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Five University Health Network employees are among 20 Ontarians recognized for work that has helped inspire changes making the province's health care system better for patients and families.
Three members of UHN's Partners in Care Strategy Team – Joy Richards, Vice-President, Health Professions and Chief Nurse Executive, Susan Brown, Senior Director, Strategy and Transformation, and Arsalan Hamidi, Planner, – were honoured at a ceremony for the 20 Faces of Change Awards presented by The Change Foundation in Toronto Monday night. Two staff from UHN's Patient and Family Education and Survivorship – Audrey Friedman, Director, and the late Dr. Pam Catton, Medical Director, – were also recognized for creating the Patient Education Program at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
"In giving them the profile and recognition they so richly deserve, we endeavour to help them take their health care innovations to the next level," reads the website calling for nominations for the awards, which were created to mark the 20th anniversary of The Change Foundation.
Billing itself as an independent health care think tank, The Change Foundation is dedicated to improving the patient experience in Ontario. The winners were chosen from among more than 80 nominations.
The Partners in Care (PIC) Strategy Team is a ground-breaking initiative led by the Collaborative Academic Practice (CAP) portfolio. Dedicated to making improvements enhancing patient-centred care, it was established to ensure each member of the health care team, including staff, physicians, patients, caregivers, students and volunteers are actively engaged in improving the patient experience at UHN.
Led by Joy and two key members of her team, Susan and Arsalan, they developed the PIC Roadmap, an aspirational two-year plan to advance patient-centred care at UHN.
"By prioritizing the relationship among 'employer and staff,' 'staff and staff,' and 'staff and patients,' they have not only underscored the importance of creating healthy work environments so that providers can more easily care for those in need, but also identified strategic forums embedded in the core work of the organization to engage patients and their caregivers to ensure optimal experiences for all," the Foundation said in recognizing the work of the PIC Strategy Team.
Audrey and Dr. Catton were honoured as "pioneers in the field of patient engagement (PE)" for creating the Patient Education Program at the Princess Margaret that brought "national recognition to the need for high-quality, patient-centred education tools that are based on best practices and accessible to consumers."
Dr. Catton, a radiation oncologist who passed away on Dec. 23, 2014, was determined to change the way patient and family education services were delivered in Ontario. She also led the establishment of a Survivorship Program at Princess Margaret, which included modules in self-management, self-care clinics and e-health initiatives with standardized strategies to teach patients how to minimize the impact of long-term treatment on physical, emotional and mental health.
Audrey, who in addition to being Director of UHN's Patient Education and Survivorship is also Associate Director of ELLICSR Health, Wellness & Cancer Survivorship Centre, is a champion of patient-education initiatives. She helped establish the Canadian Cancer Patient Education Network to bring together cancer educators from across the country to discuss, develop and implement best practices in patient education services. She also led the provincial patient education strategy called, "Maximizing PE Skills," which has been adapted by the DeSouza Institute into e-learning for health-care professionals.
"These two women have truly established the field of PE in Canada," the Foundation said of the award.
Details of all winners for the 20 Faces of Change Awards can be found at: www.20faces.changefoundation.ca/winners/