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Good Monday morning,

1. COVID-19 Update: TeamUHN response to our first case  

By now, you are likely aware that UHN has seen its first case of COVID-19. From the moment the patient was in the Emergency Department (ED), they were appropriately isolated under needed precautions, assessed and sent home to self-isolate, and are now being monitored by Toronto Public Health. I’d like to thank all teams involved for their professional and compassionate response, especially our colleagues at the Toronto Western Emergency Department and IPAC (Infection Prevention and Control). Given the global prevalence of COVID-19, we planned for the possibility of a first case at UHN early on and were thus well prepared to serve the affected patient.

What happens now that we’ve seen our first case at UHN? All appropriate protocols were followed in response to our first case, and we are continually reviewing our processes to ensure that we are current with the situation as it changes. As an added precaution, access to the Toronto General and Toronto Western Emergency Department ‘back doors’ (entrances inside the hospital) are now limited to card access only. TeamUHN should make sure to have their UHN badge at all times. For members of TeamUHN who need to access the EDs to serve patients, our colleagues at UHN Security are available to answer any questions or help with card reader issues.

How can members of TeamUHN help?

•        Limit traffic in the EDs: Do not enter or exit through the ED entrances unless it is for direct patient care.

•       Wash your hands: Continue to practice regular hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

•       Stay home if you’re sick: If you have symptoms of a respiratory illness, stay home and call Occupational Health before returning to work (see link to Occupational Health and Safety Guidance).

•       N95 fit-testing: Please get fit tested for your N95 respirators. Drop-in clinic schedule available on the COVID-19 Preparedness page.

•       Help us maintain adequate supplies: Do not stockpile any personal protective equipment (PPE), especially masks, and only use PPE, including masks, as required by UHN policy and practice for patient care and/or working with hazardous materials.

•       Consult the latest travel advisory from the Toronto Region COVID-19 Healthcare Human Resources Working Group: See the advisory here. Given the evolving epidemiology of COVID-19 risk in many parts of the world, all travel outside of Canada for hospital work-related purposes is not permitted until further notice.

Finally, it is important to remember that our processes for responding to COVID-19 are similar to existing UHN policies for responding to respiratory illnesses, including the flu – an illness we prepare for every year. The COVID-19 Preparedness page has all the resources and information you need if there are any processes you’d like to review.

2. UHN named #4 top hospital in the world

For the second year in a row, Newsweek has named UHN as one of the top hospitals in the world. It’s an honour to be recognized alongside renowned institutions including the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic and Massachusetts General Hospital. This recognition is made possible thanks to patients and families placing their trust in us and partnering with us in the delivery of their care, the remarkable generosity of our philanthropic community, and the collective talents of everyone on TeamUHN across all sites including Toronto General, Toronto Rehab, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret and Michener Institute.

Our colleagues in Public Affairs shared the cause for celebration on UHN News and social media and the response has been incredible. See a sample of the feedback from grateful patients and appreciative colleagues below. It’s been a challenging time for us – not only because of the COVID-19 situation, but also because of our overall clinical and financial pressures – so I hope you’ll all take a moment to gather with your colleagues and celebrate this wonderful collective achievement.

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3. 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.

People and Culture  As part of our recognition of International Women’s Day last week, we launched UHNWomen to help empower a diverse TeamUHN. This new program was initiated by passionate members of TeamUHN and focuses on two-way learning and mentorship. The program is taking its first steps with an inaugural event on June 3, which will be a series of “speed mentoring” sessions between mentors and mentees. I’m told it sold out in two hours, which means we’re seizing upon a big opportunity – and that we must design a sustainable way of supporting the women of UHN. Thank you to Executive Co-sponsors Catherine Wang (Vice President, Clinical Operations & Diagnostic Partnerships) and Brian Hodges (Chief Medical Officer; Executive Vice President, Education), as well as all the leaders who agreed to share their insights and learn from the remarkable women of UHN. And, thank you to all the mentees who signed up to help create A Healthier World for all. Learn more about UHNWomen here.

Partnerships  The Honourable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Ministry of Health, presented Ontario’s roadmap to wellness – a plan to build Ontario’s mental health and addictions system: It was a pleasure to attend this presentation at the Canadian Club last week and discuss how UHN can support Ontario’s plans. Our hospital is home to Canada’s largest medical psychiatry program. We also have the second largest mental health footprint in the Greater Toronto Area. This conversation was especially timely as UHN prepares to launch it’s upcoming mental health strategy in support of UHN’s Mental Health Program and will align with our Social Medicine Program.   

People and Culture  Discussing the potential integration between Toronto Rehab Foundation and Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation: Gillian Howard (Interim CEO, Toronto Rehab Foundation; Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications) and I co-hosted an Open Forum last week at Toronto Rehab’s University Centre to discuss what an integration would mean. Rehab is an essential part of the care journey and it makes complete sense to build rehabilitation care, research and education into our donor requests. Change has the potential of causing fear of the unknown, though, so I’d like to thank our colleagues at Toronto Rehab Foundation for placing their trust in us and continuing to do their remarkable work in service of patients and families.

People and Culture   Last week, I had the privilege of paying tribute to the career of Morris Sherman – known for his outstanding contributions to the field of liver cancer and viral hepatitis. Morris led a remarkable career in hepatology with more than 35 years of service at UHN and Toronto General. In addition Morris is the Chair of UHN’s Research Ethics Board – which is integral to our academic mission and does a massive amount of work to protect the safety of patients who take part in research.  Luckily for UHN, Morris will continue in this important role. It’s our pleasure to wish Morris well in his retirement form clinical practice, which will hopefully be spent pursuing his passions including birding. UHN is the fortunate recipient of many of Morris’ beautiful photographs!

4. What we discussed at our Executive Leadership Forum meeting

Here is what we discussed at last week’s Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) meeting. See who attends these meetings on UHN.ca:

UHN Strategy Forum – Sharing obstacles and opportunities for strategy

Presenters: Nathalie Brown (Strategy Forum Co-Chair; Rehab Therapy Supervisor, Behaviour Therapist); Farrah Schwartz (Strategy Forum Co-Chair; Manager, Patient Education and Engagement)

UHN’s Strategy Forum is an advisory committee to ELF and offers diverse intergenerational perspectives to accelerate the evolution of UHN. Various programs and departments present to our Strategy Forum on a quarterly basis, who then provide feedback and suggestions in return. To date, 12 programs have presented 46 initiatives in alignment with UHN’s Strategic Priorities. Strategy Forum Co-Chairs Nathalie and Farrah reported on the following obstacles and opportunities seen across UHN:

•       Goals being tied to tangible, measurable and specific metrics: Real-time data is not always readily available. Opportunity to engage Decision Support and the Data, Analytics & Insight teams for interim solutions and how we tackle this as part of our clinical transformation. 

•       Evolving with the healthcare landscape: We have not fully unleashed the power of technology and innovation at UHN. Opportunity to publicize innovative work across programs and help build a culture that embraces change. 

•       Quality of work life: Maintaining our status as a world-leading academic health sciences centre in a publicly funded health system is challenging. Burnout is a major area of concern for UHN. Opportunity to spread and scale up the work that is improving quality of work life for TeamUHN. 

The members of ELF engaged in rich discussion on the experience of the Strategy Forum and opportunities to continually advance UHN’s 2019-23 Strategic Plan. Members of ELF also asked about how Strategy Forum has helped its members learn about UHN and how this can be applied across Team UHN. Thanks to all Strategy Forum members for volunteering their time and expertise. 

Fundraising priorities for Toronto Rehab and KITE Institute 

Presenters: Susan Jewell (Senior Vice President and Executive Lead, Toronto Rehab), Mark Bayley (Physiatrist-in-Chief), Milos Popovic (Research Director, KITE Institute) 

Our colleagues at Toronto Rehab Foundation (TRF) are developing their 5-year fundraising plan in alignment with UHN’s Strategic Priorities. Before finalizing this plan, Sue, Mark and Milos came to ELF and presented their funding priorities to ensure they support UHN’s overarching priorities. This was a great opportunity for ELF to discuss how TRF’s fundraising priorities overlap with Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and The Princes Margaret Cancer Foundation, and how we can approach donors with requests that truly span across the care journey. 

Have a good week, 

Kevin


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