Good Monday morning,

Last week, the City had some terrible flooding and several of our sites were impacted by the heavy rain and flash floods. A big thank you to our facilities team for working so quickly to restore a safe and comfortable environment for our patients and staff. The good news is that the leaks at Toronto Western Hospital were minor thanks to the work we've done to address some of their maintenance needs, including fixing a number of cracked pipes. Not all sites were so fortunate though, including Princess Margaret, Toronto General, Toronto Rehab — as well as Toronto Western's Ossington Men's Withdrawal Management Centre, which was forced to shut down temporarily due to water damage. This underscores our dire need to repair and upgrade all of our buildings. I'm very pleased we've embarked on a Master Plan to look at the overall needs of UHN and work with the Ministry and our Foundations to plan our renewal.

I'm sure you've all heard of the escalating conflict between our Government and that of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Dr. Brian Hodges (Executive Vice President, Education) has been leading UHN's response to this challenging situation and trying, in concert with our partners at the University of Toronto, to manage the withdrawal of Saudi Residents and Fellows from Canadian academic hospitals. This includes 100+ dedicated and valued colleagues at UHN. I'm proud to say we're doing all we can to support our colleagues during this difficult time. Our sincerest hope is that the situation will be resolved however that looks unlikely at the moment. Our Medical Chiefs and Academic Heads are looking at ways to address clinical and academic needs if these trainees are forced to leave Canada. We recognize this would put pressure on our staff physicians and Canadian trainees so please know we are working hard to find realistic and sustainable short and longer term solutions.

I've also been attending the Caring Safely training modules and have really enjoyed seeing the pragmatic approach to skills development in how we can all raise quality issues in a safe and supportive environment. Frankly, I know we still have work to do in some areas but UHN has begun an important journey. We'll continue to refine our approach so we might celebrate the achievements and leading practices while not shying away from shining some light on areas and practices that have the potential to put patients and staff at risk.

I'd also like to recognize and thank Dr. Michael Apkon, who announced last week that he would be departing SickKids as he has accepted the CEO position at Tufts Medical Center in Boston. Mike has been a very fine colleague and partner with UHN and TAHSN (Toronto Academic Health Science Network) and we wish him well in his next exciting role.

Finally, we come to the conclusion of our 2018 series recognizing Local Impact Award nominees. It's been my pleasure to celebrate their work and I hope you'll take the time to nominate your peers next year — and to recognize great colleagues as often as possible.

  • Janet Pilgrim at Toronto Western (TW): Janet is the manager of 8B Fell General Internal Medicine at TW. While she was nominated for living UHN's values, her nomination is supported by a story showing her compassionate treatment of a marginalized patient.
  • Caring Safely Team: All members of each work stream — including a special nod to Brenda Perkins-Meingast for her work with the education stream — are nominated for their positive impact on staff and patient safety at UHN. Mike Nader and Emily Musing are also recognized and commended for their leadership.
  • Suzanne Hemeon and Megan Thiessen-Bock: Suzanne and Megan are described as the "heart" of the Heart Function Day Unit, which helps fill a gap between the hospital and community care as part of the Peter Munk Cardiac Care Ambulatory Clinic program. The success of the unit is credited to Suzanne and Megan's knowledge and excellent interpersonal skills.

Have a great week,


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