​​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

  • This Veterans' Week, TeamUHN is again called to reflect on the bravery and sacrifices of those who have served Canada in uniform throughout our history. Tomorrow, Nov. 8., is Indigenous Veterans Day, a time to honour the military service of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people of Canada. On Remembrance Day, this Friday, Nov. 11, "In Flanders Fields" will be read via overhead announcement across UHN sites, starting before 11 a.m., followed by in-person services at:
    • Toronto General – Peter Munk Lobby
    • Toronto Western – Main Floor Atrium
    • Princess Margaret – 7th Floor Atrium (610 University Ave.)
    • Toronto Rehab (TR) University Centre – 2nd Floor Auditorium
    • TR Bickle Centre – Main Floor Auditorium
    • TR Lyndhurst Centre – Main Floor Lobby

    All those in attendance at these events must be masked. These will be our first in-person Remembrance Day services since 2019. Musicians will maintain three to four metres distance from the group. Canadian flags will also be lowered to half-mast at UHN sites.

  • Last week, we held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Weston Family Foundation to celebrate the revitalization of the tunnel system connecting Toronto General, Toronto Rehab, Princess Margaret, SickKids, and Mount Sinai. The Weston Family Foundation approached UHN in 2019 with the idea of reimaging the tunnels and tapped renowned designed Stefan Sagmeister for the project. Now, those travelling through the system to give or receive care will be greeted with multi-patterned walls designed by Canadian painters, bright floors, and piano music to create a sense of hope and calm. Each element of the tunnel design incorporated research into emotional well-being and wellness. We are incredibly thankful to the Weston Family Foundation for their efforts to create a smoother journey between hospitals. Learn more about the revitalization project on UHN Foundation's website and don't miss our video taking you inside the underground tunnel system.
  • We are very excited and proud of the launch of the first-of-its-kindNORC Innovation Centre (NIC) at UHN. NORC stands for Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities, and our Centre launches with the bold idea of delivering healthcare, social care, and other supports in the buildings where older adults choose to live. The launch was featured in the Toronto Star this weekend, also citing a policy paper in partnership with the National Institute on Ageing which showcases the role the Centre will have in research and policymaking in this field. The NIC comes together as teams from UHN OpenLab and Connected Care join forces, and with a generous donation to UHN Foundation. I'd like to congratulate NIC Directors Melissa Chang and Jen Recknagel, and their team, as well as the NIC Medical Director Dr. Howard Abrams. Stay tuned to UHN News, as we will have a launch story posted tomorrow. And follow the NIC on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more about the work they are leading.
  • This past weekend UHN's 'Behind the Breakthrough' podcast won Outstanding Science Series at the 2022 Canadian Podcast Awards. This is a first for the show and a first for a Canadian hospital-produced podcast. This honour speaks to the impact of the stories we tell about the amazing people at UHN and their journey to becoming scientists who dedicate themselves every day to making breakthroughs that improve patient lives. As BTB Producer Twayne Pereira says in our acceptance speech—"science matters." Have a watch starting @ 37:33: 5th Annual Canadian Podcast Awards - YouTube 'Behind the Breakthrough' recently launched its fourth season and is a co-production of UHN Research and Public Affairs. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast here: Behind the Breakthrough (uhn.ca)
  • Have you completed the confidential IDEAA Self-Inclusion and Identification Survey yet? The survey, administered by WorkTango, takes 15 minutes and will help UHN understand what's going well – and not so well – when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion across the organization. Each employee who hasn't completed the survey will be emailed a secure, confidential link from pulse@worktango.io. Check your Spam or "other" folder if you're having trouble finding the email and contact support@worktango.com for more help. Questions? Contact Your.voice.matters@uhn.ca and consult the Survey Toolkit, including FAQ. As of this morning, 3,831 people have completed the survey, representing a response rate of 18.5%
  • A recording of Dr. Brian Hodges' presentation at the 2022 UHN Education Forum late last month, entitled "After the pandemic: A vision for education at Michener and UHN," is available online. As Dr. Hodges said, everyone at UHN is part of education. "We are all teaching and we are all learning, and that in my mind is what differentiates UHN," he said. Watch the presentation here or below.
  • Nominate your colleagues for UHN's 2022 Local Impact Awards! There are 10 different individual and team awards up for grabs. Nomination categories all align with UHN's five Strategic Priorities. Entries are open until Nov. 23 and can be completed using submission forms on the Intranet (Corporate Intranet > Departments > Public Affairs and Communications > UHN 2022 Local Impact Awards Submission Form).

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, Nov. 3.

2023/2024 Strategic Plan Development Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: UHN's 2019-2023 Strategic Plan outlines the principles and priorities of the organization to help guide difficult decisions across care, research, and education. As we approach 2023, ELF was asked for feedback for a condensed planning process to refresh the Strategic Plan, given existing bandwidth issues at UHN, and an enhanced strategy oversight model, including regular updates to ELF for strategy and planning purposes.
  • Who Presented? Joel Montesanti (Director of Strategic Projects and Planning) and Sarah Smart (Senior Corporate Planner)
  • What do I need to know: ELF was enthusiastic about a proposed planning roadmap to refresh the Strategic Plan to reflect the current healthcare landscape. The Corporate Planning Team is gathering insights, including internal analysis, and consulting both the strategic plans of other top-10 hospitals and literature to devise a plan that is pervasive, flexible, meaningful, and implementable. Anticipating that the process will kickoff in January, the group anticipates six to eight months will be dedicated to seeking out input from across the organization on key priorities and areas where UHN can show leadership, while ensuring consistency across program-level strategies. ELF will provide guidance and oversight, and I will serve as executive sponsor.


Critical Care Governance Model

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: A Critical Care Governance Task Force was launched in February 2022, under the leadership of Brian Hodges, to identify a critical care governance model that is aligned with UHN values and supports the organization's Strategic Plan. Under the current complex structure, critical care governance at UHN and Sinai Health Systems involves the provision of intensive care in five units across three separate geographic sites and two hospital organizations, lacking clarity in authority, accountability, responsibility, relationships, and decision-making.
  • Who Presented? Brian Hodges (EVP, Education and Chief Medical Officer) on behalf of the Critical Care Governance Task Force.
  • What do I need to know: ELF endorsed the proposed new structure to create the Interdepartmental Centre of Clinical Care (ICCC). Each of the UHN ICU sites will have a clear triadic leadership model with a clinical manager, medical director, and a professional practice manager. The ICCC head will have oversight of all five units and will collaborate with the Physician-in-Chief, Surgeon-in-Chief, and Anesthesiologist-in-Chief for medical professional practice issues and activities. The ICCC head will report to the Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Niall Ferguson, in his final year at Head of Critical Care, has played a key role in supporting the Task Force and its recommendations. UHN will launch an international search for the next head of the ICCC in new year. Operations and finances will remain status quo under the leadership of existing programs that interface with critical care.

Closing Notes

Today is the International Day of Medical Physics, chosen to honour the birthday of Marie Curie, the renowned physicist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. This year's theme – "Medical Physics for Sustainable Healthcare" – speaks to how medical physicists contribute to a more sustainable system by inventing, developing, and implementing more efficient technologies through research and education. UHN's medical physicists enable safe cancer care and train colleagues in a healthcare environment increasingly driven by technology. We thank these dedicated colleagues for their contributions to the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

November 6-12 is Perioperative Nurses Week and we want to express our most sincere gratitude to our teams here at UHN. The more than 200 perioperative nurses across our Toronto Western, Toronto General, and Princess Margaret campuses are foundational to our surgical program. Almost 20,000 surgeries are performed every year in the best surgical program in the country, and perioperative nurses make the difference in our patient's journeys. Thank you, each and every one of you.

Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day is marked across North America on Thursday, Nov. 10, giving us an opportunity to recognize the important services that Genetic Counsellors provide across UHN. Genetic counsellors are health professionals with specialized training and expertise in medical genetics, genomics, and counselling. In the era of personalized medicine, their knowledge and skills are increasingly essential in helping patients, families and other healthcare providers interpret and understand complex genetic information. There are almost 20 genetic counsellors working across UHN, in the Genetics Program (the Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine and the Bhalwani Familial Cancer Clinic), Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (TGH), Wallace-McCain Centre for Pancreatic Cancer (PM), GoodHope EDS Clinic (TGH), Hepatobiliary Oncology Program (TGH), KNC Epilepsy Genetics Clinic (TWH), Elisabeth Raab Neurofibromatosis Clinic (TGH/TWH) and the Department of Lab Medicine, Genome Diagnostics.

A research team from UHN has shown how a new, artificial intelligence-enabled algorithm can scan health data to distinguish between two heart conditions. The study, led by scientists at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, focused on two conditions caused by an abnormal hole in the atria of the heart: atrial septal defect, a serious congenital heart defect, and patent foramen ovale, which is found in a quarter of all people. Both conditions are treated with a procedure called transcatheter closure. Since differentiating between patients with these conditions is difficult due to how they are classified in databases, the team used machine learning to analyze the health records of more than 4,600 who underwent transcatheter closure over a period of 15 years. The most successful model accurately distinguished between the two conditions 76 per cent of the time. Read more about this study at UHN News.

And now, our TikTok of the week. Have you ever wondered how enormous MRI machines get into the hospital? This video helps to answer that question.


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Have a good week,


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