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Tuesday's annual Holiday Open Forum celebrated the 2022 UHN Local Impact Awards.
"UHN is an amazing place for care, research, and learning. And it is entirely because of the remarkable people who step through our doors each day," Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN's President & CEO, said during the virtual event. "There's no doubt that this was another very challenging year and a lot was asked of TeamUHN.
"Time and again, the dedicated professionals at UHN stepped forward and met the moment."
He is co-Chair of the awards selection committee along with Gillian Howard, Vice President of Public Affairs & Communications.
More than 100 nominations were received this year for the UHN Local Impact Awards.
The co-Chairs want to thank all those who took the time to submit nominations, as well as the members of the Selection Committee: Dr. Fayez Quereshy, Mr. Joel Montesanti, Dr. Kathryn Tinckam, Ms. Diana Elder, Ms. Pam Hubley and Ms. Helen Chan.
"This is always a special Open Forum – one that celebrates the talent and expertise we have at UHN," Gill said. "The breadth and depth of the nominations are testament to that.
"We thank everyone who took the time to honour their colleagues."
The awards are aligned with UHN's Strategic Priorities, which help us transform lives and drive us toward our vision of A Healthier World.
Here are the winners of the 2022 UHN Local Impact Awards and the President's Patient Partner Awards along with a description of the importance of their work in the words of those who nominated them.
Local Impact Award, Tomorrow's Care (Individual) – Dr. Sameer Masood was recognized for his exceptional leadership and innovation in developing UHN's Virtual Emergency Department – an idea before the pandemic but something that was accelerated with the onset of COVID-19.
Local Impact Award, Tomorrow's Care (Team) – RMP Clinical Specialists/Advanced Practice Therapist (CSRT/APRT) is a team made up of six radiation therapists who are a vital component of the treatment journey for many patients with cancer. In addition to caring for patients, they are actively engaged in our research and education programs.
Local Impact Award, TeamUHN (Individual) – Dr. Dennis Cho was recognized for recruiting and retaining Emergency Department physicians throughout the pandemic. He has spent countless hours forging relationships with residents and ED providers in the community who are prospective recruits.
Local Impact Award, TeamUHN (Team) – Princess Margaret Sexual & Gender Diversity Cancer Working Group was recognized for working across the cancer centre from a variety of disciplines to provide inclusive care to sexual and gender diverse patients, families and chosen families through health care provider education and by changing the culture and environment to foster messages of visibility, inclusion and belonging.
Local Impact Award, Convergence (Individual) – Christine Cursio was recognized for being a leader in Laboratory Medicine, leading and mentoring nine programs across all UHN facilities with professionalism, and attention to quality and safety and the inclusion of all team members.
Local Impact Award, Convergence (Team) – Peer Support Worker Team in the TGH & TWH EDs is led by Drs. Kate Hayman and Jennifer Hulme. Peer support workers are people who have recovered from a variety of mental health and addiction challenges and been highly effective working with patients who come to the EDs, supporting their recovery. This is an evolution of the peer support worker model.
Local Impact Award, Technology & Innovation (Individual) – Dr. Pia Kontos was recognized for developing "Dementia in a New Light: A Digital Learning Experience." Given the prevalence of dementia, Dr. Kontos felt an educational resource of this nature would benefit people living with dementia, family caregivers, health care providers, policy makers, and educators.
Local Impact Award, Technology & Innovation (Team) – Drs. Alfonso Fasano & Suneil Kalia were recognized for their leadership in adopting innovative telehealth technologies – specifically working with deep brain stimulation patients. They have unleashed the power of technology and innovation to advance research and patient care.
Local Impact Award, Commercialization & Discovery (Individual) – Dr. Naoto Hirano was recognized for his successful commercialization of his work and innovative research focused on patient accessibility. The focus is the development of new technology which is making immunotherapy available to a wider patient population. His commercialization efforts are further strengthening Canada's reputation as an international hub for innovative biotech start-ups.
Local Impact Award, Commercialization & Discovery (Team) – Drs. John Dick and Jean Wang were recognized for a cancer research discovery which spurred a $2.22 billion pharmaceutical industry deal between Pfizer Inc. and Trillium Therapeutics. Their discoveries of cancer cell interactions and achievements in research are a testament to UHN's unique research ecosystem, where scientists collaborate with clinicians to create the ideal preclinical models, identify new targets and translate them into clinically relevant therapeutic approaches with local socio-economic impact.
EPIC Heroes - This year, UHN achieved a major milestone by switching to a new health information system powered by Epic – something that took a lot of hard work and collaboration. To recognize this, we have created a new award for this year – the Epic Heroes. The winners are:
Dr. Peter Tai, Ms. Louise Pothier, Dr. Maxim Ben-Yakov & Ms. Shehla Sheikh. Thank you for going above and beyond and always being there!
Local Impact Award, Quality and Safety (Individual) – Salima Ladak is a nurse practitioner and PhD with the Acute Pain Services team. She has spearheaded improvements in care for patients with sickle cell disease, a patient population that experiences chronic and severe pain, and has historically faced challenges with anti-Black racism. Salima led holistic improvement efforts including understanding the individual needs of each patient, collaborating with interprofessional treatment teams to develop multimodal therapy plans, effectively bridging inpatient and outpatient care, developing new protocols for safe and appropriate pain management, and designing training programs for staff. Salima has truly demonstrated that she lives UHN's values on a daily basis and supports the missions of high-quality care, discovery and innovation, and learning.
Local Impact Award, Quality and Safety (Team) - The Cancer Program Transfer of Accountability Inter-Professional Working Group is a team that dedicated multi-year work leading to a reduction in transfer of accountability (TOA) serious safety events, a significant decrease in real-time reporting of TOA concerns at the Cancer Program site huddle, inpatient physician handover rounds occurring with 100 per cent attendance, and has completing fidelity audits showing 86 per cent compliance with the I-PASS handover tool. Our patients are undoubtedly safer and receiving higher quality care as a direct result of this team's incredible work.
President's Award, Patient Partner (Individual) – Danelle Smith has been part of many initiatives over the years helping shape care to be reflective of UHN's Patient Declaration of Values. She has been described by her peers as a compassionate leader who builds respectful partnerships with teams, is unafraid to ask clarifying questions and is forward thinking – pushing UHN to be the best. She has contributed greatly towards projects including co-Chair of UHN's Proton Therapy Patient Partner Consultation Group, various roles within Princess Margaret's Radiation Medicine Program and the Cancer and Arts Committee.
Phyllis Berck became a Patient Partner in 2018 and since then has been building partnerships with leadership and teams across UHN. Phyllis has been described by her nominators as authentic, eloquent, prepared, open-minded and committed to ensuring all patient voices are heard. She has been recognized for her contributions as a member of the Quality and Safety Council at Princess Margaret, UHN's Quality & Safety Committee of the Board and as the co-Chair of the Integrated Care Executive Committee. Her participation has been impactful and has always emphasized that the psychological burden of illness must be addressed and that the communication between patients and their care team are integral to the quality and safety of care.
President's Award, Patient Partner (Team) – The leadership of the Portfolio Quality of Care Committees across UHN is recognizing 12 Patient Partners on four committees. This Patient Partner team consists of members who consistently bring forth the patient perspective at committee meetings. They ask the difficult questions, have staff reflect on the status quo, and do this with respect and kindness. They believe the quality and safety of care is integral to the patient experience and push UHN to keep this as a focus.