​Good Tuesday morning,

I hope everyone enjoyed their long weekend. Let's take a moment to thank our colleagues who were here working so that the rest of Team UHN could spend time with loved ones.

I'm reading your submissions from our anonymous strategic planning survey and want to thank everyone for the great comments. Some highlights on our strengths and opportunities below:

  • "Given UHN's size, there are a lot of opportunities for synergy and sharing resources; initiatives are needed to identify opportunities and to take advantage of them without adding further administrative burden."
  • "We need to commit to be more responsive to the needs of our staff, including the mental health impacts of our jobs, and recognizing the amazing work we do."
  • "The talent pool here is incredibly deep. Adding to that, regardless of the challenges we face, people care about what they are doing and give 100% and more, regardless of the area they work in. People are dedicated."

Our strategic plan will give us the lens to ask: Are the decisions we're making contributing to the support and growth of the UHN community? Getting as much feedback as possible is essential so we have a clear understanding of where our coordinated efforts should go. Please take a moment to share your thoughts if you haven't already.

Last week, I attended the opening of the Warren-Connelly Palliative Care Clinic at the Princess Margaret (PM). I know this clinic has been a long-time dream for our supportive care staff – it was a complete pleasure to celebrate their outstanding work and the future ahead. Drs. Gary Rodin (Head, Department of Supportive Care at PM) and Camilla Zimmermann (Head, Palliative Care at PM) told me about the national studies coming out of their group. Important and remarkable work that demonstrates why palliative care must be driven by patient need, not disease prognosis – and that palliative care, started early, supports quality of life which is just as important as survival. Thank you to our partners at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and our donors for making this clinic a reality.

Finally, we have one more week following this till we finish celebrating our Local Impact Award nominees. This week, a round of applause for:

  • Maria Vespa: Maria is nominated for creating a great working environment in the department of neurosurgery. She is commended for her exceptionally friendly approach to colleagues, new team members and patients – and for treating everyone with respect. We could all use more colleagues like Maria!
  • Pharmacy Inventory Team: This team is nominated for their excellence in managing UHN's exponential increase in annual drug backorders and ensuring continuity of patient care at all sites. The team consists of Alison Branigan, corporate manager; Lilia Rybkina, Dave Burrow and Jig Modi at Toronto General; Kimberly Mercado and Albert Huyhn at Princess Margaret; Eunice Koh and Usman Sahaf at Toronto Western; and Shanique Nelson and Cindy Santos at Toronto Rehab.
  • 4A Cardiovascular/Vascular Surgery: Jean Jendres and Natalia Averkine are nominated for their exceptional knowledge, skill and leadership in nursing. They are described as always having a cheerful presence on the unit and for supporting new graduates. Their colleague writes, "I cannot imagine working without them."

Thank you for reading,


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