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

  • As we start our second week of using Epic, TeamUHN is progressing through a natural change curve. We're entering into the phase of adapting to our new reality where the euphoria of going live is wearing off and the scope of what still needs to be learned and put into practice can feel overwhelming — especially when there is pre-existing fatigue. Please know that we remain in this together. Every day, I see cross-functional and cross-discipline collaboration to resolve issues big and small, and to support front-line staff in the most effective and expedient ways. I also recognize that while UHN had a successful go-live and several objective advisors with considerable experience implementing Epic are commending TeamUHN for our calm and solution-focused response to expected bumps in the road, some teams have had to deal with complex challenges to ensure patients continue to receive quality care. Thank you, TeamUHN for always putting the needs of patients first and remaining resilient. And to remain resilient, I remind each and every one of us to look after our physical and mental wellbeing each day. Make use of resources from Wellness @ UHN and support from People & Culture and Spiritual Care. Plus, if you need help using Epic and can't find someone in an orange, green or blue vest, virtual super users are available by phone 24/7. Details are here.
  • More than $16 million was raised for cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre this past weekend during the 15th annual Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer. Thousands of cyclists took part in the popular two-day event, which included a route that saw some participants ride more than 200 kilometres from Toronto to Niagara Falls. At least $250 million has been raised for cancer research since the event's inception. The money raised supports the ground-breaking work done each day at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, one of the world's top five cancer research centres. Congratulations to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation and all who organized and took part in the fun.
  • UHN is continuing its masking policy for every person coming into the hospital. As of Saturday morning, the Province of Ontario has lifted most of the remaining mask mandates, including on public transit and in hospitals. Masking is still required in long-term care facilities and retirement homes and it is recommended in higher-risk congregate living settings, including shelters and group homes. However, organizations are empowered to implement their own policies and we are doing just that. As we have long said, UHN provides care to some of the most immune-compromised patients and masking is an important layer of protection for patients and TeamUHN members who are desperately needed to provide essential care. Other Ontario hospitals are also continuing masking policies that have been in place since the beginning of this crisis. As much as we all wish the pandemic was completely in our rear-view mirror, that just isn't the case. Indeed, as Canada's Chief Public Health Officer told the House of Commons health committee last week, more waves are possible. Thank you all for understanding that we owe it to the patients we serve to keep this preventative measure in place.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Donald Weaver of UHN's Krembil Brain Institute who was named a recipient of the 2022 Oskar Fischer Prize last week. The prestigious award, presented annually by the University of Texas at San Antonio Colleges of Sciences, recognizes the world's top scientists exploring new approaches to Alzheimer's disease research. Dr. Weaver, one of 10 recipients named last Wednesday and the first Canadian to receive the award, was recognized for his theory of Alzheimer's disease as an autoimmune disorder. "We don't think of Alzheimer's as fundamentally a disease of the brain," Dr. Weaver told UHN News. "We think of it as a disease of the immune system within the brain." Read the UHN News story and watch the video linked below to learn more about his research and new ways of thinking about this devastating disease. Well done!
  • Last week, we marked the launch of the Princess Margaret Cancer Care Network, which will see UHN's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM) partnering with other healthcare institutions to offer better access to cancer care clinical advice, education, and advanced technologies. Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake Regional Health Centre became the first member to sign on to join the Network, allowing the two centres to work together and tap into each other's strengths and resources. As Dr. Keith Stewart, VP Cancer, UHN, and Medical Director of PM told UHN News, the "vision here is to share and extend the reach of our PM expertise with interested cancer centres around Ontario and eventually Canada." Learn more about this exciting project at UHN News.

Overview of last week

Finance & Audit Committee of the Board meeting

  • Background: The role of UHN's Finance & Audit Committee is to make recommendations to the UHN Board of Trustees and Michener Board of Governors on financial management, facilities and space management, information technology, and compliance oversight. The committee is chaired by Barbara Stymiest (UHN Trustee).
  • What happened last week? On June 7, the Finance & Audit Committee met to discuss: the 2021/22 audited financial statements as presented by our auditors Ernst & Young (EY) for both UHN and the Michener Institute of Education at UHN; the review of external audit services; the internal audit plan; and an overview of key internal audit themes presented by KPMG.
  • What do I need to know? With no audit issues noted, the Finance & Audit Committee recommended to the UHN Board of Trustees and the Michener Board of Governors the approval of the respective audited financial statements. The Committee congratulated TeamUHN for reaching a monumental milestone with the Go-Live of Epic, acknowledging the efforts to keep the project on track throughout a pandemic.

Closing Notes

This Wednesday, June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a time to reflect on how we show care and respect for the valued older persons in our society. Older persons who helped build this country are too often victims of neglect and abuse, including physical, psychological, financial, and sexual. Often, this abuse is carried out by a person in a position of trust, such as a family member or care provider. Roughly 10 per cent of older Canadians are victims of crime each year, according to the Government of Canada. This year's theme – "Rights Don't Get Old" – speaks to how all people deserve to live in dignity. We know that the risks of elder abuse are exacerbated by issues around access to housing, income, and health services, particularly for racialized and marginalized communities. UHN/Sinai Health's Healthy Ageing & Geriatrics Program is at the cutting edge of innovating in the care of older Canadians, particularly the complex and the frail. The group has developed an online Elder Abuse resource, which includes warning signs and valuable resources for victim support.

This week (June 12-18) is National Blood Donor Week: Each year, UHN dispenses nearly 100,000 blood products to patients including red cells, platelets, and plasma. The Laboratory Medicine Program's (LMP) Blood Transfusion Laboratories (BTL) are home to comprehensive, 24-hour blood transfusion services for all surgical and clinical programs across UHN. BTL support is critical for complex cardiovascular, transplantation, bone marrow transplant, and surgical oncology procedures as well as immunology programs. Over the past year, despite challenges with the pandemic and service reductions, UHN's blood use continued to increase, reflecting undiminished needs and high service volumes to critical health services. There continues to be an urgent need for blood donation across the province and country. Only a small percentage of the population donates. Thank you to the TeamUHN members who help strengthen Canada's lifeline and support patients by rolling up their sleeves to donate blood. To learn more about how you can become a donor, review the list of eligibility requirements and take the two-minute eligibility quiz. If you are determined to be eligible online, you will be able to book your first appointment.

Michener's convocation ceremony is taking place on Saturday, June 18th. It's Michener's first in-person convocation since the start of the pandemic and I'm honoured to give the opening remarks at the ceremony (UHN's masking mandate is in place for Michener grads and staff at the event). Michener students and grads are a valuable part of TeamUHN and I'm constantly amazed by their commitment to excellence. Congratulations to the class of 2022!


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

Have a good week,


Back to Top