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​Good Monday morning,

1. 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  Radiation medicine colleagues break record by delivering more than 11,000 courses of radiation in service of patients and families last year – plus doing some early recruitment: Last week, I enjoyed spending time with our radiation medicine colleagues at their annual Radiation Medicine Program appreciation lunch. In addition to celebrating their achievements across care, research and education, I also had the chance to do some early recruitment with baby Flora, who made her presence known when I mentioned how great it is to be on TeamUHN. Always good to have a team member who isn’t afraid to speak up!

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People and Culture  Visit from Brigadier General Dr. Tarif Bader, Surgeon General of the Israel Defense Forces: Earlier this month, after telling one of our Board members that we received a visit from Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin, they said encouragingly, “UHN is one of the top hospitals in the world and these are visits we should come to expect.” It seems this Board member was correct, as weeks later we were honoured to receive a visit from Tarif Bader, Surgeon General of the Israel Defense Forces. We are all members of TeamUHN and should all feel proud to be recognized by global colleagues. One of Dr. Bader’s main messages was the importance of collaboration and how trust is key to turning a team of experts into an expert team. Something we’re working towards at UHN.

People and Culture  Farewell to Paul Greig, David Grant, Gary Levy and Scott McIntaggart – “pillars of the UHN transplant community”: Bittersweet to bid farewell to these valued colleagues at a celebration last week. All are renowned in their respective fields – Paul and David as transplant  surgeons; Gary as the  medical director of the Multi-Organ Transplant Program and Scott, first as an expert transplant nurse, the manager and latterly as a hospital executive. A reminder to drop by Scott’s retirement tea on Monday, May 27 (between 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Toronto General’s De Gasperis Conservatory) as he completes his distinguished tenure as Toronto General’s Executive Lead and Senior Vice President. To learn more about their impressive careers, read the UHN News story here

Quality and Safety  TeamUHN comes together during a system upgrade to ensure continuity of care for patients: No matter how much our clinical and Digital colleagues plan, there is always a risk of running into unexpected issues and an extended downtime during a system upgrade. Last week, Laboratory Medicine Program’s Transfusion Medicine team ran into technical problems during the upgrade of their laboratory information system. What could have turned into a serious delay getting blood products to patients, was averted by the efforts of our Transfusion Medicine colleagues (many of whom worked overtime and double shifts); the Administrators on Site at Toronto Western, Toronto General and Princess Margaret; and UHN Digital. My thanks to TeamUHN for coming together to put the needs of patients first.

People and Culture  Attending the Krembil Nursing Awards tea: When I joined UHN just under a year ago, the Krembil Nursing Awards tea was one of my first events so it was a distinct pleasure to attend once again. These awards recognize the efforts of our nursing colleagues as they lead important quality improvement initiatives in service of patients and TeamUHN. I recognize how challenging it can be to uphold our mission of scholarship while balancing a heavy clinical workload, and want to express my sincerest thanks to those who brought forth their great ideas – and also thank the staff and managers who made scheduling arrangements so people could participate.    

2. Lessons on working effectively with government  

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at Rotman’s Advanced Health Leadership Program about effective ways to work with government partners. We discussed two points that are also relevant to working at UHN – the first being the strength of a coalition. It’s easy to say no to 50 people asking for 50 things, but it’s very hard to say no to 50 people asking for 1 thing. Especially if they are positioned as things that benefit people outside of “your” group! The whole point of being a health network (remember we are “University Health Network”) is that we have the ability to become greater than the total sum of ougr parts. Remember that when you’re trying to bring new ideas to life and think of the possible connections and benefits to other parts of the organization. The second relates to communication and putting your ask up front, and tailoring your proposal to your audience. See issues through the lens of the day and don’t draw lines in the sand. We’re all here for the same things – patients first and A Healthier World. 

3. Clinician wellness linked to better safety outcomes 

You’ve heard me say we can’t put the needs of patients first unless we empower TeamUHN, as these elements go hand in hand. I’d like to share a recent JAMA meta-analysis of 47 studies​, which associates burnout with a 2-fold increased odds of unsafe care, unprofessional behaviours, and low patient satisfaction. Thanks to Mary Elliott, physician lead of our BRITE (Building Resilience within Institutions Together with Employees) program, for sharing this review with me. I had the chance to discuss this literature at perioperative Gallie Day and open a dialogue about empowering TeamUHN with interdisciplinary surgical services colleagues from Toronto General and Princess Margaret. We have a plan of action and I look forward to delivering it alongside you.

Have a good week,  

Kevin

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