Ten great things that happened this week

Marlon Manuba, our first story in the new #BehindTheMask online series. (Photo credit: Yuri Markarov)

Marlon Manuba, our first story in the new #BehindTheMask online series. (Photo credit: Yuri Markarov)

(July 16, 2020) – Living and working through COVID-19 is tough, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate the wonderful things that are happening at our sites – and for our people – along the way.

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

1) Four scientists from St. Michael’s appointed Canada Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs Program retains a body of diverse and exceptional researchers to make Canada one of the top countries in research and development. Its chairholders are scientists who strive to achieve research excellence. Congratulations to Dr. Janet Smylie, Director of the Well Living House, who has been appointed a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, and to Dr. Darrell Tan, Dr. Ann Burchell, and Dr. Sharmistha Mishra, scientists at the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, who have been appointed Tier 2 Chairs.

2) Who are our staff #BehindTheMask? A new series explores how the pandemic is changing who we are

In a series now live on Unity’s social media channels, our staff share how pivotal moments during the COVID-19 pandemic have impacted them and their perspective on what they do. Our first post features Marlon Manuba, the Operations Leader in Food and Nutrition Services at Providence who has cut the hair of more than 150 residents since the salon at the Houses closed down. If you have a story, please let us know at communications@unityhealth.to. Read the first #BehindTheMask post.

3) When a St. Michael’s transplant surgeon needed a transplant of his own, his colleague stepped in

On a trip abroad, Dr. Robert Stewart was bit by a snake at an outdoor market. After months of complications, he discovered he needed a new liver. Read about how his colleague, fellow St. Michael’s physician Dr. Marie Faughnan, made a life-altering decision that changed his life and the way both doctors view the patient experience. Read about their journey.

4) A caregiver uses her experience with her ailing grandparents to help to improve care for seniors

When two of Liana Sikharulidze’s grandparents were diagnosed with dementia, she became their caregiver, which meant navigating through a challenging maze of health care centres to get them the care they needed. This inspired her to advocate for improvements in senior and dementia care, and she is now a Patient and Family Partner. In this role, she provides the perspective of patients and caregivers for health care projects in development, a few of which were at St. Michael’s. Read more

5) Does positioning COVID-19 patients on their stomach help with their recovery?

A team of General Internal Medicine physicians from 11 hospitals across Canada and the United States are working to determine whether positioning COVID-19 patients on their stomach does in fact lead to better outcomes. The trial is being led by St. Michael’s Physicians Dr. Amol Verma and Dr. Fahad Razak and Mount Sinai physician Dr. Michael Fralick. Learn more about the trial.

6) Is it safe for grandparents to meet their new grandkids? Our experts weigh in

As COVID-19 restrictions slowly ease up in Ontario, many families with newborn babies are looking for an opportunity to introduce them to their grandparents without fear of transmission, but how can they do this safely? Dr. Tali Bogler, a Family Physician with a specialization in low-risk obstetrics, answers this question and more. Read more

7) St. Michael’s team helps patients without phones or computers access virtual care

For patients without phones or computers, accessing virtual care is a challenge. St. Michael’s Hospital’s Academic Family Health Team is distributing up to 15 cell phones and sim cards per week to help patients access the care they need. Read the full article.

8) What do we know about the pandemic’s next wave? Our experts weigh in

The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Canada are declining, but there are lots of questions about what’s next, and how we can continue to be vigilant and safe. Dr. Mark Downing, Infectious Diseases physician at St. Joseph’s and Dr. Irfan Dhalla, Vice President of Physician Quality at Unity Health Toronto, address these topics. Read more.

9) Understanding the concept of ‘contract tracing.’ Our experts weigh in

Now that we are in the middle of Stage 2 of the reopening of Ontario, and are starting to enjoy patios and hair appointments, the term ‘contract tracing’ is commonly heard. Dr. Prabhat Jha, Director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St Michael’s, explains what contract tracing is, how the apps work, and how this can help keep people safe and cautious after possible exposure. Listen to the interview with Dr. Jha.

10) Will COVID-19 become like the annual flu? Our experts weigh in

Many infectious diseases follow a seasonal pattern where rates of infection are higher during certain times of the year. Dr. Peter Jüni, Director of the Applied Health Research Centre at St. Michael’s, led a study to determine this very thing about COVID-19 and found that there’s currently no evidence that the virus depends on temperature. He added however that his study measures “a snapshot” in time. Read more.