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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. 

Compassionate Care and Caring / Partnerships  Thanks to a strategic investment from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, UHN and Sunnybrook will be able to expand access to focused ultrasound, a needed treatment for patients with essential tremors. Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, announced an additional $1.4 M in funding. We are one of two centres in Ontario that offers high intensity focused ultrasound and proud to deliver this non-invasive treatment in service of patients and families, in partnership with Sunnybrook.   

Technology  UHN partners with the Vector Institute – a world-renowned AI think tank – and the University of Waterloo to develop AI-assisted diagnostics in medical imaging. Last week, we announced our shared plan to integrate AI and deep learning algorithms into Coral Review, a diagnostic imaging quality improvement software developed at UHN. Coral Review is already used at a number of hospitals across Ontario and allows providers to anonymously peer review medical imaging diagnoses and image quality. An AI-enabled Coral Review would help improve patient outcomes by rapidly scanning through thousands of existing medical images and recommending a diagnosis for providers to review. The AI integration is expected to produce results in 12 to 18 months. My thanks to Leon Goonaratne (Senior Director, UHN Digital), UHN Digital’s Informatics team and the Joint Department of Medical Imaging for leading this unprecedented work – and unleashing the power of technology and innovation! 

Partnerships  Last week, the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was declared an international concern by the World Health Organization. While the global risk remains low at this time, Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care have issued guidelines which we are following diligently. All hospitals are asked to be prepared to provide care for EVD patients who may present to our Emergency Departments, while the Ministry closely monitors Canadians who are providing volunteer support in the affected area.

2. Leadership reflection: Recognizing where you stand and how it might prevent others from speaking up 

I found this article “Managers, You’re More Intimidating Than You Think” from Harvard Business Review worth reading. Now, I know most leaders here consider themselves approachable – it would give me pause if they didn’t! – but research from other organizations and even our own Engagement Survey results suggest it can be intimidating for people to approach their managers because of differences in authority. My key takeaways from the article: 

• “…scariness is a relational experience, rather than a personal attribute.” I consider myself very friendly and non-hierarchical – especially having spent the early stages of my career in a university environment where all voices were welcomed – so I’ve never viewed myself as an intimidating person. But the article points out that “certain labels you carry with you can override [your well-meaning] characteristics.” So, if you are in a leadership role at UHN, reflect on the limiting effects of your perceived status. I’ll be reflecting on this as well over the coming weeks and months. Are there simple things we could all do (like adjusting our body language – see below) so people feel encouraged to speak up? 

• Body language: The article mentions how we tend to send nonverbal “shut up” signals rather than “speak up” ones – whether or not that’s what we’re actually intending to communicate. Take time to reflect on what your nonverbal cues are suggesting to people. Do you frown when you’re deep in thought? That’s okay – but tell others you’re just thinking, not concerned.

• “Advantage blindness”: Those in privileged positions assume others experience a situation in the same way we do. Remember what it’s like to be in a more junior role, where it can seem riskier to speak up. Recognize the lived experiences of others. 

3. Toronto Western’s annual site BBQ – another great opportunity to celebrate TeamUHN   

Great to spend time with amazing colleagues at this year’s BBQ. Thanks to Margaret Klys (Executive Assistant, Toronto Western), Janet Newton (Vice President, Site Lead at Toronto Western) and the organizing committee for outfitting me in a BRITE (Building Resilience within Institutions Together with Employees) T-shirt this time around. Much better than the suit jacket I flipped burgers in last year! I’d also like to thank everyone who took the time to say hi and introduce themselves. One of the greatest pleasures of my role is learning about the work you all do.

Have a good week,  

Kevin

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