​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

  • As of today, mask mandates have been lifted in most social settings in the province, which marks a significant shift in the public-health approach to the pandemic. However, masking is still required in high-risk settings, including hospitals and on public transit. As I said last week, UHN will continue to mask because it is essential to protecting our patients, their caregivers, and each other. Our policy on mandatory vaccination for TeamUHN members and Essential Care Partners will also stay in place. But as I also said, things are evolving and we will ensure UHN evolves with the changes supported by science and in the best interests of those we serve and TeamUHN.
  • I'd also like to acknowledge the many screeners who have ensured that those coming into UHN are complying with these rules. I know there have been occasions where these members of TeamUHN have faced unacceptable verbal abuse from some who are frustrated by these decisions. The screening done at the door each morning is often a thankless job, but I want those members of TeamUHN to know that we see them and we value them. Thank you for all that you've done and will continue to do to keep this place safe.
  • In other news related to the pandemic, the Government of Canada announced last week that it will end pre-entry COVID-19 testing requirements for fully vaccinated travelers by April 1. Presently, travelers entering Canada must show proof of a negative antigen or molecular test before their flight or arrival at the border. And, on Thursday, Health Canada also approved the use of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for children between the ages of six to 11.
  • The Synapse project has reached another exciting milestone: training of Super Users starts today and runs until April 8. Despite challenges and setbacks with registration lists and data, managers and directors from across the organization – alongside the Synapse team – demonstrated a strong commitment to getting Super Users registered for classes so that they could begin building their Epic expertise. Super Users are an essential part of the support structure that will help ensure UHN has a safe and effective transition to the Epic system. Learn more
  • After consultation with the CART Working Group, UHN will reduce clinical activity during the three weeks surrounding the Synapse Go-Live set for June 4. This is being done to give TeamUHN members more time to learn Epic, to reduce the risk of serious safety events with novice Epic users, and to ensure staffing flexibility. During this period, the upper limit of activity will be:
    • On the week beginning May 30th, an average of 80% across care types (including procedures, surgery, and outpatient activity)
    • The week of June 6th: average of 60% across care types
    • The week of June 13th: average of 70% across care types

    More on this plan, endorsed by ELF on Friday, can be found online.

Closing Notes

  • The team at UHN's Krembil Brain Institute (KBI) at Toronto Western Hospital will launch an exciting new podcast, 'Your Complex Brain,' on March 22. Hosted by Senior Public Affairs Advisor, Heather Sherman, this podcast is all about the most powerful and complex organ in the human body, featuring UHN experts, care teams, and patients. This project will explore the latest research and science on Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, stroke, concussion, spinal cord injury, chronic pain and other brain diseases and disorders. It will also share heroic and heartfelt stories, brought to you by one of the top neurological centres in North America. Subscribe today on Apple podcasts.
  • March is Epilepsy Awareness Month and March 26th is Purple Day, an international day of action for those living with epilepsy and for those working in the epilepsy community, to help raise awareness and decrease stigma about the disorder. The multidisciplinary team at Krembil Brain Institute is breaking ground in epilepsy research and clinical care, using new techniques and technologies to study and treat the disease. Watch this video about research looking into how a Mozart sonata may reduce seizure frequency for patients with epilepsy and watch this video explaining how a new technology is being used to remotely monitor seizures in epilepsy patients and one day, may be able to stop them. For more information on the epilepsy program and for links to special lectures on epilepsy-related topics: www.uhn.ca/Krembil/Clinics/Epilepsy_Clinic
  • March 24th is World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, which marks the date in 1882 when Robert Koch announced he discovered the bacterium that causes TB.Though preventable and curable, TB is one of the world's most infectious and deadliest diseases, killing more than 4,100 people each day according to the World Health Organization. It is also a disease that underscores social inequality and one that disproportionately affects Indigenous communities. The rate of TB infection for the Inuit of Canada is 300 times higher than for non-Indigenous people. We thank our colleagues at the UHN TB Clinic for staying open during the pandemic to ensure patients could access quality care. We know that they served more TB patients than usual, and share our deepest gratitude for their efforts.
  • Last week, our colleagues and friends in the Jewish community celebrated the joyous holiday of Purim, which marks the escape of the Jewish people from destruction in the ancient Persian Empire. Family and friends came together – usually wearing fun costumes and masks – to read the story of courage and perseverance captured in the Book of Esther, exchange small treat packets, called mishloach manot, give to those less fortunate, and enjoy traditional foods, including hamantaschen pastries. On behalf of UHN's Board of Trustees and Senior Management Forum, wishing those who celebrated a joyful Purim.


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Have a good week,


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