Ten great things that happened this week

(November 5, 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) Study led by our Dr. Sean B. Rourke paves the way for the approval of the first HIV self-testing kits in Canada

Canadians can now purchase and self-administer a test for HIV in their own home, marking a landmark moment for HIV care and prevention that will allow people to safely discover their status in as little as one minute, in a place that suits them. Health Canada’s licensure of the device is based on the results of a cross-Canada clinical trial led by our Dr. Sean B. Rourke from the MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions at St. Michael’s Hospital. Read more and listen to an interview with Dr. Rourke on CBC Radio’s As It Happens.

2) We spotlight St. Michael’s Outpatient Stroke and Neurology Clinic for World Stroke Day

Dr. Atif Zafar and his team of stroke neurologists are ushering in a new era of stroke care in Toronto, and it all starts at St. Michael’s Hospital. The first step? Improving patient and physician access to the Outpatient Stroke and Neurology Clinic. Learn more about the team. He also spoke with Zoomer Radio on what you should know about the condition for World Stroke Day. Listen to the segment here.

3) We kick off Research Month at Unity Health Toronto

The onset of the pandemic in March shuttered schools, businesses and a core part at Unity Health Toronto: research. But our researchers have turned this abrupt pause into a success story. This year, more than ever before, we have seen that Our Research Changes Lives. We profiled two research projects that flourished in 2020. Read about them here.

4) Unity Health Toronto celebrated Halloween with themed programming and costumes

At the Houses of Providence, Halloween was incorporated in modified activities programming to bring some fun to residents. As a way to spread joy, Liz Fontana, a volunteer at St. Michael’s, made pumpkin hats for the little warriors in the NICU. The St. Michael’s COVID-19 Assessment Centre team also wore coordinated Minion costumes and brought joy to all patients. On the west-end, our littlest patients at St. Joseph’s and the NICU team dressed up as M&M chocolates.

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5) Our Dr. Amol Verma weighs in on how machine learning is improving patient care

Artificial intelligence is reducing mortality and improving the quality of care of patients in the general internal medicine ward at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Amol Verma spoke with Canadian Healthcare Technology on how an early warning system called CHARTwatch is making this happen. Read more.

6) We highlight how the FOCUS team is meeting mental health patients on their own turf

Instead of seeing patients in a traditional clinic, Psychiatrist Dr. Saadia Sediqzadah, Peer Support Specialist Shinkay Karimi and the FOCUS team will meet patients their homes, at shelters and in coffee shops. “Going into the community helps with the power imbalance that’s inherent in health care,” says Dr. Sediqzadah. Read more.

7) Survey sheds new light on experiences of Indigenous people living in Thunder Bay    

A health survey led by Dr. Janet Smylie offers new insights into the size, cultural strengths, and service access barriers of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Thunder Bay. Dr. Smylie says the survey “builds on Indigenous community social networks and rigorous scientific methods to fill the gap in population-based evidence regarding the true size, resiliencies, and unmet health needs” of Indigenous people in the city. Learn more.

8) How are hospitals preparing for the expected surge of patients during flu season and COVID-19? Our Sonya Canzian weighs in.

The flu season and the second wave of COVID-19 are expected to bring in a surge of new patients. Sonya Canzian, executive vice-president of clinical programs at Unity Health Toronto, explains what our hospitals are doing to accommodate the demand while delivering excellent care to our patients. Read the CBC article.

9) We spotlight Nicole Bradbury, Registered Nurse at St. Michael’s, in this week’s #BehindtheMask

Nicole Bradbury, a recent graduate, was settling into her new role on the Nursing Resource Team at St. Michael’s Hospital when the pandemic hit. Although her role was not what she envisioned, she recognizes how this experience is helping her learn and develop her skills. “I’ll always know that in my first six months, I was working in one of the world’s biggest pandemics. It’s character building and it’s going to help me grow as a nurse, too.” Read her story #BehindtheMask.

10) The province’s COVID testing numbers are down. Our Dr. Joel Lockwood explains why this is an issue.

Our Dr. Joel Lockwood, the co-director of the COVID Assessment Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital, says it is concerning to see Ontario’s low COVID-19 testing numbers, but high positivity rates. He explains why this is an issue to the National Post and urges those who have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has had COVID for greater than 15 minutes to get tested. Read more.