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

  • Welcome back from the Thanksgiving long weekend. I hope members of TeamUHN were able to spend time with family and friends over the holiday. As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, I know that many traditions have been altered and that we are all working to create new and safe traditions to celebrate these holidays while observing public health guidance. Deepest thanks, as always, to those who worked over the weekend, providing necessary care for patients.
  • Virtual Open Forum on COVID-19 this week – Thursday, October 14 (12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.).
    • Submit questions here or enter #UHNCOVID-19x50 on You must include your full name for you question to be accepted; including your full name will help support transparency and collegiality at UHN.
    • Anyone who is uncomfortable assigning their name to their question may send them directly to me at or – Subject line: Question for Open Forum – and, of course, respect and civility are the expectation, however you choose to get in touch.
  • The next six Synapse Readiness & Engagement Forums will focus on high risk, high volume (HRHV) workflows, such as Scheduling & Registration, Medication Ordering & Administration, and Ordering & Administering Blood Products. The forums, which managers are expected to attend, will introduce the future state of these workflows in the Epic health information system (HIS), and set the stage for more information and readiness activities over the coming months. HRHV workflows have been deemed high priority for getting ready to use Epic because they have significant quality and safety impacts across UHN, and present known safety risks in the current state. Learn more about HRHVs and the schedule of forums here.

What happened at the Executive COVID-19 IMS Table

In response to 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.

Third Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine

  • Background: The Ministry of Health (MOH) makes the decisions around eligibility for vaccines including that for third doses. At this point in time, the criteria for individuals to receive a third dose includes: having a specific medical condition, or being residents of long-term care and residential facilities. See the full list of third dose eligibility criteria here.
  • Who presented? Emily Musing (Vice President, Clinical; Chief Patient Safety Officer)
  • What do I need to know? Emily attends meetings with representatives of the MOH that discuss vaccination policies, distribution and vaccination clinics in Ontario. The request for healthcare workers to receive third doses has been raised at these meetings, but no determination has yet been on this group's eligibility. We are advocating for third doses, particularly for clinical team members who were amongst the first to receive the vaccine early this year, as they work in areas where the risk of encountering the virus is high – Emergency Departments, ICUs and units where COVID patients are treated.

Thanksgiving and Public Health Measures

  • Background: Case numbers for COVID-19, hospitalizations with the virus and ICU admissions have been holding steady these last few weeks, but the Thanksgiving weekend will have seen many people gathering with family and friends. The next few weeks will determine whether vaccination, public health measures and the guidance provided by local and federal public health agencies for holiday get togethers are enough to keep case numbers steady.
  • Who presented? Susy Hota (Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control)
  • What do I need to know? We may see a spike in cases after Thanksgiving, but vaccination in combination with adherence to public health measures should be enough to hold the case counts relatively steady.

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) 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. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on October 7, 2021.

Vacation Carryover

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Questions around vacation carryover and payout this year have been a topic of conversation with the main question being whether we will duplicate last year's approach.
  • Who presented? Sheila O'Brien (Executive Vice President, People & Culture)
  • What do I need to know? People & Culture presented a proposal to address vacation carryover and ELF members were fully supportive of the approach. Full details will be shared with TeamUHN as soon as possible.


  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Questions continue to come forward from TeamUHN about guidance for travel, particularly international travel.
  • Who presented? Anil Chopra (Vice President, Medical Affairs) and Brad Wouters (Executive Vice President, Science & Research)
  • What do I need to know? UHN continues to recommend that people follow the guidance given by the Government of Canada which is to limit travel for essential reasons only. Individuals must determine what 'essential' means themselves, but if the decision is made to travel, UHN recommends that you must have arrangements in place if, upon return, you are required to quarantine for 14 days. People should also consider the necessity of travel insurance specific to an illness with COVID-19, and avoid travelling to places where the vaccination rates are very low, and where the availability of health care is not equal to that of Canada.

Overview of last week

Vaccination policies for Essential Care Partners and Individuals Coming on Site for Business

  • Background: UHN now has policies on mandatory vaccination for everyone coming to our sites as of October 22. This includes Essential Care Partners and anyone required to come on site to conduct business. Patient Engagement and our Screening team are working together to get information out to patients and their families or caregivers, while the FM-PRO team is ensuring that all companies and individuals conducting business with UHN can attest that all of their workers and affiliates are fully vaccinated before coming to any of our sites.
  • What happened last week? The policies: Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination for Contractors, Business Visitors and Study Visitors and Clinical: Essential Care Partner COVID-19 Vaccination were finalized and posted to the Corporate Intranet in the Policies section.
  • What do I need to know? These policies, and the initiative to have everyone vaccinated prior to coming on any UHN site, are in place to provide as much protection as possible to our patients and TeamUHN.

Closing notes

Successful transition of the Women's Own program. On October 1, UHN ceased care delivery of withdrawal management services through the Women's Own Program which was officially transferred with shared capacity between Unity Health Toronto and Michael Garron Hospital. The program had been with Toronto Western Hospital since 1998, and was first opened in 1991 by the Doctor's Hospital. This transfer has increased capacity in the system and provides more crisis beds for women's withdrawal management which are acutely needed across the region. My thanks to all involved to organize a smooth transfer with uninterrupted service to the program's clients, and to the dedicated staff who supported this much needed program.

October 10 was World Mental Health Day. Thanks to our colleagues at UHN's Centre for Mental Health (UHN CMH) for the remarkable work they do to champion new philosophies of care and implement strategies that bring physical and mental health closer together. The pandemic has underlined that support for mental health has never been more important. Mental illness affects 1 in 5 Canadians and is the leading cause of disability. Attitudes towards mental health issues have recently changed for the better, but barriers remain, and those experiencing poor mental health before the pandemic have been impacted the most, with youth in particular experiencing the greatest decline. UHN CMH's more than 20 specialized clinics and services work to transform mental health care in practice, research and education and drive the full integration of physical and mental health into everything we do, for every patient, caregiver, provider and service across UHN.

It's Healthcare Security & Safety Week (Oct. 10-16): UHN's Security Operations team works behind the scenes and on the frontlines to safeguard staff, patients, visitors and the hospital system. They protect property from acts of theft and vandalism, as well as information, like patient privacy and confidentiality. The team focuses on prevention and risk management, by taking proactive steps to stop harm before it happens. Please join me in saying thank you to our UHN security guards who respond to 200,000 calls per year (ranging from requests for site access to safety incidents or patrols). Learn more about the team's safety programs, like Walk Safe and Call Safe.


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Have a good week,

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