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

  • Welcome to TeamUHN Week of Gratitude, dedicated to the remarkable people and groups who make UHN successful! Please take advantage of the special noon-hour events planned each day this week. Today, I will join ELF members Tom Forbes, Brian Hodges, Pam Hubley, Brad Wouters, and Kyla Kumar for an in-person conversation at MaRS Auditorium on UHN's bold future. Attendance is first come, first seated until we reach capacity but a livestream will be available and recorded. TeamUHN members will be able to ask questions by Slido. This week, several food retailers at UHN sites are offering discounts (remember your badges), leadership will hold walkabouts at all sites, and patients and visitors will express their gratitude to TeamUHN on temporary walls. Head over to TeamUHN Central to learn more about what is planned for this week.
  • We proudly welcome Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Edinburgh, GCVO, back to UHN this week. Her Royal Highness, the Royal Patron of Toronto General and Toronto Western Hospitals, is a guest of the UHN Foundation. Her Royal Highness will tour our hospitals to learn more about UHN's work and, on Tuesday, Her Royal Highness will be joined by The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, for a special event at Toronto Western with 120 employees selected via random draw. Thank you to the Foundation for all its hard work facilitating this most special visit.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Arndt Vogel, the newly named Longo Family Chair in Liver Cancer Research. Dr. Vogel, a global leader in hepatocellular and cholangiocarcinoma, joins UHN from Hannover, Germany, where he established a world-leading liver cancer program. Through clinical and laboratory-based research, Dr. Vogel seeks to understand why liver cancer develops and examine new treatment options. Dr. Vogel will be cross-appointed in Hepatology at Toronto General Hospital as part of the Toronto Centre for Liver Disease, and in Medical Oncology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and will be the Principal Investigator in the Schwartz Reisman Liver Research Centre. We extend our sincere gratitude to The Longo Family for its generous donation to UHN Foundation to establish this chair. This appointment is yet another example of how UHN is able to attract the world's brightest talents.
  • UHN's Lung Transplant team performed Canada's first all-female lung transplant last week, a fitting end to Women's History Month. Dr. Laura Donahoe, a thoracic and lung transplant surgeon, shared these details: “Despite there being many more women in thoracic surgery, there are still very few female lung transplant surgeons worldwide. This was the first time that I had two female surgical lung transplant fellows (Drs. Se-In Choe from Canada and Dr. Mariana Gil Barturen from Spain) scrubbed with me. We realized that this was a first at UHN and first in Canada since there are no other practicing female lung transplant surgeons. We wanted to celebrate all of our amazing women on the team from anesthesia, nursing, and perfusion."
  • Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending UHN Foundation's 19th annual Grand Cru Culinary Wine Festival. Grand Cru is a two-day event uniting some of the world's most esteemed chefs and wine producers with the brightest minds in medical research and our philanthropic community to raise funds for research at UHN. The event featured a live auction at Casa Loma followed by a series of private dinners in homes across Toronto. Congratulations to UHN Foundation for hosting this spectacular event and raising more than $5 million for this year's beneficiaries: the Diabetes Program, Krembil Brain Institute, Sprott Department of Surgery, Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute, and McEwen Stem Cell Institute. Thank you to our generous sponsors and to UHN Board Trustee and UHN Foundation Board Member Todd Halpern for creating this unparalleled event. Thank you to everyone who helped make this event a success. Read more about Grand Cru here.

Closing Notes

I'm excited to see two excellent UHN podcasts score nominations at the 2023 Canadian Podcast Awards – the only hospital-produced podcasts in Canada to be so recognized. "Behind the Breakthrough," hosted by Christian Cote and exploring UHN scientists and their groundbreaking research, is nominated for Outstanding Health & Fitness Series and Outstanding Branded Series. "Your Complex Brain," produced by the Krembil Brain Institute team, hosted by Heather Sherman, and delving into the complexities of our most powerful organ, is nominated for Outstanding Science Series and Outstanding Branded Series. Congratulations! See the full nominees online. Listen and follow both shows and other great UHN podcasts here.

November is Osteoporosis Month. Over 2.3 million Canadians are affected by this "silent" disease, characterized by bone loss that makes bones susceptible to fracture, and at least one in three women and one in five men will break a bone due to osteoporosis in their lifetime. UHN's Osteoporosis Program, led by Dr. Angela Cheung, provides diagnostic and clinical services to more than 5,000 patients and performs groundbreaking research into potential treatments and technologies. This clinic, together with UHN's Joint Department of Medical Imaging, launched the University of Toronto Centre of Excellence in Skeletal Health Assessment, a group of bone diagnostic centres formed in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital to provide diagnostic tests for osteoporosis. We thank our colleagues at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret, and Toronto Rehab – Lyndhurst Centre for their work across care, research, and education.

November is Falls Prevention Month. Thank you to everyone across UHN who supports the safe mobility of our patients. With falls being a leading cause of injury and hospitalization for seniors, Toronto Rehab (TR) offers an 8-week Falls Prevention program to participants identified as high risk for falling. Along with individual assessments, the group program explores a breadth of topics, including footwear, home, outdoor and stair safety, getting up from a fall, and fear of falling. Together with The Kite Research Institute, and through the shared Movement Evaluation Lab, TR engages patients in therapy that also informs research in real time. KITE researchers use FallsLab's state-of-the-art platform and gantry to assess how people stop themselves from falling after losing their balance, and how different conditions affect the control of balance and gait. They aim to develop therapies for people with conditions that increase their risk of falling and to design and test technologies that prevent or mitigate falls. UHN Altum Health's inter-disciplinary rehabilitation teams support clients in assessing and treating the impacts of falls every day. Clinicians often take a preventative approach, recommending modifications to mitigate potential risk factors that advance musculoskeletal or neurological injuries. Clients develop tools to improve independence, safety, and accessibility to help reduce falls.

Last Wednesday, four UHN sites welcomed the Grade 9 students of TeamUHN members for Take Our Kids to Work Day 2023. More than 150 students participated in educational activities at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret, and Toronto Rehab, University Centre. It marked the first time in four years that UHN was able to bring back the programs, organized by Volunteer Resources. As Michael Cousineau, Director of Talent Acquisition, Volunteer Resources & Graduate Careers at UHN, told UHN News: "This is also UHN's opportunity to help our children better understand not only what we do, but why we do it." My thanks to the more than 80 TeamUHN members who made this day such a success. Read UHN News for more.

And now… our video of the week. This clip shows how TeamUHN's Grade 9 students experienced Take Our Kids to Work Day 2023.


Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,


Back to Top