Ten great things that happened this week

March 25, 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) We launch a special issue of the Unity Health Toronto magazine

We released a special issue of Unity Health Toronto Magazine to mark one year since Ontario declared a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Here’s how the pandemic revealed the creativity, strength and resilience of our network. Read more.

2) Ontario government allocates 180 long-term care spaces to Unity Health Toronto

Unity Health Toronto has been allocated 180 new long-term care spaces for a net new home on the Providence site as part of our proposed Campus of Care and Senior’s Health Program. With the support of the Ontario government, Unity Health will be able to expand our capacity and serve more seniors in the East End community. Read more.

3) General Rick Hillier shows his support for the COVID-19 vaccination teams

We were thrilled to welcome General Rick Hillier, Special Advisor for Ontario COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan, to Unity Health to see our vaccination teams at work. A big thank you to General Hillier for your support for hospital vaccination clinics.

General Rick Hillier, wearing a suit and face mask, stands with a group of socially-distanced Unity Health staff and executives.

General Rick Hillier (right) alongside Unity Health Toronto executives and staff. (Photo: Katie Cooper, Medical Media Centre)

4) We spotlight how our scientists tackled a new and present threat

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted a key pillar at Unity Health: Research. At the time, few Unity Health researchers were focused on COVID-19, and recruitment for studies not related to the virus and those deemed non-essential were halted due to lockdown. But in a remarkable pivot, Unity Health scientists earned more federal funding for COVID-19 research last year than any Toronto research hospital or network, offering critical new insights in the global race to understand and contain the virus. Learn more about their projects.

5) We introduce you to our new Chief of Emergency at St. Joseph’s: Dr. Joan Cheng

Dr. Joan Cheng is in a pioneering role as the GTA’s first East-Asian woman to helm a hospital Emergency Department and only the fourth female ED Chief in the region. Read more about her role, her hidden figure skating talent and why representation matters in this Q&A.

6) Unity Health marks Pharmacy Appreciation Week

Over the past year, pharmacy teams across Unity Health Toronto have stepped up like never before to help keep our patients, families and community safe. This Pharmacy Appreciation Week we recognized our pharmacy team for their role in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, meeting the medication needs of the community they serve and ensuring patients are receiving up-to-date therapeutic options.

7) Dr. Pete Cronin shares how he hopes to help Unity Health expand the impact of our AI solutions

Unity Health Toronto’s artificial intelligence solutions are creating a better experience for patients and providers in our network – hear from Pete Cronin, our new executive director of AI commercialization, on how we can broaden that impact to other hospitals in Canada and around the world. Read more.

8) We spotlight Robert Dekker as part of our Behind the Mask series

For Robert Dekker, Nuclear Medicine Technologist at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, the pandemic has affected him at home and work. “I’ve been in a long distance, cross border relationship for over six years. We went from seeing each other pretty much every weekend and now it can be months between visits.” Read his story #BehindtheMask.

9) Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah discusses why those with schizophrenia are more likely to die from COVID-19 with The Conversation

A recent study found that those with schizophrenia are almost three times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those without the serious mental illness. Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah, Psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital, says stigma, inequity and barriers to care put people with schizophrenia at greater risk. She hopes that people with schizophrenia will be made a priority for the COVID-19 vaccine sooner rather than later. Read more.

10) Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Art Slutsky write a Toronto Star op-ed on the scientific case for delaying the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

Under ideal conditions, COVID-19 vaccines would be administered using the exact same protocols as the trials that tested them. But Canada’s current reality is far from ideal, with less vaccine available than hoped for. Our Dr. Fahad Razak and Dr. Art Slutsky discuss why delaying the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will help protect as many Canadians as possible in the Toronto Star.