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

  • Effective last Friday, UHN is in phase yellow of the Pandemic Framework for non-educational on-site activities such as staffing and meetings. UHN remains in phase green for educational activity. The framework, developed by IPAC and Health Services teams and released in February, uses community and hospital COVID-19 activity to guide onsite-activity levels for in-person events at UHN sites. This is a positive sign that the current wave is easing, and we are already seeing COVID-related staff absences decreasing. Of course, our universal making policy remains in place at all sites. TeamUHN members must also self-screen before coming to work and report any symptoms to Health Services. The full Pandemic Framework for On-Site Staffing, Education Activities, Meetings, and Social Gatherings can be accessed here. (Corporate Intranet > COVID-19 Preparedness > IPAC > Education, Meetings and Social Gatherings Recommendations). If there are any questions, please reach out to IPAC at IPAC@uhn.ca or COVIDOHS@uhn.ca.
  • The Ontario legislature resumed last week with a Speech from the Throne outlining the provincial government's priorities and re-introduction of the budget that was not passed before the spring election. The Throne Speech acknowledged the current challenges in our healthcare system, including health human resources, and committed the government to work with system partners to address these pressures. The government is pledging "bold action" and innovation to respond to growing challenges and changing needs in health, and to manage COVID "and live with current variants for the long term, without returning to lockdowns." The Throne Speech also reiterated a call on the federal government to boost its share of provincial-territorial healthcare spending from 22 per cent to 35 per cent through the Canada Health Transfer. Read the full Throne Speech online.
  • You may have noticed a new "translate" button on the UHN.ca website, an initiative to ensure that our website is as accessible as possible for patients in a city as beautifully diverse as Toronto. The button, which uses the Google Translate tool to render the site in more than 130 languages, can be found in the top right header beside the Search bar and myUHN login.
    A disclaimer will notify patients about the tool's limitations, including that Google Translate does not translate PDFs or text embedded in images and that there could be some mistakes or inconsistencies with an automated translator. But this initiative will allow patients to read the site in their first language. I'm grateful for the efforts of several teams working with the UHN Web Team to make this happen, as well as the support from Legal, Privacy, Patient Education and Translation Services.
  • Don't forget to get your nominations in for the 19th annual Inventor of the Year Award, sponsored by Commercialization at UHN. This prestigious award recognizes an individual or team whose invention has made "a substantial and noteworthy commercialization contribution leading to A Healthier World." In a new change this year, a nominee's information can be submitted through an online nomination form, which also has more details about the award's objectives, nomination criteria, and assessment criteria. Self-nominations are welcome. UHN Commercialization will review and short-list submissions, with a final decision by the EVPSR. For questions or help submitting your nomination, contact commercialization@uhn.ca. UHN boasts some of the brightest minds, researchers, scientists, and clinicians in the world, who contribute to our standing as Canada's top research commercialization institution. Good luck to all!

Closing Notes

As I've said before, I hope all TeamUHN members can take some vacation in the remaining weeks of summer. It is so important to prioritize time to rest, recharge, and connect with friends and loved ones. I will be taking some time off to do just that, beginning after the end of this week. As such, we will pause my Weekly Updates until just after Labour Day. Please enjoy the rest of the summer safely. I look forward to reconnecting after Labour Day.

Please read this wonderful UHN News story featuring three of the 400 screeners who worked at UHN hospital entrances for more than two years of the pandemic. In addition to being among the first to greet patients, visitors, and staff, these dedicated individuals did the often-thankless work of ensuring anyone entering our sites complied with health and safety guidelines. As Brenda Perkins-Meingast, Senior Director of Practice Based Education, told UHN News, "without screeners it would have been very challenging, in fact it would have been chaos." I'm delighted that the experience sparked a passion in some screeners to work in healthcare and that, once the screening program ended, those who wanted to continue working at UHN could apply for a new job in the organization. "It's life-changing to be able to even contribute in a small way to someone's healing and recovery process," said one former screener. We also remain incredibly grateful to the many members of TeamUHN who stepped up in service as volunteers before we were able to hire on screeners. Read the full story at UHN News.

A team at UHN's Kite Research Institute has launched an impressive and moving new online educational tool to help us all better understand dementia. Dementia in New Light: A Digital Learning Experience, which builds on the key messages of a theatrical production and film called Cracked: New Light on Dementia, uses audio and video assets to call on us all to think about how we can help create a better world for those affected by the chronic condition. Congratulations to KITE's senior scientist Dr. Pia Kontos and research associate Romeo Colobong on this impactful project, which you can read more about online. Those who want to experience the learning tool can do so here.

Feedback?

Your feedback is welcome and valued. Please reply directly to me or leave anonymous feedback here.

Have a good week,

Kevin


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