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 looks forward to working with the new federal cabinet, including the Honourable Mark Holland, the newly appointed Federal Minister of Health, and the Honourable Ya'ara Saks, the new Federal Minister of Mental Health and Addictions and Associate Health Minister. Both are MPs for the Greater Toronto Area, with Mr. Holland representing Ajax and Ms. Saks representing the Toronto riding of York Centre. We also thank Jean-Yves Duclos for his service as Minister of Health, and Carolyn Bennett, who is retiring from politics, for her work as Minister of Mental Health and Addictions since 2021. UHN is eager to work with the federal government and all levels of government to advance our goals, strengthen health care and medicine, and push for increased investments in Canadian health research.
  • Speaking of Ottawa, the federal government has launched a public online consultation to help shape a promised Safe Long-Term Care Act. The consultation period, which will run until Sept. 21, invites Canadians to share their perspectives on how to improve the quality and safety of long-term care (LTC), particularly in light of the problems and systemic challenges exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit Health Canada to learn how to share your ideas and complete an online questionnaire.
  • Please check out UHN's first Education Impact Report, which highlights core achievements reached last year in UHN's four divisions: The Michener Institute, Clinical Education, Professional Development, and Innovation and Research.Education is fundamental to everything we do at UHN and our strategy to provide solutions for what ails our system, including health human resource challenges. As Dr. Brian Hodges, Executive Vice President, Education, noted in the opening letter, many in health care are “reinventing and reimagining our positions and finding creative ways to support and nurture our teams." That goal is one that can only be reached through accessible and impactful education.Read the full report online.
  • Please join me in thanking the staff at UHN's Intensive Care Units and Emergency Departments for their incredible dedication and commitment to organ and tissue donation. This past year, the percentage of eligible cases and approaches for organ donation across our four ICUs and two EDs was 100 per cent. That means every single potential organ donor last year was referred for approach by UHN staff. This remarkable performance reflects an incredibly strong donor identification process at UHN. In partnership with Trillium Gift of Life Network, we have worked hard to improve our performance from 2018-19 when our eligible approach rate was 41 per cent at Toronto General and 77 per cent at Toronto Western. This change did not come easy but was made possible because of the commitment to excellence in providing the best possible care for our patients. Congratulations to all staff for the incredible work you've done to help save countless lives here through organ and tissue donation at UHN.
  • A first-in-Canada procedure performed at UHN could offer patients with thyroid nodules or tumours an alternative to invasive surgery.In April, Dr. Jesse Pasternak, an endocrine surgeon at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery, performed a radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedure, approved to remove large or cancerous thyroid nodules, as part of a clinical trial to support using the procedure on small, suspicious nodules. An ultrasound helped guide a small needle directly into the thyroid nodule of patient Deborah Guitmann Mutchnik, which was heated with radiofrequency energy to destroy the nodule and begin the shrinking process. Deborah's study treatment showed a reduction in the size of her thyroid nodule, with minimal recovery time. "The goal of this research is to get this treatment approved to provide the least invasive options to the most patients," Dr. Pasternak told UHN News, adding that the procedure will also help to reduce the surgical backlog. Learn more about the RFA procedure and the flexibility it offers patients on UHN News.
  • And be sure to read this UHN News story on the Princess Margaret's True North Peer Navigation Program, which matches prostate cancer patients and caregivers with a trained volunteer navigator via a digital app. This initiative is a fine example of using the power of technology to better serve patients. As Dr. Jackie Bender, a scientist in the Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship Program, told UHN News, it also provides a "means to address disparities in access to care and support faced by underserved groups." The program, which has helped 200 patients connect virtually since 2016, is something Dr. Bender hopes to expand across Canada and extend to patients with different types of cancer. Read more.

Closing Notes

Tomorrow – August 1 – is Emancipation Day, which recognizes the day in 1834 when the Slavery Abolition Act came into effect across what was then known as the British empire. Over time, more than 800,000 enslaved Africans and their descendants were freed throughout the British colonies. While Canadians are not always aware that Black and Indigenous peoples were enslaved on what is now known as Canada, this day calls us to learn more about this part of our history. Emancipation Day is also a moment to not only celebrate the enduring contributions of Black communities to Canada, but recommit ourselves to opposing racism in all its forms.

Friday was World Hepatitis Day, which helped raise awareness of the global health impact of viral hepatitis. More than a million lives are lost a year to hepatitis each year, according to the World Hepatitis Alliance. This year's theme, "We're not waiting," captured the importance of ensuring access to screening, testing, and treatment. Hepatitis B (HBV) and Hepatitis C (HCV) are both preventable and while HCV is curable, HBV is managed with lifelong treatment. UHN's Viral Hepatitis Care Network (VIRCAN) is focused on eliminating barriers to diagnosis and treatment for this silent threat as most people do not know they are infected and may not show signs of liver damage for years. Visit VIRCAN's website to learn more about the group's clinics and details on getting tested.

Don't miss Episode 10 of the Krembil Brain Institute's Your Complex Brain podcast 'The top 5 science-based tips to keep your brain fit & healthy' to learn more about how to boost your brain health at any age. The episode features several guest experts from across UHN and wraps up another successful season for the podcast, with more than 22K downloads! The podcast highlights the latest research & clinical advances in brain diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, concussion, stroke, brain cancer and chronic pain, through the eyes of patients, families, healthcare providers and researchers. If you are interested in being featured on the podcast, email:

And now.. our video of the week. This clip highlights UHN's Indigenous Healing Garden (Gitigan), a place to grow plants used for traditional medicines.


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Have a good week,


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