March 2023

A Message from Karyn Popovich, President & CEO

Dear Friends,

Last week it was announced that I have decided to retire after a wonderful 40-plus year career at North York General Hospital (NYGH). It has been a privilege and an honour of a lifetime to work alongside such outstanding and dedicated colleagues and partners over the years. NYGH’s people are truly second to none! 


I will continue to lead NYGH for a while and support the transition to a new President and CEO, likely by mid-fall 2023. It is an exciting and important time for our organization and I am very much looking forward to working with our team and partners to continue to advance our Strategic Plan, Thinking Beyond.


This year is off to a great start. While the challenges of the pandemic are still with us, there is a palpable excitement about the future. NYGH recently celebrated a number of accomplishments and introduced new services for our diverse, growing communities. Here are just a few:

  • In this Pulse edition, you will learn about our new cutting-edge MRI equipment at the Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji Family Foundation Centre for Medical Imaging and new gamma camera that will benefit many patients referred to NYGH.


  • In December, our Seniors’ Health Centre (SHC) achieved Three-Year Accreditation in the area of Person-Centred Long-Term Care Community by the international Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). This recognizes SHC’s commitment to improving the quality of life of residents. At the same time, we are working hard on plans to build a ground-breaking 384-bed long-term care home, one of Ontario’s largest, steps from our hospital.


  • NYGH was, once again, named Ontario’s top hospital for the province’s ED Pay-For-Results (P4R) program (out of 74 hospitals). Our ranking considers ED wait times and patient volumes and is a testament to our outstanding Emergency Services team and organization-wide focus on reducing wait times.


There will be other important leadership changes ahead as NYGH prepares for the future. We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kevin Wasko as NYGH’s new Chief of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Wasko will join us on May 1 from Trillium Health Partners. He previously held executive roles with the Saskatchewan Health Authority. Dr. Maral Nadjafi is our new Chief of Medicine and Program Medical Director.  A passionate champion of seniors’ care, Dr. Nadjafi has served as Interim Chief since November 2021 and has been instrumental in NYGH’s COVID-19 response.


Also in May, we are thrilled that Seanna Millar will join us as the new President and CEO of the North York General Foundation. An accomplished leader in philanthropy, Seanna comes to us from SickKids Foundation, where she serves as Senior Vice President.

There are great things on the horizon at North York General! Please stay current through the Pulse, visiting, and following our social media channels.


Stay safe and be well,


Karyn Popovich

President & CEO

North York General Hospital introduces team of advocates to improve sickle cell awareness and care

The pain shot through Natasha McPherson’s entire body. It was so unrelenting and intense that the 34-year-old could barely move.

“I was feeling severe pains everywhere and it was not getting any better. Eventually, I had no choice but to go to the ER,” said Natasha, a Toronto resident.

For Natasha, these episodes of severe pain are common for people with sickle cell disease. The hereditary condition is characterized by the presence of abnormal, crescent-shaped red blood cells that become and oxygen from reaching other parts of the body. This blockage causes people to experience excruciating and sudden episodes of pain (some compare it to the pain experienced during childbirth). Over time, the disease will cause severe damage to the organs and may cause stroke, lung problems and even premature death.


Cutting-edge imaging technology enhances outcomes for cardiac, cancer and other patients

Every year approximately a quarter of a million people access comprehensive medical imaging services at North York General Hospital (NYGH). Radiologists use different imaging technologies to perform a range of diagnostic and monitoring functions from evaluating the pumping function of the heart to providing cross-sectional images of a person’s bones, blood vessels and soft tissues.

NYGH recently improved its capacity to deliver these critical diagnostic services thanks to a new MRI suite installed in the hospital’s Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji Family Foundation Centre for Medical Imaging.

The advanced 1.5T MRI—made possible by a lead gift from Gulshan & Pyarali G. Nanji—is improving patient care and experiences by delivering faster and clearer images, reducing the time spent in the imaging tunnel, and using quieter technology.


International research led by North York General Hospital focuses on ‘other’ cardiac heroes

It was a Monday night football game that no one watching will ever forget. In front of a packed stadium in Cincinnati, Damar Hamlin of the Buffalo Bills collapsed after colliding with another player. The football star suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Coaches, fans, TV viewers and distraught players on both teams watched helplessly as emergency responders worked quickly to resuscitate the fallen player. Thankfully, they were able to do so, and after several weeks of intensive medical care Hamlin is on the road to recovery.

As Hamlin’s experience shows, these events can also take a serious toll on the people who witness the episode. This very personal and public event happened several months after the release of a scientific statement by the American Heart Association led by Katie Dainty, PhD., Research Chair in Patient-Centred Outcomes at North York General Hospital (NYGH) and an Associate Professor at the University of Toronto examining the psychological experiences of lay responders who witness and/or intervene in a person’s cardiac arrest.

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The Pulse is a publication of the Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Department at North York General Hospital.  Learn more or subscribe.