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In the News

Unity Health Toronto in the news:

March 1

What do Canadians want for their health care?
Toronto Star – This Matters podcast
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran
A nationwide health-care crisis has led a group of medical researchers to criss-cross the country to hear how Canadians would fix primary care, the front door of the health system.

U of T Entrepreneurship Week 2024: 10 startups to watch
U of T News
BlueDot and Dr. Kamran Khan are featured
Preventing nerve damage caused by chemotherapy. Using artificial intelligence to help people who are Deaf communicate with machines through sign language. Accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles in urban communities. These are some of the innovations being advanced by members of the University of Toronto’s thriving entrepreneurship community.

February 29

Heart health and menopause: what you need to know
Chatelaine
Comments by Dr. Beth Abramson
A Canadian woman is diagnosed with cardiovascular disease every seven minutes. The risk of developing it increases during the menopause transition, when changes in the levels of hormones such as estrogen affect blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

These Ontario hospitals considered the best in Canada: Report
InSauga
St. Michael’s Hospital is mentioned
If you or a loved one are sick or injured, you want the best care possible and despite ongoing challenges to Canada’s health care system, a newly-released ranking shows that some of the best hospitals in the country are in Ontario.

February 28

CRAFT 2.0: Academic hospital network joins centre for research on microfluidic devices for human health
National Research Council Canada
Comments by Dr. Claudia Dos Santos
The Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT) is a unique collaboration between the University of Toronto and the National Research Council of Canada and now Unity Health Toronto.

February 27

More Canadians than ever don’t have access to a family doctor
CJAD 800
Interview with Dr. Tara Kiran

Massive new survey finds widespread frustration with access to primary health care
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
A Toronto-based research team met with and surveyed some 10,000 Canadians about the state of the health-care system — and what they found is deep dissatisfaction and frustration with primary care as the country grapples with a severe shortage of family doctors.

St. Michael’s Hospital to double NICU space with provincial funding
Ontario Construction News
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge
Unity Health Toronto has received provincial funding to plan, design and build the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Michael’s Hospital.

Access to primary care is a priority concern for Canadians
The Niagara Independent
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
The federal government must step up to provide its fair share of money to resuscitate Canada’s public health care system.

February 26

10,000 Canadians were asked how to improve health care. Here’s what they said
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Amid a nationwide health-care crisis, a group of Toronto-led researchers has criss-crossed the country to hear how Canadians would fix primary care, the front door of the health system.

System redesign, not incremental improvement, needed to erase family doctor shortage, report author says
Ottawa Citizen
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
Provincial governments are taking steps in the right direction, but they are not coming close to the magnitude of investments needed to fix worsening family doctor shortages, says the lead author of a new Canadian report.

Patients and family doctors highlight patient-led solutions for the primary care crisis
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
A new national report led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto and the University of Toronto, with input from close to 10,000 people in Canada, highlights patient-led solutions to the worsening family doctor shortage — and provides feedback from those directly affected on how to improve access to primary care across the country.

Primary-care teams, access to health records key fixes for family doc crisis: report
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
A new report says patients across Canada see more primary health-care teams, access to their own electronic records and faster licensing of foreign-trained physicians as key ways to solve the country’s family doctorshortagecrisis.

Does menopause negatively impact your sexual health? We asked a doctor the questions you might be too afraid to ask
Yahoo! News
Comments by Dr. Sheila Wijayasinghe
Women’s sexual health is a topic that’s often shrouded in secrecy —especially when it comes to menopause.

February 25

My journey to cardiac surgery as a Black medical student
The Varsity
Op-Ed written by Ekene Nwajei
My journey has been characterized by significant milestones, both academically and professionally. In 2022, I graduated from Health Sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University with high distinction, which solidified the foundation for my pursuit of medicine.

February 23

Canadians will soon have a national pharmacare plan
CBC Radio – Here and Now
Interview with Dr. Danyaal Raza
According to NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, draft legislation has been reached with the federal Liberals on a plan that will cover diabetes treatment and contraception.

February 22

Ontario to fund new neonatal unit at St. Michael’s Hospital
QP Briefing
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge
Minister of Health Sylvia Jones announced Thursday that the government will support a new neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Michael’s Hospital.

February 21

Drug overdose deaths lower in Toronto neighbourhoods with supervised consumption sites: study
CP24
Comments by Indhu Rammohan
Toronto neighbourhoods that are home to a supervised consumption services (SCS) are seeing significantly fewer fatal drug overdoses than they were before the service opened, a new study has found.

Supervised injection sites reduce overdose deaths as far as five kilometres away, according to a study
CBC Radio – Metro Morning
Interview with Dr. Dan Werb
Werb is director of the Centre on Drug Policy Evaluation, and co-author of a study on supervised injection sites in Toronto, published in The Lancet.

February 20

Fewer regenerative blood vessel cells may explain higher cardiovascular risks among South Asians: Study
U of T News
Comments by Drs. Subodh Verma and David Hess
A new study led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto and the University of Toronto has found that South Asians with either heart disease or diabetes had fewer vascular regenerative and reparative cells compared to white, European patients.

February 19

‘No backup plan’: Funding for HIV self-testing kits ending in March
Canadian Press
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
Prossy Luzige often gets calls from people looking for HIV tests that they can do in the privacy of their own homes. The program co-ordinator at CAYR Community Connections in Ontario says the take-home tests are crucial to connecting with people as Canada’s HIV infections climb.

February 18

Here’s what happened to overdose deaths in Toronto neighbourhoods with safe consumption sites
Toronto Star
Comments by Indhu Rammohan and Dr. Dan Werb
As opioid overdoses continue to ravage Ontario, Toronto neighbourhoods with supervised consumption sites have seen dramatic decreases in drug fatalities, a new study shows.

February 16

Could you be a surgeon? A Toronto program wants racialized students to consider the career
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Bobby Yanagawa
A program that gives under-served Toronto high school students the chance to experience life as a surgeon continues to grow. “The Next Surgeon” launched last year with the goal of diversifying the health-care system.

February 15

Why do South Asians have higher rates of heart disease? Researchers identify potential ‘missing link’
U of T News
Comments by Drs. Subodh Verma and David Hess
A new study led by researchers at Unity Health Toronto and the University of Toronto has found that South Asians with either heart disease or diabetes had fewer vascular regenerative and reparative cells compared to White European patients.

February 14

Dissecting Ontario’s escalating overdose crisis
TVO – The Agenda
Interview with Dr. Carolyn Snider
Last week officials in Belleville declared a state of emergency after paramedics responded to 23 drug overdoses in two days. What’s behind the crisis?

City budget (so far): Police demand big bucks, but where’s the debate?
London Free Press
Comments by Melanie Seabrook
More than half of the proposed property tax increase – five percentage points of the projected 8.6 per cent hike – is attributable to a proposed massive increase in police spending.

Scientists reveal what happens to your life expectancy when you quit smoking
Science Alert
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
It’s never too late to reap the benefits of a smoke-free life. No matter at what age a person quits smoking cigarettes, they are likely to add years to their life expectancy, according to a large new analysis from researchers in Canada and Norway.

February 13

Heart disease hits South Asians earlier and harder. Blood vessel repairs offer clue as to why: study
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Subodh Verma
The timeline for heart disease is sped up in people of South Asian ethnicity, and part of the answer for why may lie with faulty repairs to blood vessel damage, a new Canadian study suggests.

Insights from the Engage Study: HPV vaccine effectiveness and uptake among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men
CATIE blog
OpEd co-written by Dr. Ann Burchell
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a very common virus that is most easily passed during sexual contact. The body clears most HPV infections on its own, however some become persistent.

Quitting smoking yields quick boost to life expectancy
Medical Economics
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
Quitting smoking can significantly increase an individual’s life expectancy after only a few years, according to results of a new study.

February 12

Stem cell study offers clue to South Asians’ increased risk of cardiovascular disease
STAT News
Comments by Dr. Subodh Verma
A growing body of data show that South Asians are at greater risk of developing heart disease than white people, and they tend to get complications at younger ages, but it’s not been fully clear what explains this disparity.

CRAFT 2.0: Academic hospital network joins centre for research on microfluidic devices for human health
U of T Engineering News
Comments by Dr. Claudia Dos Santos
The Centre for Research and Applications in Fluidic Technologies (CRAFT) has been extended to 2028 and has expanded to formally include Unity Health Toronto, an academic hospital network and leading Canadian health research institute.

Tackling HIV stigma: Why it’s important and what needs to be done
Healthy Debate
OpEd co-written by Jason Tian and James Watson
Experiences of HIV-related stigma are still incredibly high in Canada – about 75 per cent of people living with HIV are careful telling others because of the associated stigma, according to a recent survey. However, given the continued lack of understanding about how stigma makes people feel unwell, it is a challenge to design solutions to reduce its impact.

February 11

‘We have a very large problem’: Why Ontario is dealing with syphilis rates it hasn’t seen in decades
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Malika Sharma
For much of his medical career, Dr. Ari Bitnun rarely had to consider the symptoms that indicated a baby was sick with syphilis. Rashes, often on the palms and soles of the feet. Poor weight gain and growth. Persistent nasal discharge, sometimes bloody. Swollen liver and spleen.

February 10

Quitting smoking at any age brings big health benefits, fast: Study
Medical Xpress
Comments by Dr. Prabhat Jha
People who quit smoking see major gains in life expectancy after just a few years, according to a new study by University of Toronto researchers at Unity Health Toronto.

February 9

Ontario receives $3.1-billion from federal government in health accord deal
CHCH News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Ontario Premier Doug Ford signed a deal with the federal government on Friday worth $3.1 billion in an effort to improve access to primary health care in the province and reduce wait times.

An alarming number of my friends have COVID-19. Are we in another wave?
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
An alarming number of people I know have recently caught COVID-19 – including three close friends, two neighbours and my sister-in-law. Are we in another wave?

Animal tranquilizer sylazine increasingly found in Canada’s illegal drug supply
Medscape
Comments by Hayley Thompson
Xylazine, a tranquilizer for animals including horses and cattle, has increasingly been found in the illegal drug supply chain in Canada. The drug is most often found mixed with fentanyl, and often, users don’t know they’re ingesting it.

February 8

Family doctors’ burnout is about more than their workload
The Walrus
Comments by Dr. Tara Kiran
In 2019, Lorraine Sharp began noticing that something was off. She dreaded going to work in the morning. She continually felt she wasn’t doing enough for her patients. For nearly a decade, she’d worked part time in a group practice in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario; while the team set-up meant she had administrative support, she was solely responsible for her roster of 800 patients. She also worked on call at the regional hospital. If she ever considered taking a break to go on vacation, she imagined the paperwork and backlog of appointments piling up in her absence.

February 7

Lingering cough? Here’s what you need to know
CBC Radio – The Current
Interview with Dr. Nicholas Vozoris
Are you dealing with a nagging cough that just won’t go away? Respirologist Dr. Nicholas Vozoris says if you’ve been sick recently, it could just be a post-infectious cough. He explains what you can do to ease the annoyance — and when to check if it’s something more serious.

This Toronto woman is battling both an eviction and terminal cancer. Soon, she’ll plead her case to the LTB
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Stephen Hwang
For a Toronto bar owner with terminal cancer, navigating a lingering eviction has been like floating with no steady ground to land on for over a year – but next month, her fate will be decided as she pleads her case to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board.

February 6

Ford government issues order that could sideline many huge Toronto developments
Blog TO
St. Michael’s is mentioned
The provincial government just issued an order that could throw a wrench into several plans for high-rise developments in Toronto — and it all has to do with airspace for helicopters.

February 4

Are people with non-urgent problems clogging up Ontario ERs? Here’s what the data shows
Toronto Star
St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s included in study
Amid long wait times and overcrowding at emergency departments across Canada, hospitals in the GTA have recently been urging patients to consider other options if their medical issue is “non-emergent.”

February 2

COVID-19 reinfection rates high among people who are homeless, Toronto study says
Canadian Press
Comments by Lucie Richard
People who are homeless have high rates of COVID-19 reinfection, putting the health of an already vulnerable population at further risk, a study published Friday in the BMC Infectious Diseases journal says.

January 31

Potent animal tranquilizer found in Toronto’s street drug supply for first time
CBC News
Comments by Hayley Thompson
A drug testing service in Toronto says it has detected a new, highly potent animal tranquilizer circulating in the city’s unregulated drug supply.

Government of Canada announces appointments to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Governing Council
Health Canada
Dr. Christine Fahim is an appointee
Today, the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, announced three new appointments as members to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Governing Council.

How effective is Indigenous cultural safety and anti-bias training at improving patient experience?
Medical Xpress
Comments by Dr. Janet Smylie
Researchers from Unity Health Toronto led a first-of-its kind trial in which Indigenous actors were trained to perform as patients and evaluate health care providers who completed intensive and brief Indigenous cultural safety trainings.

Inside Unity Health’s efforts to better understand the care experience
Hospital News
Comments by Jamar Stanton, Caroline Monteiro and Patrick Soo
It was around lunchtime and the Geriatric and Medical Rehabilitation unit at Providence was bustling. Jamar Stanton, a patient experience coordinator, had stepped into a patient room to ask a patient about his experience at the hospital when the patient let Stanton know that they were hungry.

A Canadian first: New device helps to tackle challenging deep vein thrombosis cases
Hospital News
Comments by Dr. Andrew Brown
When Crystal Ellis arrived at the hospital in July, her left leg had swollen to nearly twice its size. “The pain was from my foot to my stomach,” she describes. “My stomach was swollen and I could barely walk.”

January 30

New animal tranquilizer detected in Toronto’s unregulated drug supply
CP24
St. Michael’s Toronto’s Drug Checking Service is mentioned
A new, highly potent veterinary tranquilizer is circulating in Toronto’s unregulated drug supply.

January 27

Spending more money on police shows no clear link to lower crime levels
New York Times
Comments by Mélanie Seabrook
One effect we’re now seeing from the inflation that is largely a product of the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are municipal tax increases on a scale that was politically unimaginable not long ago.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield attends St. Joseph’s Health Centre gala
Toronto Star
It was “An Extraordinary Evening” indeed as friends and supporters of St. Joseph’s Health Centre Foundation converged on the Symes on Dec. 4. Hosts Pat and Jennifer DiCapo, Joe and Laurissa Canavan, and George and Rayla Myhal welcomed guests including Col. Chris Hadfield to celebrate the power of community to impact health care.

What’s behind that lingering, hacking cough — and why it shouldn’t mean you’re shunned
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Samir Gupta
It’s one of those awkward situations we’ve all been in. Sitting in a meeting, or on crowded city transit, or at the dinner table, you desperately try to stifle it, but you can’t. You turn red. Your eyes start to water. The veins on your forehead may even bulge a little as you try to prevent the unleashing of some otherworldly beast from the depths of your throat, chest and lungs.

January 24

How AI will – and won’t – change health care in 2024
U of T News
Q&A with Dr. Muhammad Mamdani
Muhammad Mamdani understands why people are wary of artificial intelligence having a say in their health care – but he’s even more concerned about the patients who are waiting to benefit from the potentially life-saving benefits of AI-assisted medicine.

When research becomes the reason: How one GH alum discovered how to remain on the frontlines while working behind the scenes
University of Guelph-Humber News
Interview with Anna Kiriakidis
Anna Kiriakidis felt like a celebrity as a swarm of people waved flags and excitedly called out to her and four other research assistants (RAs) who had arrived in Japan as part of the University of Guelph-Humber’s involvement with SERC-GC (Soka Education Research Centre on Global Citizenship).

Lower drug costs may improve adherence in patients With PAD
MedScape
Comments by Dr. Mohammad Qadura
Adopting simple strategies to lower out-of-pocket medication costs for Canadians with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) may help improve adherence and ultimately health outcomes, according to a new study.

January 23

Study finds no correlation between amount spent on policing and crime rates
CBC Radio – Ottawa Morning
Interview with Melanie Seabrook
Seabrook and her colleagues at Upstream Lab at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto analyzed the data from 20 Canadian cities in a study released in December. Ottawa is middle-of-the-road in terms of spending, and our crime rates – both the level of reported crime and the crime severity index – are on the rise.

January 22

From awareness to action: Supporting equitable preventative care with a few yes/no questions
U of T News
Comments by Dr. Nav Persaud
A team of family doctors, researchers, and patients from across Canada have developed a screening tool to help easily identify a patient’s preventative care needs.

January 18

Higher police spending doesn’t equal lower crime rates: Researcher
London Free Press
Comments by Melanie Seabrook
Boosting police spending isn’t associated with lower crime rates in London and more than a dozen other Canadian cities, according to new research.

Two pharmacy volunteers honoured with U of T Arbor Awards
U of T News
Comments by Alina Lalani
Two volunteers with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy are being honoured with U of T’s 2023 Arbor Awards. Christine Donaldson and Alina Lalani have both volunteered with the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy for many years in a variety of leadership and mentorship roles that have supported the Faculty and its students.

January 17

ER wait times, private clinic expansion
CP24
Interview with Dr. Fahad Razak
Dr. Razak, an internist at St. Michael’s Hospital, on ER wait times and expansion of private clinics in Ontario.

January 16

Toronto’s drug checking pilot to expand
Drug and Alcohol Testing Association of Canada
Comments by Karen McDonald and Dr. Tara Gomes
In November of 2023, the Toronto Drug Checking Service announced its plans to expand its service, after receiving a new federal grant from Health Canada for the recipients of the Substance Use and Addictions Program (SUAP). The grant will provide $21 million in funds to 52 organizations across Canada to address harms related to substance abuse.

January 15

The campaign bringing HIV self-testing kits to Western University’s campus
CBC Radio – London Morning
Interview with Dr. Sean Rourke
Self-testing HIV kits are now available on Western University’s campus. It’s all part of a national research project called the I’m Ready to Know campaign, launched with the goal of increasing access to HIV testing.

January 12

Self-testing HIV kits available at Western University to help remove screening barriers
CBC News
Comments by Dr. Sean Rourke
Self-testing HIV kits are now available at Western University as a part of a nation-wide project to break stigma and to get more people diagnosed through low-barrier testing.

January 11

Here’s why you might want to stop making your bed in the morning
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Karen Binkley
Even if you live by yourself, you’re never sleeping alone. Every night, millions of microscopic, sightless arachnids called dust mites emerge from our mattresses and bed sheets, crawling over our unconscious forms in search of tasty flakes of shed skin.

Health Canada ignored warning signs before Ottawa spent billions on BTNX rapid tests
Global News
Comments by Dr. Larissa Matukas
Health Canada ignored critical warnings about a rapid-test supplier before approving its COVID-19 kits for distribution nationwide, Global News has found.

January 9

OB-GYN answers questions about advanced maternal age, fertility and pregnancy
Medical XPress
Q&A with Dr. Howard Berger
The average maternal age in Canada increased over the last few decades, according to data from Statistics Canada. In 2021, 25% of all mothers at childbirth were 35 years of age and older, an increase from 16% in 2001.

‘Additional capacity’ promised with second Sault Area Hospital cardiac catheterization lab
North Bay Nugget
St. Michael’s is mentioned
Sault Area Hospital’s second cardiac catheterization lab is slated to begin operations at month’s end.

January 7

Was your family sick and miserable this holiday season? You weren’t alone
Toronto Star
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
If you talk to parents, they’ll tell you it was a holiday season filled with coughs. Nasty coughs. Weird coughs. Unrelenting coughs. Coughs paired with fever and exhaustion. Coughs from COVID, flu and pneumonia. Coughs of unknown origin. Coughs that cancelled plans. Coughs that outlasted vacation.

January 5

An early-morning dash to ER and a helicopter to Toronto show health care link’s live-saving value
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Bobby Yanagawa
Pam Devitt doesn’t remember much about Sept. 15. Her husband, John Devitt, remembers all too well: the sound of his wife crying out in pain in the early morning hours, rushing to her side and then realizing something was horribly wrong.

January 3

More than 260 Ontario long-term care residents died after getting COVID-19 in last four months
CTV News
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Respiratory virus outbreaks in Ontario’s long-term care homes remains dominated by COVID-19, with nearly 16,000 cases of the virus reported in the last four months.

January 2

Emergency rooms struggle with illness surge
CBC News The National
Comments by Dr. Fahad Razak
Emergency rooms across Canada are still struggling tonight from a surge of illness and a shortage of staff.

January 1

2023 Order of Ontario Appointees
Ontario Government Newsroom
Dr. Lee Errett is an appointee
The Honourable Edith Dumont, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, announced 25 new appointments to the Order of Ontario for 2023.

Canadian health care workers turn to AI for help amid a staffing crisis
The Globe and Mail
Comments by Dr. Tim Rutledge, Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Yuna Lee
During one of her shifts on the internal medicine unit at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Yuna Lee received an alert on her phone from CHARTWatch, an AI-powered early-warning system, indicating a patient in the ward was at high risk of dying or needing intensive care.

Archives: 2023, 2022, 2021

Last updated March 04, 2024