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

  • Congratulations to Dr. Brian Hodges, who recently became the 47th President of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). Brian, who serves as UHN's Chief Medical Officer and Vice President Education, stepped in to his new role with the RCPSC on Feb. 24. He is tasked with overseeing a new strategic plan that will propose solutions to health human resources challenges, with planetary health and equity, diversity, and inclusion as the forefront. Anyone who has ever worked with Brian already knows how important he is to UHN's core pillars of care, research, and education, and our vision of A Healthier World. We know that he will bring his vast expertise, strong leadership skills, brilliant mind, and kind heart to this new challenge. We also acknowledge Dr. Richard Reznick for his contributions as RCPSC President and for continuing in the role of Past-President. Congrats again, Dr. Hodges.
  • Epic, the company behind our new health information system, has shared some terrific news about the Synapse project's core implementation of Epic. The organization compared UHN's performance in their Good Install program, which outlines and compares best practices that are instrumental in overall project success, against their international customer database over the history of the program.

    Out of all international programs:

    • UHN is tied for second, and is the top Canadian customer, in terms of how well our go-live went last June when compared to Epic's list of best practice categories;
    • UHN is tied for third when it comes to getting digital teams certified on time and is the top Canadian customer;
    • UHN's MyChart activation rate is higher than most U.S. organizations – an incredible achievement.

    All of this speaks to the amazing work across TeamUHN to drive our clinical transformation, supercharged by Epic. Congratulations!

  • The federal government and Ontario have reached a deal in principle for healthcare funding. Canada's premiers agreed earlier this month to accept the federal government's offer of $46.2 billion in new funding over 10 years to augment the Canada Health Transfer (CHT), with separate bilateral deals with provinces and territories to address their specific needs. The Ontario deal includes $8.4 billion in new money and a one-time, $776 million CHT top-up to address urgent needs, including emergency rooms, pediatric hospitals, and surgery wait times. Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has said the deal represents an opportunity to collaborate and "improve the experience of health workers and those they care for." Read more about the agreement from the Government of Canada.
  • Last week, the Ontario government tabled legislation aimed at reducing surgical wait times and backlogs by allowing more community surgical and diagnostic centres to offer publicly funded procedures. As we have noted in previous updates, the plan will expand the role of such clinics to perform cataract surgeries, MRI and CT scans, and, eventually, knee and hip replacements. The legislation will, if passed, require applicants to "outline how the new community surgical and diagnostic centre will promote connected and convenient care," including its capacity to improve wait times and patient experiences, as well as its plans to integrate with the health system. Centres will also need to describe linkages to health-system partners, apply for a licence, and provide a detailed staffing model to "protect the stability of doctors, nurses and other health-care workers at public hospitals and other health-care settings." We will be watching the debate over this closely, particularly questions of oversight and potential further guardrails. Read more from the Government of Ontario.
  • As the three-year anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic approaches, UHN Foundation is hosting a virtual Livestream event with Dr. Susy Hota this Wednesday, March 1 from 4-5 p.m. Dr. Hota, UHN's Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, will discuss lessons learned from the crisis, its impact on our system, and how we can continue to live with the virus and emerging variants. This discussion will be moderated by Christian Cote, host of UHN's award-winning Behind the Breakthrough podcast. To register and to submit a question to Dr. Hota, follow this link:
  • UHNWomen is hosting its third annual International Women's Day event on March 8 with a powerhouse panel on women. Deb Matthews, the former Deputy Premier of Ontario and a current UHN Foundation Board Member, will moderate a virtual discussion featuring Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head, Cardiology, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Dr. Miyo Yamashita, President and CEO, The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, and Dr. Catherine Zahn, Deputy Minister of Health. These remarkable women will speak openly and honestly about their experiences and how to improve the experiences of women at UHN. Before the panel, UHNWomen will provide updates on the Working Moms Mentorship Program and lactation rooms. Everyone at UHN is encouraged to attend the session on Teams from 12-1 p.m. on March 8. While the invite should be in your calendars, you can access the Teams link here (Meeting ID: 212 955 388 158; Passcode: KruYRz) or by visiting the UHNWomen SharePoint site.
  • Another inspiring story, this time from the Low Vision Rehabilitation Clinic at UHN's Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute. A young patient, Zaid Syeed, came to the clinic after he was diagnosed with foveal hypoplasia, a condition in which the fovea – a small depression in the retina responsible for high-acuity vision – is not fully developed. Dr. Monica Daibert-Nido, a clinician-investigator, recommended biofeedback therapy, which uses visual imagery to retrain the brain to use the healthy parts of the eye. In 20-minute, weekly sessions over six weeks, patients look into a microperimeter, which projects flashes of lights to follow with their eyes, along with a beeping sound. A clinic member monitors the results and alters the light to ensure unused areas of the eye become active and the brain responds to use the remaining vision. After six weeks, Zaid found that his vision was 20/20, he was reading much faster, and he could see things he wasn't able to before. "I want to say to all the kids who also have similar low vision conditions not to be afraid, and everything is going to be okay," he told UHN News. Read the full story online.

Closing Notes

February 28 is International Rare Disease Day. Every year, on the last day in February, we raise awareness for the 300 million people around the world – including three million in Canada – living with a rare disease, as well as their family members and caregivers. A rare disease is a condition affecting fewer than one person in 2,000 in their lifetime. While there are more than 7,000 identified rare diseases, with dozens more discovered each year, scientific research, clinical expertise, and treatment options can be limited because such illnesses affect a small percentage of the population. UHN is proud of its world-class clinics and programs to support patients with many rare diseases, including Thalassemia, Malignant Hyperthermia, and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as well as our continued strides in research to understand diseases of all types.

A new study from UHN's KITE Research Institute shows how videos captured by patients at home wearing head-mounted cameras can help track recovery from spinal cord injuries. Researchers, led by KITE Senior Scientist Dr. José Zariffa, used egocentric video as an inexpensive way to examine how patients use their hands and arms in their day-to-day activities, and automated video-processing software to understand how patients are performing outside of the clinic. The team tested their system with 20 participants with spinal cord injuries, gathering an average of 204 minutes of video for each person. The software determined how long each person interacted with objects and which hand they used. Explore more about this on UHN News or read the full study online.

And now… our TikTok of the week. In this video, kinesiologists from UHN's Altum Health show four exercises you need to know if you work at a desk all day.


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Have a good week,


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