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

  • UHN's Board of Trustees and the Members of UHN met on Friday. The Board approved the financial statements for the year ending March 31, 2023. At their Annual Meeting, the Members elected the trustees of the Board for 2023/24. The Board also appointed officers for 2023/24. Notably, the term of Board Chair, Mr. Brian Porter, has come to an end, and the incoming Chair was appointed – Mr. Dean Connor. Mr. Cornell Wright will continue to serve as Deputy Chair. We thank Mr. Porter for his tremendous leadership over the past six years, especially during the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. During Mr. Porter's tenure, UHN became a top five hospital in the world, saw its clinical transformation powered by Epic realized, the Toronto Western patient tower approved, significant growth in research and commercialization, as well as educational advances and developments, especially at the Michener Institute. We thank Mr. Porter for his service to A Healthier World and look forward to working closely with our new Chair, Mr. Connor, to advance our goals.
  • Forty years after UHN made history by performing the world's first lung transplant surgery, TeamUHN has achieved another key milestone: the 3,000 th lung transplant at UHN. We congratulate the transplant team, led by lead surgeon Dr. Marcelo Cypel. We know it takes a true team of dedicated individuals working together to reach these heights, including environmental services, our amazing porters, the nutrition team, Allied Health, imaging and labs, our OR staff, and inpatient units, and many, many others. Thank you to the tremendous leaders of the Toronto Lung Program, the Ajmera Transplant Centre, and the Sprott Department of Surgery. We thank this history-making team for accepting nothing less than excellence for our patients.
  • Michener's convocation ceremony took place on Saturday, June 17 th. Unfortunately, I was under the weather and unable to attend and celebrate graduates. My thanks to Dr. Brian Hodges for delivering remarks in my stead. Michener students and grads are a valuable part of TeamUHN and I'm constantly amazed by their commitment to excellence. Congratulations to the class of 2023, as well as the superb Michener faculty and staff!
  • I want to take a moment to celebrate and highlight both of our amazing Foundations for their incredible hard work to advance our ambitions for A Healthier World!

    The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation's Starlight Investments Journey to Conquer Cancer raised $1.4 million for cancer research, treatment, and patient care Sunday. More than 2,000 participants either walked or ran one kilometre, three kilometres, or five kilometres to raise funds for the Princess Margaret in the 10th year of this event, which has raised more than $14.4 million cumulatively. This is fresh off the heels of the hugely successful Ride to Conquer Cancer, which raised $17.3 million for life-saving cancer research. Events such as these – which take a profound amount of preparation and collaboration – are crucial for bringing in the funds that make a lasting impact. My sincere thanks to all involved in these stellar events.

    Congratulations to UHN Foundation for achieving its billion-dollar fundraising goal a year ahead of schedule! Between April 1, 2019, and March 31, 2023, UHN Foundation raised $1.02B – from 514,000 gifts from more than 72,000 donors – in support of research, education, and enhanced patient care at Toronto General, Toronto Western, Toronto Rehab, and the Michener. Thank you to the UHN Foundation team for your dedication, to our volunteers, and to all of TeamUHN – each of you plays a role in inspiring our philanthropic community to help us build A Healthier World. A special thanks to Tennys Hanson, whose inspired leadership as CEO of the UHN Foundation for 23 years has been crucial to achieving this goal and so many others. Many of these funds have already been put to work. Our donors have helped us build the new Rapid Assessment Centre inside the TGH Emergency Department, perform the world's first robot-assisted brain surgery, create universal blood-type organs for transplant, launch the NORC Innovation Centre to help older adults age in place, discover blood molecules that will lead to an early diagnostic test for arthritis, complete Phase 1 of the Temerty Advanced Surgical Education and Simulation Centre at the Michener, bring vision screening to vulnerable communities through Project OPEN, and much more.

  • The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre has launched its refreshed strategic priorities for 2023 and beyond. The plan will accelerate the vision of Always Moving Forward, which was developed in collaboration with TeamUHN, patients, and partners, by uniting around three themes: Elevate, Explore, and Inspire. "After the challenges of the last few years, including the COVID-19 pandemic, staff burn-out and fatigue, there has never been a better time to reimagine cancer care and research," says Dr. Keith Stewart, Vice President, Cancer, and Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Program. "We take pride in ushering in a new era of progress in cancer care, research and discovery." Visit the website, access the full plan, watch a video summary, and learn more on UHN News.
  • Congratulations to our colleagues in the Centre for Mental Health on the tremendous success of the UHN CARES program, a rapid-response, short-term mental health support available by self-referral to every UHN staff member – from frontline workers to administrators – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Since it launched in April 2020, the program provided 1,700+ appointments and supported 225 TeamUHN members. Additionally, 7,500 program engagements were generated from online self-directed resources. UHN CARES was funded by the MSH-UHN AMO Innovation Fund. It was always intended to be a short-term initiative and will close at the end of June. Thank you to the project leads – Drs. Kathleen Sheehan, Suze Berkhout, and Susan Abbey – the numerous psychiatrists, psychologists, clinicians on the team, and project administrator Alison Seto. And thank you to the Centre for Mental Health for stepping up to provide this service when colleagues needed it most. UHN recognizes the importance of mental health support and remains committed to ensuring resources are available, which you can find on Health Services' 'Mental Health Support for TeamUHN' page (Corporate Intranet > Wellness > Mental Health Resources)

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, June 16.

Generative AI Briefing

  • Background: In recent months, ChatGPT and similar technologies have significantly advanced progress in the field of Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI), a space that is moving faster than any technology we have ever experienced. ChatGPT, a large language model that uses deep learning algorithms and natural language processing to read and generate human-like responses, reached one million users in just five days. ELF was invited to discuss the emerging opportunities and risks inherent in this evolving technology, and observed a demonstration of the tool's functionality.
  • Who Presented? Marc Toppings (Vice President, Chief Legal Officer), Michael Caesar (Chief Data and Analytics Officer), and Taha Khan (Manager, Strategy & Transformation, Data and Analytics)
  • What I need to know: The presentation sparked fruitful discussion about how ChatGPT and similar tools could increase productivity and drive innovation through continuous training and how UHN must keep up with the pace of change in the Generative AI space. The group said Generative AI has the potential to transform health care with improved clinician workflows and expanded access to care and expert advice. ELF was also informed about public and industry concerns around regulation, possible bias and misinformation, and potential risks to Intellectual Property and privacy. The group urged ELF to draft guidance on acceptable use, review and update privacy and cybersecurity policies, identify internal committees to provide management guidance, and determine appropriate risk reporting to the Board of Trustees regarding AI.

Closing Notes

Sunday was Father's Day, a celebration of the dads, step-dads, grandfathers and father figures in our lives. Fathers play an incredible role in the lives of children and families, helping to shape future generations with their love, guidance, and support. We proudly celebrate all of the dedicated dads in the TeamUHN family.

June 19 th is Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) Awareness Day. Under stressful conditions, the red blood cells of people with SCD become crescent-shaped and these “sickled" cells cause a range of complications, including intense pain. SCD can also damage bones and organs, including eyes, brains, heart, lungs, and kidneys. Though the genetic disease impacts all people in Canada, SCD disproportionately impacts Black communities who face a distinct form of discrimination. Ontario Health recently launched its SCD Quality Standard, affirming Anti-Black racism is real and causes health disparities for people with SCD, many of whom are subject to "drug seeking" stereotypes when seeking care for pain crises. UHN's Anti-Racism & Anti-Black Racism policy commits this organization to understanding how systemic racism yields unequal access for Black, Indigenous, and racialized people, and UHN leaders can request anti-racism training to better serve equity-deserving groups. UHN's Red Blood Cell Disorders (RBCD) clinic is dedicated to managing SCD using a holistic approach. The RBCD clinic is hosting the Wholistic Health Series until the end of June. Learn more by visiting RBCD Hub, the official blog of the RBCD clinic.

June 24th is St-Jean Baptiste Day, which commemorates the birth of John the Baptist, the patron saint of Quebec. We join with our French Canadian and Francophone colleagues and communities across Canada to celebrate their unique culture and rich heritage, and the beauty of the French language.

Shop local vendors at the Toronto Western Hospital Pop-Up Market from Tuesday, June 20 to Thursday, June 22! Retailers include 2 Peonies (florist), Bone and Quill (Indigenous jewelry), Carlo's Bakery (baked goods), Terradomi (eco-friendly and refillable candles), and Yaw Tony (scarves). Located in the main Atrium at 399 Bathurst St. from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Celebrate the Summer Solstice and National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 at the Michener Gitigan (garden). All are invited to welcome the day with a Sunrise Ceremony and Sacred Fire at 5:30 a.m. with Elder Jimmy Dick of the Moose Cree First Nation, followed by teachings from community members. The morning ceremony and teachings at the Gitigan will wrap up by 9:00 a.m. There are many events being hosted throughout the GTA on June 21st and the IHP encourages all to look into community listings and join in other events to celebrate the day. National Indigenous Peoples Day is an important moment to recognize the indelible contributions of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples, as well as the rich and beautiful traditions of the Indigenous peoples of this land. For more information, please contact the Indigenous Health Program at UHN.

And now.. our video of the week. This clip helps explain the importance of National Indigenous Peoples Day and more details about this week's event.


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Have a good week,


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