Dr. Yvonne Bombard

Dr. Yvonne Bombard, a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, has received a Challenge Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society for her project on providing genetic counselling for patients with newly diagnosed cancer.

The Challenge Grant program supports cancer research projects across the cancer continuum and across disciplines, with an ultimate goal of solving a problem in cancer that will be meaningful to people affected by or at risk of cancer. 

Dr. Bombard’s project will involve designing a digital program to improve care for patients with newly diagnosed cancer by providing them with faster access to genetic counselling support. Congratulations Dr. Bombard! Learn more about her work here.

Top row: Dr. Andrew Advani, Dr. Yvonne Bombard, Dr. Gillian Booth, Dr. Karen Burns. Second row: Dr. Kim Connelly, Dr. Michael Cusimano, Dr. Charles de Mestral, Dr. Brodie Nolan. Bottom row: Dr. Mohammad Qadura, Dr. Joel Ray, Dr. Joanna Sale, Dr. Katalin Szaszi.

Fourteen research projects led by St. Michael’s Hospital have received more than $6.8 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Fall Project Grant competition.

The Project Grant program supports ideas with the greatest potential to advance health-related fundamental or applied knowledge, health research, health care, health systems, and/or health outcomes.

The funded projects are:

  • Taking the Sting out of acute kidney injury in diabetes, led by Dr. Andrew Advani
  • The Genetics Update: Designing and evaluating a patient platform to deliver updated genomic results, led by Dr. Yvonne Bombard, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Type 2 Diabetes Incidence: Finding synergy among science, policy, and action, led by Dr. Gillian Booth, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Liberation from mechanical ventilation using an Extubation Advisor Decision Support: The Multicentre (LEADS) Pilot Trial, led by Dr. Karen Burns, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Role of the alpha 11 integrin in mediating RV remodeling in response to pressure overload, led by Dr. Kim Connelly, director of the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science
  • Effects of Recreational Cannabis Legalization on Polysubstance Use, Mental Health, and Injury in Canada: The RCL IMPACT Study, led by Dr. Michael Cusimano, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • TRACE STUDY: An RCT using tranexamic acid in the treatment of subdural hematoma, led by Dr. Michael Cusimano, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Comprehensive Diabetes Management and its Association with the Risk of Leg Amputation: A Population-based Cohort Study, led by Dr. Charles de Mestral, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Development and validation of a prehospital score to predict blood transfusion requirements for injured patients: The Prehospital Transfusion Prediction (PTP) Score, led by Dr. Brodie Nolan, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Artery Alert – Revolutionizing the Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease, led by Dr. Mohammad Qadura, scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science
  • Hemoglobin A1c and adverse perinatal, child and maternal outcomes, led by Dr. Joel Ray, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • What are the experiences and needs of informal caregivers of fracture patients in a rehabilitation setting? Led by Dr. Joanna Sale, scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
  • Defining new molecular pathways in kidney repair and scarring, led by Dr. Katalin Szaszi, scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science
  • Regulation of cell movement by cell-cell contact molecules, led by Dr. Katalin Szaszi, scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science

Congratulations to all the recipients and their teams. Read more about each one in our story on the Unity Health website here.

Dr. Ralph George

Dr. Ralph George, a surgeon and the medical director of the CIBC Breast Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital, is the recipient of the Royal College 2022 James H. Graham Award of Merit. Dr. George has dedicated his clinical career to advancing the care of patients with breast cancer.

The James H. Graham Award is one of the Royal College’s most prestigious awards. It is awarded to a person “whose outstanding achievements reflect the aims and objectives of the Royal College.” The award was named after Dr. James H. Graham, Secretary General of the Royal College from 1953 to 1979. Dr. George’s actions have exemplified such dedication, and the Awards Committee was incredibly impressed by his work.

Dr. Yeni Yucel and Dr. Neeru Gupta

Congratulations Dr. Yeni Yucel & Dr. Neeru Gupta, scientists at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, who have received a Discovery Grant from ALS Canada and Brain Canada for a project exploring how a biomarker in the eye can help advance ALS research and care.

The Discovery Grant Program is designed to fuel innovation that will accelerate our understanding of ALS, identify pathways for future therapies and optimize care to improve quality of life for people and families affected by this devastating disease. In 2022, Dr. Yucel and Dr. Gupta’s project is one of nine awarded through the 2021 Discovery Grant Program will benefit from $1.125 million in funding. Learn more about their work.

Truth may literally be in the eye of the beholder - "It's very meaningful for our entire team - from our students, technicians, and research assistants to our collaborators from various disciplines - to work together on this project and keep in mind the patients and their families first." - Dr. Yeni Yucel. Photos of Dr. Yucel and Dr. Neeru Gupta. ALS Canada Research Program logo; Brain Canada Foundation logo.

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) published a case study on how Unity Health is implementing the principle of joy in work for staff, physicians and learners. Joy in Work is one of the key priorities in Unity Health’s strategic plan, with the goal of creating an environment where all employees can realize meaning and purpose in the work they do every day. In 2020, Unity Health Toronto joined the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) Joy in Work learning network, making it the only Canadian hospital network taking part in the program.

Read our case study to see how Unity Health Toronto has been implementing the principle of joy in work in real, tangible ways.

Unity Health Library Services team

Congratulations to the Unity Health Library Services team for winning the Langlands Innovation Award by the Health Sciences Information Consortium (HSIC). HSIC is comprised of libraries and information services in nearly 50 teaching and community hospitals, public health units and other health care institutions in the Greater Toronto Area and across Ontario.

This award recognizes individuals or teams who have created or demonstrated improvements in health sciences library services or the profession through innovative thinking and approaches. The Library Services team at Unity Health was nominated for their “On-Demand Workshops” initiative, which created and translated 30 of our traditional in-person instructional workshops to online, self-paced, on-demand learning modules. This effort resulted in greater accessibility, flexibility, and personalization for learning, and supported the learning, training, and information needs of hospital staff at their time of need and at their own pace. This initiative also saw a 290 per cent increase in participation for library instruction workshops over the previous year. 

Clockwise: Sharon Bissember, Rony Toma and Matthew D’Silva.

Three Providence staff members have been recognized for their commitment to Unity Health’s values through the Providence Our Shared Values Awards.

Matthew D’Silva, Clinical Resource Coordinator for the Adult Day Program at Providence, is the recipient of the Compassion Award for an individual or team that enables health and healing by understanding each person’s needs and by providing care with kindness and sensitivity.

Rony Toma, Physiotherapist and Orthopedic/Amputee Practice Consultant is the winner of the Excellence Award for an individual or team who strives to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement.

Sharon Bissember, Registered Nurse in the Houses of Providence, is the recipient of the Excellence Award for an individual or team who strives to achieve the best care and quality through innovation and continuous improvement.

Congratulations to Matthew, Rony and Sharon! Read more about the awards here.

Letter from Saskatchewan Health Authority (text in article below)

In the fall of 2021, Unity Health Toronto accepted ICU patients from Saskatchewan because of mounting COVID-19 pressures. The Saskatchewan Health Authority is now extending its thanks to the Unity Health Toronto community for stepping in to ensure quality care for patients. The Saskatchewan Health Authority sent a letter to Unity Health commending the staff and physicians who helped their fellow Canadian health-care workers through some of the most challenging months of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am writing to thank you for your role in helping ensure continuity of care for Saskatchewan
patients when they were most in need.

As you know, our system faced extreme pressures in fall 2021 due to surges in COVID-19
hospitalizations and ICU admissions. This necessitated the transport of ICU patients from
Saskatchewan to Ontario to relieve pressure on our health care workers and to help us mitigate risks to the continuity of our critical care capacity.

As one of the hospitals across Ontario that helped care for our Saskatchewan patients during
this very difficult time, I want to thank you for being there in our time of great need. We are
forever grateful that you demonstrated your willingness to go above and beyond to serve
Saskatchewan patients and their families.

On behalf of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, please accept our sincerest gratitude and
appreciation for your support.

Congratulations to Point Surgical Inc., a company founded as a joint venture between Unity Health Toronto, University Health Network and Light Matter Interaction Inc., for their success in the Falcons’ Fortunes pitch competition led by FACIT.

FACIT hosts the annual pitch competition to celebrate Ontario’s life sciences and entrepreneurial culture, as well as highlight emerging innovations. The Award is part of FACIT’s Prospects Oncology Fund, which throughout the year also addresses the seed funding gap for early-stage, proof-of-concept projects with commercial potential.

Point Surgical Inc.’s technology aims to give clinicians a new way to identify biomarkers of disease in real-time, during surgery. Learn more about their work on their website.

By: Ana Gajic and Olivia Lavery