Taking health global: Osler is headed to India

This week’s guest blog is from Dr. Naveed Mohammad, VP Medical Affairs and Co-Lead of Osler’s Global Health Program

India is a fascinating country. From its rich history and vibrant cultural traditions to its colourful festivals and culinary delights, it’s easy to become captivated. Living and working in the Greater Toronto Area means that we are very fortunate to be able to experience so much of what this culture has to offer without needing to travel too far.

Osler serves one of the fastest growing and most diverse communities in Ontario. According to data collected during the 2011 Census, more than 62 per cent of recent immigrants to Brampton and 42 per cent of immigrants to north Etobicoke are from India. This incredible statistic signals that the dynamics of providing health care need to change to meet unique needs of this growing patient population in the best way possible.

Given the extensive Punjabi community within our region, we decided that this area was the logical starting point for our Global Health Program. After months of extensive planning, a five-member clinical team from Osler will be travelling half way around the world to the Punjab region of India to explore ways we can contribute to the homelands of our local citizens and gather valuable insights on innovative practices that can be used to better meet the needs of our community.

When I was asked to be the clinical lead for the mission to India, I jumped at the opportunity to approach global health in a new way. Osler identified six clinical areas where there is the greatest potential for impact and the tour team was chosen based on these needs. The team includes:

  • David Koczerginski, Corporate Chief of Psychiatry and Medical Director of Mental Health and Addictions
  • Davinder Wadehra, Medical Director of Nephrology (representing chronic disease area)
  • Kelly Falzon, Director of Women’s, Children’s and Seniors Program
  • Gurpreet Rosales, Project Manager and Global Health Program Lead

I’m thrilled to be part of the team headed to India and right now, we are preparing to meet with hospital leaders and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the cities of Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Amritsar and surrounding areas to learn more about health care in this region. We will also be visiting hospital-affiliated satellite clinics in rural areas where the team will see first-hand how health care services are delivered, which I imagine will be an extremely rewarding aspect of the trip.

An international mission like this doesn’t happen overnight. We have been carefully planning this tour for the past 18 months under the leadership of Susan deRyk and Gia D’Souza from Osler’s strategy team with strong support of the Global Health Steering Committee, an Advisory Group made up of staff and community members whose feedback has helped shape this experience, and Osler Foundation.

As we journey across Punjab, we will be sharing our experiences along the way. Follow @OslerHealth on Twitter and like our Facebook page for updates from the field. I personally can’t wait to share details about our experience and the exciting partnership opportunities that lie ahead!

A-B-P and Q-I-P: Two other ways to spell “success”

This week’s guest blogger is Joanne Flewwelling, EVP Clinical Services and Chief Nursing Executive

In an ever-changing health care landscape, how does Osler plan for success? Two key tools are our Annual Business Plan (ABP) and Quality Improvement Plan (QIP), which allows us to take stock of our achievements over the last 12 months and highlight areas where we need to focus our efforts as we chart the course for the year ahead.

Our ABP outlines where we will focus our energy in the coming year as we work toward achieving our five-year Strategic Plan. Over the last 12 months we made tremendous progress in aligning our goals with those of our partners across the region to have a positive influence on the patient experience. Through our Strategic Partnership Committee that explores opportunities to work together and looking at our corporate planning through a regional lens will set us on a road to ensuring patients get the care they need, where and when they need it across our region.

In 2015-16 we will continue to build these good works by focusing on enhancing the patient experience in the ED, creating growth and sustainability opportunities for health care in our community, and supporting the efficient delivery of timely health care services through regional planning.

We can’t look to the future without reflecting on the past year, which was transformational for so many reasons. Our list of achievements is extensive, so here are five key highlights that define our spectacular year:

  1. Together with the Central West Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and Headwaters Health Care Centre (Headwaters), we created the first regional cross-sector health care partnership in Ontario
  2. We expanded our specialized services with a new Musculoskeletal (MSK) Program and Centre of Excellence, and innovative Breast Program
  3. We increased our surgical capacity at Brampton Civic with a new operating room
  4. We opened outpatient Palliative Care Clinics at both sites to provide better access to services and support that will enable patients to remain in their own homes while receiving care
  5. We made great progress on redevelopments with the start of construction of the new Peel Memorial while planning for the expansion and renewal of Etobicoke General

We also aligned our annual QIP with our partners at the Central West CCAC and Headwaters to collectively improve the quality and safety of health care across the region. There are seven priority indicators in the QIP to measure the quality of health care delivery and every hospital in Ontario works toward “maintaining” or “improving” these targets. Osler staff and physicians worked incredibly hard over the past year to achieve three “maintain” targets:

  1. Our financial performance designated us as a “top performer” by Health Quality Ontario (HQO)
  2. Our number of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) days is below the provincial average
  3. Our rate of C. difficile infections was less than provincial target for the entire year

While there is room for improvement, these benchmarks are a clear sign that we are well-positioned relative to our hospital peers. We will also continue to work with our regional partners to achieve shared targets.

Osler staff and physicians are the driving force behind many of our achievements, but volunteers also play a vital role in shaping the health care experience at Osler. During National Volunteer Week, please join me in celebrating the incredible team of 1,000+ volunteers who go beyond every single day to support patient-inspired health care beyond boundaries at Osler!

For three years running, Osler continues to be a diversity leader

We’ve been waiting for it and it’s here. Spring is in the air and I can’t wait to say “good riddance” to Old Man Winter! One of the things I love most about spring – aside from putting away my snow shovel – is watching my garden come to life. The way that so many different ferns and flowers can thrive together in the same environment reminds me just how wonderful diversity is.

At Osler, we celebrate the diversity of our staff and the community we serve. We take pride in our commitment to meet the individual needs of our patients and foster an organizational culture that upholds dignity and equity for all. After all, diversity is embedded in our values – Respect, Excellence, Accountability, Diversity, and Innovation – and is at the centre of all we do.


I am thrilled to announce that Osler has reached another milestone along our diversity journey – we were recently named one of the Best Diversity Employers in Canada for the third year in a row! This honour is bestowed upon organizations who have demonstrated exceptional workplace diversity and inclusiveness programs. This achievement is a testament to our unwavering commitment to patient-inspired health care and creating a workplace that truly embraces individuality.

Being located in one of the most diverse regions of Ontario, we believe that one of the best ways to serve our population is to equip our staff with the skills they need to provide patients with a respectful, inclusive, yet individualistic experience. Creating an environment that is welcoming and equitable for all is an important step in achieving this.

Our Global Health Program is an example of our commitment in this area. Later this month, Osler is participating in an exploratory tour to the Punjab region in India, where a small clinical team will meet with several hospitals and non-governmental organizations to better understand how we can partner with local health care providers to create innovative programs that address specific health challenges and explore ways Osler can help achieve health equity in our own local community.

I am very proud of our team at Osler and their tremendous dedication to creating an inclusive workplace for each other and the community we serve.

New funding will help Etobicoke General will bring care closer to home

Etobicoke General Hospital is busy on the best of days and when special guests stop by, the pace picks up even more.

On Monday the Honourable Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, visited Etobicoke General with local MPPs Yvan Baker (MPP Etobicoke-Centre) and Peter Milczyn (MPP Etobicoke-Lakeshore) to make an important announcement about expanded health care services in our community.

Osler will receive funding for a new satellite dialysis centre at Etobicoke General. This means great things for the community. Not only will Osler be able to offer access to 36 new dialysis stations for life-sustaining treatments and patient training for at-home dialysis, it will also enable us to provide care closer to home for patients living with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

While the satellite dialysis centre will be operated at Etobicoke General, it will be jointly used by Osler and our partners at Humber River Hospital. This new partnership will help put people and patients first while relieving pressure on existing kidney care programs at Osler and Humber River Hospital.

We heard first-hand how this announcement will change the way we provide access to care for patients like Robert Johnstone, who travels from his home in Etobicoke to Brampton Civic Hospital three times a week for dialysis. By receiving treatment closer to home, Robert and his wife Linda will spend significantly less time travelling between appointments, experience less stress and have a better quality of life.

Osler is the Regional CKD Program for the Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), one of 26 Regional CKD programs in Ontario. With more than 72,000 visits to Osler’s renal clinic in 2013-14 alone, we are one of the fastest growing regional programs and this distinction, coupled with new funding from the province, reinforces our position as a health care leader for kidney care in Ontario.

The satellite dialysis centre will occupy 27,000 square feet of a new Ancillary Services Building, which is the part of first phase of the renewal and expansion of Etobicoke General. While the opening of the facility is still a few years away, this commitment from the province is a clear indication of its continued support that will help shape the future of the hospital and the community it serves.

While it may not feel like spring just yet, we welcomed it with open arms at our Holi Gala on Friday evening in support of Osler Foundation. All 750 guests enjoyed spectacular musical and dance performances, feasted on flavourful Indian dishes, and rubbed elbows with special guests. Thanks to you we raised more than $160,000, which will be generously matched dollar-for-dollar by Orlando Corporation as part of its $15 Million Matching Challenge to support the redevelopment projects at Osler’s three hospitals.

Relive the excitement, or see it for the first time, by checking out our photo gallery from Friday night!