Good afternoon, 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

  • Congratulations, TeamUHN – Toronto General (TG) has been named one of the world's top five hospitals for a fourth straight year.The acknowledgment comes in a new global ranking from Newsweek magazine and global data firm Statista, which ranked Toronto General fifth. TG is the only Canadian hospital listed in the top tier and, as a source of great pride, the top publicly funded hospital in the world. This prestigious recognition is only possible because of the hard work and dedication of TeamUHN members who live our mission to build A Healthier World each day. Learn more about this recognition from UHN News.
  • Congratulations to Jacqueline Silvera, UHN's Director of Inclusion, Diversity, Equality, Accessibility, and Anti-Racism (IDEAA), who was recently recognized as an exceptional Black leader in healthcare. Jacqueline was one of three Toronto-based recipients of the inaugural 2023 Outstanding Black Leadership in Public Health and Health Systems award from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, alongside Cynthia Damba, Director, Health Analytics at Ontario Health, Toronto Region, and Dr. Fatimah Jackson-Best, Project Manager at Black Health Alliance. Members of UHN's Black Legacy Committee (BLC) presented the award at a ceremony on Feb. 16, saying: "The impact of Jacqueline's work is immeasurable and goes beyond the employees at UHN and reaches volunteers, patient partners, and communities. The BLC would like to express gratitude to UHN for embracing the employee resource groups and approving the first Anti-Racism and Anti-Black Racism policy in Canadian healthcare." Congratulations to Jacquie, a true leader and force for positive change at UHN.
  • Last week, the Toronto Region Hospital Operations Table (TR HOT) updated its recommendations on pandemic measures followed by all Toronto hospitals. While our current policies on vaccination and reporting COVID illness to Health Services will remain in effect, and masking with a medical-grade mask is still mandatory in all clinical, non-clinical, and public areas of our hospital buildings, TR HOT has said:
    • Masking is recommended but not mandatory in areas that are not physically a part of a UHN hospital building AND where there is NO clinical activity, meaning there is no patient interaction in that area.
    • All hospitals will transition back to pre-pandemic visitor policies (though restrictions on visitors may be necessary at times, such as when units are in outbreak).
    • Physical distance of one metre must be maintained in hospital areas where masks are temporarily removed. In staff lounges and break areas, two metres of distancing must be maintained, according to the Ministry of Labour.

    Click here for the UHN All Users announcement that went out last week. The full TR HOT memo can be accessed here. Please note that it may take a few weeks to implement all changes to pandemic guidance at UHN and to develop new signage to guide masking requirements and update UHN policies. These measures may also be modified further as the province reassesses COVID-19 risk. Questions? Contact Infection Control at

  • Don't miss out on this week's much-anticipated International Women's Day virtual event hosted by UHNWomen. On March 8, from 12-1 p.m., Deb Matthews, a former Deputy Premier of Ontario and current UHN Foundation Board Member, will moderate a discussion with Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head, Cardiology, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President and CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Catherine Zahn, Deputy Minister of Health. There will be updates on the Working Moms Mentorship Program and lactation rooms. While the invite should be in your calendars, you can access the Teams link here (Meeting ID: 212 955 388 158; Passcode: KruYRz) or by visiting the UHNWomen SharePoint site.
  • If you missed last week's COVID-19 livestream with Dr. Susy Hota, hosted by UHN Foundation, be sure to check out the recording. With the third anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic around the corner, Dr. Hota discussed lessons learned and the long-term impact of the crisis, while taking questions from participants. The event was moderated by Christian Cote, host of UHN's award-winning Behind the Breakthrough podcast.

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 Thursday, March 2.

  • ELF discussed the latest updates from the Clinical Operations Group and Medical Leadership Committee (COG/MLC), before moving on to updates from vice presidents on a range of issues and topics, including the progress being made to tackle the surgical backlog, patient experiences at UHN, developments in research, capital projects, and the expanded criteria for the Stabilization and Connection Centre to include opioid use. The CEOs of both Foundations updated the group about their many successes and every ELF member was given the opportunity to raise issues in a roundtable. A big theme for the group focused on leveraging UHN's unique position as a leading health network to uncover solutions for the healthcare's intractable problems to benefit our community, province, and country. ELF will meet again on March 16.

Closing Notes

On the heels of last week's Rare Disease Day, we are proud to highlight more UHN clinics helping patients who face unique challenges. The Fred A. Litwin Family Centre in Genetic Medicine, located on Murray Street, sees the greatest number of rare diseases at UHN. This clinic provides genetic assessments and genetic counselling for patients who may be at risk of hereditary conditions, such as connective tissue disorders, hereditary heart and kidney diseases, and neurodevelopmental disorders based on their medical or family history, in addition to providing care for the largest group of adult patients with inborn errors of metabolism in Canada. At Princess Margaret Hospital, the Bhalwani Familial Cancer Clinic provides personalized assessment and counselling for patients with a variety of rare cancer predisposition syndromes. At Toronto General, The Dalglish Family 22q Clinic is the first clinic in the world devoted to caring for adults affected by 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, an under-recognized genetic condition that involves a piece missing from chromosome 22 and one that can cause several health problems, including heart problems, neurological conditions, and developmental delay. We are grateful for the vital work done at these clinics and across UHN to help patients dealing with some of the rarest genetic conditions to feel completely supported and understood.

March is Liver Health Month. Thank you to the teams across UHN and community partners who care for patients and work to advance clinical care, research, and education in hepatology. During the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a sharp rise in alcohol-associated liver disease, with a study showing hospital admissions for alcoholic hepatitis doubling in the space of two years. Important steps to address these health and social crises have been taken, including a revision of Canada's Guidance on Alcohol and Health, and initiatives to address the social determinants of health when treating patients with liver disease. UHN's Toronto Centre for Liver Disease - Francis Family Liver Clinic has launched a highly effective nurse practitioner-led post-discharge clinic and a novel nurse-run paracentesis clinic to support extremely complex patients in the outpatient setting, avoiding ER visits and admissions to hospital. The centre has also advanced integrated supports for patients, engaging with specialized substance use teams, psychiatry and mental health programs, and community services. And it has established an innovative partnership with UHN's Gattuso Centre for Social Medicine to create the role of Community Health Worker. To date, this initiative has successfully supported almost 100 patients living with liver disease navigate the social services they need to improve their overall health. This is the type of integrated approach that can truly impact the care we provide at UHN and beyond.

March is also Kidney Health Month. Thank you to our colleagues across UHN and beyond who provide the highest level of patient care, research, and education in nephrology. UHN Teams provide support to patients with chronic kidney diseases, many of whom require complex and long-term care, and continue to work to enhance kidney health research and programs here and around the world. In January, UHN teams launched the Michener Dialysis Program, a first-of-its-kind dialysis nursing school to up-skill nursing and address the critical shortages of nurses in dialysis. We have contributed to the executive leadership of the National Chronic Kidney Diseases (CKD) Research Network, an organization creating new opportunities to mobilize innovations in diagnosis, treatment, and care for kidney patients. This year, our research teams will also embark on a CIHR-funded clinical trial looking at the utility of a digital e-counselling tool developed at UHN to promote self-care, helping to enhance patient understanding of CKD. We are also testing new models of care in virtual pharmacy for CKD and heart failure, with a goal of expanding access to medication, CKD education, and addressing patient concerns surrounding therapy. My gratitude goes out to all members of TeamUHN who work hard every day to support kidney health. Their outstanding work is crucial to excellent patient care.

Dr. Madeline Li, a psychiatrist and clinician scientist at the Princess Margaret, appeared on CNN's "Amanpour" last week to discuss the challenging topic of medical assistance in dying (MAID). Dr. Li, who developed UHN's MAID framework, spoke with Paula Newton about Canada's current regime and criteria, and the difficult issues faced by patients and providers. Watch the full interview here or by clicking on the image below. And be sure to read Dr. Li's recent piece in Maclean's about what she finds both meaningful and maddening about MAID.

Don't miss this article in Maclean's Big Idea series about how bringing programs to older adults in Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCs) could dramatically improve options for aging in place in Canada. The article, by Jen Recknagel, Director of Innovation and Design at UHN's NORC Innovation Centre, expands on the prospect of bringing integrated health and social services right to where older adults are already living – work we will be leading through the Centre in the coming months and years. Visit the NORC Innovation Centre website, and follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn to learn more!

March is Music Therapy Awareness Month. We proudly recognize the Certified Music Therapists who explore the therapeutic use of music to enhance the health, rehabilitation, and overall well-being of patients at any age and stage of clinical care. For these skilled professionals, music therapy is an evidence-based practice and a profoundly impactful component of care that can effectively reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and provide significant emotional and psychosocial support to patients. We are grateful for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre's Music Therapy Program, now celebrating its 10th anniversary at UHN, led by Dr. SarahRose Black and Mason Gibson. This internationally recognized clinical, research, and academic teaching program provides support for patients and colleagues across UHN and boasts a significant research profile and a highly competitive graduate internship training program. For more information on music therapy in Canada, please visit the Canadian Association of Music Therapyand the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. Learn more about music therapy at UHN by watching the video below.

It's Dental Assistants Recognition Week, a chance to celebrate the role these professionals play in oral health care. This year's theme – "The Heart of Dental Offices Through Education, Commitment, and Safety" – encapsulates how essential Dental Assistants are to dental teams, including at UHN's dental clinics at Toronto Rehab and Princess Margaret. Dental Assistants support patients before, during, and after their treatments. We thank them for their contributions to build A Healthier World.

And now.. our video of the week. This clip explains how physician assistants serve patients at UHN.​


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Have a good week,


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