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

  • We begin this week by acknowledging the recent passing of Isolyn Forbes, a much-loved and long-time member of the TeamUHN family. A member of the Environmental Services team until her retirement in December 2022, "Lyn from Housekeeping" was a cherished colleague in the Cardiovascular Investigation Unit. She will be remembered for her unflinching work ethic and humble nature, for always taking time to smile and say hello, and for the deep sense of spirituality that inspired her to dedicate her life to serving others. She will be deeply missed by colleagues in the Cath Lab and across UHN. Our thoughts and sympathy are with her family.
  • I hope all TeamUHN members who are able will take time to rest and recharge this summer. I will be taking some time to do just that this week, so we will pause next week's update and you will hear from me again after Labour Day.
  • Congratulations Dr. Hance Clarke, who has been named the GoodHope Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Chair in Translational Medicine at UHN and University of Toronto. "Hance's appointment marks a significant step forward in the clinic's relentless pursuit to improve the lives of EDS patients. This Chair will support the robust work to translate cutting-edge research into tangible, compassionate care, ushering in a new era of hope and healing," says Dr. Keyvan Karkouti, Head, UHN's Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management. Dr. Clarke is the Director of Pain Services and the Pain Research Unit at Toronto General, the Knowledge Translation Chair for the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at UofT, and the incoming President of the Canadian Pain Society. We thank Mark Feldman and Alexandra Hoy, who made this chair possible through their incredible support via the UHN Foundation.
  • UHN's Data & Analytics team has created the Data Portal, a streamlined way to request data for a project or initiative. Data is central to the future of healthcare. As an organization, we generate an extraordinary amount of data and are rapidly building the habit of making data-driven decisions. This portal will help with that by allowing TeamUHN to understand the data available and how to access it. To learn more or submit a request for data or reporting, visit the Data Portal.
  • Congratulations to the 23 UHN research teams recently awarded $12.1 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research's (CIHR) spring funding competition. This grant program supports ideas advancing health-related knowledge, research, care, and outcomes. UHN teams were awarded 16 research grants and seven bridge grants for projects including those studying heart failure, novel targets driving blood disorders, hepatitis C disease models, acute myeloid leukemia treatments, the effectiveness of cannabis for osteoarthritis, deep brain stimulation, adverse event rates, and more. See CIHR's full spring results online.
  • Don't miss this wonderful story on Gavin Dandal, a Toronto Western Operating Room (OR) nurse who was on shift when learned he won a $2.4-million grand prize in the Princess Margaret Cottage Lottery! Gavin began purchasing tickets for the lottery in 2016 to support the vital work done by TeamUHN. "All the work we've done and continue to do as an organization – it wouldn't be possible without donations like this – and I'm proud to be a part of TeamUHN," he told UHN news. Gavin and his wife, Marie, and OR nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, also have a close friend battling cancer at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, hammering home the importance of supporting cancer research. Read the full UHN News story to learn about what happened after Gavin's name was announced on CP24 on the TV in the staff lounge.

Closing Notes

August 31 is International Overdose Day, an occasion to spotlight the public health crisis of opioid-related deaths in Canada. The Public Health Agency of Canada recorded more than 7,300 apparent opioid toxicity deaths last year (20 per day, twice the amount recorded pre-COVID-19 in 2019). Substance Use Disorder (SUD) remains a primary cause of patient admission at UHN. Led by Medical Lead Dr. Hasan Sheikh, UHN's Substance Use Services team is developing initiatives to support patients and fellow providers. These include the Substance Use Intervention Team (SUIT), providing on-call physician support to hospitalized patients at Toronto Western. It also includes a series of five-minute education modules created in collaboration with the Michener Institute of Education, which outline best practices for treating patients with SUDs and include accessible one-pagers designed for easy reference at the point of care. I encourage those interested to review these modules and learn about the evidence-based tools available, including medications for opioid and alcohol use disorders that are often underutilized due to a lack of awareness.

And now.. our video of the week. This clip highlights UHN's continued leadership in adopting and integrating new technologies, including robotics-assisted devices such as VELYS, which enhances surgical outcomes and patient recovery.


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Have a good week,


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