Dr. Howard Ovens

Host: Dr. Howard Ovens

Sinai Health's Chief Medical Strategy Officer and Medical Advisor to Sinai Health Foundation
Dr. Ovens brings you the latest on COVID-19. Hear first-hand how the pandemic is changing every aspect of health care – from mental health to pregnancy, emergency medicine and more – as each episode Dr. Ovens speaks with a different Sinai Health expert.
Dr. Gary Newton
Dr. Gary Newton

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Episode 10: Good enough is pretty darn good: on institutional preparedness

Dr. Gary Newton talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about reactive leadership at Mount Sinai Hospital. As the first wave of a global pandemic passes and as global protests against anti-Black racism continue, Dr. Newton ruminates on the ways the hospital’s culture changed for the better and how institutional preparedness remains a major marker of flattening the spread of COVID-19.
Dr. Gary Newton is President and CEO of Sinai Health. A well-respected physician leader, Dr. Newton previously held the position of Physician-in-Chief at Mount Sinai Hospital, and was appointed to the role of Chief Medical Strategy Officer and Physician-in-Chief of the newly formed Sinai Health in 2015. He currently serves as Chair of the Scientific Research Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley
Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley

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Episode 9: How COVID-19 has impacted oncology and cancer patient care

Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about the ways the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted oncology and cancer patient care. As Ontario’s lockdown is being lifted, and as other provinces and countries reopen non-essential services, Dr. Masley reflects on how she’s working with infectious disease specialists to adopt new ways of treating and responding to both urgent and non-urgent oncology treatments, and surgeries.
Dr. Christine Brezden-Masley is the Medical Director of the Cancer Program and the Director of the Marvelle Koffler Breast Centre at Sinai Health. Christine has spent her career as a medical oncologist, and a leader in the cancer care and research fields, particularly for breast and gastrointestinal cancers. She currently serves as the President of the Canadian Cardio-Oncology Network.

Dr. Jeff Wrana
Dr. Jeff Wrana

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Episode 8: The Trials and Tribulations of Testing and Research in a Time of Pandemic

Dr. Jeff Wrana talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about the challenges and importance of ramping up testing for the coronavirus, and the danger of "hysteria" around COVID-19. Dr. Wrana outlines how some studies are happening at breakneck speed, leading to "legitimate but very preliminary results" that make attention-grabbing but misleading headlines in the desperate push for progress.
Dr. Jeff Wrana, a Senior Investigator with the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, is internationally recognized for his cancer research. Currently, he is part of a team of Sinai Health researchers developing a blood test that can identify on a mass scale who is immune to COVID-19. He is also at the forefront of research looking at implementing artificial intelligence to help track and understand the pandemic.

Dr. Maureen Shandling
Dr. Maureen Shandling

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Episode 7: It's a Marathon, Not A Sprint

Dr. Maureen Shandling talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about the realities of working in a COVID-19 world and how they're impacting care, staff, and families. She also reflects on the protests against police brutality in the U.S, and explores their resonance and relevance to public health issues here in Canada.
Dr. Maureen Shandling is Executive Vice President of Academic and Medical Affairs at Sinai Health. A practicing neurologist, Dr. Shandling has been a staff member at Mount Sinai Hospital for over 30 years. She has held numerous hospital portfolios including Medical Education, Physician Affairs, Diagnostic Imaging, Accreditation Lead, and Quality and Safety programs. She has leadership experience in clinical teaching, educational administration and research, and program development in quality and safety initiatives.

Dr. Bob Maunder
Dr. Bob Maunder

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Episode 6: Staying Resilient In the Face of a Pandemic

Dr. Bob Maunder talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about finding resilience during challenging times, and how difficult that can be in the face of a pandemic with no end in sight. Hear Dr. Maunder stress the value of close relationships, the importance of asking for help, the reward of exercise and laughter, and the case for doing things that help others and bring you pleasure.
Dr. Bob Maunder is the Chair of Health and Behaviour at Sinai Health, where he is also Deputy Psychiatrist-in-Chief and Head of Psychiatry Research. As a psychiatrist, he provides care for people with chronic and serious medical illness. He led research during and after the 2003 SARS outbreak to understand its psychological consequences for health-care workers, and how to support resilience.

Dr. Prakeshkumar Shah and Dr. Wendy L. Whittle
Dr. Prakeshkumar Shah
Dr. Wendy L. Whittle

Episode 5: Babies Don't Stop For A Virus

Birth is usually a time of celebration, but during a pandemic, it requires some extra care and caution. Drs. Prakesh Shah and Wendy Whittle join Dr. Howard Ovens to talk about how urgency, compassion, and collaboration are guiding them through providing maternal and neo-natal care during this time. They share stories of mothers who have delivered babies while having COVID-19, newborns who arrive in the world with the virus, and how it impacts everyone - from the parents, the newborn, and medical staff - who are sometimes doubling as the support person for mothers delivering without their usual support network to lean on in the operating room. But despite the challenges, hear how Sinai Health staff lean on non-verbal communication, smiles, and touch to guide new mothers through the birth of their newborns even from behind a hat, masks, shield and gloves.
Dr. Prakeshkumar Shah is Paediatrician-in-Chief at Sinai Health. Along with perinatal colleagues from Sinai Health and the University of Toronto, Dr Shah led the development of guidelines for maternal-neonatal management of COVID-19 during birth at Toronto Hospitals Table, and contributed to provincial guidelines produced by the Provincial Council on Maternal and Child Health. He has also reported on the guidelines to understand and classify cases of COVID-19 infection in newborn and fetuses.
Dr. Wendy L. Whittle is a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist at Sinai Health. She is also the Obstetrical lead of the Women’s and Infants’ COVID-19 Pandemic Planning and Response Taskforce at Mount Sinai Hospital, currently working with nursing and medical leadership to develop and implement the program response for obstetrical patients’ and staff care during the pandemic.

Dr. Russell Goldman
Dr. Russell Goldman

Episode 4: Bringing Nobility and Grace to the End of A Life

Dr. Russell Goldman talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about the challenges of providing palliative care during the pandemic. Hear how video calls are making up for in-person visits, and how staff, patients, and families are trying their best to adopt under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. Dr. Goldman also shares how his patients can tell that he is still smiling under his mask, the amount of times he's been 'adopted' by families he's giving care to, and how he responds to the question he always gets about his work: "How do you do that all day?"
Dr. Russell Goldman is the Director of the Sinai Health Interdepartmental Division of Palliative Care and the Temmy Latner Center for Palliative Care. The Divisions 30 physicians provide care to people at home, those admitted to Mount Sinai for acute care, as well as people admitted to the palliative care unit at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. Dr. Goldman and his team have partnered with Long Term Care during the pandemic to provide palliative care clinical leadership.

Dr. Mark Lachmann
Dr. Mark Lachmann

Episode 3: The Tragedy of Long-Term Care in the Pandemic

Dr. Mark Lachmann talks to Dr. Howard Ovens about the tragedy that is unfolding in long-term care homes during this pandemic, the structural problems that explain why they have been the hardest hit, and the lack of oversight and accountability in long term care overall. Dr. Lachmann explains why the deaths unfolding in long-term care are not inevitable, and outlines his hope that this pandemic will transform the level of care that is given to elders in our communities.
Dr. Mark Lachmann is the Medical Lead at Sinai Health’s Bridgepoint Active Healthcare. He is a geriatric psychiatrist who works with patients in acute, rehabilitation, long-term care, and community settings. He also works as a Coroner in Ontario, and sits on the Geriatric and Long Term Care Death Review Committee of the Coroner's Office.

Dr. Jennie Johnstone
Dr. Jennie Johnstone

Episode 2: Getting Tested and Keeping Safe

Dr. Ovens talks to Dr. Jennie Johnstone about testing for COVID-19, including how accurate the test is, and how even a negative result is not the golden ticket people may think it is. Dr. Johnstone also talks about how she is keeping patients – especially those at the highest risk – and health-care workers safe, which includes the difficult decision to prevent visitors from seeing loved ones at the hospital. Lastly, Dr. Johnstone talks about how she is coping with the demands of working through the pandemic, and managing the immense responsibility she bears of keeping everyone safe.
Dr. Johnstone is Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control (IPAC) at Sinai Health. Along with colleagues from eight other Toronto area hospitals, she recently contributed to an article published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal on what early experience screening for COVID-19 in Canada can teach us about how to prepare for a pandemic.

Dr. Andrew Morris
Dr. Andrew Morris

Episode 1: How We Got Here

In our kick-off episode, Dr. Ovens takes us through why this podcast matters. With so much information out there about the pandemic, it's never been more important to separate fact from disinformation. And that's what every episode will do — together with another Sinai Health leader, Dr. Ovens will bring the latest information on the pandemic: where we are today and what may lay ahead. In conversation with this week's guest, infectious disease specialist Dr. Andrew Morris, Dr. Ovens discusses the origin of the outbreak, how it's transmitted, the best ways to protect against it, and the challenges of re-opening after lockdown.
Dr. Morris is the Medical Director of the Sinai Health-UHN Antimicrobial Stewardship Program and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He is widely sought as a speaker and consultant on antimicrobial stewardship, behaviour change, implementation, and quality improvement.

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