Barbara Collins, President & CEO Humber River Hospital
Michael Lacovelli, Chair, Board of Directors
Sandra Sualim, President & CEO Humber River Hospital Foundation
Alan Spergel, Chair, Chair, Board of Directors Foundation
This past year has made us incredibly proud to lead and be a part of such outstanding organizations. Our staff, physicians, volunteers, Board of Directors, donors, and community endured another year of having to face new challenges amidst the ongoing pandemic. Collectively, every individual involved with Humber River Hospital (Humber) and the Humber River Hospital Foundation (the Foundation) helped us continue to deliver high-quality, patient and family-centred care. We express sincere appreciation to the countless individuals who choose to support and invest their time, resources, and talents into advancing Humber’s important work.
We once again embraced the need to continuously learn how to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and know the community in a new way. We diligently worked to educate ourselves and our community about the virus, vaccines, treatments and recommended practices, while providing unwavering compassionate care, both in-person and virtually. We extend our thanks to Ontario Health and the Ministry of Health for their guidance and financial support throughout the pandemic. Their leadership ensured that Ontario’s hospitals remained viable and able to support their communities. Despite the surge in cases, hospitalizations and staff shortages, our healthcare staff continued to provide exceptional care, and this contribution helped tremendously.
Humber played an instrumental role in helping our community and the GTA through the pandemic by building and running large-scale as well as hyper-local vaccination clinics. We successfully established the Downsview Arena COVID-19 Vaccination (COVax) Clinic, and the Crossroads Plaza COVax Clinic. As part of #TeamVaccine, we led numerous hyper-local mobile clinics in schools, TTC stations, churches, synagogues, mosques, apartment buildings and even in a mall parking lot! These initiatives combined vaccinated more than 400,000 individuals and were made possible by Humber working in partnership with our Northwestern Toronto Ontario Heath Team partners.
We also strengthened our commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) at Humber. On July 1, 2021, we launched the first Humber Land Acknowledgment as the first step in our collective efforts toward truth and reconciliation. The land that Humber is situated on was part of Toronto Purchase, Treaty 13. The Humber River has a long history. The Toronto Carrying-Place Trail, also known as the Humber Portage and the Toronto Passage, was a major portage route in Ontario, Canada, linking Lake Ontario with Lake Simcoe and the northern Great Lakes and was used by First Nations people for thousands of years to travel between Georgian Bay or Lake Simcoe and Lake Ontario. The Mississaugas called the Humber River Cobechenonk, which means ‘leave the canoes and go back’.
We celebrated Black History Month by holding a Town Hall with the Black Creek Community Health Centre to discuss COVID-19 vaccines in the African, Caribbean, and Black communities. This event reinforced the unique opportunity we have as an expert, leading health organization to facilitate meaningful conversations and take time to listen and educate ourselves about how race and ethnicity influence, and are deeply integrated with individual and public health.
For International Women’s Day, the Ontario Hospital Association shared Humber’s Dr. Sinziana Avramescu’s story of ongoing success in her field, including the launch of a program at the Hospital that equipped physicians to assume responsibilities of ICU nurses to help meet the demands and alleviate burden on nurses during various waves of the pandemic. Throughout the year, we highlighted many additional stories that celebrated the unique characteristics, talents, and leadership of our staff, physicians, and volunteers. Our team is our greatest asset, and we are committed to celebrating their accomplishments and working to support, recognize and empower them.
We recognize the intensity of the demands of working in a hospital environment and extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to our entire team for the endurance and dedication they have shown. From our resilient IT department, who resolved a Code Grey situation caused by a ransomware attack, our environmental services staff, who helped our hospital stay safer during the pandemic, and our healthcare professionals, staff and volunteers who have continued to prioritize patient care, we are deeply grateful. Through initiatives like our Humber Kindness Cart, Cozy Kits, the Concert for Humber Heroes, and our celebration of national weeks and days of significance for many healthcare and administrative professionals, we work to recognize the contributions of everyone at Humber and the Foundation.
Despite ongoing challenges and obstacles to overcome, we have maintained our focus on providing patient- and family-centred care. This priority extends across all facets of our operations and is exemplified in our active efforts to enhance all aspects of patient care, including initiatives such as expanding our RELIEF app for patients with palliative care needs, changing our Visitor Policy to allow loved ones to accompany patients, and beginning construction on the new Humber Meadows long-term care home. Our community has also been a significant source of support to us, and their donations and campaigns further our ability to serve our patients well. Combined, our approaches to and priorities of patient care has also led us to receive the Canadian College of Health Leaders 2021 Excellence in Patient Safety Award.
Being recognized for patient safety reflects how we have integrated and leveraged digital technologies to proactively monitor and more quickly react to situations throughout our hospital that require attention. We celebrated the fourth anniversary of our digital Command Centre, which we continued to expand over the past year to further leverage its capabilities to create efficiencies across operations, increase monitoring of patients, and enhance our ability to provide timely care. We are proud to be a leader in leveraging technology to achieve reliable, high-quality care.
As we look to the year ahead, we have so much to be excited about with ongoing research and innovation initiatives, collaborations and training. As a digital hospital, we firmly believe that technology and medicine combine to play a powerful role in improved healthcare, and that educating students on how we integrate them is critical to shaping the future. Humber has joined the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN) to advance our status as a community academic hospital with the goal of becoming an associate member. In addition, we are thrilled that we will be establishing a Family Medicine Teaching Unit here at Humber, which will be an official teaching site of the University of Toronto’s program for Family Medicine residents. We believe in the expertise and talent of our organization and are excited to welcome even more students to our Hospital.
We are genuinely proud of all our achievements this past year and are eager to maintain the momentum. Both Humber and the Foundation extend our deepest thanks and appreciation to our donors and partners, as well as all staff, physicians and volunteers who empower our organization to achieve truly great advancements for healthcare and enable us to continue our mission of Lighting New Ways in Healthcare.