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

  • Our thoughts are with the people in Atlantic Canada this week as they recover from post-tropical storm, Fiona. The University Health Network is proud to have many TeamUHN members who come from that beautiful part of the country and I know they will all be thinking of home this week.
  • This Friday, Sept. 30 is the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, an important time to reflect on the lasting trauma from the residential school system. The Indigenous Health Program and Indigenous Cancer Program are co-hosting a commemorative event at the Gitigan (garden) at the Michener Institute of Education at UHN, from 9:30 am to 11 am​, at the corner of Elm and McCaul St. There will be a sacred fire, survivors' stories and a Survivors' Flag, drumming and singing, personal commitment cards, remarks from UHN leaders, as well as discussion of UHN's progress on Call to Action 22 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and plans to address Call to Action 23. For more information, contact the Indigenous Health Program at
  • Congratulations to Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, who has been awarded the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Canadian Society of Transplantation. This prestigious award is given to a well-established transplant physician, surgeon, or scientist for their internationally recognized work in transplantation and the development of transplantation activities in Canada. Watch the video linked below to learn more about what inspires Dr. Ross and what this award means to the world-renowned cardiologist.
  • The 2SLGBTQIA+ Committee now has a mailing list, with which the group will send updates on its work and related 2SLGBTQIA+ news once a month. I encourage you all to sign up here, knowing you can unsubscribe any time. The Committee has also published a short new resource for TeamUHN on How Gender-based Programs and Services can Support Transgender Participants [Sharepoint]. It begins with the important reminder that it is a violation of human rights to deny or restrict transgender people for accessing gender-based spaces and services that align with their identity, and doing so could expose UHN to legal action. The group's brochure, What Transgender, Nonbinary and Genderqueer Patients Can Expect at UHN, has been published in the Patient Education collection. It is available to order on demand through the Print Shop and can be assigned to patients in Epic through the 'Education' tab. For more on how to make UHN a safer place for 2SLGBTQIA+ people, visit the 2SLGBTQIA+ Learning & Resource Centre.

What happened at the Senior Management Forum meeting

UHN's Senior Management Forum (SMF) 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. SMF meets monthly. The last SMF meeting was held on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Synapse Update

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: The transition in June to the Epic health information system (HIS) was a milestone in UHN's clinical transformation. As project activities are operationalized and transitioned to Digital application and technical teams, Digital leaders updated SMF on accomplishments, challenges, and upcoming updates and upgrades.
  • Who Presented? Leon Goonaratne (Senior Director, Information Technology, UHN Digital), Tanzina Chowdhury (Director, Clinical Portfolio & Digital Strategy, UHN Digital), and Carl Virtanen (Executive Director, Digital Operations & Research)
  • What do I need to know: Synapse Working Groups are participating in 75-day go-live review meetings to report on challenges and mitigation strategies, and share accomplishments. Twenty-seven (27) Working Groups provided the updates during a series of meetings that ran from Sep 12-23. Themes that emerged from the sessions: Working Groups are taking a data-driven approach, reporting on key system metrics to measure and define their success, and are showing readiness for a planned upgrade in November. While teams have made significant progress resolving a large number of issues since go-live, many continue to focus on streamlining and optimizing more niche workflows to better meet the needs of operations. Also, many teams need additional customized operational reports out of Epic.

Epic updates, including technical improvements, occur every 4-6 weeks, with the next scheduled for Oct. 20. System upgrades, which involve significant improvements to features and enhancements, will occur twice yearly, with the first planned for Nov. 12. Training materials and readiness activities are being developed. Project and improvement requests are being reviewed and prioritized by Working Groups, who will help determine which requests are added to the Digital roadmap. Finally, the Epic survey that asks TeamUHN members about their experiences using Epic, will close at 9 a.m. on Sept. 29. The survey can be accessed right here.

Closing Notes

Today we mark the start of Concussion Awareness Week (Sept. 26-Oct. 2), which urges us to think about how we can best prevent brain injuries. About 150,000 Ontarians are diagnosed with a concussion each year, often after an accident, fall, or impact to the head. UHN is proud to have one of Canada's first concussion treatment and research centres, The Canadian Concussion Centre, based at Toronto Western Hospital and part of the Krembil Brain Institute at UHN, as well as a concussion clinic at the Toronto Rehab Institute. This Wednesday is also Rowan's Law Day, which honours the memory of 17-year-old Rowan Stringer, who died in 2013 as a result of multiple head injuries she sustained playing rugby. After likely suffering concussions a week earlier, Rowan was hit in the head during a match and suffered Second Impact Syndrome – catastrophic swelling to a brain still healing from previous trauma. This week reminds us of the importance of concussion safety and highlights the important research being done at UHN on concussion prevention, treatment and education. Learn more about Rowan's Law Day on the Government of Ontario website. You can also hear more about Rowan's story in this Your Complex Brain episode.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month! Cyber criminals are targeting healthcare institutions more than ever, so it's important that TeamUHN can identify and avoid phishing emails and know where to report suspicious activity. This October, the Digital Security team will be running several phishing exercises and sharing helpful weekly tips. Your participation in the month's activities will not only give you a refresher on cyber security best practices, but it will give you many chances to win great prizes! As always, please forward all suspicious emails to or use the "Report Phish" button in your Outlook application's toolbar.

UHN has expanded its online presence by joining both Instagram and TikTok as @uhntoronto. Led by the Public Affairs & Communications team, these accounts complement UHN's established presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and provide another platform to share inspiring and engaging stories. Please be sure to give these new accounts a follow! Read more about this project in UHN News and click the play button in the screen below to watch UHN's first TikTok video. (You do not need to have a TikTok account to watch).

November 2022 will be Escalation of Care (EOC) Month at UHN. At UHN, improving EOC is a system quality priority. The month of November will be dedicated to raising awareness and knowledge on EOC. Stay tuned for educational activities that are being planned to support TeamUHN in being able to: describe the significance of EOC and impact on patients; describe what, when and how to escalate, and to whom to escalate care; and identify tools and resources to support professional escalation of care concerns. You can learn more about UHN's EOC expectations here: Escalation of Care at UHN - YouTube


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Have a good week,


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