August 11, 2022

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

1. Dr. Fahad Razak shares a day in his life as director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table

We profiled Dr. Fahad Razak, internist at St. Michael’s Hospital, detailing what a day in his life is like since taking on the new position as director of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. Razak talked about balancing work and family responsibilities, stepping away from clinical practice and what concerns him about the fall. “I worry a lot about how much more our health system can give,” he said. “We asked an incredible amount of our frontline healthcare workers, public health infrastructure and healthcare and public health leaders to manage the early waves of COVID-19.”

2. New Unity Health mental health response team supports patients in distress

We profiled the Behavioural Emergency Response Team (BERT), which responds to patients with escalating behaviours and intervenes before a Code White (code for a violent patient) occurs. The BERT service, which was launched at Unity Health in the spring, focuses on creating a safer environment for patients and staff and improving patient outcomes. When a patient begins to experience escalating behaviours, such as yelling, swearing, harming themselves or others, staff at St. Michael’s and St. Joseph’s can page the BERT member for support. Jenna Richards, clinical nurse specialist and BERT member, said patients with responsive behaviours are often trying to communicate an unmet need. “It’s really looking at what’s the big picture here, and what can we do better to support our clients while they’re in hospital,” she said. 

3. BARLO MS Centre longlisted for interior design award

The BARLO MS Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital has been longlisted for a Dezeen Award for Wellness Interior Design. The nomination recognizes the thoughtful design details architects, designers and staff considered to ensure patient needs were met in practical and empowering ways. “Recognizing that patients are at the center of their wellness journeys, the design is empowering, hopeful, and fundamentally life-affirming,” said the recognition. “This is realized through attention to every detail from furnishing and finishes to floorplan.”

4. Spotlight on how Unity Health moves inventions to the mass market

We spoke to the Research Commercialization team about how they help nurture inventions created by Unity Health researchers and bring them to market.  Unity Health has a successful track record of helping to incubate products and companies as the go to market, including the OR Blackbox and BlueDot. The team, comprised of Research Commercialization Manager Dennis Ng and Senior Director of Strategy and Commercialization for Research Samar Saneinejad, consults on as many as 20 new inventions a year from researchers. The team evaluates projects based on their commercial potential and helps guide innovators through the multiple steps towards market, including navigating the patent process, looking for licensing opportunities and exploring funding options. “This is a dynamic process where we meet with innovators to discuss their goals and see how we can guide and support,” Ng said.

5. Sports, rest and outdoor space: St. Michael’s Youth Advisory Council members share how they lead healthy lives

In recognition of International Youth Day, we asked members of the St. Michael’s Youth Advisory Council to share in their own words how they build a healthy lifestyle for themselves. Youth council member Griffin spoke about the importance of keeping social through sports, especially during the pandemic. “It’s really fun and it keeps you social,” he said. Youth council member Christina spoke about the importance of taking breaks from your daily routine to enjoy the simple things in life. “Living a healthy life is about more than just your physical health. It’s an overall feeling of wellbeing, and taking time for yourself is a big part of that,” she said.

6. Dr. Irfan Dhalla appointed to the J. Douglas and Ruth Grant Chair in Care Experience

Dr. Irfan Dhalla, Unity Health Toronto vice-president of care experience and equity, has been appointed to the J. Douglas and Ruth Grant Chair in Care Experience at St. Michael’s Hospital. The appointment is a joint chair between the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. Congratulations! 

7. Dr. Amit Atrey appointed to Waddell Early Career Professorship in Orthopedics at St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Amit Atrey, orthopedic surgeon at St. Michael’s, has been appointed to the Waddell Early career Professorship in Orthopedics. The five-year appointment is a joint professorship between the University of Toronto, St. Michael’s Hospital, and the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation. Congratulations!

8. Dr. Sunit Das recognized for professional values

Dr. Sunit Das, neurosurgeon and scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, was awarded a Temerty Award for excellence in professional values. The University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine distributed the awards, which recognize those who are committed to upholding the school’s professional values of being open, collaborative and dedicated to equity and inclusion. Das was noted for his patient and encouraging demeanor as a teacher and mentor, and his commitment to transferring knowledge and skills to the next generation of neurosurgical trainees. Congratulations!

9. Underweight in early childhood persists through to age 10, finds St. Michael’s-led study

 A study led by Dr. Jonathon Maguire found that healthy children who are underweight in the first two years of life continue with a lower-than-average BMI and height-for-age through age 10. The study, published in JAMA Network Open, found that this association was most pronounced for girls.

10. Dr. Darrell Tan gives update on monkeypox outbreak on CBC’s Frontburner podcast

Dr. Darrell Tan, infectious disease physician and scientist at St. Michael’s, gave an in-depth interview to CBC’s Frontburner about the monkeypox outbreak, symptoms of the disease, and what role globalization and urbanization play in its global spread. “All these things change the ecosystem that we live in and change the opportunity for interactions between animals and humans, therefore viruses that can come into contact with humans,” he said.

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