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

  • Tomorrow on March 9 (12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) – Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19: In support of transparency and collegiality, we are asking you to submit questions using your full name. Questions submitted without a full name will not be posted. Our goal is to show everyone that it is safe to speak up at UHN and that spirited debate is welcome, so long as it is done respectfully. Submit questions here or enter #UHNCOVID-19x41 on Livestream here (Chrome/Firefox). Read answers to FAQs here – updated regularly. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Virtual Open Forum (top right box) > Open Forum FAQ).
  • Join us for UHN's Day of Remembrance on March 11 (12:00 p.m. to 12:15 p.m.): The virtual ceremony will observe the 1-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by our colleagues in Spiritual Care, we will reflect on one of the world's most challenging years in recent memory and the lives we have tragically lost and the losses to each of us in how we live.
  • Happy International Women's Day! In honour of International Women's day, watch this roundtable discussion which starts with the inspiring launch of UHNWomen – an initiative that will bring women and allies together across care, research and education in support of equal opportunity for all. Help shape the future of UHNWomen by filling out this survey and see the Steering Committee members who will guide the way.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to the concerning state of COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

COVID-19 vaccines: Change in Ontario's rollout including extended period between doses, targeted pilots for people 80-years-old and over, and congregate settings

  • Background: The good news is that Ontario is now vaccinating people 80-years-old and over. Following specific criteria set by Ontario's COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, we have started a series of targeted pilots in partnership with Toronto Public Health and peer hospitals for people 80-years-old and over including:
    • Those already receiving care through Family Health Teams at UHN, Sinai Health System, Women's College Hospital and Toronto Grace (pilot started end of last week).
    • Those receiving chemotherapy at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (pilot started end of last week).
    • Those receiving hemodialysis (pilot starts today, March 8).
    • Those in congregate settings (seniors buildings defined by the Mid-West Toronto Ontario Health Team) via mobile vaccine teams (work has been ongoing).

    In support of this change, we now have a pre-registration link for eligible UHN patients 80-years-old and over. Please visit the UHN Vaccine Registry for more information on who is eligible and how to register.

    We also started vaccinating people at shelters thanks to support from our mobile vaccine teams, Social Medicine Program and Toronto Public Health.

    The disappointing news is that last week on March 5, Ontario announced it will be extending the period between first and second doses from 35 days to four months (16 weeks). Read the release here. We recognize and share your disappointment in this change. I sent a message with more detail which you can find here (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Internal Communications > "Ontario is extending..."). For those interested in reading more about how this decision was made, here is a story for your consideration from CBC News.

  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer), Janet Newton (Vice President, Clinical) and Shiran Isaacksz (Vice President, Connected Care and Altum Health)
  • What do I need to know? We have the opportunity to come together as a community at tomorrow's Virtual Open Forum and discuss these important changes. Please submit your questions here (or enter #UHNCOVID-19x41 on and sign your full name, as part of our commitment to creating a culture of safety, recognition and respect.

COVID-19 vaccines: Expecting slight updates to our Health Services risk assessment process from the Toronto Region Operations Table

  • Background: We are seeing a significant reduction in hospitalizations around the world thanks to the arrival of vaccines in December, which is welcome and long awaited news. While overall supply remains the significant challenge, vaccines from Astra Zeneca and Johnson & Johnson have now been approved by Health Canada. Our IPAC colleagues are working with the Toronto Region Operations Table to determine when and how we will integrate vaccination status into our risk assessments moving forward. As mentioned, vaccination does not replace public health measures (e.g. masking, physical distancing), it complements them – so people will not be exempt from necessary protocols based on vaccination status. We are expecting guidance documents this week.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control) and John Granton (Interim Medical Director, Health Services)
  • What do I need to know? Help save lives and accelerate our collective return to normalcy by masking, physically distancing and not gathering unnecessarily with people outside your household. Register for UHN's Vaccine Registry [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] if you haven't already (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Vaccine). To date, we have more than 11,300 members of TeamUHN registered and approximately 400 additional staff are registering each week.

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 March 4, 2021.

Re-imagining Human Resources (HR): A review of the HR function at UHN

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Sheila O'Brien's (Executive Vice President, People, Culture and Community) arrival at UHN allows us the opportunity to revisit and reimagine the way people and culture are supported and continued development can be prioritized. The goal is to unlock the full potential of every member of TeamUHN and truly empower and invest in our future. Like many areas across the organization, there are pockets of excellence when it comes to people development – but there are also challenges including paper-based systems and siloes. After discussing the opportunities ahead with our colleagues in HR and various stakeholders, we now have guiding principles for the exciting road ahead: Eliminating those siloes and increasing collaboration, being customer centric, aligning with best practices in HR, managing change impacts, and treating people with fairness and respect.
  • Who presented? Sheila O'Brien
  • What do I need to know? On March 23, you will have the opportunity to hear about this vision of a re-imagined HR team at our Virtual Open Forum. Guided by Sheila and Diana Elder (Vice President, Human Resources), our colleagues in HR look forward to partnering with all of you to introduce a new era of people, culture and community at UHN.

Lakeside 2 Long-term Care Centre and Master Plan update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: UHN's Master Plan presents our vision for our physical campus over the next 25 years. There are several key projects supporting this vision including the development of the Lakeside 2 Long-term-Care Centre, as well as secure affordable housing which we are excited to be advancing with the City and United Way. After carefully considering the lessons learned from Ontario's long-term care response during the pandemic – as well as staff, resident and essential care partner feedback – the project team has re-examined the room designs and parking for Lakeside 2 and are considering modifications to the existing plan. We are in conversation with the Ministry of Long-term Care about evolving the project to meet critical future needs and working in close partnership with patient family advocates and the City of Toronto.
  • Who presented? Rebecca Repa (Executive Vice President, Clinical Support & Performance)
  • What do I need to know? Our goal at UHN is to help invent the long-term care model of the future. That includes designing a campus for aging-in-place which could include Lakeside, Lakeside 2, Bickle Centre and beyond.

Closing notes

For anonymous and confidential emotional support, call UHN's peer-to-peer support line at 416-340-5443. You can reach a professional peer counsellor during the evening and on weekends (Monday to Friday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.; Weekends 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). For additional mental health support, please consider using the UHN Cares program (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Mental Health Supports).


Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here. Have a good week,


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