​​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

  • We begin this week with a note of appreciation for all TeamUHN members who worked in service of patients, their colleagues, and their community on Victoria Day. Thank you for stepping up and putting the needs of our patients first.
  • A new international study from UHN neurosurgeons using a novel approach to treating glioblastoma shows great promise for patients. Drs. Farshad Nassiri and Gelareh Zadeh published the results of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial in Nature Medicine last week. They investigated a therapy that combines injecting an oncolytic virus, which targets and kills cancer cells, directly into a tumour, using intravenous immunotherapy. They found this novel combination therapy can kill the tumour in select patients, extending their survival. "We are cautiously optimistic about the long-term clinical benefits for patients," Dr. Zadeh told UHN News. UHN was the only Canadian institution involved in this study and treated the majority of the patients enrolled in the trial. Read UHN News for more and be sure to watch this video exploring how these scientists seek to move the needle for glioblastoma patients.
  • Don't miss this UHN News story highlighting how the "Building Strong Care Teams" initiative is upskilling personal support workers (PSWs) and showcasing the power of teamwork. Designed in response to significant health human resources challenges, this education program and new model of care sees PSWs contributing more meaningfully to their teams, through enhanced patient-facing skills, such as collecting non-blood specimens and taking vital signs, which empowers nurses to work to their full scope of practice. "Because I'm contributing more, I feel a stronger sense of purpose, pride and fulfillment, every day," Tray Collier, a PSW at Toronto Western, told UHN News. Read more about how this program is delivering positive work experiences and represents new thinking to address Ontario's nursing shortage​.
  • Last week, the patient support network "HeartLinks" gathering drew 350 guests, including 120 UHN heart transplant recipients and 230 caregivers, family members, and heart transplant staff, marking a momentous occasion for TeamUHN's heart transplant unit. For the first time since 2019, members gathered in person at the Palais Royale in Toronto to celebrate the 35th anniversary of HeartLinks, a support network established in 1988 to give heart transplant patients an opportunity to speak with one another, share their lived experiences, and celebrate milestones. The event was a great success, with fundraising efforts throughout the evening reaching $5,000 for the UHN Foundation to go towards heart transplant research at UHN. See photos of the evening on UHN News.
  • The Laboratory Medicine Program (LMP) at UHN has taken an innovative approach to supporting laboratory medicine in Ontario due to a shortage of lab professionals. The LMP is cross-training and upskilling medical laboratory technologists (MLTs) with high-value tasks from other departments, allowing them to expand their skills in exciting ways. Julie MacIsaac, an MLT at the UHN/Sinai Health Microbiology Lab, was able to grow her skillset in UHN's Chemistry Lab, for instance. The program has also created an advanced laboratory technician role to enable medical laboratory assistants (MLAS) under a hospital's medical directive to perform duties typically done by MLTs. These are all examples of how UHN continues to be focused on solutions. Read more in UHN News.
  • As part of People & Culture's vision for UHN as a high-performing learning organization, we are piloting Percipio, a new learning tool with a rich library of multimedia content. This will allow UHN to assess the learner experience with this tool, test the "Learning Journey" content we've curated, and devise a plan to operationalize Percipio after the pilot. The pilot will be running from May 23 to November 30, 2023. All TeamUHN members will access Percipio from the MyLearning home page and will be encouraged to complete four UHN Core Learning Journeys promoted on UHN communication channels through a monthly calendar. Targeted individuals will be assigned to Practice-Specific Learning Journeys, promoted within the practice areas. Please join one of the Virtual Lunch & Learn sessions, which will be held from noon to 1 p.m. starting May 23 to learn more about this exciting tool and visit the P&C Intranet site (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture) for more details.
  • Please complete the Strategic Plan refresh survey today and share your thoughts on '3 Big Questions' to shape the next stage of UHN's journey. Visit the survey website or scan the QR code below to get started and be entered into draws for awesome prizes! Questions? Email strategy@uhn.ca.

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 UHN.ca. The last ELF meeting was held on Thursday, May 18.

Enterprise Risk Management Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: ELF receives bi-annual risk reports from the Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Office to support the organization's measured approach to risk-taking to drive innovative care, research, and education, while never compromising the quality of care or safety of our patients.
  • Who Presented? Marc Toppings (VP, Chief Legal Officer), and Fraser Pennie (Senior Risk Advisor)
  • What I need to know: ELF endorsed the ERM Office's prepared list of the current top organizational risks, providing a focused, enterprise-wide view of the most significant threats to UHN's operational objectives and strategic initiatives. Current top risks as validated by ELF include (among others): clinical recovery demand; health human resource shortages; workplace violence; cyber threats; and funding stability related to care, education and research. ELF also discussed emerging threats and opportunities, predicated on the idea that continuous foresight is necessary to move toward our goals. These discussions about risk to the enterprise are central to our ongoing work to refresh the Strategic Plan.

Closing Notes

World Family Doctor Day was celebrated on May 19, which gives us an opportunity to share our gratitude for the family doctors and primary care teams who do tireless work in service of patients each day. We appreciate the amazing family doctors working across our system, including those providing comprehensive primary care in the Toronto Western Family Health Team. This team was instrumental in our COVID vaccination campaigns and in ensuring that TeamUHN and their loved ones could be kept safe. Thank you for all you do to build A Healthier World.

Congratulations to Canadian Blood Services on achieving the 1,000 th kidney transplant performed as part of the Kidney Paired Donor program. UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre performed 155 of those 1,000 transplants and was a driving force behind the creation of this unique national registry for living kidney donors created in 2009. "This program is a real Canada-wide success story," says Dr. Sunita Singh, Medical Director of UHN's Living Kidney Donation Program. The KPD has given back many years of life to numerous Canadians with end-stage kidney disease, allowing patients to receive a living donor kidney transplant who otherwise would not receive one from a friend or family member due to blood group or immune incompatibility. The program has also increased the number of deceased donor kidneys available to those who do not have a living donor. Read more about the KPD program milestone and UHN.

The Michener Continuing Education Brochure for 2023/2024 is now available! With a wide range of courses designed for healthcare professionals looking to expand their knowledge, enhance their skills, or explore new areas of practice, this brochure offers something for everyone. You can now find the brochure on Michener's website.

And now.. our video of the week. In this clip, a TeamUHN physiotherapist teaches us three exercises to improve mobility. Happy Physiotherapy Month!


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Have a good week,


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