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 

  • I am optimistic that a health-funding deal will soon be reached between the federal government and provinces and territories. Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 10-year proposal to his provincial and territorial counterparts. As we understand it, the offer includes $46.2 billion in new funding, including a $2 billion top-up of the Canada Health Transfer (CHT) to tackle immediate pressures, a 5% CHT escalator for five years conditional on data sharing, with $25 billion over 10 years for bilateral deals, tailored to each province or territory's needs, to address areas of shared priorities, including family health services, health workers, backlogs, mental health and substance use, and modernizing the system. The premiers have expressed disappointment because they were seeking an immediate cash injection of $28 billion and yearly increases. Still, it is expected an agreement will be realized. In addition to putting health spending at the top of the agenda, these negotiations have the potential of leading to meaningful reforms in how health data is collected, shared, and reported in provinces to better understand systemic gaps in care. Our discomfort is that healthcare truly requires transformational investment and major incentive realignment and this deal is unlikely to stimulate that result. Read more on the Government of Canada's website.

  • UHN's Operation Green – an organization-wide program led by the Energy & Environment team that collects surplus medical supplies to donate to countries in need – is stepping up to support victims of last week's devastating earthquakes near the border of Turkey and Syria. Working with Not Just Tourists, the group will collect surplus medical supplies on Wednesday, Feb. 15 to send to Turkey. Please contact by tomorrow – Feb. 14 – to book your pickup. Currently, the group is sending only non-expired trauma and emergency medical aid items, such as surgical gloves, gauze, and bandages. A full list of donatable items is online. Other surplus supplies can be included in the next Operation Green pickup on Feb. 28. 

  • Patients visiting the Emergency Departments (EDs) at Toronto General and Toronto Western can now see the estimated time until a medical care provider sees them. The new Wait Time Clocks at each location will go live at noon today (February 13) and are refreshed every 5 minutes on single-purpose display screens. Along with estimated wait times, the "clocks" show how many patients are registered and waiting to see a physician, nurse practitioner (NP), or physician assistant (PA) and how many people are being treated. The clocks use plain language and simple graphics to convey the information. Estimating wait times is not an exact science, but the team found a reliable indicator: the maximum time that 4 out of 5 patients currently being treated in the ED had to wait to see a physician, NP or PA. A notice on the Wait Time Clock makes it clear that patients with severe illness or injury will be seen sooner. Thank you to the team who brought this valuable patient-centric project to fruition. Led by Data & Analytics, this was a collaborative effort involving Patient Relations, Legal, Privacy, ED leadership, Epic application analysts, and many others. Work is also underway to display the wait time information on the UHN website, allowing patients to know what to expect before they arrive at the ED. Sharing wait time information with patients is integral to our commitment to transparency, reducing stress for patients and staff in the ED, and empowering patients in their healthcare journeys.

  • Last week, UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery released its annual magazine. The magazine provides a glimpse into the past year across the department's three sites – Toronto General, Toronto Western, and Princess Margaret – and 13 divisions. The Sprott Department of Surgery is where many of the world's leading procedures, medical innovations, and most complex operations happen. Last year, Sprott Surgery performed 22,130 surgeries, including 2,480 cardiovascular and vascular surgeries, and 626 transplants. Our world-class surgical experts are inspired by unique challenges and determined to provide care to Canadians without boundaries – geographic or otherwise. As Dr. Tom Forbes, Surgeon-in-Chief says, “if not us, then who?" A digital copy of the magazine is available here. To stay up to date with the latest in Sprott Surgery follow them on Instagram and Twitter.

  • It's Teaching and Learning Week at UHN, a time to celebrate everyone at UHN who strives to share knowledge and wisdom across our organization. Despite the challenges we've faced in the past few years all TeamUHN members in teaching and learning have shown exceptional flexibility in adapting to a new normal. I'm grateful for all those who have made sure that learners at UHN can continue to grow and that the next generation of healthcare providers are prepared to serve and care for others. Visit the Teaching and Learning Week Sharepoint site or Michener site for more information about events this week to celebrate the incredible teaching and learning happening across UHN each day, including:

Closing Notes

  • Don't miss this story about a young woman who had open-heart surgery at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at UHN last fall – the fourth of her life after having been born with truncus arteriosus, a defect of the heart where the aorta and pulmonary artery are fused. “It's been a long journey, but I finally have a new chapter," the patient, Alicia Ridley, told UHN News. Coming amid National Heart Month and on the heels of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) Awareness Week, this wonderful story shines a light on how surviving CHD is no longer unique because of the comprehensive system put in place over decades and the fine work done at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, home to the largest Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program in Canada. Read more at UHN News.

  • A recent study from UHN's Krembil Brain Institute is shedding light on the genetic basis of reading disabilities. A team led by Senior Scientist Dr. Cathy Barr conducted a study focused on DNA sequences that have been previously linked to brain development or autism susceptibility. The findings suggest the genes that contribute to autism and brain development may play a role in the genetic basis of reading disability, “which makes sense as there is often overlap between neurodevelopmental disorders," says Dr. Kaitlyn Price, first author of the study. Reading disability, also known as developmental dyslexia, affects five to seven per cent of individuals in North America. Learn more about the research and read the full study

  • Check out this story about how UHN helped save the eye of a patient who acquired fungal keratitis, an infection of the cornea, while travelling in Honduras. Roughly one million people are diagnosed with fungal keratitis each year, a condition that causes pain, discharge, redness, and sensitivity to light, and about 10 per cent will need the infected eye removed. The patient, Madison, endured two harrowing surgeries in Honduras. Her eye was ultimately saved with a cornea transplant performed by Dr. Clara Chan and Dr. Sara AlShaker of UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery and Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute. Read the full story on UHN News.

  • Saturday was the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, and UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre (ATC) celebrated by sharing testimonials from female scientists at the Centre about what inspired them to pursue a career in science and the value of women mentors. UHN wouldn't be home to this leading transplant centre in the world if it weren't for the contributions of amazing female researchers who continue to advance both basic science and clinical research. In case you missed it, you can visit ATC's InstagramTwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn to view and share these great posts. ATC will also launch next month Women in Transplant (WIT), a committee that will provide a supportive culture to those who identify as women and allies to women at ATC. The inaugural event will happen on International Women's Day on March 8.

  • And now… our TikTok of the week. In this video, Emily, a Princess Margaret Cancer Centre patient, shares symptoms she had before her breast cancer diagnosis.


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Have a good week,


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