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Good Monday morning,

I have high hopes for February, which marks the start of Black History Month. We look forward to recognizing how integral black history is to Canadian history this month at UHN. Awareness months in general are seasonal reminders to reflect on how far we’ve come as a society – and sadly how far we have to go in achieving equity, diversity and inclusion. We are currently facing a situation that emphasizes how much progress we need to make. In Toronto, we are hearing about cases of wrongful discrimination in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak. We can’t let fear make this kind behaviour tolerable. In my opinion, one of the best ways to combat fear is education paired with critical thinking. So, identify and evaluate your sources of information. Go to our trusted Intranet page on the virus here. Ask if real data supports the perceptions. Encourage others to do the same. 

1. Recap on UHN’s Open Forum about the novel coronavirus

Watch the full video here. Thank you to Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control (IPAC)) and Janet Newton (Vice President and Site Lead, Toronto Western) for leading the presentation and Q&A. For those who don’t know, Susy and Jan are co-chairing UHN’s Novel Coronavirus Preparedness Steering Committee. Susy is an expert physician with a wealth of infection control expertise, and Jan is an experienced leader who skillfully co-led UHN’s response to the Ebola outbreak. The presentation included a well-deserved shout out for our Emergency Department, General Internal Medicine, Intensive Care Unit, Occupational Health & Safety, and IPAC colleagues. Thanks also to the team who organized and deployed a suspected coronavirus simulation exercise to improve team preparedness.

UHN’s suspected coronavirus simulation exercise.

Below are the communication resources we will use going forward to keep you up to date. Please consult them regularly for trusted information.

  • Novel coronavirus preparedness Intranet page: Contains information about the virus, screening guidelines, Frequently Asked Questions and beyond. 
  • IPAC@uhn.ca: When updates are made to the novel coronavirus preparedness page, you will receive an all-users message from IPAC@uhn.ca. If you have questions, you are invited to message this address – but please consult the Intranet page or try asking your manager before reaching out. This inbox is managed by our IPAC colleagues who are working especially hard to keep patients and TeamUHN safe. 
  • UHN.ca: Patients and visitors can be directed to UHN.ca’s homepage for up to date information about the novel coronavirus and what they need to know if visiting UHN.

2. 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.

Operational Excellence  Attending Q3 Budget Risk Meetings and discussing strategies for 2020/21 budget planning: Last week, Darlene Dasent (Chief Financial Officer), Ivan Lara (Senior Director, Finance), Michael Caesar (Executive Director, Data & Implementation Science) and I met with various programs and departments to discuss Q3 performance and plans for the next fiscal year 2020/21. The themes of our planning are tried and true: find new revenue, look for supplies savings, and seek service, staffing and operational efficiencies including care model changes. These changes are never easy and we appreciate the efforts of TeamUHN to use taxpayer and philanthropist resources wisely. I’m also very mindful of the challenge of facing further efficiencies when our volumes are so high and the pressures of increased demand so present.

Partnerships  It was a pleasure to attend Toronto Life’s “In Conversation” event and discuss the future of healthcare. Thanks to Toronto Life publisher Ken Hunt for facilitating an engaging discussion. At one point I expressed my gratitude for having one of the best jobs in the world – working in service of patients and families alongside TeamUHN – and Ken quickly corrected me and said the best job in the world is restaurant critic for Toronto Life! I'm afraid we’ll just have to agree to disagree. The event was made possible thanks to our colleagues at Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, who recently launched the UHN Impact Collective, a group of next-generation leaders who are passionate about advancing healthcare and using their talents and networks to raise awareness and financial support for UHN. 

Partnerships  Last week, I attended a dinner focused on artificial intelligence (AI) hosted by Stephen Lucas, Canada’s Deputy Minister of Health, and Simon Kennedy, Canada’s Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. We discussed the transformative potential of AI within the health sector, precision medicine and genomics. It was a privilege to join some esteemed guests – including David Naylor (President Emeritus, University of Toronto) and Tim Evans (Professor of Public Health, McGill University) as Task Force Chairs – and discuss how, with the necessary funding, we could advance tomorrow's care through emerging technologies and increased data access. Canada is poised to become a global leader in AI and we have the potential to pave the way forward. This work ties directly to our Strategic Priorities of tomorrow’s care, as well as technology and innovation

People and Culture  Heidi Schmidt appointed as Department Head and Program Medical Director of the Joint Department of Medical Imaging (JDMI) at UHN, Sinai Health System and Women’s College Hospital. Over the last two years, Heidi has demonstrated strong leadership as Interim Program Medical Director. I say strong because she recognizes and leverages the strengths of the multidisciplinary team, while skillfully uniting them around a shared vision. Heidi has also established meaningful partnerships in service of A Healthier World, including one with Health Sciences North in Sudbury. This partnership enables us to share imaging expertise with rural Northeastern Ontario. Now fully appointed, Heidi will continue working closely with Catherine Wang (Vice President, Clinical Operations and Diagnostic Partnerships) to advance and deliver tomorrow’s care through medical imaging and diagnostic innovations. Congratulations Heidi!

3. Exploring the integration of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation (TGWHF) and Toronto Rehab Foundation (TRF)  

Rehabilitation is critical to the recovery of acute care patients  – so in addition to ensuring that rehab is integrated into a patient’s care journey, it makes sense for us to ensure that rehab is integrated into our requests for philanthropic support. Donors around the world are rightfully expecting more cross-institution collaboration and accountability than ever before. We are thrilled about the opportunity to further align with the evolving fundraising landscape and ensure we are stewarding philanthropic gifts as efficiently as possible. The Boards of both foundations are doing due diligence to determine the best model moving forward and to maximize resources across the care continuum. Thanks to Tennys Hanson (CEO, TGWHF) and Gillian Howard (Interim CEO, TRF; Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications) for adeptly balancing the needs of UHN, donors and staff during this process. 

Have a good week, 

Kevin

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