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

  • I begin this week by expressing my gratitude to every TeamUHN member who worked in service of patients, colleagues, learners, and their community over Easter weekend. We sincerely thank the many professionals who stepped up so that UHN can continue to deliver high-quality care that always puts the patient first.
  • To mark Earth Month, Toronto's Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie toured the Wastewater Energy Transfer System project at the Toronto Western last week. Once completed, this will be the world's largest wastewater energy transfer system and is expected to reduce the site's greenhouse gas emissions by 10,000 metric tonnes each year – the equivalent of removing 1,811 cars from the road. As Deputy Mayor McKelvie later noted on Twitter, projects such as this one are "vital" for the city to reach its goal of net zero by 2040. Learn more about this exciting project at UHN News.
  • Congratulations to Louise Aspin, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of UHN Foundation, for having been recently named one of this year's Top 25 Women of Influence. Louise was recognized for her fundraising prowess, including leading her team to raise more than $150 million in 2022 to tackle the most significant health challenges in Canada and around the world, particularly those of the aging population. The Top 25 Women of Influence Awards celebrate Canada's most accomplished women role models from a variety of sectors. Louise and the other recipients were feted at a luncheon at the Shangri-La on April 4. Learn more about this recognition at The 25 Women of Influence Awards website.
  • Hats off to KITE's Dr. Cathy Craven and Dr. Tilak Dutta for being recognized with the KITE Community Service Award. This honour is bestowed annually on one senior scientist and one scientist who have made significant, lasting contributions to the KITE community by, for example, serving on committees, assisting with fundraising activities and community events, and providing peer support. “This community service award means a lot to me and the members of our team because it underscores the importance of contributions that may not be traditionally valued in academia, but helps make KITE the type of place we all want to work and ensures our work has real-world impact," said Dr. Dutta. Read more about this award on KITE's website.
  • Canada's first centre devoted to supporting oncology nursing research has opened at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. The Oncology Nursing Research Centre of Excellence (ONRCE) will focus on oncology nursing research and scholarly pursuits to improve patient and family outcomes and the experience of living through the different phases of the cancer journey. A recently released ONRCE report found that oncology nurses at UHN had 140 publications, presented more than 130 conference abstracts, received 30 grants, and gave 87 oral presentations around the world between 2020-2022. This is an excellent development that underpins the vital role that research and education play in all that we do at UHN. Learn more.
  • UHN's inaugural Employee Referral Program (ERP) is getting results. Launched in early 2022, this pilot program offers a cash incentive to TeamUHN members who successfully refer candidates for hard-to-fill roles, including nursing, labs, and the Joint Department of Medical Imaging. As mentioned in last week's Open Forum, since the ERP launch, People & Culture has hired 295 people to full-time roles – 206 of those nurses – with a retention rate of 82.6%. Jason Hu, a registered nurse at Princess Margaret, referred RN Navia Kumar, who had been a grad student he was training. "It's great to be able to refer someone that you know and trust is going to be a good hire and addition to the team, along with getting a bonus for that," Jason said. Learn more about this important program to support hiring and retention at UHN News and on the Corporate Intranet (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture > Employee Referral Program).
  • The Michener Institute of Education at UHN has signed a historic, multi-year agreement with the Nova Scotia government and Nova Scotia Health Authority to offer its full-time accredited Medical Laboratory Science Program to Nova Scotia students. The program, including all clinical placements and laboratories, will be offered in Nova Scotia – effectively creating a Michener Maritime campus! This partnership is yet another example of how Michener is increasing enrolment, expanding its presence across Canada, diversifying its revenue base, and positioning itself to be rightly seen as Canada's foremost school of applied health sciences education. Learn more from the Government of Nova Scotia.
  • My thanks to all TeamUHN members who have already taken the Strategic Plan refresh survey. For those who haven't, this three-minute exercise asks TeamUHN to reflect on three big questions about where we've been, where we are going, and how we can best support our teams, now and for the future. There will be draws for prizes for those who complete the survey early so don't wait! Visit the website or scan the QR code below to have your say. We look forward to hearing from you!

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on Thursday, April 6.

UHN Leadership Competency Framework

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Any top organization seeking a competitive advantage must identify leadership competencies that are directly attributable to leadership effectiveness and high performance at the organization. With this in mind, UHN's Leadership Competency Framework was developed to create a common language on the expected behaviours of leaders at all levels and roles. This framework will be foundational to a number of talent management processes, and to supporting the success of current leaders, and growing a pipeline of future leaders. The People & Culture representatives behind this work sought ELF's feedback and endorsement.
  • Who Presented? Jessica Marangos (Director, Workforce Development), and Alyssa Roebuck (Senior Advisor, Performance & Learning)
  • What I need to know: The Framework, developed in consideration of best practice research and the discussion of leadership attributes that are distinctive to success at UHN, was warmly endorsed by ELF. The Framework identifies six core leadership behaviours, and must be considered in conjunction with our collective commitment to respect, civility, and collegiality; UHN's purpose, values, and essentials; and technical competencies required for one's role. With ELF's backing, the People & Culture team will now initiate an engagement plan, starting with leaders at UHN, and craft a phased approach to embedding the Framework into key people-management processes, beginning with the development of leadership programming for mid-level managers, Directors, and Executives.

Closing Notes

April is Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) Awareness Month. Though IBS is a common disorder affecting up to 7.5 million Canadians, less than half will seek medical help, according to the Canadian Society of Intestinal Research. IBS is a chronic gastrointestinal condition characterized by symptoms of abdominal pain, bloating, and changes in bowel movements, including constipation and diarrhea. IBS is more common in women than men and can affect people of all ages. IBS is associated with high personal, healthcare, and societal costs. We are proud that UHN boasts Canada's top centre for digestive health disorders – the Driscoll Family Digestive Health Centre – with clinics at the Toronto General and Toronto Western. We thank the dedicated team of gastroenterologists, nurses, and registered dieticians who work together to deliver patient-centred care, education, and training so that patients no longer suffer in silence and learn how to best manage their condition.

April is also Oral Health Month, which began with the celebration of National Dental Hygienists Week. Maintaining good oral health is immensely important to overall health and wellness. Periodontal disease has been linked to serious health conditions and diseases, including diabetes, lung disease and heart disease. UHN is thankful for the professional and dedicated service of the dental hygienists at dental clinics at Princess Margaret and Toronto Rehab, as well as the dentists and dental assistants focused on delivering high-quality care.

April is also World Autism Month, which demands acceptance and understanding for those touched by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, communication, and repetitive behaviours. Autism is the most common neurodevelopmental condition in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada, and it affects 1 in 50 Canadians between the ages of one and 17. This month gives us a chance to better understand ASD and the challenges faced by those living with autism and their loved ones. Be sure to check out this UHN News story about a pilot program for families of children with autism, led by UHN and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab researchers, aimed at delivering virtual autism supports. Students and researchers involved in this program were recently awarded a Minister's Award of Excellence from the Ministry of Colleges and Universities.

And now.. our video of the week. This clip shines a light on UHN's amazing Nutrition Services team, which works so hard behind the scenes to ensure patients can enjoy nutritious meals each day.


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Have a good week,


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