​​​Teams gather to cut the ribbon to officially open the Acute Oncology Inpatient Unit on 6 Eaton South at Toronto General Hospital, which offers acute medicine management for patients of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. (Photo: UHN)​​

Cross-UHN collaboration supports cancer patients with acute needs

Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and Toronto General Hospital (TGH) are proud to officially open the Acute Oncology Inpatient Unit, an initiative that ensures cancer patients experiencing complications can receive treatment from experts in acute medicine management.

The unit, located at TGH, comprises 32 beds and concentrates expertise in the care of complications in cancer care.

"We are proud of this collaboration across UHN and recognize the many staff who helped make this possible and work every day to care for cancer patients with acute needs," says Dr. Amit Oza, Head of the Division of Medical Oncology and Hematology at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

"It is a great example of UHN's continuity of excellent care."

The unit, on 6 Eaton South, ensures cancer patients can benefit from teams such as General Internal Medicine and specialized hospitalists, fellows, nurses, pharmacists and allied health teams.

"Care of oncology patients at TGH is not new; however consolidating these patients in one unit and offering specialized team care is the benefit of this new unit, for both our staff and ultimately our patients," says Marnie Escaf, Senior Vice President, UHN.

The triaging of cancer patients began during COVID, but this is the official opening of a dedicated unit.

UHN Patient Partners and members of TeamUHN, including some from Executive Leadership Forum, at an appreciation event to formally thank the more than 160 Patient Partners. (Photo: UHN)

Honouring those who 'ensure the patient's voice is heard'

The Patient Partnerships Team hosted an appreciation event earlier this month to honour and formally thank the more than 160 UHN Patient Partners who give their time, expertise, knowledge and experiences to improve the quality and safety of care at UHN.

UHN Patient Partners have contributed to more than 205 unique initiatives across UHN this past year. These include projects related to quality improvement, safety, strategic planning and decision-making. Of those, 74 are committees where permanent Patient Partner membership has been established.

Through committees, presentations, focus groups, leadership hiring panels and journey mapping, UHN Patient Partners bring their unique perspectives and experiences while partnering with TeamUHN so patients and caregivers have a safe, high quality and excellent patient experience at UHN.

"We could not be Canada's No. 1 Hospital without the contributions of Patient Partners who ensure the patient's voice is heard – loud and clear – in every room where decisions are made," Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN President & CEO, told the June 6 event at Toronto Rehab, University Centre.

He also thanked the "small but mighty team of just three people" – Alicia Goorbarry, Becky Quinlan and Kerseri Scane – who support the Patient Partners across all UHN sites and ensure meaningful engagement takes place with TeamUHN.

Members of TeamUHN who have engaged with Patient Partners over the past year, shared their appreciation and the impact their partnership had on initiatives. Read more of these powerful statements and learn more about the UHN Patient Partner Program.

More than 2,400 people took to the streets of Toronto for the 11th annual Journey to Conquer Cancer, which took place on June 16. (Photo: The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation)

Record $1.63 million raised in this year's Journey to Conquer Cancer

Thousands of participants raised $1.63 million at the 11th annual Journey to Conquer Cancer – a new record for the event, presented by Starlight Investments benefiting the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

This inclusive family and dog-friendly walk/run event has raised more than $16 million cumulatively in support of groundbreaking cancer research, treatment, and patient care at the Princess Margaret.

Participants of all ages and athletic abilities – including dogs and children – gathered at University of Toronto's Back Campus Fields on June 16 for the opening ceremony, led by Brandon Throop, a high-grade B-cell lymphoma survivor, who has raised more than $120,000 for the Princess Margaret through various fundraising initiatives.

"I will continue to raise awareness and crucial funds to help the life-saving cancer research being done at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre," says Brandon. "I want to express my gratitude to the staff I encountered during my own cancer journey at the Princess Margaret."

Participants, including patients, survivors, doctors, health professionals and supporters, walked or ran one, three or five km through downtown Toronto. All routes passed by Princess Margaret Cancer Centre for celebratory photos, with pit stops and live entertainment along the way.

(L to R), Leonard Benoit, Indigenous Patient Navigator, UHN and TCR-ICP; Joanna Vautour, Regional Indigenous Cancer Lead, TCR-ICP; Muriel Lopez Silva, Program Coordinator, TCR-ICP; Suman Dhanju, Regional Cancer Program Director (South). (Photo: Courtesy Muriel Lopez Silva)

Australian conference offers 'a great sense of pride' in work for TCR-ICP

The Toronto Central Regional Indigenous Cancer Program (TCR – ICP) was invited to present its abstract on "A Step Towards Honouring Indigenous Spiritual Care Practices in Healthcare Settings" at the World Indigenous Cancer Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

With more than 500 delegates and attendees from across the globe, the team had an opportunity to share their “Indigenous Ceremony Bundle Toolkit:" a collection of guidelines, protocols and supplemental materials aimed at supporting health organizations when Indigenous ceremonial requests are made.

The TCR–ICP returned with learnings to further explore initiatives that may enhance the cancer care journey for First Nations, Inuit, Métis and urban Indigenous (FNIMuI) patients and families.

"I was so honoured to share space with Indigenous leaders and community from around the world who are doing incredible work!," says Muriel Lopez Silva, Program Coordinator with the TCR-ICP. "However, the highlight for me was learning about how other programs are bringing in culture and Indigenous artwork into the cancer screening journey to create a more culturally safer and relevant experience and imagining how they can be adapted with and for Indigenous patients and families within the TCR."

During their visit, the TCR–ICP members were greeted and welcomed by the Partnership and Aboriginal Health Unit Teams at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, with delegates from Te Whatu Ora New Zealand Health Service for a morning tea, tour and collaborative discussion.

"It was a time to reflect on the relationships that we have built and continue to foster them," said Leonard Benoit, an Indigenous Patient Navigator at UHN. "There was a great sense of pride with hospitals from around the globe asking us, "How to do it?" with respect to how to bring those important ceremonies into health care."

Joanna Vautour, Regional Indigenous Cancer Lead, said “a highlight for me was how other Indigenous health care providers incorporated their ceremonial songs throughout the conference, and it reaffirmed the value of our ceremonial songs in health care spaces that contribute to Indigenous Wellness.

"The TCR-ICP was also honoured with a song from Te Whatu Ora New Zealand Health Services. I feel honoured to share this experience with my team."

Dr. Michael Brent is Director of the Clinical Research Unit and a retina specialist at UHN's Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute. (Photo: UHN Research Communications)

New Clinical Research Unit opens at Toronto Western Hospital

UHN's Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute (DKJEI) opened its first Clinical Research Unit (CRU) earlier this month, a dedicated space to translate basic science discoveries into clinical applications, which will help support the development of innovative treatments to preserve and restore vision.

The space will house state-of-the-art equipment to support clinical trial activities, including ophthalmic photography, optical coherence tomography (OCT), perimetry (visual fields), and electroretinography (ERG).

The CRU is an extension of the Clinical Trials Program, first established in 2011, that allows patients to play an integral role in their own care journey while helping to advance the latest research for other individuals living with vision loss.

"The CRU at DKJEI is the first of its kind in Canada for ophthalmology," says Dr. Michael Brent, Director of the CRU and a retina specialist at DKJEI. "It will facilitate collaboration between clinicians and scientists to advance new therapies, optimize clinical research and improve patient care."

The CRU will allow all clinical research studies to move away from being embedded within the regular clinics and move them into their own space with dedicated staff and equipment.

"UHN vision scientists are creating the next generation of therapies for blinding eye disease, and making this scientific advancement a clinical reality for those in need is the goal of the CRU," says Dr. Brian Ballios, a retina specialist and clinician scientist at DKJEI.

With a generous gift from Mr. Donald K. Johnson to support DKJEI, the CRU has entered Phase I and will continue to expand in the following years.

Delegates from Singapore General Hospital visited UHN on Friday, June 14 as part of a tour of three of the world's safest hospitals, according to the latest Newsweek rankings. The group spent the day at Toronto General Hospital learning about UHN's quality and safety practices. (Photo: UHN)

Delegation from Singapore visits UHN to discuss quality and safety

A group of senior leaders from Singapore General Hospital visited last week to get an overview of UHN's approach to quality and safety, meeting with representatives of many teams across the organization.

The day-long visit to Toronto General Hospital, which was organized by Quality, Safety and Clinical Adoption at UHN, included discussions on safety event reporting, navigating quality, risk and safety challenges, the importance of patient engagement, artificial intelligence and more. It also featured tours of numerous clinical and non-clinical areas with a focus on quality and safety.

"Everyone of us who cares for a patient, or supports someone who does, is in the quality and safety game," Dr. Kevin Smith, UHN President & CEO, told the group. “And, every voice is equally important.

"It's really about culture."

(L to R), Dr. David Kirsch, Head of Radiation Medicine Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Dr. Keith Stewart, Director of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith. (Photo: UHN)

Premier Doug Ford makes isotope announcement at the Princess Margaret

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith, and other dignitaries came to UHN in late May to celebrate a plan from Bruce Power to double production of life-saving medical isotopes.

Representatives from Bruce Power and their partners, the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, Isogen, and ITM, made the announcement at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, noting Bruce Power will install a second isotope production line for the isotope lutetium-177, used as a targeted therapy for a range of cancers, including prostate cancer.

As Dr. David Kirsch, Head of Radiation Medicine Program at the Princess Margaret, said: “It is simply great news that lutetium-177 can be produced at home in Ontario.

"In the long run, this will result in Radiotheranostics treatment being more accessible for patients."

Back to Top