Each week, we share a list of 10 great things that happened at our sites. Do you have a story you’d like to share? Send it to communications@unityhealth.to.

1. Unity Health Toronto honours International Women’s Day  

International Women’s Day and the contributions of female staff and physicians were recognized across Unity Health Toronto. We spoke to Dr. Joan Cheng, chief of the St. Joe’s emergency department, and Dr. Carolyn Snider, chief of the St. Mike’s ED about barriers for women pursuing emergency medicine and the myth of having it all. “This artificial timeline that’s imposed on us by the patriarchy is ridiculous. I think trying to shoe-horn all of us to fit into a paradigm that was created by somebody else… I don’t agree with it,” said Dr. Cheng. We also spotlighted six women working in research and asked them what advice they’d give to their younger selves and what barriers they’ve overcome in their careers.

The St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation hosted several Unity Health female leaders, who spoke about what they’re doing to improve patient care for women. The St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation spotlighted several female leaders in a special video.

2. How Unity Health is making thoughtful, inclusive design to improve patient care

We highlighted several new patient care spaces where inclusive and functional design was top of mind. The BARLO MS Centre features several unique design elements, including maximizing exposure to natural light and offering patients and staff stunning views of the city. The team worked to ensure that every detail was considered, such as having ultra-fast USB-C charging docks for patients’ devices and having an open layout to ease mobility. The design of the Wellesley-St. James Town Health Centre takes into account the diversity of the centre’s patient population. It features inclusive, gender-neutral single-use washrooms and a meeting room that has heat detectors and vents to accommodate smudging ceremonies.

3. Two clinics, 500 patients, 106 transplants: We spotlight kidney care excellence on World Kidney Day

To mark World Kidney Day, we created an infographic highlighting the tremendous work of the kidney clinics at St. Michael’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Health Centre. In 2021, 106 transplants were performed at St. Michael’s and close to 2,000 unique patients were seen at the transplant clinic. The two kidney clinics together provided dialysis for more than 500 patients, both in-centre and at home. We also spotlighted two Transplant Ambassadors, who received care at Unity Health. “Through the donation journey, I have become a stronger person and learned to look at life in the most positive way,” said Suk Yin Ng, who donated a kidney to her son in 2005.

4. A conversation with a bariatric surgeon on World Obesity Day

Despite nearly 30 per cent of Canadian adults having obesity, stigma remains a significant barrier to patients seeking treatment and care. To mark World Obesity Day, Dr. James Jung, St. Michael’s Hospital bariatric surgeon, spoke about different treatment options and why there’s a lot more work to do in breaking down stigma. “I would not say to someone ‘you are obese,’ because that’s not who they are – they’re someone’s father, mother or sister, they just happen to have this disease,” he said.

5. Dr. Dan Beriault weighs in on what’s driving the blood tube shortage

Amid the global shortage of blood collection tubes, the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists issued a practice alert to conserve resources for high-priority patients. Dr. Dan Beriault, head of Unity Health biochemistry, spoke to CTV News about what’s driving the shortage. Read the story.

6. Unity Health launches new dashboard to track blood tube supplies and usage

The clinical, laboratory and data science teams at Unity Health have developed a new blood collection tube dashboard to help us track supply and demand of this critical resource. Currently health care facilities are facing a widespread shortage of blood tubes – which are used for blood tests that help to diagnose, treat and manage diseases and conditions. This resource will help leaders, staff and physicians to understand which types of tubes are in shortest supply and help teams to identify data-driven opportunities to limit unnecessary blood tests. The ultimate goal is to ensure that Unity Health is able to provide essential blood work for patients who need it.

7. ‘You don’t work alone’: Unity Health Toronto social workers share what draws them to their profession

To mark Social Work Week, three Unity Health social workers spoke about the unique ways social workers offer care in support of mental health, and what they enjoy most about their job. “The wonderful part about being a social worker at Unity Health Toronto is that you don’t work alone,” said Dione Romero, a social worker at Providence’s post-COVID condition rehab centre. “I collaborate with patients, families and allied team members, liaise with other social workers, and use our large network of supports and services in order to provide compassionate and quality care.”

8. Dr. David Gomez calls for a redesign of the delivery of surgical care

Roughly 560,000 fewer surgeries than expected were performed across Canada in the first year of the pandemic. In an op-ed in The Winnipeg Free Press, Dr. David Gomez, acute care and trauma surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital, called for a redesign of how Canadians receive surgical care to reduce lengthy wait times. 

9. Unity Health’s Drug Checking Service detects  high level of contamination in street drugs

In a CJRU radio interview, Hayley Thompson, project manager at Toronto’s Drug Checking Service coordinated by the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, spoke about the high level of contamination found in the street drug supply. The drug checking service found that of the thousands of submitted fentanyl samples, only five per cent contained only fentanyl.

10. St. Joseph’s new palliative care unit profiled in Hospital News

The new palliative care unit under construction at St. Joe’s was profiled in Hospital News. The new unit, which is set to be completed this summer, was designed to improve patient, staff and family experiences and was made possible by an $11.6-million donation from Hans Koehle. Koehle’s late wife, Audree Koehle, received palliative care at St. Joseph’s in 2015.

Previous Ten Great Things articles