Velma Bailey
Velma Bailey, a nurse at Toronto Western Hospital, presses an inky thumb onto the “Leaf your thumbprint” display to show her commitment to the PVP as part of Tuesday’s celebration. (Photo: UHN)

Calling it the reflection of "a tremendous commitment" on behalf of the entire organization, President and CEO Dr. Peter Pisters has launched UHN's new Purpose, Values and Principles (PVP).

"I'm just so proud of the amazing work that has taken place throughout the organization," Dr. Pisters told a couple of hundred people in the lobby of Toronto Western Hospital (TWH) Tuesday in the first of seven PVP celebrations taking place across UHN this week.

"We collected ideas. We sought input. We got incredible contributions."

Amid a festive atmosphere featuring cake, a pop-up photo booth and life-size cardboard cutouts of staff, volunteers and Patient Partners, Dr. Pisters outlined the main themes of a PVP nearly a year in the making. The process began, he said, with "asking ourselves some very important questions," including why we exist as an organization and what is it that creates the passion in all of us as we do our work?

Dr. Pisters said the purpose statement – "Transforming lives and communities through excellence in care, discovery and learning" – is something that "exemplifies what we do" and will endure.

PVP Celebrations Schedule

  • TR UC, Front Lobby: Wednesday, Nov. 30th @ 8 am to 9 am
  • The Michener Institute, Annex 222: Wednesday, Nov. 30th @ 12pm to 1 pm
  • Princess Margaret, 7-605: Wednesday, Nov. 30th @ 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
  • Toronto General, Munk Lobby near Starbucks: Thursday, Dec. 1st @ 10:30 am to 11:30 pm
  • TR Lyndhurst, Lecture Rooms A/B: Thursday, Dec 1st @ 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm

"This will be a purpose statement that will last for generations," he said. "There should be no reason for any other group of UHN employees to ever change the statement.

"When people write the history of UHN, there will be a chapter on what the 2016 team did – all 15,000 of us – how we came together, how we crafted this statement and how this statement has stood the test of time."

To see our Facebook album of pictures from the pop-up photo booth at the PVP celebrations click here​ throughout the week as more are added from each event.

In the early stages of the PVP process, an external facilitator worked with a "Pathfinders" group of individuals with representation from across UHN, comprised of both clinical and non-clinical staff, to develop a first draft of our purpose and values. That draft was shared at a series of open houses held at all of our sites, generating feedback from more than 1,000 attendees.

UHN senior executives
Mugging for the camera (L to R): Michael Nader, EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Charlie Chan, EVP and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Peter Pisters, President and CEO, and Emma Pavlov, EVP of Human Resources, Organizational Development and Michener Operations, pose in the the pop-up photo booth as part of Tuesday’s PVP celebration at TWH. (Photo: UHN)

Earlier this fall, UHN's first "Electronic Jam" on the PVP featured 18 hours of online discussion hosted by senior leaders from across the organization. More than 3,700 participants signed on to view or engage in the jam, with 305 comments generated for the ongoing discussion and finalization of the PVP.

Dr. Pisters talked Tuesday about "a value hierarchy," with the needs of the patient coming first, reflecting "the fact that we're here to serve patients" through education, research and exceptional care.

He said the remaining values – safety, compassion, teamwork, integrity and stewardship – are "what we're here to do" and will be achieved through living key principles, including taking personal responsibility for patient and workplace safety, having care and concern for others, making a commitment to support colleagues, conducting myself with integrity and using resources wisely.


"If you look at what we've accomplished, it is absolutely fantastic," Dr. Pisters said.

Celebration activities, which moved to Toronto Rehab Bickle Centre later Tuesday and continue today and Thursday at five other sites, also included a "Leaf your thumbprint" display, where people showed their commitment to the PVP by pressing their inky thumb onto a board featuring some of its key words.

UHN Patient Partner Katie Dick, a patient at TWH and Toronto Rehab's Lyndhurst Centre since 2010, told the crowd at the first celebration that over time at both facilities her experiences "have encompassed at least one of these values at one point or another, often more than one at a time."

Katie told a story about an experience at TWH in which a nurse, who was not her primary nurse, took care of a stressful situation, got her the help she needed and offered reassurance throughout the ordeal in such a calm and confident way that as a patient she felt the situation was under control.

"It's this kind of compassion that helps to minimize patient anxiety because patients feel like their needs are being put first," Katie said.

Katie Dick
UHN Patient Partner Katie Dick poses with her life-size cardboard cutout at Tuesday’s PVP celebration at TWH. (Photo: UHN)

The PVP will serve as the foundation for the next steps of UHN's journey of renewal, which will continue with the creation of a new strategic plan, beginning in January.

Following this week's celebrations, units and clinics across UHN will receive "PVP Kits" which include the "Leaf your thumbprint" display and PVP posters along with other information about how the purpose, values and principles can be incorporated into everyday action.

The audience was also shown a video for the new myUHN Patient Portal. Set to launch in late January, it serves as an example of how the PVP is already in action at UHN.

"We are in the midst of an incredible transformation as an organization," Dr. Pisters said. "We are, together, renewing UHN.

"If you look closely at the work that we've done, it involves a personal pledge to what we're doing together, a personal commitment to these values and that's really what it means to be in a great organization like ours."

Dr. Pisters speaking
UHN President and CEO Dr. Peter Pisters told the audience, “This will be a purpose statement that will last for generations.” (Photo: UHN)

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