeking your input to find ways of further improving quality of work life for everyone here.

UHN is a large place but I see it's supported by enthusiastic people who care deeply about their work and each other.

Beyond the EDs and BRITE, I saw this as we recognized World No Tobacco Day. Thank you to event organizers Emmanuel Tenazas and Teresa Michienzi, I had a lot of fun at the awareness photo booth. I also met Emmanuel and Teresa's colleagues from Patient Experience and CAP (Collaborative Academic Practice) who were there showing their support. Our long-term goal for UHN is for every patient and staff member to wish to quit smoking and to feel supported during their journey – but in the short term, allow me to recognize this example of great teamwork and collegiality. I also want to thank John Granton and Charlie Chan for using their roles as leaders at UHN to support this group and important initiative.

I was also privileged to celebrate exceptional leaders at the Gairdner Foundation reception for Frances Shepherd, who received the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award and at the Esther and Saul Baker Awards – the beloved parents of our own Michael Baker – where we recognized clinicians and trainees for excellence in the care of older patients, both at UHN and Mount Sinai Hospital.

Now, I enjoy summer as much as the next person but it's been especially hot lately. So I want to thank Ed Rubinstein, Chad Berndt, Alket Cuni and our FM-PRO team (Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations) for delivering our new "deep lake water" cooling system at Toronto General. They finished ahead of schedule with the help of our industry partners – meaning we now have a renewable, cost-effective energy source that will provide lasting comfort to patients and staff. Sustainable energy is a health issue and something we need for all of UHN.

I've mentioned that I'm driven by inquiry given my academic background, so I was excited to attend the Hodges Symposium and discuss new ideas with researchers and fellows from the Wilson Centre. What impressed me most was everyone's focus on improving the health system through meaningful education and transformation.

I'm told I can look forward to the Toronto Rehab (TR) Long-Service Awards on June 13 and 25-26. My impression was I'd have to wait until the fall so I'm glad for the opportunity to meet more long-serving TR staff earlier.

Finally, UHN's Annual Meeting is on Tuesday, June 12 at 4:00 p.m. in MaRS auditorium. It's an opportunity to reflect on the past year and hear about the one ahead. I will be discussing UHN's upcoming strategic plan and hope to meet more of you in the reception that follows – livestreaming and a video recording will be available to those who can't make it.

Thank you,

Kevin

P.S. For those who like photos, I suggest you look at my Twitter feed. I'm finding that the platform is another way for me to receive feedback about UHN.

For example: "Everyone at TGH is genuinely helpful. Anytime I ever looked lost, a volunteer or staff stopped within seconds and offered directions. Sometimes even walked with us for a bit to get us going in the right direction".

I hear about this practice at all sites and thank everyone for ensuring the needs of patients come first – even when you're dashing down the hall in a hurry.​

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