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Happy New Year! Today I began the day in the Toronto Western Emergency Department, meeting with staff and ED leaders at shift change over coffee and muffins. It provided a great chance for me to hear firsthand on a number of issues including holiday ED volumes, early observations on respiratory illness and influenza volumes, employee and patient safety, and space matters. We also had an opportunity to chat about the impact of system pressures that may increase as we make changes to bed capacity. Our ED teams are superb and provide outstanding care to the patient community that we serve together.
On January 1, 2016 we began a new year and we began a new relationship as The Michener Institute officially joined University Health Network. Today, we will begin the journey together with a town hall at the Michener site. Brian Hodges, our Executive Vice President – Education and Emma Pavlov, our Executive Vice President – Human Resources and Organizational Development now have responsibility for Michener and will be with me at the town hall this morning as we personally welcome everyone at Michener in to the UHN family. This new relationship is a first in Canada integration of a health care organization and an educational institution. Our integration offers a wonderful opportunity for students in a variety of health professions, just as it offers UHN and all the hospitals which take part in the Michener program, the ability to work with students who will be the future of healthcare in this province. So, please join me in welcoming the Michener staff to UHN. Cliff Nordal, who has chaired the Board of The Michener Institute, now joins the Board of UHN and will continue to help us as The Michener Institute at UHN becomes a reality in 2016.
I also want to draw your attention to the New Year's Honours list Order of Canada Appointments which includes two UHN people who have contributed a great deal to healthcare here and around the world. The first is Dr. Frances Alice Shepherd O.C. of Princess Margaret Hospital whose citation reads "For her leadership in improving treatment options and outcomes for individuals with advanced lung cancer. The second is John Mulvihill C.M., who is recognized "For his philanthropic contributions and voluntary service to healthcare." John is the Chair of UHN's Board and has overseen a number of important changes to UHN including the integration with Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and now The Michener Institute. As you read through the accomplishments of the individuals joining the Order of Canada in 2016, you will also see that Meric Gertler, the President of the University of Toronto has also been recognized, and, on behalf of everyone at UHN, I congratulate all three people for their work and their desire to make this a better country and a better world.
I hope that many of you took the opportunity to enjoy time with friends and family over this holiday season. I look forward to serving you in Year 2 of my leadership here at UHN.