2021 in review

As we move forward into 2022, we look back on some of our most inspiring and engaging stories this past year. Even when faced with unmatched and unprecedented demands, our donor community provided unparalleled support to our healthcare heroes when they needed it most. As many frontline workers continue to fight the challenges continued by COVID-19, they remain driven to provide the best patient care, educate future medical leaders and conduct groundbreaking medical research.

Here’s a look at some of our favourite stories from the past year showcasing incredible resilience and hope in these challenging times.

1. Virtual Emergency Department cuts down wait times for urgent care

UHN’s Emergency Department received more than 120 virtual visits from across Ontario during its first month of running the Virtual Emergency Department. It extends access to urgent care beyond the confines of the physical hospital and straight to patients, wherever they are located in the province. Learn more

2. A historic clinical study with Apple has launched

Dr. Heather Ross, Division Head of Cardiology at UHN’s Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Scientific Lead at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, will lead the study. (Photo: UHN)

Dr. Heather Ross, renowned cardiologist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, launched a new clinical study in collaboration with Apple to test if remote monitoring with the Apple Watch can help with early identification of worsening heart failure. Learn more

3. Toronto General Hospital once again number 4 in the world

For the third year in a row, Toronto General Hospital had been ranked one of the world’s best hospitals in a global ranking. Toronto General Hospital was ranked number four for the second year in a row, and is again the only Canadian and publicly funded hospital in the top 10. Learn more

4. World first: Transplant after MAID at home performed at UHN

In a coordinated effort, the Toronto Lung Transplant Program at UHN’s Ajmera Transplant Centre and Sprott Department of Surgery performed the first transplant surgery after MAID (medical assistance in dying) at home. Learn more

5. UHN Foundation is here

On April 1, Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation and Toronto Rehab Foundation amalgamated to form a new foundation – and make an even bigger impact. Learn more

6. Navigating kidney failure as a young Bay Street professional

The Multi-Care Kidney Clinic has provided a beacon of hope during Alley Adams’ challenging journey with kidney failure and has made things easier. Read more

7. Helping COVID-19 “long haulers”

Toronto Rehab’s COVID-19 Rehab clinic opened its virtual doors in response to a growing need among people who have recovered from their acute stage of the coronavirus, but are living with lingering symptoms such as headaches, brain fog, body aches, joint pain, fatigue and accelerated heart rate. Learn more

8. Double-lung transplant after COVID-19 performed in Canada

Timothy Edwards Sauvé, 61, contracted COVID-19 in December, 2021 and was referred to UHN’s Ajmera Transplant Centre for a transplant assessment about two months later. Learn more

9. Promoting principles of inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility

Honouring those who came before her and blazing a trail for those coming after her is of paramount importance to UHN’s Dr. Nikki Woods, who seeks to uncover the processes that govern the choices and behaviours of people, specifically those in health care. Learn more

10. More than 400 people helped us show UHN we Give a Shift

Over three days, participants in the first-ever Give a Shift virtual fundraiser spent 12 hours completing tasks and challenges to give them a glimpse into the life of a healthcare worker. The event raised more than $250,000 coming from more than 1,200 donations! Learn more

11. A place to reflect and honour Shkagamik-Kwe (Mother Earth)

UHN’s first Indigenous healing garden at The Michener Institute of Education took root this past summer. The Gitigan is a place to grow plants native to the area, traditional medicines and many plants used by Indigenous nations for their healing properties. Read more

12. Donors help UHN frontline staff receive much-needed support

When our hospitals were hit with the worst of the pandemic, our donor community stepped up to ensure that hospital staff could care for themselves while caring for others. Here are a few of the initiatives that donor support helped us fund during the third wave. Learn more

13. Stem cell therapy could cure diabetes

At UHN’s McEwen Stem Cell Institute and Ajmera Transplant Centre, clinicians and researchers are working on the next big development that could cure diabetes and render insulin obsolete: stem cell therapy. Learn more

14. Toronto Lung Transplant Program and Quebec company transport lungs by drone

In a world first, University Health Network transported lungs intended for transplant by an aerial drone from Toronto Western Hospital to Toronto General Hospital. Learn more

15. The silent warrior

About 70 per cent of UHN’s COVID-19 patients are treated in the General Internal Medicine unit. It’s also Dr. Ryan Luther’s second home. Learn more

16. A stroke of genius

The Krembil Brain Institute’s Neurovascular Unit at University Health Network is celebrating 10 years of excellence in care for patients with stroke and other neurovascular conditions. Learn more

17. Clinical trial shows a third COVID-19 vaccine shot protects transplant patients

Researchers at UHN’s Ajmera Transplant Centre have conducted a first-in-the-world trial showing that a third COVID-19 vaccine can provide extra protection for immunosuppressed transplant patients. Learn more

18. Visionary gift to change the future of eye care

Philanthropist Donald K. Johnson is transforming the future of vision research and patient care in Canada by investing in his namesake Donald K. Johnson Eye Institute with a historic gift. This new investment will significantly increase research capacity and bolster the ability of scientists, in partnership with clinicians, to translate discoveries into treatments more quickly. Learn more

19. UHN performs 1,000th living donor liver transplant

The Ajmera Transplant Centre performed its landmark 1,000th living donor transplant since the program began in 2000. Learn more

20. Healing damaged lungs with an innovative treatment

A UHN study led by Drs. John Granton and Jonas Mattsson is testing a world-first treatment for lung damage caused by COVID-19 that could help save lives long after the pandemic ends. Read more

21. Discovery of a potential new therapy for inflammatory arthritis

Researchers at the Schroeder Arthritis Institute have made an exciting discovery that could lead to new treatments and help many more patients with ankylosing spondylitis, a painful and inflammatory form of axial spondyloarthritis. Read more

22. How Michener turned its gym into Ontario’s first COVID-19 vaccination site

Photo essay: 2020 in review (image showing Anita Quidangen, a personal support worker - first member of TeamUHN to be vaccinated)

Anita Quidangen was the first to receive the vaccine at The Michener Institute of Education, which was selected as the pilot site to give vaccines to healthcare workers from long-term care homes. Learn more

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