Sanaz Chagpar
Sanaz Chagpar, a registered nurse in the Chemo Day Unit at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, enjoys the arrangement by “Feel Good Flowers” installed outside PM on Monday. (Photo: UHN)

A group of volunteers installed an artistic floral arrangement outside of Princess Margaret Cancer Centre on Monday, June 15 as a sign of appreciation for our care providers.

The initiative is a grassroots effort from "Feel Good Flowers," led by Amy Burstyn Fritz, who were inspired to bring beauty and gratitude to those who are working on the frontlines during COVID-19. 

In turn they have inspired others to raise funds for the hospitals through a dedicated  Feel Good Flowers Fund [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] To date, the group has raised more than $22,000 for hospital supplies related to COVID relief.   

The installations have been seen across hospitals in the city, including Toronto General and Toronto Western. The Princess Margaret installation was sponsored by Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited.

Thank you, "Feel Good Flowers!" 

Strumming the stress away on Toronto Rehab's 9 South

4 masked people with guitars/ukuleles
Care team members on Toronto Rehab’s 9 South Stroke Rehab Inpatient Unit, (L to R) Jennifer Shaw, Ruth Tannenbaum, Vanessa Ong, and Paul Asselin turn to music to relieve stress on the unit. Not pictured: social worker Karen Beekenkamp. (Photo: UHN)

When rehab therapist Jennifer Shaw and physiotherapist Vanessa Ong first brought their ukuleles to work, their goal was to relax during breaks and have some fun on Toronto Rehab's 9 South Stroke Rehab Inpatient Unit.

After social worker Paul Asselin joined the pair, they played for the first time for an audience of one – a patient who happened to play guitar.

"Despite some post-stroke incoordination, we were able to encourage him to join in – we're not sure who found it more rewarding – him or us," says Paul.

As momentum grew, speech-language pathologist Ruth Tannenbaum and social worker Karen Beekenkamp rounded out the band, and they now play in the patient dining room, where they can entertain larger groups, while still practicing physical distancing. They even entertained staff during recent retirement sendoffs.

Favourite tunes include "Brown Eyed Girl," "Yellow Submarine" and "Sweet Caroline" but the repertoire grows as band members bring new songs to learn and play.

"We shouldn't have been surprised this idea took off – there's so much enthusiasm among our team," says Jennifer.

Anne Cadoret, a 9 South patient, says she "feels so grateful to this team.

"They do so much already, and now, in their own time, they're taking us out of our own heads, to a different place."

Annie continues to set the pacewith heart disease fundraiser

Woman on treadmill with thumb’s up
Annie Smith, cardiac sarcoidosis patient at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, walked 180 kilometres on her treadmill at home to raise money for Dr. Heather Ross’s “Test Your Limits” initiative and awareness for heart disease. (Photo: Courtesy Annie Smith)

For the second year in a row, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre (PMCC) patient Annie Smith has returned to her treadmill to raise money for Dr. Heather Ross's " Test Your Limits [Editor's Note: Link is no longer available] (TYL) initiative and awareness for heart disease.

In 2016, Annie was diagnosed with a rare condition called cardiac sarcoidosis. Her cardiologist, Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at the PMCC, warned Annie that any strenuous exercise may cause problems with her heart. Her advice was to limit her exercise to walking.

As a fitness instructor and personal trainer, Annie was obviously disappointed – but she didn't let that stop her. She began to walk a minimum of 10 kilometres (kms) per day, and in 2019, decided to turn her passion for walking and bringing awareness to heart disease into a fundraiser she named "Annie's Pace."

Last year, Annie walked 161 kms over the Victoria Day weekend and raised $5,500 for TYL. This year, she decided to up the ante, extending the invitation to participate to anyone around the globe and calling it "Annie's Pace Global Adventure."

From May 22 to 25, Annie walked 180 kms and has now raised a grand total of $10,875 for TYL.

Participants from different countries joined in, including the United States, Scotland, Greece, Hong Kong, and many provinces across Canada. Together, they exercised a cumulative distance of 1325 kms.

"This movement happened because all of YOU took care of your heart health and wanted to make a difference," Annie wrote on her social media. "I'm very happy and I want to thank everyone who supported me and my vision."

UHN docs celebrate 'historic moment' as defibrillator bill to become Ontario law

Group photo CARE’s AED Education
Group photo CARE’s AED Education Day held at the Ontario Legislature in December 2019 includes Dr. Mali Worme (second row, fourth from L) and Dr. Mia Bertic (second row, fourth from R). (Photo: Courtesy Dr. Mali Worme.)

Each year, approximately 7,000 Ontarians will experience cardiac arrest – and Drs. Mia Bertic and Mali Worme are helping ensure they have better access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

When used in conjunction with CPR, AEDs can improve cardiac arrest survival rates by more than 50 per cent. Ensuring AEDs are available on public and designated premises can help prevent tragedies from occurring.

Alongside the Cardiac Arrest Response and Education Group (CARE), Dr. Bertic and Dr. Worme, cardiac intensive care fellow and cardiology resident respectively at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, have spent the past year lobbying the Ontario government to create legislation around mandatory AED registration, maintenance and training.

The doctors have assisted CARE with the preparation and launch of a private members bill, hosting educational events at the Legislature and advocating for the bill in front of Ontario's Standing Committee on Social Policy.

On May 26th, Bill 141: Defibrillator Registration and Public Access Act passed its third reading in the Ontario Legislature. After a royal assent from the Governor General, Bill 141 will officially become a law in Ontario.

"The passing of Bill 141 is a significant step forward in ensuring that AEDs are accessible to the public in Ontario," says Dr. Bertic. "Access and use of an AED is an essential component of the chain of survival, doubling the chance of survival if used within the first few minutes of a cardiac arrest.

"It has been an honour working with everyone involved in this historic moment."

Unique partnership aims to embed artificial intelligence into healthcare practice

The goal of the project is developing and evaluating new approaches to better equip healthcare organizations and professions with the skills required to accelerate the adoption of new technologies. (Image: UHN)

The Michener Institute of Education at UHN and Vector Institute are setting out to transform the skills and capabilities of frontline healthcare professionals in the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to health services.

Thanks to a two-year, $1.52-million grant from Future Skills Centre, the organizations will partner with other healthcare and academic groups to empower a workforce with the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to embed AI in patient care with compassion.

The project, called "Accelerating the Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare," is a unique opportunity that brings together some of the world's top AI minds in Canada to teach healthcare professionals.

This unique partnership combines comprehensive AI and education design expertise with access to real-time clinical practice and patient feedback. The goal is to develop and evaluate new approaches to better equip healthcare organizations and professions with the skills required to accelerate the adoption of new technologies.

"AI-enabled clinical decision-making and expert systems that simulate clinical reasoning are rapidly emerging areas of medicine and clinical care, yet there is a lack of understanding of how AI can and should be used in many healthcare fields and professions," says project co-lead Dr. David Wiljer, Executive Director of Digital Education at The Michener Institute. 

"The potential for AI to transform the delivery of healthcare through predictive and preventive AI therapeutics is tremendous. We believe this project will help fill an enormous knowledge gap in how to educate and train the healthcare workforce to use AI in effective and compassionate ways."

Back to Top