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Happy new year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, taking some time to rest, relax and get ready for an exciting 2017. We have an ambitious agenda for this year and you will be instrumental in helping us achieve our milestones so we can make UHN a better, stronger organization for staff, students, researchers, clinicians and most importantly – patients.
Influenza at UHN
As you know, flu season is here and we have already seen flu outbreaks in units across UHN – 14 ES at Toronto General had an outbreak before the holidays and currently there are outbreaks in units 8A/B at Toronto Western as well as 6S at Toronto Rehab – University Centre. We are still in the upswing of influenza activity, so if you have not yet received your flu shot I strongly encourage you to go out and get vaccinated today. You can do this at any Occupational Health and Safety Clinic across UHN. If an outbreak occurs staff members working on that unit who have direct contact with patients may be required to take a prophylactic medication, such as Tamiflu. Staff who refuse to take Tamiflu, or another prophylactic, will be sent home unpaid until the outbreak is over. Pregnant staff and those with medical contraindications will not be required to take prophylaxis and will be sent home for the three day incubation period on paid leave and returned to another non outbreak unit until the outbreak on their unit is over. Our priority is to keep all of our staff as safe as possible during an outbreak, which is why these measures are in place.
Zelia Souter, Nurse Manager of 5B at TG shared lessons she learned from an influenza outbreak that happened in her unit last year with
UHN News, including how they managed the outbreak, challenges they encountered and the impact the flu outbreak had. Her story sheds light on how quickly the flu can spread and the damaging effects it has. Please care safely for yourself and those around you by protecting yourself from the influenza virus. Remember that influenza can be a deadly infection and getting sick impacts your colleagues, patients and your ability to work effectively. Reduce your risk of contracting or transmitting the flu using the
"Flu Bundle Protection" – get your vaccination, eat well, get enough rest, wash your hands often and stay home if you're sick.
Drs. Tator and Tymianski appointed to the Order of Canada
This year is already off to a great start for UHN, with
two appointments to the Order of Canada. Dr. Charles Haskell Tator has been promoted to an Officer of the Order of Canada for his work on concussions and advocating for increased safety in sport. Dr. Michael Tymianski was made a Member of the Order of Canada for his contributions to neuroscience, particularly as he investigates new mechanisms to protect the brain following a stroke. Congratulations Drs. Tator and Tymianski on this incredible honour.
Princess Margaret and the GENIE Project
Last week the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) released nearly 19,000 de-identified cancer genomic records through its project,
Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE). By making this data publicly available, the AACR and eight participating institutions are hoping to accelerate the pace of global cancer research around the world. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre is one of the eight institutions contributing towards this "big data" project and the only Canadian one. Through this data-sharing project we will be better equipped to identify and better understand patterns that emerge in this complex and changing disease, resulting in more effective, precise treatments for cancer patients.
IT Transformation Town Halls – happening this week!
In December we rounded off the year with the first of a series of IT Transformation Town Halls that are taking place across UHN. Dr. David Jaffray, EVP Technology and Innovation, and I shared how the digital future will impact all of our lives and change the landscape of care, discovery and learning at UHN.
I hope you can join Dr. Jaffray and I this week as we provide an update on our IT Transformation journey, share some accomplishments and look towards UHN's digital future. We received great questions and comments at the December Town Hall and both Dr. Jaffray and I are looking forward to answering your questions this week. The Town Hall schedule is:
As you know, UHN is heading to the cloud with
Microsoft Office 365 this year – an important next step in our IT Transformation journey.
With this cloud-based platform, you will continue to see the familiar applications you know and depend on and gain access to a whole new set of features, including increased email storage and collaboration tools such as Skype for Business. We will be releasing more details about Office 365 in the coming weeks as we prepare to roll it out throughout Spring 2017 – in the meantime you can learn more about Office 365