Ten great things that happened this week

(October 29, 2020) – Each week, we’re sharing 10 great things that happened at our sites. Do you have a story to share? Send it to communications@unityhealth.to.

1) New research finds safety strategies for women experiencing domestic violence during the pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Patricia O’Campo noticed a gap in academic literature: there were no verified strategies women could use to find safety and protect themselves if they faced domestic violence during a public health emergency. To address this, Dr. O’Campo and her team created factsheets listing verified recommendations. Learn more about the research.

2) Three St. Michael’s research teams awarded funding to study impact of COVID-19 on mental health and substance use services

How has the pandemic impacted people who were released from prisons and require mental health services? What about people who rely on in-person addiction treatment to wean off opioids? And how can we support those who are experiencing thoughts of suicide during this unprecedented time? Three scientists and their teams at St. Michael’s Hospital were awarded funding through the Canada Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Operating Grants: COVID-19 Mental Health & Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery to tackle their research questions. Learn more about the funding and the research.

3) A couple donates $1-million to St. Joseph’s Health Centre

Sean Zahedi and his wife Ellie have strong ties to St. Joseph’s – both their children were born there. In this Globe and Mail feature, they discuss their desire to help the hospital grow and explain why they decided to make a $1-million donation to St. Joseph’s. Read more.

4) We celebrated Spiritual Care Week and Respiratory Therapy Week

This week, we recognized our dedicated spiritual care practitioners for their work in improving the spiritual and mental well-being of patients, residents, families, staff and physicians. We also acknowledged the role of over 130 respiratory therapists, respiratory therapy assistants and anesthesia assistants in creating the best care experiences for patients. Read more about Perry So and David Rebelo from the Spiritual Care team and our Respiratory Therapy Week celebrations.

5) Phlebotomy and Pathology labs at St. Michael’s move into their new space

This month, the Phlebotomy and Pathology labs at St. Michael’s Hospital are moving back into a newly renovated and improved space. This lab space includes an additional blood bay to improve patient flow and privacy and also marks the joining of the two labs back into one joint space, which will significantly improve workflow for the two teams. See photos of the new space.

6) Dr. Janet Smylie spoke to NOW Magazine about the new Indigenous-led COVID-19 testing centre in Toronto

Toronto’s first stationary Indigenous-led COVID-19 testing centre, Auduzhe Mino Nesewinong, is now open. The centre launched alongside a COVID-19 Indigenous database, a research project led by St. Michael’s Hospital’s Dr. Janet Smylie. She hopes to bridge the gaps in data on the pandemic’s impact on Indigenous research. Read more.

7) Dr. Ripudaman Minhas pens a Toronto Star op-ed on the need for better supports for children attending school virtually 

Families with lower parental education level and lower socioeconomic status are more likely to choose virtual learning options than in-person class. This puts high risk children at further risk of developmental, educational, employment and economic disadvantage. In this Toronto Star op-ed, our Dr. Ripudaman Minhas writes that society has “a collective responsibility to support the potential of all children.” He offers ways we can support these students during the pandemic. Read more.

8) CBC interviewed Jeff Braff on his unique view of the pandemic

As a Buddhist monk, former epidemiologist and spiritual care practitioner at St. Michael’s Hospital, Jeff Braff is able to look at the pandemic with both a spiritual and clinical lens. Read more about his journey.

9) Hospitals are seeing more patients with advanced cancers. Our Dr. Sam Elfassy weighs in

Dr. Sam Elfassy, gastroenterologist at St. Joseph’s Health Centre, has been seeing a higher concentration of very sick patients coming into his clinic. He spoke to the Toronto Star about why patients should not defer routine procedures. Hospitals are taking extraordinary measures to keep everyone safe and the risk of deferring care far outweighs any risk of coming into the hospital. Read more.

10) Why have medical and scientific advisors recommended additional restrictions in hotspots? Our Dr. Peter Jüni weighs in.

Our Dr. Peter Jüni is one of three co-leads of Ontario’s COVID-19 Science Advisory Table. He was on CBC Ontario Today to answer questions from listeners about the pandemic and public health recommendations. Listen to the segment here.