Ten great things that happened this week

Jennefer Simo stands outside the St. Michael's Emergency Department in scrubs while wearing a mask. The bridge from the hospital to the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute can be seen in the background.

Jennefer Simo, Community Support Worker in the Emergency Department at St. Michael’s. (Photo credit: Katie Cooper)

(July 2, 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) St. Michael’s rings in its 128th birthday

On July 1, 1892, St. Michael’s Hospital opened its doors to the public. The original hospital, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto, featured a one-room emergency clinic, an outpatient’s clinic and 26 beds. See twitter post.

2) Providence collaborates with organizations in the community to reach the marginalized

Accessing good health care can be difficult for people with disabilities, newcomers and seniors. That’s why some Providence clinicians are bringing their services into the community through partnerships with community groups that serve people experiencing poverty and other barriers to health care. Read more.

3) Family and support persons can now visit loved ones at Unity Health

We know that having family and support persons present for our inpatients is extremely important for their healing and well-being. When the Ministry announced that visits can be phased back in, we worked quickly to establish guidelines to allow family members and support persons to safely visit our patients. Phase one began this Monday, June 29. Read the updated guidelines.

4) Jennefer Simo supports Indigenous patients though their experiences at Unity Health

First Nations, Indigenous and Métis peoples experience inequalities in access to health care in Canada along with higher rates of disease and related mortality. To help address this, Jennefer Simo, a Community Support Worker in the Emergency Department at St. Michael’s, supports First Nations, Indigenous and Métis patients as they navigate their care at St. Michael’s. Read more.

5) Coalition that’s funding Black-led businesses includes Unity Health Board of Directors member Hazel Claxton

Hazel Claxton, a member of the Unity Health Toronto Board of Directors, is part of a coalition of Black executives that launched a new fund to support Black-led organizations and businesses and to combat systemic racism in corporate Canada. Read the story in The Globe and Mail.

6) Dr. Tali Bogler discusses the origin of the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide

In April, St. Michael’s Dr. Tali Bogler launched the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide on Instagram with a team of physicians and medical students to help ease her patients’ fears during the pandemic. The successful account provides free health information to new and expectant parents. Read an interview with Dr. Bogler.

7) St. Michael’s researcher explores a potential COVID-19 treatment

Dr. Claudia Dos Santos of St. Michael’s and researchers from Lawson Health Research Institute and Western University have identified six molecules they believe can be used as therapeutic targets to treat COVID-19. Read more.

8) Shawn Brady writes and performs a song of appreciation for his colleagues

Many of us know Shawn Brady as the Senior Clinical Program Director of Rehabilitation and Palliative Care at Providence, but he’s also a professional musician. The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic inspired him to write and perform a song titled ‘Sideways 2020’ as a way to thank and recognize the hard work of his colleagues. Read more.

9) The number of visits to Emergency Departments is returning to normal, and we explain why that’s a good thing

Donna Didimos, Patient Care Manager of St. Joseph’s Emergency Department (ED), addresses the fears and concerns surrounding visiting an ED during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the team has made it is as safe as possible to seek urgent health care. Read the Q&A with Donna Didimos.

10) Dr. Stephen Hwang speaks to The Star about the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 across Toronto

Toronto Public Health’s recent map of Toronto neighbourhoods that were hit by COVID-19 revealed that the northwest ones had the highest rates, with numbers 10 times higher than in the least-affected and wealthier areas in the city. Dr. Stephen Hwang, Director of the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s, commented on the need for COVID recovery centres to curb this problem for those who live in crowded conditions or multi-generational households and can’t self-isolate safely. Read more.