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

  • This week is March Break for Ontario students and I know that many of you are taking time to rest and recharge with your families. The loved ones many of you have at home are important members of TeamUHN because they inspire our people to be at their best. Enjoy this week!
  • The Province of Ontario is removing its masking requirements in most indoor public settings, including restaurants, schools, and grocery stores, on March 21. However, UHN will continue to require masking after March 21. Mask mandates will remain in place in high-risk settings, including hospitals, medical clinics, and long-term care homes, as well as congregate care settings, such as shelters, and on public transit. We know that masks are a valuable layer of protection, particularly for those most vulnerable to COVID-19, including the immunocompromised. As we transition into a new phase with the lifting of more public-health restrictions over the coming weeks, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our patients and staff.
  • On Wednesday, we closed Toronto Rehab's 6 South Unit. This space increased UHN's capacity to pull patients from acute sites to meet their rehab or post-acute needs, ensuring patients received the right care in the right place at the right time. The incredible speed with which this unit was opened to respond to the intense pressures of the Omicron wave was an extraordinary example of our ability to meet patient needs, and support a system that is struggling. Patient care at 6 South was led by a multi-disciplinary team of staff that was redeployed from other units, making this a truly remarkable TeamUHN effort. Thank you to Linda Flockhart, Clinical Director, Brain, Spinal Cord & Cardiac Rehab Programs; Sandra Yue, Program Services Manager, ABI Neuro Physical, 11 South; Gaby Golea, Director of Professional Practice, TRI; Paul Oh, Medical Director, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention and Rehab Program; and many others to worked to open this unit in record time.
    6 South staff
    (Pictured: 6 South staff)
  • Today, March 14, marks the opening of the Michael Lawrence Turk Rapid Assessment Centre (RAC) in Toronto General Hospital's Emergency Department. The RAC was made possible by several generous donors to the City Builders Campaign who responded to an urgent need to support critical infrastructure in our community. This included a generous lead gift from Marvin and Toby Turk, Michael's parents, in honour of his loving and caring nature and made with the hope of transforming the patient experience in emergency medicine at UHN. TGH's ED was built in 2000 to care for 20,000 patients a year but currently serves more than 55,000. This generous gift adds 9,450 square feet to the ED to triage and treat low acuity patients in a more efficient and healing space which is not only safer for staff, but also ensures that essential resources in the existing ED remain available to treat more critical patients.
  • The Synapse project held its 90-Day Go-Live Readiness Assessment (GLRA) on March 9, a frank, comprehensive review of how we are doing with the massive undertaking of transitioning to the Epic health information system (HIS) on June 4, 2022. Stakeholders received a summary of the status of each of the 58 workstreams within the project. Representatives from workstreams with a status of "watch," "serious," or "critical" provided verbal updates on the actions that will be taken before the next GLRA (April 6). Following the GLRA, a smaller group comprised of ELF and leaders from Synapse and Epic held a go/no-go meeting to discuss project risks. During that meeting, it was agreed that while there is still much work ahead, there are concrete plans to address the outstanding issues, leading to unanimous support for continuing with a go-live date of June 4. Achieving the target of 100% of all end users registered for training by March 18
  • On March 10, UHN Foundation hosted a virtual COVID-19 Q&A livestream, entitled "COVID-19 Two Years Later: Learning to Live with the Virus." Moderator Christian Coté, host of UHN's "Behind the Breakthrough" podcast spoke with Susy Hota, Medical Director, IPAC.

    Susy Hota
    To watch a recording of the discussion, click on the image above or visit: UHN Foundation - COVID livestream - March 10

Closing Notes

  • Last week was Dental Assistants Recognition Week and the theme this year was "Our Heart Goes into Every Smile". Dental Assistants are essential to oral health care and integral parts of dental teams. UHN is lucky to have dental clinics at Toronto Rehab and Princess Margaret, where Dental Assistants perform essential care for patients before, during, and after their treatments. We celebrate our Dental Assistants and thank them for all their care and hard work.
  • March 14th-20th is International Brain Awareness Week, a week dedicated to fostering 'enthusiasm and support for brain science' around the world. One in three Canadians will experience a brain-related condition such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, epilepsy, stroke, concussion, brain cancer or chronic pain in their lifetime. UHN's Krembil Brain Institute (KBI) at Toronto Western Hospital, is home to one of the world's largest and most comprehensive teams of physicians and scientists, uniquely working hand-in-hand to prevent and confront problems of the brain and spine. Our neurosurgical teams perform more procedures by volume than any other centre in Canada (top five in North America) and our team is a leader and pioneer in the fields of neurodegeneration and neuromodulation. A new KBI podcast, 'Your Complex Brain,' launches March 22nd. For more information and to subscribe, go to:
  • Congratulations to Sharon Walmsley, who was recently named the recipient of a 2022 Woman of Distinction Award from YWCA Toronto. Sharon, who is the director of the Immunodeficiency Clinic at Toronto General Hospital, has long been recognized as a trailblazer. As YWCA Toronto has stated: "As one of the first Ontario physicians to dedicate her practice to the care of persons living with the HIV virus, Sharon has pioneered care models to address the specific needs of HIV positive women, recognizing that many women and trans people acquired the disease through sexual assault." An internationally renowned researcher, Sharon also leads the International Workshop on HIV and Women. She and seven other remarkable women will be celebrated at YWCA Toronto's 41st Women of Distinction Awards Gala in June.
    Sharon Walmsley
    (Photo credit: UHN News)
  • Earlier this month, UHN hosted its inaugural Summit on Quality & Safety, called "Transforming our Future Together." The event featured several practical sessions and a plenary from Dr. Alan Forster, Chief Innovation and Quality Officer at The Ottawa Hospital, on how Epic can be harnessed for better quality and safety. As I told the group, quality and safety is not a destination but a journey we must take together every single day. My thanks to Lucas Chartier, Medical Director, Quality & Safety, and the Summit planning committee for their work. A recording of the event can be found on our Q&S SharePoint site here.


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Have a good week,


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