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

  • Tomorrow on Feb. 2 (12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.) – Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19: Read answers to FAQs here – updated regularly. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Virtual Open Forum (top right box) > Open Forum FAQ). Submit questions here or enter #UHNCOVID-19x38 on Livestream here (Chrome/Firefox).
  • UHN Anti-Black Racism and Anti-Racism Policy launched last week: See the policy which sets the course for a better future for this organization (Corporate Intranet > Policies > Anti-Racism and Anti-Black Racism…) – one that is strengthened by equity, diversity and inclusion. There will be a presentation on our overarching Anti-Racism and Anti-Black Racism strategy at the Feb. 16 Virtual Open Forum, which coincides with Black History Month (Corporate Intranet > UHN News > "Marking Black History Month…"). Additional information sessions are being scheduled starting with a presentation at the Medical Advisory Committee this week. For questions on this policy, please e-mail All responses will be confidential and managed by a small team of advisors from the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to the concerning state of COVID-19, UHN activated its Executive COVID-19 IMS (Incident Management System) table. Membership includes our Executive Leadership Forum and other members of COVID-19 work streams. The group meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This is a snapshot of the discussion.

Received a directive from the Ministry of Health on second-dose Pfizer appointments

  • Background: We received a memo on Jan. 27 from Dr. David Williams (Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario) stating that "all [vaccination] sites should schedule, or reschedule as required, all second dose appointments for the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to follow 35 days after the administration of the first doses… for all vaccine recipients other than residents of long-term care, high-risk retirement and First Nations elder care homes." If you are one of the individuals who might be impacted by this change, I know you are frustrated – we are too. Unfortunately, vaccine supply continues to be very disappointing. Pfizer has a responsibility to ensure Canada receives vaccine for second doses ASAP.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer)
  • What do I need to know? Anyone who is impacted by a change in second doses will receive a notification by email. Vaccine information about deliveries is changing on a daily – sometimes hourly – basis. This means that information about second-dose appointments can change just as quickly. All GTA hospital vaccination centres (e.g. Unity Health, Sunnybrook) are facing this same challenge.

Planning around COVID-19 variants of concern

  • Background: On Jan. 29, Ontario announced its plan to reduce the spread of COVID-19 variants. The goal is to increase the secondary testing of positive COVID-19 tests for known variants of concern, with a turnaround time that will enable enhanced tracking, tracing and quarantine actions to limit their spread. This effort is being led by Public Health Ontario in partnership with the provincial diagnostic lab network and other academic sequencing labs. The Federal government has also created an ad hoc committee that is working to provide more resources for variant surveillance testing and research.
  • Who presented?Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention & Control), Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research), Rebecca Repa (Executive Vice President, Clinical Support and Performance)
  • What do I need to know? Our best lines of defense continue to be consistent masking, physical distancing and following all other public health measures. We all want to eradicate this virus ASAP. In terms of protecting UHN, we recently enhanced our inpatient universal masking policy (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > Internal Communications > UHN COVID-19 Latest updates 29 January 2021) and our PPE supply levels remain stable. During wave 1, our threshold for a "healthy" supply was 30+ days. Over the summer, we extended this to 60+ days thanks to a more stable supply chain. We are now considering moving to 120+ days for key items so we have an even bigger cushion. UHN's PPE Supply Report is updated weekly (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > PPE).

Clinical capacity and staffing: The health system needs nurses

  • Background: Staffing continues to be a challenge across the health system due to COVID-19. For example, 120 UHN staff were unable to come to work last Friday due to COVID-19 or COVID-related issues. Managers are doing their best to adjust schedules but our ability to deliver care is being impacted. UHN needs RNs and RPNs to join TeamUHN across various units and all sites. There are many opportunities. Here are a few highlighted for consideration: RN roles at Princess Margaret, RN roles at Toronto General and Toronto Western, RPN roles at Toronto General and Toronto Western.
  • Who presented? Diana Elder (Vice President, Human Resources), Joy Richards (Vice President, Patient Experience; Chief Health Professions)
  • What do I need to know? Employee referrals are very helpful. Please refer any nursing colleagues who may be interested in our current openings. Send names and contact information to Veronica Deally (Sourcing Specialist).

Closing notes

UHN branded backgrounds are now available in Microsoft Teams on all managed devices. Click on the "Background Filters" button before joining a meeting, or press the "More Actions" button after you've joined. Four new backgrounds can be found by scrolling to the bottom of the list of images. For any questions or assistance, contact

UHN's Energy & Environment Department is proud to be an early partner of the City of Toronto's Green Will Initiative, which looks to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Learn more about our commitment which aligns with our vision of A Healthier World.

World Cancer Day is on Thursday, Feb. 4 – the theme for this year is "I Am and I Will," representing a commitment towards equitable access to cancer treatment and care for all. There is a widening disparity in access to cancer treatments disproportionately impacting low and middle-income populations and countries. Thanks to everyone on TeamUHN for advancing world-class cancer care, research and education and elevating access to care across our borders. Special shout out to our Global Cancer Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for their focused efforts on this mission and UHN's vision of A Healthier World.

February is Heart Month – a time to focus on cardiovascular health and the impact of cardiovascular disease. According to the most recent data, heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada and affects more than 2.4 million Canadians. Every day, our team at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) works to transform the lives of those with, or at risk of, heart and vascular disease. This month, follow along on the PMCC social media to read stories of clinical triumphs and research breakthroughs that will make you proud of not only what's happened, but what the future holds for the PMCC team and all who stand to benefit.


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Have a good week,


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