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

  • I want to express my gratitude to all TeamUHN members who made it into work and performed their duties with the utmost professionalism over the weekend amid the protests around Queen's Park. I was proud of how quickly we pulled together ahead of the event with contingency plans, and want to express my most sincere thanks to our Security team. While the right to peaceful protest is fundamental in a democracy, we know that vaccination is the best tool to prevent the serious health issues that lead to hospitalization. We will continue to advocate for science and vaccinations and support the public health measures that reduce the spread of COVID-19.
  • Gillian and I would like to clarify something about what she wrote last week. As I am sure you can imagine, the planning for this past weekend and the actions taken were coordinated with the other hospitals and changed rapidly. The suggestion about wearing street clothes to and from the hospital was discussed at one of those planning sessions and there was agreement at the table that it would be wise to suggest, given the harassment of healthcare workers and others in Ottawa. The attribution to the Toronto Police Service was a mistake, since discussed with TPS's Communications group and one for which we apologize.
  • On February 2, the Synapse project held its 120-Day Go-Live Readiness Assessment (GLRA), an end-to-end review of the project status with key stakeholders, including Executive Leadership Forum (ELF), in attendance. Representatives from each of the nearly 60 project work streams provided written summaries of the status of their work, and those with a status of watch, serious, or critical provided verbal reports on actions that are necessary to improve the status before the next GLRA. The all-day meeting gave participants a comprehensive view of the complexity of the project, along with the risks and issues to be managed in order for UHN to have a safe, effective transition to the Epic system on June 4, 2022. Following the GLRA, a smaller group of leaders from ELF, Synapse, and Epic held a go/no-go meeting to discuss what they learned during the GLRA. Go/no-go meetings are a required part of the process, and among the checks and balances designed to ensure UHN is ready for go-live. The outcome of that meeting was high confidence that there are clear and realistic plans to address current issues and risks, and strong and unanimous support for going live on June 4. GLRAs are held every 30 days between now and go-live, with the next one on March 9. Thank you to everyone involved in the GLRA meeting, and all the stakeholders who are working diligently on project Synapse. A new era of clinical transformation at UHN is in sight.
  • Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19 this week – Tuesday, February 8, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
    • COVID-related questions can be submitted and voted on here or go to and enter #UHNCOVID-19x55. Reminder to please include your full name in order to have your question accepted.
    • Livestream link here (Chrome or Firefox only).
  • IPAC will be posting information this week on recommendations for on-site staffing, education activities, meetings and social gatherings at UHN, including the framework UHN will follow when lifting and placing restrictions on in-person activities during the pandemic.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

Downside of the Omicron wave

  • Background: All indicators are pointing in the direction that the Omicron wave is past its peak, with a significant drop in patients with active COVID-19 infection at UHN. While the latest projections from the Ontario Science Advisory Table, released Tuesday, affirm we are on the downside of this wave, there remains a high degree of uncertainty for the next 2-4 weeks.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, IPAC)
  • What do I need to know? Though the news is encouraging, the Ontario Science Advisory Table expects that within several weeks of the “reopening” – the loosening of public health restrictions on Jan. 31 – the decline in cases will turn into an incline again. The pace at which cases increase is the big unknown at this point and highly dependent on how many people were infected during the current Omicron wave, the uptake of third-dose boosters and the impact of the BA.2 subvariant.

Update on boosters for adolescents between 12-17

  • Background: The Ontario Ministry of Health is preparing guidance on how booster shots will eventually be administered for adolescents between the ages of 12 to 17.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer)
  • What do I need to know? Similar to what has happened with other vaccinations, the first groups to receive the boosters will be the immunocompromised and those with specific medical conditions, such as dialysis, transplant, cancer, as well as those in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities. After that, the ministry will look at expanding booster shots to other groups within the ages of 12-17.
    A new Pfizer formulation for children between the ages of 6 months to four years old, to be given in a smaller dose range, has gone to Health Canada for approval. A decision is not expected until the middle or end of the second quarter this spring.

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 The last ELF meeting was held on February 3, 2022.

ELF Succession planning

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: People & Culture has been working with the Human Resources committee of the Board of Trustees over the last year to examine our future as an organization, which includes our leadership capacity and succession planning. Last June, People & Culture presented a succession plan of the Executive Vice Presidents to the board. Now it is broadening that work out to the rest of ELF.
  • Who presented? Sheila O'Brien (Executive Vice President, People & Culture)
  • What do I need to know? As part of investing in leadership excellence at UHN, People & Culture has embarked on comprehensive Talent Management processes. One cornerstone of this effort will be the development of a succession plan for ELF. Sheila O'Brien will meet with every ELF member between now and the end of March to discuss their career aspirations, particularly over the next three to five years, and to discuss their thoughts on internal candidates for succession. This work will help People & Culture think about how the organization can create opportunities for high performers and the types of experiences, exposure, education, and support they may need to take on new challenges. A plan will be presented to the HR committee of the Board of Trustees on May 8, as they have oversight into the overall human resource capacity of UHN.

Closing notes

This week is Resident Doctors Awareness Week, a national celebration where we can all recognize and thank the remarkable contributions that medical residents and clinical fellows make to UHN patients, staff, learners, and many more as they work and learn across UHN. As postgraduate medical learners registered with the University of Toronto, medical residents and clinical fellows are essential members of our teams across UHN. More than 1,500 medical residents and 700 clinical fellows from around the world contribute to patient care at UHN. In addition to their scheduled tasks, many of these learners have generously come forward to be redeployed across UHN during recent staffing shortages. Please take a moment to celebrate and thank our exceptional colleagues! For more information, check out these 10 fast facts and feel free to contact the UHN Postgraduate Medical Education Director, Dr. Ahmed Al-Awamer.

Don't forget to take part in UHN's Employee Referral program, where you can potentially receive an award for helping us find candidates for hard-to-fill jobs. If the candidate you refer is hired, you will receive a $2,000 reward split two ways: $1,000 when the new employee starts, and $1,000 on the one-year anniversary of that employee's hire date. For more information, visit the People & Culture page. (Corporate Intranet > Departments > People & Culture > Employee Referral Program)

Graduates of The Michener Institute of Education at UHN are a critical part of a cancer patient's diagnosis and journey to recovery. To mark World Cancer Day on February 4, Michener's blog explored the role our alumni play in the care teams supporting cancer patients across Canada and beyond.

The Danish Pastry House has opened at Toronto General and is already winning rave reviews. The shop, which features authentic Danish pastry items, can be found in the Eaton Wing on the Mezzanine level above the Elizabeth St. entrance. TGH will soon have two more vendors opening – Salad Days and Bar Burrito – while Toronto Western will soon have a new sushi vendor. Congratulations to Dana Schott, director of leasing for Facilities Management - Planning, Redevelopment & Operations (FM-PRO), and the entire team.

In my statement marking Psychology Month last week, the link we included to register for the upcoming “Best Practices in Clinical Care for Diverse Populations” virtual event did not work. You can register to attend here.


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Have a good week,

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