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

  • TeamUHN members who have been working from home will be returning to sites over the coming weeks to support Synapse implementation or clinics ramping up care. We are in the home stretch of our Synapse project to implement a new health information system from Epic by June 4. It's incumbent upon all TeamUHN members to be flexible to ensure a safe, effective transition. UHN has encouraged many staff members, who can effectively do so, to work from home during the pandemic. We really need all hands-on deck to ensure a safe and smooth go live and using the Pandemic Framework for On-Site Staffing, Education Activities, Meetings, and Social Gatherings at UHN allows for staff deemed essential by their department or unit to be on-site as needed. Thanks to those who are returning!
  • There will be a Virtual Open Forum on Tuesday, May 10 from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., focused on the final stretch of the Synapse project. We look forward to answering your questions about the transition to a new health information system from Epic on June 4. Only questions about the Synapse project will be answered at this forum.
  • The Synapse project passed another major milestone last week with its 30-Day Go-Live Readiness Assessment (GLRA) on May 4. This marked the final assessment of the project in such a forum before the launch of a new health information system powered by Epic on June 4. The all-day, constructive and collaborative meeting saw operational and project team representatives update the group on workstreams with a status of "watch," "serious," or "critical." Training remains a critical area of focus since every person who will need to use Epic must complete their training, pass the related proficiency assessment, and validate their login credentials before they can use the system. Scheduling and registration staff will start using Epic on May 16, followed by all other areas on June 4. Practice is also essential to the learning process. Directors and managers continually work with the project team to close gaps in resources, such as recorded demos, and optimize opportunities to share and learn in group settings. After the GLRA, a smaller group of leaders from ELF, Synapse and Epic held a go/no-go meeting to discuss project risks. There was strong support for keeping a go-live date of June 4. Our thanks to everyone involved in this and previous GLRAs. Thanks also to all of TeamUHN for their focus on this crucial project that is now in the home stretch. Together, we will ensure a safe transition to Epic while serving our patients.
  • Congratulations to Marc Toppings, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, on his recent nomination for "General Counsel of the Year" at the annual Canadian General Counsel Awards in June. Marc is one of six finalists for this prestigious award. He has been recognized for the pragmatic legal advice that he and his entire team provided amid UHN's extraordinary pandemic efforts. This has often meant pivoting quickly in the face of immense challenges and taking on measured risks to do what is best for UHN, our patients, and TeamUHN. Marc is a valued member of ELF who provides trusted advice and counsel to me, the entire executive leadership, and the Board of Trustees on all legal and governance matters as well as our Risk Portfolio. The winner will be announced at an event on June 13th at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. Well done, Marc!

What happened at the Executive Leadership Forum meeting

UHN's Executive Leadership Forum (ELF) represents a broad range of voices and skill sets from across the organization and provides direction and oversight in service of patients, TeamUHN and our vision of A Healthier World. See the full membership on The last ELF meeting was held on Thursday, May 5.

Proposed UHN Research Assistance Program for Ukraine

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: Russia's war against Ukraine has created a humanitarian catastrophe that has displaced millions of Ukrainian citizens. UHN and its TAHSN partners, including the University of Toronto, are seized with the question of how to best support displaced individuals in the research community.
  • Who Presented? Myron Cybulsky (Senior Scientist and Research Division Head at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute)
  • What do I need to know: UHN Research requested ELF's endorsement to seek philanthropic support from UHN Foundation and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation for a program to help displaced Ukrainian researchers for up to two years. The group aims to coordinate with U. of T., the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to support up to four postdoctoral fellows, 15 graduate students, and four visiting scientists. Under the proposal, the first year of support for trainees would be provided by special federal funding administered through CIHR and NSERC. In Year 2, UHN Research would provide salary support totalling up to $700,000, to be requested from the Foundations. Some ELF members suggested broadening the program's focus to help Ukrainians now, but provide similar support for other scholars facing international crises. ELF endorsed UHN Research opening up a discussion with the Foundations about the idea.

Local clinics to support COVID care

  • Background and why this was brought to ELF: As a part of UHN's work to expand as a health system, we are looking at new models to support our broader community. One area of leadership we will continue to play in the region is to support comprehensive and equitable COVID care and response. UHN will be shifting to a hyperlocal, community clinic-based response. As part of this change, UHN's Connected Care team is launching local clinics throughout the month of May to support testing, vaccination, and access to therapeutics.
  • Who Presented? Shiran Isaacksz (Vice President, Altum Health and Connected Care)
  • What do I need to know: UHN partnered with Women's College Hospital (WCH) to launch a COVID Assessment Centre that has Nasopharyngeal (NP) PCR testing and therapeutics. UHN Connected Care, in partnership with our clinical teams, will focus on the virtual component, including virtual monitoring and virtual pharmacy. As plans are finalized in the coming days staff will be updated on options and access points for testing.

Closing Notes

Sunday was Mother's Day, a time to celebrate the moms, stepmoms, grandmothers, and maternal figures who enrich our lives. Mothers nurture, protect, and guide children to become their very best – a job that is never done – and, in so doing, have an impact that goes far beyond their families and touches our entire society. While being a mom is difficult at the best of times, the many incredible mothers and maternal figures at TeamUHN have faced heightened pressures during the pandemic, especially those with school-aged children. Earlier this year, UHNWomen – a group committed to confronting gender-based discrimination – launched its UHNWomen Strategy, which includes a UHN Working Moms Mentorship Program and plans to construct and open lactation rooms at clinical sites. The group is leading important conversations about how UHN can be a better place for mothers and all women. Join UHNWomen's mailing list by contacting

May 10th is World Lupus Day: Approximately 1 in 1,000 Canadians are affected by lupus. Our colleagues at UHN's Lupus Clinic have studied the autoimmune disease for more than half a century. They continue to provide world-class care, and innovate new diagnostic tools and therapies in addition to being leaders in disease education. Established in 1970, the Lupus Clinic has one of the largest patient databases in the world, with more than 2000 patients and over 50,000 clinic visits. Thanks to their work and dedication, we understand much more about lupus diagnosis and treatments, which help our patients lead normal lives.


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Have a good week,


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