Ten great things that happened this week

(November 12, 2020) – 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) Our Dr. Curtis Handford was named Ontario Family Physician of the Year

The Ontario College of Family Physicians recognized Dr. Curtis Handford, physician at St. Michael’s Hospital’s Department of Family and Community Medicine, with the Reg L. Perkin Family Physician of the Year Award. He was presented with this honour for his dedication in providing excellent patient care and teaching and mentoring the next generation of family physicians. Learn more.

2) Unity Health Toronto’s Molecular Biology Lab hits major milestone

The Molecular Biology Lab team, together with Microbiology at Unity Health Toronto, have processed over 100,000 COVID-19 tests! This significant milestone was made possible with the help from the entire Department of Laboratory Medicine, including Hematology, Specimen Management, Chemistry, Pathology, and Transfusion Medicine.

3) St. Michael’s Emergency Department rolls out a tool to detect COVID-19 outbreaks early

At the start of the pandemic, Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of the St. Michael’s Emergency Department, noticed a pattern – there was a large number of people coming into the ED from a single downtown shelter. She appealed to Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, Vice-President of Data and Science, and his team for help. Last month, they implemented a tracking tool in the ED that centralizes data on homeless patients in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in shelters. Read more.

4) Study by Dr. Tara Gomes reveals new information on opioid-related deaths during the pandemic

A new report led by Dr. Tara Gomes, scientist at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, suggests Ontario has seen a 40 per cent spike in opioid-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic. Although governments should continue to focus on the pandemic, Dr. Gomes says, “we can’t shift our focus away from the harmful effect of drug policy right now on overdoses across the province” and people with addiction issues must be taken into consideration when implementing further restrictions. Read more.

5) Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah spoke with CBC on her approach to mental health care

Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah, Psychiatrist at St. Michael’s Hospital, shares why she starts building rapport with patients early on, what she learned from supporting a relative with schizophrenia and why she chose a career in psychiatry. Read more

6) St. Michael’s Hospital receives international recognition for surgical outcomes

The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) has recognized St. Michael’s Hospital as one of 89 ACS NSQIP participating hospitals that have achieved meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2019. Learn more.

7) A Celebration in honour of Silver Ball raised $1 million for Providence Healthcare

On Saturday, Providence Healthcare Foundation hosted a Celebration in honour of Silver Ball. The event raised $1 million to go towards new technology at Providence Healthcare. This will help provide timely, high quality diagnostic testing for patients to maximize their recovery.

8) The Knowledge Translation Program is building bridges across the globe

When the pandemic began, the Knowledge Translation (KT) Program at St. Michael’s Hospital and the Geriatric Education Research Institute (GERI) in Singapore worked collaboratively to move their training initiative online. The KT team created a tailored course featuring experts such as Dr. Sharon Straus, Physician-in-Chief at St. Michael’s and Director of the KT Program; Dr. Lisa Puchalski Ritchie, Scientist in the program and Dr. Tina Fahim, also a Scientist in the KT program. Participants praised the team for the way they addressed changing learning needs and for creating learning opportunities with experts across the globe.

9) St. Michael’s Emergency Department is making wellness a priority

As wellness co-leads for St. Michael’s Emergency Department, Dr. Amy Cheng and Dr. Sara Gray are always looking for ways to support their team. Most recently, they worked with Registered Nurses Seline Tam and Kerri Lynn Penney to introduce virtual fitness classes and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Other wellness initiatives include group meditation sessions led by Dr. James Maskalyk and a Zoom book club.

10) COVID-19 cases are surging across Canada. Dr. Irfan Dhalla weighs in on what needs to be done.

The CBC interviewed Dr. Irfan Dhalla on why the country is seeing a spike in new COVID-19 cases. He points to the fact that, “we opened up without having built a solid test, trace isolate strategy.” Read more.