​Good afternoon, 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

  • UHN's Board of Trustees met Thursday for an all-day retreat focused on the future strategic directions of University Health Network. The day included a thought-provoking panel discussion between Deborah Richardson, Ontario's Deputy Minister (DM) of Health, Peter Kaftarian, Associate DM, Clinical Care and Delivery, and Matt Anderson, President and CEO of Ontario Health. We heard, loud and clear, that UHN has a unique responsibility to lead, uncover system solutions, and stand as a place of hope for patients. As part of a discussion on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and UHN's strategic focus and efforts to build capacity in this space, the Board observed a real-time demonstration of UHN's Clinical Camel, a first-in-class, open-sourced chatbot for health care. The Board also discussed the pillars of the strategic plan refresh and how UHN can continue to boldly lead in care, research, and education. I'm grateful the Board shares my enthusiasm and optimism for all that is to come and all we will accomplish together. My thanks to the team in my office for organizing a great day.
  • The federal government's 2024 budget was, in my view, a good start on repairing an increasingly stressed research community. In a welcome show of support for science that reflects the power of advocacy, the budget enhanced funding for research, setting aside $1.8 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, with almost $750 million per year going to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). The government is pledging to create a "capstone" research funding organization and a new Advisory Council on Science and Innovation, comprised of leaders from academic, industry, and non-profit sectors, to be responsible for a national science and innovation strategy. Ottawa has also pledged to spend $2.4 billion to build capacity in Artificial Intelligence (AI), particularly in health care, agriculture, and clean technology. As Canada's top research hospital, UHN understands its duty to advocate for science and for the kinds of investments that keep brilliant minds in our country (and ideally, right here at UHN). Read the reaction of Research Canada, a national alliance dedicated to advancing health research and innovation. The full 2024 Federal Budget can also be read online.
  • In more great news, the Synapse project – University Health Network's ambitious, multi-year clinical transformation – has reached the finish line! Over the weekend, UHN's Lab Medicine Program (LMP) went live with Epic's Beaker Anatomical Pathology (AP) module, which means all teams across the lab can seamlessly connect patient information in the system, as clinicians across UHN enjoy a more streamlined, precise approach to pathology and cytology orders. Please be patient with LMP as response times may be slower than expected as they adapt and adjust to using the new system. If you have an urgent patient safety issue, please report it through the regular process. I congratulate the Lab Medicine Program, the Synapse project team, and all TeamUHN members involved in this implementation for the successful launch of Beaker AP. Please visit the Beaker AP page of the Epic@UHN site for resources to help clinicians navigate go-live (available until July 2024). As I have said before, the difficult journey to adopt a modern health information system has ultimately taken us to the next level of care for the patients we are privileged to serve. Thank you, TeamUHN, for meeting this challenge with professionalism and enthusiasm.
  • After four years of closure for complex renovations and extensive infrastructure and amenity improvements, the Princess Margaret Lodge is re-opening for out-of-town cancer patients seeking care. The Lodge, built in 1957, has been reinvented to provide a “home-away-from-home" experience for individuals living outside the Greater Toronto Area who are attending appointments at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre or Sunnybrook Odette Cancer Centre. Thanks to the support of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, the building now has 120 beds, 63 bedrooms with individual bathrooms, all new windows, walls, ceilings, tiles, flooring, plumbing, electrical and mechanical equipment, plus WiFi throughout. Residents receive three catered meals each day as part of their stay and free shuttle bus service to their appointments. With a billiards room for entertainment, a wellness room for meditation, and a fitness room for exercise, the Lodge – located on Jarvis St., a short distance from the Princess Margaret – is a lovely facility that can accommodate more patients than ever before, and meet all of their diverse needs. Read more in UHN News.
  • Mayo Clinic's Platform_Connect, the cutting-edge data network and global partnership to which UHN has belonged for nearly a year, grew in exciting ways last week. Seoul National University Hospital in South Korea, SingHealth in Singapore, and UC Davis Health in California all signed on to join the network, which now includes eight of the world's leading health systems across three continents. UHN was proud to be a founding member of this alliance last May, alongside Mayo Clinic and Mercy in the United States, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Brazil, and Sheba Medical Center in Israel. The network opens up secure, cloud-based access to de-identified clinical data gathered through members via a "Data Behind Glass" model that allows organizations to access information without moving data between hospitals. Each member is focused on unlocking new data-driven algorithms informed by Artificial Intelligence to more quickly identify both diseases and the best treatment options for patients. The inclusion of these fine hospitals ultimately strengthens all partners. Learn more from Mayo Clinic.
  • We're delighted to share this quarter's list of honourees through UHN Foundation's Honour Your Hero program. From November 2023 to January 2024, 146 staff members were honoured by grateful patients. View the report here. Honour Your Hero provides patients and their families the opportunity to express gratitude to hospital staff for exemplifying UHN's value of excellence in patient care with compassion and kindness, by making a donation in support of UHN.  Join us in recognizing the accomplishments of our TeamUHN colleagues. Your care inspires patients to give. To learn more, visit uhnfoundation.ca/heroes.
  • I recently co-wrote a Toronto Star column with Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, arguing that we must revolutionize how we organize health care in Canada. We make the case that we cannot continue to run our health system as we did in the 1960s and must instead embrace changes that put the patient at the heart of all we do. Read the full piece here.

Video of the Week

And now… our videoof the week. In this clip, beloved Canadian comedy legend Martin Short explains why he is UHNITED in the fight against Parkinson's disease.


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Have a good week,


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