Recent News

Recent News

VHA and East Toronto Health Partners Hold Fair-themed Event to Celebrate Research and Quality Improvement Efforts to Improve Care

June 27, 2022
Collage of attendees, researchers and volunteers at ETHP Fair

 A unique research event in Toronto’s east-end community marked the start of a new model of working together for Ontario Health Teams, focused on collaborative education and evaluation across health and community care sectors

VHA and East Toronto Health Partners (ETHP) Ontario Health Team organized ETHP Fair: Celebrating Research, Improving Care this June to celebrate and showcase innovative research, quality improvement and evaluation work that is underway across the Ontario Health Team (OHT) focused on community health.

“ETHP is becoming a Learning Health System and we want to share our progress with our partners,” stated Anne Wojtak, Lead, East Toronto Health Partners.  In a Learning Health System, research, evaluation and clinical team members work side by side to support rapid cycles of learning, decision-making and knowledge transfer. “We are aiming to incorporate research and evaluation in all of our work so we can learn as we go, focus our efforts, and make care better for all our East Toronto residents,” Anne added.

ETHP Fair took place at Michael Garron Hospital on June 23rd. The event highlighted 16 different research, evaluation and quality improvement initiatives that have taken place across the ETHP network during the past two years, underpinned by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on healthcare workers and community members. “This event gave us the opportunity to actually come together physically in a safe way, celebrate the great work that’s happening and have some fun with interactive activities,” shared Kelly Smith, Inaugural Michael Garron Research Chair in Patient Oriented Research.

VHA Research team at ETHP Fair on June 23 2022

VHA Research team at ETHP Fair on June 23, 2022

Steering away from the traditional academic environments often associated with this type of work, the Fair aimed to create an engaging and interactive environment for knowledge sharing through carnival-themed activities for all who stopped by.

Activities at the Fair included: a giant Jenga game, an East Toronto-themed ‘Adventure Walk’ map, a Taylor Massey puzzle, a giant Spin-the-Wheel trivia game, a life-size Connect Four, and more, all of which will incorporate information and learning from the featured projects. There were also takeaway carnival-themed snacks such as popcorn and cotton candy will be available for participants. And finally a raffle prize opportunity for all participants to win a $100 donation to the East Toronto health or community care organization of their choice and 2 passes to Canada’s Wonderland to continue some fair-themed fun.

VHA projects highlighted included:

  • ETHP Collaborative Quality Improvement Plan: Alternate Level of Care Essential Care on Weekends: As the entire health network works to recover from COVID, it’s more important than ever to support patient transitions to access care in the most appropriate setting, ensuring hospital beds are available for those with acute care needs. A patient is designated “alternate level of care” (ALC) when they are occupying a bed in hospital and do not require the intensity of resources or services provided in this care setting. A designation of ALC can have negative effects on the patient, as well as stress and uncertainty for family caregivers. In 2021, partners in East Toronto came together to prioritize areas of work to better support seniors and caregivers to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and avoid delayed discharges.
  • Essential Care on Weekends (ECoW): VHA conducted a rigorous engagement program involving point of care providers, supervisors, managers and scheduling coordinators, facilitated by an innovation specialist to brainstorm and identify a promising approach to address ongoing weekend capacity challenges. ECoW was implemented and evaluated as a pilot program in the Toronto Central (TC) region among the 10 TC Teams from February to August 2021. The activities and operations prioritized scheduling more complex and vulnerable clients during weekends when PSW capacity is limited and efforts to make care and travel more efficient on weekends. Learn more about ECoW.
  • 10 Min. Training e-module on Occupational Hand Dermatitis: VHA and the Centre for Research Expertise on Occupational Disease partnered to develop a training e-module on occupational hand dermatitis designed for healthcare workers with input from a multi-stakeholder group, assess its usability and evaluate whether the training improved knowledge about occupational hand dermatitis. This free training module can be accessed anytime at
  • Refill your Cup: An Emotional Support Resource Directory: This project aimed to understand home care providers’ perspectives on their emotional support needs, current and preferred sources of support, and barriers to accessing resources. Once these needs were more deeply understood through a survey process, VHA’s research team created a resource directory to facilitate and encourage access to low or no-cost emotional support tools and resources.

To view all of the research project posters, click here to download the PDF.

“Our ETHP Fair was designed to make the research and evaluation work happening across ETHP accessible to everyone involved in our work,” commented Sandra McKay, Vice President, Research & Innovation at VHA Home HealthCare, one of the organizers of the event and an ETHP anchor partner organization. “Whether you are a caregiver on ETHP’s Community Advisory Council or a front-line worker at one of our organizations, everyone plays a role in understanding our work so we can collaboratively transform the health care system and make care better for everyone.”

Visit the ETHP website to learn more about health care in East Toronto.