​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

  • Last week, UHN officially joined Mayo Clinic's Platform_Connect, a game-changing data network that seeks to help us find new healthcare solutions driven by data science and artificial intelligence. UHN, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein in Brazil, and Sheba Medical Center in Israel all signed on to the platform Thursday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., joining the network's first member, Mercy in the United States, to form an unprecedented global partnership. Platform_Connect provides secure, cloud-based access to de-identified clinical data gathered through network members across three continents, using a "Data Behind Glass" approach that permits organizations to work with the information without moving data between hospitals. By unlocking new data driven algorithms informed by AI, members seek to more quickly identify diseases and the strongest treatment options for patients. UHN recognizes that our goal of identifying risk of disease earlier and intervening sooner requires us to locate emerging patterns, even when deeply hidden. By working together, large, research-intensive organizations are creating a research ecosystem that will doubtless help us unlock more solutions for our patients. Learn more about this exciting development on UHN News.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Donald Weaver, who last week was appointed the Krembil Chair in Drug Discovery in Alzheimer's Research at UHN. The funding from this Chair, made possible thanks to the Krembil Family, the Krembil Foundation, and UHN Foundation, will help support the design and synthesis of brain-penetrant small molecule new chemical entities as putative Alzheimer's disease therapeutics. A Senior Scientist at the Krembil Brain Institute (KBI) and former director, Don is a world-renowned expert in drug discovery and translational research in Alzheimer's disease and related dementia. His research spans basic discovery in drug design to clinical trials in epilepsy, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease, and he designed the drug tramiprosate — one of the first disease-modifying drugs for Alzheimer's disease to reach Phase III clinical trials world-wide. Don is also a dedicated and respected professor in the Departments of Medicine (Neurology), Chemistry, and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto. Last Monday, TeamUHN celebrated Don Weaver's incredible tenure as director of KBI from 2013 to 2022 at an in-person symposium at the BMO Education & Conference Centre, called "Molecules, Poetry & Exploring New Approaches in Neuroscience." Congratulations Don and thank you for all that you do on behalf of our patients, science, and A Healthier World.
  • Happy National Nursing Week! Join Pam Hubley, UHN's Chief Nurse Executive, for a special online forum TODAY from 11 a.m. to noon to kick off National Nursing Week 2023, including the launch of the UHN Nursing Strategy and premiere of a video celebrating nursing at UHN. UHN is committed to ensuring that our organization is the very best place for our valued and respected nurses to build their careers. This strategy, developed in consultation with TeamUHN nurses, will show how UHN aims to transform nursing over the next five years. You should already have an invite in your Outlook calendars to join the Zoom meeting at 11. (Meeting ID: 941 5388 0412; passcode 267478).
  • Emergency Department wait times are now available on uhn.ca. In February, we let you know about the Wait Time Clocks in the Emergency Departments (EDs) at Toronto General and Toronto Western. On May 3, access to those clocks was extended to the UHN website. Now, people can see – before going to the ED – the estimated time until a medical care provider would see them, how many patients are registered and waiting to see a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA), and how many people are being treated. The clocks use plain language and simple graphics to convey the information. The web version of the clocks is refreshed every hour and may vary from what is displayed in the EDs. Sharing wait time information with patients is integral to our commitment to transparency, reducing stress for patients and staff in the ED, and empowering patients in their healthcare journeys. Congratulations to the cross-functional team that worked through multiple technical challenges to make this additional visibility to ED wait times possible.
  • The International Conference on Aging, Innovation and Rehabilitation (ICAIR), co-hosted by The KITE Research Institute, is being held TODAY< at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. This conference, hosted in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto, will have 600 attendees, including top researchers, scientists, and entrepreneurs from nine countries working to improve the lives of those living each day with the impacts of illness, disability, and aging. Join students, academics, and clinicians from across UHN, the U. of T., and more than 20 other universities in Canada, the U.S., and Asia, and enjoy keynote speeches from Princeton University's Dr. Ruha Benjamin on issues at the nexus of data and democracy, and Zen Koh, co-founder of Fourier Intelligence Group based in Singapore, on the rehabilitation technology industry's past, present, and future. Visit the conference website to learn more and register.
  • Don't miss your chance to take the Strategic Plan refresh survey and share your thoughts on '3 Big Questions' to shape the next stage of UHN's journey. Visit the survey website or scan the QR code below to get started and be entered into draws for a number of exciting prizes! Questions? Email strategy@uhn.ca.

Closing Notes

It's Emergency Preparedness Week, an important time for us all to reflect on how we can more effectively prepare for unforeseen situations and stay safe. This year's theme, "Be Prepared. Know the Risks," speaks to the importance of being aware of potential dangers at work, home, and in our communities, and ensuring a plan of action is in place. UHN's Emergency Preparedness department is committed to the safety and security of all TeamUHN members. The group has released a detailed Emergency Preparedness Plan and valuable information on how TeamUHN members can be prepared for emergencies. We thank these dedicated professionals for their diligence. We all have a shared responsibility to reduce risk and lessen the impacts of emergency events.

May 8th is Thalassemia Awareness Day , dedicated to boosting support for people with this inherited red blood cell disorder. People with Thalassemia cannot produce sufficient hemoglobin and the most severe forms require lifelong blood transfusions every three to four weeks. While life-sustaining, transfusions also deposit iron in the body that can build up to dangerous levels in organs, including the heart and liver, which can result in organ damage and endocrine problems if not managed with medication. While Thalassemia can impact all people, it is commonly diagnosed in those whose ancestors are from parts of the world where falciparum malaria was or is still endemic, including Africa, Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the Mediterranean. UHN's Red Blood Cell Disorders Clinic (RBCD) is dedicated to managing Thalassemia and other red blood cell disorders using a holistic approach that recognizes the resilience, coping strategies, and dreams of those who live full lives with this condition. The RBCD Clinic is hosting the Wholistic Health Series, a free, five-part series running in May and June. Learn more about Thalassemia and other red blood cell disorders by visiting the RBCD Hub – the official Blog of the RBCD Clinic!

May 10th is World Lupus Day. Approximately 1 in 1,000 Canadians are affected by this autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue. Our colleagues at UHN's Lupus Clinic have studied the autoimmune disease for more than half a century. They continue to provide world-class care and innovate new diagnostic tools and therapies in addition to being leaders in disease education and research. Established in 1970, the Lupus Clinic has one of the largest patient databases in the world, with more than 2,200 patients and over 80,000 clinic visits. In 2015, they established the NeuroLupus Program, which has also become one of the world's largest and most comprehensive neuropsychiatric lupus databases, focused on the assessment of cognitive function. This comprehensive database has enabled researchers to build a necessary clinical and research framework, in order to adequately characterize cognitive function and depressive symptoms in patients with lupus. Thanks to their work and dedication, we understand much more about lupus diagnosis and treatments, which help our patients lead normal lives.

Learn more about how the team at UHN's Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre at Toronto Western Hospital treats patients who are artists of all disciplines with care tailored to meet their unique needs. Toronto cellist David Liam Roberts told UHN News he began coming to the centre after experiencing spine pain due to the repetitive motions of playing his instrument four hours a day – pain not unlike what athletes experience. David Liam regularly sees the centre's massage therapist and said he appreciates having a "physiotherapist see how you play the instrument and critique any repetitive motions you make that might be a risk for developing an injury overtime." Since opening in 2002, this one-of-a-kind centre has treated about 500 Ontario artists a year. The clinic helps to subsidize treatment for artists who demonstrate financial need, ensuring those with unstable incomes can access the care they need. Read the full UHN News story.

May is Foot Health Month – a big thank you to the teams across UHN and our community partners who care for people with conditions affecting their feet. UHN is fortunate to have specialized care offered by chiropodists, students in The Michener Institute's Chiropody Clinic, wound care nurse specialists, and specialists in the Vascular Clinic and the Foot and Ankle Clinic. However, we need more people with the skills to assess feet and identify when to connect people to the right level of care. The Best Foot Forward Future Skills Centre grant research team at UHN has developed training modules that teach staff how to use the validated Inlow's foot screening tool to identify when a person should connect to care. With the focus on foot health in May, the team is inviting any staff at UHN who are not foot care specialists to learn this skill, aligning with UHN's vision of A Healthier World. The training is voluntary and consists of six modules delivered in-person over one four-hour training session, including the practical screening of feet. If you are interested in accessing this training as an individual or would like to set up this training for your team, please contact Saul Cobbing at saul.cobbing@uhn.ca.

And now… our video of the week. In this clip, we learn how UHN's Medical Laboratory Technologists use a single eyelash to scoop up tiny kidney biopsy samples and load them into UHN's most powerful microscope.


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Have a good week,


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