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Over the coming weeks, Dr. Bob Howard, Former President and CEO, St. Michael’s Hospital, will interview world-class health experts to keep you and your loved ones informed and up-to-date on the latest COVID-19 developments and what St. Michael’s is doing to address the pandemic. Read a recap of episodes.


Featuring: Dr, Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Michael’s Hospital

In the latest installment of St. Michael’s Facts from the Frontlines podcast series, hosted by Dr. Bob Howard, Dr. Matthew Muller, medical director of Infection Prevention and Control at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells us what to expect in the next phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. He’s optimistic that we’ll get a vaccine, but likely not see it until next year. Opening schools will increase risk, so maintaining social distancing and increasing testing and contact tracing will be crucial. The good news is that St. Michael’s is ready, with stockpiled PPE and new training and protocols informed by what we’ve learned during the pandemic.

Featuring: Sonya Canzian, Executive Vice-President of Clinical Programs, and Chief Nursing and Health Professions Officer, Unity Health Toronto

Sonya Canzian talks about St. Michael’s plan to gradually reintroduce medical services in the hospital, using an equitable framework to ensure all patients receive timely care, and how the hospital will deal with the “new normal” of enhanced safety measures, virtual care and shared resources.

Featuring: Dr, Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Matthew Muller discusses the latest discoveries around COVID-19, including the risk of complications due to age, sex and certain medical conditions, how singing, yelling and talking spread the virus, and why he suggests outdoor rather than indoor activities, wearing masks but not gloves, and staying out of planes and restaurants for now.

Featuring: Dr. Eliane Shore, Obstetrician Gynecologist at St. Michael’s Hospital

St. Michael’s obstetrician gynecologist Dr. Eliane Shore explains how St. Michael’s OB teams protect pregnant moms from COVID-19 before, during and after delivery. New moms can follow the Pandemic Pregnancy Guide on Instagram to get advice from St. Mike’s pregnancy and labour experts.

Featuring: Dr. James Maskalyk, Emergency Room Physician

St. Michael’s Emergency physician Dr. James Maskalyk worked on the frontlines of epidemics in Ethiopia and Sudan. In this episode, he tells us what it’s like to battle COVID-19 at St. Michael’s, from comforting patients despite masks and isolation to using meditation and meaningful action to help himself cope with stress.

Featuring: Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Ori Rotstein, VP of Research and Innovation at Unity Health Toronto and the Keenan Chair in Research Leadership at St. Michael’s Hospital, explains how St. Michael’s is positioning itself as an international research force in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.

Featuring: Fergus Cubbage, RN, Medical Surgical Intensive Care, St. Michael's Hospital

Fergus Cubbage, who has 15 years of nursing experience at St. Michael’s Hospital, tells us how he and his colleagues are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. He shares a typical day in the ICU, which includes protocols for donning and doffing their PPE, and ends with an uplifting story about all the support nurses have received from hospital leadership, colleagues and the St. Michael’s community.

Featuring: Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director, Infection, Prevention and Control, St. Michael's Hospital

We talk about COVID-19 overwhelming the health-care system. After all for every 100 new cases, 10-20 people will be hospitalized, and half of those will end up in the ICU. But, as Dr. Matthew Muller, Medical Director of Infection, Prevention and Control, who has been on the frontlines of pandemic preparedness at St. Michael’s, explains, in comparison to some other countries, Canada is better off because we’ve have more time to prepare. Still, he cautions, that doesn’t mean we can relax physical distancing measures. In this episode, Dr. Muller also sheds light on diagnostic testing and where we are in vaccine development.

Featuring: Dr. Stephen Hwang, Director, MAP Centre for UrbanHealth Solutions, St. Michael's Hospital

The closure of the community centres and meal programs and the restrictions around maintaining physical distance are compounding the stresses on people who are homeless. The cost of doing nothing about homelessness and accepting the status quo has never been more starkly apparent. Will COVID-19 force us to change how we deal with this pressing issue? Dr. Stephen Hwang, Medical Director of MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, talks about the challenges and what St. Michael’s scientists are doing to end chronic homelessness.

Featuring: Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family Medicine, St. Michael's Hospital
Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Karen Weyman, Chief of Family and Community Medicine at St. Michael’s Hospital, and Linda Jackson, Senior Clinical Program Director for Primary and Community Care, talk about how family practice is changing in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the hospital’s six family health team clinics are protecting patients, health-care providers and the community by conducting patient visits by phone or video conferencing wherever possible.

Featuring: Dr. Arthur Slutsky, Former Vice-President of Research, St. Michael's Hospital

Dr. Art Slutsky, one of the world’s leading experts on mechanical ventilation and acute respiratory distress syndrome, explains what ventilators do and why they’re essential to treat severely ill COVID-19 patients.

Featuring: Dr. Joel Lockwood, Emergency Physician and Trauma Team Leader, St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. Paul Das, Family Medicine Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital

Dr. Paul Das, a family physician, and Dr. Joel Lockwood, an emergency physician and trauma team leader, share what it took to get the Assessment Centre up and running, how it works, who should go and when you should go directly to emergency instead.

Featuring: Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, St. Michael’s Hospital

This week, Dr. Carolyn Snider, Chief of Emergency Medicine, talks about how life and procedures have changed in one of the country’s busiest emergency departments to get ready for the influx of COVID-19 cases, and the unsung heroes who are on the frontlines and behind of the scenes at St. Michael’s.

Featuring: Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, St. Michael’s Hospital

This week, Dr. Tom Ungar, Psychiatrist-in-Chief, talks about how to maintain good mental health during a pandemic and what to do if you’re not coping. He also reminds us of the importance of “social connection” in an age of “physical (not social) distancing.”


I hope everyone is staying healthy and cool during this hot summer. Here at St. Michael’s, the battle against COVID-19 goes on, and our teams and scientists continue to respond to its challenges with their customary compassion and ingenuity.

We’ve got lots of news.

Our 2019-20 Annual Report is now available. Because of you, we’ve had a record-breaking fundraising year that has meant new treatments, new medical discoveries and new state-of-the-art facilities. And when COVID-19 hit Toronto, your spirit of compassion helped St. Michael’s do what we do best: take on the toughest health challenge of our time. ...

While the pandemic prevents us from gathering at our events, we’re recasting them as virtual experiences — and the results are exciting. On June 25 we held the first virtual edition of St. Michael’s Powerhouse Exclusive Speaker Series, and it was a major success. More than 400 people tuned in to hear Dr. Muhammad Mamdani, our Vice-President of Data Science and Advanced Analytics, discuss the potential impact of artifical intelligence on the pandemic and the future of health care, followed by a lively Q&A discussion on this hot topic.

Next up is our Urban Angel Virtual Golf Classic. We can’t go to the greens this year, so we’re taking our legendary golf tournament online for a public auction of amazing experiences for golfers and non-golfers alike. We’re also launching a fabulous new event: PUSH THE LIMITS: St. Michael’s Summer Challenge, where you exercise during the month of August and raise funds for the hospital. And last but not least, we’re going online with Angels Den. It’s Canada’s hottest medical research competition, with prizes for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 research projects. That’s coming up in September.

COVID-19 has exposed the urgent need to end homelessness, and the Schroeder Foundation is helping to do just that with a new fundraising challenge. For every dollar you donate to St. Michael’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, the Schroeder Foundation will match it, up to $1 million.Your donation will support the pioneering work MAP director Dr. Stephen Hwang and his team are doing to find sustainable and scalable solutions to the homelessness crisis. Donate here.

Finally, St. Michael’s Drs. Darren Yuen and Anish Kirpalani — whose research on kidney transplantation MRI has been supported by our donors — have had their study accepted for publication in the prestigious journal JMRI. Congratulations, Darren and Anish.

As always, on behalf of everyone at the Foundation, thank you for your continuing support of St. Michael’s Hospital. Enjoy your summer.


Lili Litwin
President, St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation


Thank you for supporting St. Michael's frontline workers and scientists in the battle against COVID-19

Erin and Sasha have teamed up with musician Drew Badali to hold a charity children’s music class on Instagram Live @musicwithdrew

Canzona Chamber Players Concert for Courage Fund

Erin Quinn, St. Michael’s Young Leader Fundraiser

#Thanks4StMikes from our community of Canada Helps donors

Our Leaders say #THANKS4STMIKES


Have your kids or grandkids create a card with a message of thanks that can be given to a hospital worker! They can decorate it any way they like. We will pass the cards on to those staff who have done something above and beyond in their relentless efforts to keep our community safe. To get involved, contact Fiona MacAlpine at

Take some time at home to exercise your body, mind, spirit ...and culinary skills.


Coronaviruses are viruses that can cause diseases ranging from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Some spread easily between people, others don’t. On Dec. 31, 2019, Chinese health authorities identified a new (or novel) coronavirus referred to as COVID-19 through a series of reported cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, China.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing.

The disease can pass from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth that are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around them. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

If you have symptoms or are worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to take the Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to determine if you need to visit an assessment centre or self-isolate at home.

St. Michael’s Hospital has opened an Assessment Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at 38 Shuter St. to provide screening and assessment for our community. It is equipped with proper precautions such as hand hygiene stations and isolated spaces for those being assessed for COVID-19.

If you have relevant risk factors, your care team will wear protective equipment and place you in a room separate from other patients. After a careful review, a decision will be made as to whether you need testing, where this should be done, and whether you need to go to the emergency department or be admitted to hospital. Patients with very mild symptoms may be sent home with instructions to isolate at home while awaiting test results and will be followed by public health. For more information about assessment, go to Unity Health Toronto’s information page.

To reduce exposure and transmission, you should:

  • avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • cover your cough with a tissue or sneeze in your elbow
  • frequently clean and disinfect touched objects and surfaces
  • self-isolate for at least 14 days after travelling outside the country

For more detailed information on the status of the virus and risk to Canadians, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada or Ontario Ministry of Health websites.

As a reminder, if you are concerned about your symptoms and/or worried about potential exposure to COVID-19, we encourage you to connect with Toronto Public Health and your primary health care providers close to home; this will help keep our Emergency Department resources available for trauma and emergent care patients.

You can call Toronto Public Health’s Hotline at 416-338-7600, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, call 311 and ask for Toronto Public Health.


If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms or have been in close contact with someone who has it, use The Ontario Ministry of Health’s self-assessment to help determine how to seek further care.

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