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Healthcare Change Makers

Mar 4, 2020

Today, Ellen Gardner and Philip De Souza, Communications and Marketing at HIROC, speak with Dr. Andy Smith, President and CEO Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.


Moving into management happened somewhat accidentally for Dr. Andy Smith, who began his medical career as a surgeon specializing in colorectal cancer. Notwithstanding the headwinds he faces leading a large organization, he often looks to historical leaders for inspiration and strives to set the tone for the hospital in an energetic and positive way. For him that means doing everything possible to remove barriers and give his team the resources they need for achieving the hospital’s mission of inventing the future of healthcare. Andy works hard to demystify the complex business of healthcare delivery and wants Sunnybrookers to always be asking, how can we make sure the patient experience is the best that it can be?


Key Takeaways:

[1:43] What drew Andy back to Sunnybrook

[6:17] How Sunnybrook’s vision of inventing the future of healthcare suffuses through all of the hospital’s work

[6:49] Sunnybrook’s approach to managing diseases of the brain and the mind

[9:20] How ‘non-invasive’ is a major theme of inventing the future of healthcare at Sunnybrook

[12:50] Andy’s role in setting the tone in a high-energy, positive, optimistic way

[14:55] The pivot towards being an important part of the knowledge economy

[17:34] Leveraging the extraordinary talent we have in Canada and reinvesting it in healthcare

[19:15] The real strength of frontline, inter-professional teams in moving the quality improvement and patient safety agenda forward

[20:08] What Andy learned from working in the hotel and restaurant business

[21:57] Why leaders need to focus on the teams and individuals providing compassionate care

[25:05] The leadership lessons Andy takes away from history and historical figures

[27:23] Why it’s important to provide a calm, balanced, evidence-based approach to the corona virus

[28:44] The dynamic leadership provided by Infection Prevention and Control and Communications teams at Sunnybrook in dealing with the corona virus

[30:23] Why culture is the critical element for sustaining an organization through difficult times

[34:04] Andy’s hope that people reflect with pride on their careers in healthcare

[34:44] Andy’s big piece of advice to emerging leaders in healthcare


Mentioned in this Episode:

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Ian Delaney, Ornge Board Chair

Dr. Sherif Hanna

Dr. Kullervo Hynynen


Vermont Oxford Network

ACS National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (NSQIP)

A Little History of Canada by H.V. Nelles

Dr. Jerome Leis, Associate Scientist

Dr. Natasha Salt, Direction of Infection Prevention and Control

Aria by Nazanine Hozar

William Osler: A Life in Medicine by Michael Bliss


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