Dr. Kevin Smith
UHN President & CEO, Dr. Kevin Smith, addresses the Annual General Meeting in the Auditorium at MaRS Discovery District yesterday. (Photo: UHN)

UHN President & CEO Dr. Kevin Smith used his first Annual General Meeting to outline the strategic planning process and his future vision, while his predecessor, Dr. Charlie Chan, used it to say thank you and, ahead of retirement at the end of 2018, to reflect on his career and what's possible at UHN.

"Every patient, staff member, program and department is important at UHN," Kevin told the audience yesterday afternoon at the Auditorium in the MaRS Discovery District. "All of us are better together.

"We are all committed to high quality care and education. In specific programs, we are also focused on research and innovation in internationally competitive domains."

Kevin, who began his role on May 22 after 23 years in various leadership roles at St. Joseph's Health System and Niagara Health System, including CEO, said the UHN strategic plan, which he hopes will be published by the end of 2018, will focus on simplicity, outcomes and be meaningful to everyone at UHN.

"Every team member at UHN should be able to see themselves in our strategic plan," he said.

Kevin said his initial priorities will focus on key issues for the organization, including a review of UHN's clinical capacity, research strategy and education in addition to upgrading clinical information systems as part of a digital health strategy.

'Our objective is to raise all boats with our partners'

"There's a real opportunity for UHN to expand our responsibilities as a system leader," Kevin said. "It's an obligation given our size, scale, talent and resources and builds on the great partnerships we have today and in the past.

"Our objective is to raise all boats with our partners so Toronto is the international destination for healthcare, scholarship investment and employment."

Charlie, who was Interim President & CEO prior to Kevin's arrival and remains Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer (CMO), led the audience on a review of 2017-18.

"Looking back, we were in the media more than I would have liked," Charlie quipped. "But we have good teams ensuring we do the right things."

Dr. Charlie Chan
Dr. Charlie Chan, former UHN Interim President & CEO, who remains Executive Vice President, Chief Medical Officer, reflects on the 44 years since he came to Canada from Hong Kong as a student. (Photo: UHN)

Among the "many high points to celebrate," Charlie mentioned the care team for the "life-transforming surgery" of Bangladeshi patient Popi Rani Das the "incredible generosity" of Peter and Melanie Munk, who donated $100 million, the launch of DriverLab at Toronto Rehab Institute and the innovation deploying ex-vivo perfusion for kidney transplant.

He also highlighted UHN's ranking – for the seventh year in a row – as Canada's No. 1 research hospital, UHN's standing as one of the Top Employers in 2017 in the Healthcare & Science sector, according to Universum, the Multi-Organ Transplant (MOT) program becoming the largest adult MOT centre in North America, the Michener Institute being named by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada as an accredited continuing professional development provider, and the Caring Safely team winning the Press Gainey Safety Video Award.

'No dream job is impossible'

"These incredible moments and stories reflect the amazing people and work we do here at UHN," Charlie said, encouraging the audience to read more in the 2017-18 UHN Year in Review.

Charlie, who has announced he will be stepping down as CMO at the end of 2018, said his mom "would never have predicted" in 1974 when he left Hong Kong to come to school in Canada at age 16 that he would go on to become Interim CEO at the country's largest research hospital 44 years later.

"No dream job is impossible," Charlie said. "Work hard, be nice to people, uphold your integrity and honesty, don't be afraid to acknowledge mistakes and errors, and remember: 'Courage Lives Here!'"

Earlier, Brian Porter, presiding over his first meeting as Chair of UHN's Board of Trustees, thanked the entire UHN community. He also introduced a video tribute to the "courage" of UHN staff, which was produced by Scotiabank, where Brian is President and CEO.

Brian lauded "the tremendous work being done by UHN staff" and those in the three Foundations who "engage with our donor community every day, and communicate the importance of the work you all do." He also thanked Board Trustees for being "highly engaged and motivated to see UHN thrive."

Emma Pavlov, Executive Vice President, Human Resources/Organizational Development and Michener Operations, paid tribute to Charlie.

"Charlie has given so much to UHN," Emma said. "There is simply no way for me to cover everything he's done for all of us in the few minutes I have here.

"But Charlie is one of my most trusted advisors and dearest friends and I know he plays this role for many of you at UHN."

UHN Annual Meeting 2018

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