Ten great things that happened this week

January 28, 2021

Each week, we’re sharing 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) St. Joseph’s Health Centre celebrates its 100th anniversary

This year, St. Joseph’s Health Centre is proud celebrate 100 years since its founding in 1921 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto. Their mission was to care for the sick and poor, and St. Joseph’s remains dedicated to treating all with respect, compassion and dignity. Learn more about how the hospital has evolved over the past 100 years.  

2) Unity Health Toronto marks Bell Let’s Talk Day

To mark Bell Let’s Talk Day, experts across our network are doing their part to raise awareness and combat stigma. Wellness Coordinator Chantal Sinclair says self-care is important because “the better you take care of yourself, the more you are able to give to others.” Dr. Thomas Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St. Michael’s Hospital, wrote an op-ed in The Globe and Mail highlighting the systemic barriers that impede better outcomes and investment in mental health care. And Dr. Sakina Rizvi, a Scientist and Research Therapist in the Arthur Sommer Rotenberg Suicide Studies program at St. Michael’s Hospital, shares the known risk factors for suicide, how employers can help and what she wants everyone to know about caring for their own mental health.

3) Unity Health Toronto team brings COVID Testing to Regent Park

Teams from the St. Michael’s Hospital COVID-19 Assessment Centre are offering pop-up testing sites in neighbouring communities, like Regent Park. Photographer Katie Cooper shows us what that looks like in this photo essay.

4) Two Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute researched named Fellows in Compassion and Artificial Intelligence by AMS Healthcare

AMS Healthcare has named Dr. Stella Ng and Dr. Amol Verma Fellows in Compassion and Artificial Intelligence. AMS Healthcare Fellows are recognized as innovators and leaders to steward the changes ahead in health care. Read more.

5) Dr. Janet Smylie explains why more work needs to be done to provide COVID-19 vaccines to Indigenous people in Toronto

Toronto is home to the largest population of Indigenous people in the province, but the government has not provided a clear COVID-19 vaccine strategy for the group, says our Dr. Janet Smylie, a Métis physician and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health based at St. Michael’s Hospital. She spoke with the Toronto Star on what needs to be done. Read more.

6) IT teams enjoy a new view after move into Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower

Information Technology (IT) teams, including Switchboard, Locating and HelpDesk, moved from their old space in 4 Shuter this month to the 10th floor of the Peter Gilgan Patient Care Tower. This space offers multiple improvements for the teams including larger offices and work spaces, meeting rooms equipped with the latest in IT and AV technology, new furniture and a southwest view of Toronto’s downtown core. Take a look at the new space.

7) St. Michael’s researcher contributes to preclinical research for a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine

Our Dr. Mario Ostrowski, a scientist at the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science and an infectious disease clinician at St. Michael’s Hospital, contributed to the preclinical research for a made-in-Canada vaccine. This is the first time a COVID-19 vaccine designed and manufactured in Canada has begun clinical trials. Read more.

8) We spotlight Dr. Mark Downing as part of our Behind the Mask series

When the pandemic started, a lot of people looked to Dr. Mark Downing, Associate Medical Director, Infection Control at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, for answers. “That’s one of the biggest challenges right now, particularly with an emerging infectious disease: we don’t have all the answers.” Read his story #BehindtheMask.

9) Our experts highlight the challenges faced by Toronto’s homeless population

COVID-19 has restricted access to spaces like coffee shops and public libraries that Toronto’s homeless population typically relies on in the winter. Although temperatures have been relatively mild, social worker Nicole Champagne has seen more frostbite and hypothermia than ever. As temperatures continue to dip, she spoke to The Toronto Star about this major concern.  Our Dr. Karen Weyman also spoke to The Washington Post about the launch of a pilot project to vaccinate staff and clients in city-run shelters, and the importance of protecting this population.

10) Dr. Tara Kiran and Dr. Rajesh Girdhari share their insights on emails between family physicians and patients

A study by Dr. Tara Kiran, Dr. Rajesh Girdhari and their co-authors found email use by academic family physicians in Ontario was higher than previously reported national averages. The higher rate of email use appears to be driven by physicians’ desires to better meet their patients’ needs and improve quality of care. The study highlights key considerations for policy-makers, including reimbursing physicians for email communication with patients under OHIP coverage, especially now that the pandemic has expedited a shift towards virtual options for primary care. Read more in CFP, the official journal of the College of Family Physicians of Canada.