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

  • We begin this week by again recognizing the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after more than 70 remarkable years on the throne and acknowledging the ascension of Canada's new head of state, His Majesty King Charles III. The University Health Network is proud of its special connections to The Royal Family. Indeed, The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is named after the Queen's beloved late sister, who last visited Toronto in 1996. Sophie, Countess of Wessex and the spouse of Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, became the royal patron of Toronto General Hospital after a visit in 2005. In this historic moment, we join with people around the world, and especially in the Commonwealth, in fondly remembering Queen Elizabeth II and wishing King Charles III a long and happy reign.
  • Last Thursday, TeamUHN warmly welcomed Dr. Gianrico Farrugia, President and CEO of the Mayo Clinic, for a special visit to the University Health Network. Dr. Farrugia delivered a guest lecture in the morning on excellence, leadership, and transformation in healthcare, providing insights into how the Mayo Clinic is harnessing the power of technology to better serve patients. Dr. Farrugia toured the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and UHN's Lung Regeneration Research Lab, and attended the Executive Leadership Forum, along with the Mayo Clinic's chief of staff, Tina Holmes, for a question-and-answer session. As Canada's top academic health sciences centre, it is vital that we learn from our colleagues, particularly when it comes to how our peers are advancing patient-centred care for the future. I look forward to seeing the collaboration and partnership with Mayo Clinic grow as we continue to identify advancements that have promising use cases across care, discovery, and learning. My thanks to Dr. Keith Stewart for initiating the visit and all those who helped organize the day's events.
  • On Saturday, the annual "Walk to Conquer Cancer," where supporters walked 20 kms in honour of the Walk's 20th anniversary, and on Sunday, the 9th annual "Journey to Conquer Cancer", a family walk/run between 1 and 5 kms, raised $3 million and $1.2 million respectively for cancer research at The Princess Margaret. For each event, more than 1,500 participants pounded the pavement and, with every step, supported the groundbreaking work of TeamUHN and our goal for A Healthier World free from the scourge of cancer. My thanks to our many clinicians, researchers, and staff who participated, including research leaders Drs. Aaron Schimmer and Brad Wouters; Walk emcee Tammy Johnson, Senior Director of "The Walk" at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation (PMCF); Keith Clarke, Journey emcee and Director of "Journey" at PMCF; Steve Merker, VP, Corporate & Community Partnerships at PMCF; Foundation President and CEO, Dr. Miyo Yamashita, and everyone who worked so hard to organize such a wonderful weekend.
  • This week, the Centre for Living Organ Donation at UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre hosts Living Donation Week (LDW) 2022, a national awareness week featuring free virtual events and activities focused on improving access and equity in living organ donation. This year, LDW will also be marked by a first-of-its-kind campaign – Great Actions Leave a Mark – featuring transplant recipients, living organ donors, and Team Transplant. Through striking artistic photos in black and white except for a green scarf (green is the colour that represents organ and tissue donation) and videos, this campaign will help promote education and raise awareness of living organ donation. A launch story was published in the Toronto Star and there's also a great story on UHN News today about the journey of Stephanie Dyriw, a living liver donor, and how our teams in the Transplant Program helped her save the life of her 3-year-old son. I encourage everyone to read it and to help spread awareness of this extraordinary gift of life. Learn more at
  • Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones has approved proposed regulatory changes from the province's nursing college to expedite the registration of internationally educated nurses. The College of Nurses of Ontario (CNO) proposed to permit internationally trained nurses to become temporarily registered as they complete the process of full registration, such as finishing exams. The nursing college says such a change could benefit almost 6,000 international applicants. CNO also proposed regulation changes to make it easier for 5,300 non-practicing nurses living in the province to return to work, if they choose to do, by removing requirements for practice within the last three years. Minister Jones has also approved a proposal from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario for a temporary, three-month registration for physicians educated in other provinces. This is all welcome news as we navigate staffing and health human resource challenges. Learn more about the changes from CBC News. Read the CNO's full response to Minister Jones right here.
  • On Friday, Health Canada approved a second COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5. Pfizer-BioNTech's Comirnaty vaccine can be given to kids aged six months to four years in three doses – with three weeks between initial and second doses and eight weeks between the second and third shots. This comes on the heels of Health Canada's approval of Moderna's Spikevax shot for that same age group in July. Learn more about this decision on the Health Canada website. Reminder: UHN Connected Care and the Toronto Western Family Health Team continue to host vaccination clinics for booster shots for children aged five to 11 on Saturdays and Sundays. Check for appointment slots here.

Closing Notes

Saturday, Sept. 10 was World Suicide Prevention Day, a time to both remember those we have lost and think about how we can be there for people who are struggling. Every year, more than 700,000 people die by suicide, according to the World Health Organization, and many more will attempt suicide or face suicidal ideation. As healthcare professionals, we know that there is help and hope for those struggling with serious mental-health challenges and that we must all do our part to remove the stigma around seeking treatment. I'm happy to see that, next year, a new three-digit, 988 number will come to Canada so that those in need can call or text to receive immediate suicide prevention intervention. In the meantime, those experiencing mental-health crises can call Talk Suicide Canada by dialing 1-833-456-4566. I'm proud that UHN has Canada's largest medical psychiatry program and remains a leader in mental health research. UHN's Centre for Mental Health is committed to integrating mental and physical health in the treatment of patients and offers a range of mental health resources for TeamUHN members, including the UHN CARES program (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Mental Health Supports) that offers counselling and support services and useful resources. If you are struggling, please know that you are never alone and there is always help available.

Lucas Chartier, Chief Patient Safety Officer, will be hosting a UHN-wide Fundamentals of Quality Improvement (QI) workshop Thursday, September 15. This virtual event will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. To receive a meeting invite, please follow this link. This event comes on the heels of the inaugural Summit on Quality and Safety in March, a recording of which can be found on the Q&S Sharepoint.

A study from The Institute for Education Research (TIER) at UHN suggests a different healthcare educational strategy could perform as well as the so-called "mastery learning" teaching model while requiring fewer resources. "Mastery learning" involves guided teaching and testing from an instructor, the most common instructional approach. As Dr. Ryan Brydges, an affiliate scientist at TIER told UHN News, this strategy "requires a significant investment in time, consumables and human resources." The study found that the underused teaching method of "invent and problem-solve, followed by instruction" – an approach that lets students experiment and fail before receiving formal instruction – is comparable for acquiring skills and preparation for future learning. You can read more at UHN News and access the study right here.


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Have a good week,


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