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 has partnered with Providence Therapeutics, a leading Canadian biopharmaceutical company, to develop messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines and therapeutics for those living with difficult-to-treat cancers and infectious diseases. This partnership, made official Friday at a signing ceremony in MaRS Discovery District, combines UHN's research and discovery prowess with Providence's proprietary, clinically validated mRNA platform, and commercialization efforts led by Commercialization at UHN. This is a key step in positioning Ontario as a major hub for developing new mRNA-based therapeutics. "This partnership will help us get homegrown treatments to patients faster, and is a key path forward for research discoveries to evolve into new medical therapies," Brad Wouters, EVP, Science and Research, told UHN News. Read more about this exciting collaboration.
  • I was so happy to attend the Pride celebration at Toronto General Thursday to kick off this important month of advocacy and allyship with 2SLGBTQIA+ people. In addition to meaningful speeches about supporting the 2SLGBQIA+ people, the crowd enjoyed incredible performances by Circle of Cedar Singers and drag performers Sofonda and Nikki Chin. My thanks to the 2SLGBTQIA+ committee for organizing this event and raising awareness of issues impacting this community all year long. Learn more about the committee's work here.
  • Congratulations to the inaugural winners of the 2023 Di Poce Research Scholars Awards, a $2 million investment in supporting women-led transplantation research at UHN. These funds will support the world-leading transplant research of Drs. Ana Konvalinka, Tereza Martinu, Nazia Selzner, Deepali Kumar, and Golnaz Karoubi. “These awards are meant to recognize and support women researchers, to enable and promote the highest quality of research and innovation from some of our talented and internationally recognized faculty in the Ajmera Transplant Centre," says Dr. Atul Humar, Director of UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre. "The Ajmera Transplant Centre prides itself on efforts to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion in all of our endeavours." Read more about the story on UHN News.
  • Join us in person or online on Thursday, June 8, from 12-1 p.m. as we celebrate UHN's first anniversary of our Epic Go-Live. We've accomplished so much this past year, and it's time to recognize the hard work and contributions to our success. The celebration is taking place across the organization, connected via livestream. Join us in one of the following spaces, where light refreshments will be available (while quantities last):
    • Toronto General: DeGasperis Conservatory (4th Floor)
    • Toronto Western: BMO Centre (1st Floor Krembil Discovery Tower)
    • Princess Margaret: 7th Floor Atrium
    • Toronto Rehab University Centre: TR-UC Auditorium (2nd Floor)
    • Toronto Rehab Bickle: N-216 Nursing Resource Centre
    • Toronto Rehab Lyndhurst: B27 and B28
    • It was terrific to read about how UHN's Intervention Radiology (IR) team has made a lasting difference in Rwanda. In April, medical radiation technologist Mark St. Denis, interventional radiologist Dr. Aziz Qazi, and registered nurse Amy Callaghan – all Toronto General colleagues – spent two weeks training IR nurses, technologists, and radiology residents at the Rwanda Military Hospital and King Faisal Hospital in Kigali. IR is a specialized branch of medical imaging that aims to diagnose and treat diseases using minimally invasive procedures guided by imaging techniques. In addition to their expertise, the TeamUHN group brought suitcases filled with surplus or unused medical supplies to donate. This is yet another example of TeamUHN's focus on international collaboration to build A Healthier World. Read more about this remarkable trip on UHN News. 
    • Scientists at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre are developing new therapeutics for multiple myeloma after being awarded $2 million from the Helga and Antonio De Gasperis Grand Challenge in Multiple Myeloma. Each year in Canada, roughly 4,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a rare, complex cancer affecting white blood cells in bone marrow. This funding will help identify high-risk subtypes, opening the door to precision medicine for the disease in the future. Read UHN News to learn more about UHN's efforts to ensure myeloma patients can live longer, healthier lives.
    • Last call for the Strategic Plan refresh survey. We thank all those who have weighed in on the '3 Big Questions' to help shape UHN's future. Don't miss your chance to win awesome prizes, including an iPad, by filling out the survey today. It will close June 9.

    Closing Notes

    Today is World Environment Day! Thanks to our Facilities Management – Planning, Redevelopment & Operations (FM-PRO) colleagues on the Energy & Environment team for helping UHN deliver planet-centred care, research, and education across our sites every day. Climate change is a major threat to health and we're grateful for their efforts in addressing pressing environmental issues, as well as fostering a strong culture of sustainability at UHN. In the last decade, the team has helped UHN reduce overall energy use by 11 per cent, saving $39 million in utility costs ($4 million was saved in 2022 alone!). June is also Bike Month! Check out the team's Bike Month contest and resources here. You can also get involved with the Green Team by connecting with

    Speaking of UHN's culture of sustainability, the Indigenous Health Program and Energy & Environment team are hosting a planting day at the Michener Gitigan (garden) this Wednesday, June 7. Email to sign up for a one-hour volunteer time slot from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. A welcome ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. See this poster for more information.

    Congratulations to the Centre for Advancing Collaborative Healthcare & Education (CACHE) on the success of its Collaborating Across Borders (CAB) VIIIConference last month. More than 400 participants from across five continents joined the conference between May 15-18. First launched in 2007 to spark a dialogue between educators, clinicians, students, policymakers and patients on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, the conference has grown to include an international audience in the last 15 years. This year's theme, “Hope and Trust in Health and Social Care," spoke to the importance of advancing the integration and impact of interprofessional education and collaborative healthcare. Native American education scholar Dr. Gregory Cajete, gave a powerful keynote, and an inspiring plenary was delivered by TeamUHN leaders: Dr. Nicole Woods (Director, TIER), Dr. Maria Mylopoulos (The Wilson Centre), and Dr. Paula Rowland (The Wilson Centre). UHN EVP Education & Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hodges and UHN Executive Director Maria Tassone moderated an international panel and plenary session, respectively. Together: Stories of Collective Impact, an international magazine by CACHE, will publish a CAB VIII Spotlight in the upcoming issue to be published in July.

    June is Brain Injury Awareness Month. By 2031, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is expected to be among the most common neurological conditions affecting Canadians, along with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias, and epilepsy, according to Brain Injury Canada. The team at Toronto Rehab provides rehabilitation to people who have acquired non-degenerative neurological disorders, helping those with a brain injury work towards returning to their jobs, and living more independently. Patients at The Hull-Ellis Concussion and Research Clinic at KITE receive care and follow-up services from our dedicated care team while participating in research that seeks to reimagine the future of concussion care. Altum Health's interdisciplinary care teams address the physical, cognitive and psychosocial challenges related to brain injury – driven by the clinical expertise of physician specialists and various registered health care professionals across 12 locations. The Canadian Concussion Centre (CCC) experts at the Krembil Brain Institute are world leaders in brain injury, imaging, genetics, clinical care, neuropsychology, and psychiatry. They work together to diagnose and treat persisting symptoms of concussions and to do the research necessary to improve the diagnosis and treatment of concussions and their consequences. Watch the CCC's popular webinar education series, now viewed in over 20 countries!

    June is also Stroke Awareness Month. A new study out last week from The Heart & Stroke Foundation showed that women are 20-70% more likely to suffer anxiety or depression while recovering from a stroke. At Toronto Rehab, patient care focuses on improving patients' functional abilities so that they can live as independently as possible – and over at the KITE Research Institute, an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and scientists are engaged in neurotechnology research designed to help restore motor function for patients living the long-term effects of stroke. The Krembil Brain Institute's (KBI) Stroke Team, based at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH), is a leader in stroke research and patient care. Listen to this 'Your Complex Brain' podcast episode featuring Dr. Aleksandra Pikula, founder and director of the largest Stroke in Young Adults (SiYA) Program in Canada, discussing her focus on lifestyle medicine and the importance of prevention strategies. TWH also recently became the first hospital in the GTA to transition from Alteplase (tPA) to Tenecteplase (TNK) for hyperacute stroke care. The advantages of TNK include a single bolus over 5 seconds, and evidence of improved reperfusion in some patients to restore blood flow.

    And now… our video of the week. This clip shines a light on our speech-language pathologists, who help patients with swallowing disorders, communication, and more.


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    Have a good week,


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