Canada-Ukraine Foundation



A successful and experienced sales and marketing professional who has worked at global leaders in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, Orest is well respected for his leadership capability, strategic planning expertise and passion for delivering results. Orest’s successes in industry include leading the launches of a novel, highly specialized therapy for an ultra-orphan blood disorder, and a blockbuster drug for advanced cancer patients. Orest co-founded and launched Men’s Health Solutions, a company focused on the optimization of patient outcomes in male-specific diseases, which evolved to become Canada’s largest network of male health clinics.

Orest has also worked as a healthcare consultant, helping clients evaluate and re-focus their strategic plans and programs. His past clients include: multi-national pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, professional associations, healthcare start-ups, specialty and community pharmacies. He is currently a member of the Oncology team at Sanofi Genzyme Canada, helping bring new cancer therapies to Canadian patients.

Orest has dedicated a significant amount of his time volunteering for ethnic arts & culture organizations, and grassroots community organizations. Orest is a member of the Board of Directors at the Ukrainian Canadian Foundation of Taras Shevchenko (2016-present) and was appointed UCC’s National Advocacy chair in 2019, after leading the Education Committee at UCC Toronto (2014-2018). At the Shevchenko Foundation, Orest has played central roles on the governance and communications committees, as well as the launch of several novel initiatives including the MITACS and REACH programs, and the inaugural TRYZUB Awards Gala.

Orest’s ability to align a diverse set of stakeholders around a common cause and come to a mutually agreeable solution has been demonstrated on several education and arts-related issues over the past decade.

CUF’s marathon in helping Ukraine continues

By New Pathway -Dec 24, 2019

Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn operates during CUF’s medical mission in Ukraine

Yuri Bilinsky, New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

The Berlin wall came down 30 years ago but psychologically it still shapes the economic and political lives of the people in Eastern Germany. Canada-Ukraine Foundation’s President Victor Hetmanczuk provided this example of how long societal change can take under the best of circumstances, at the UCC’s XXVI Congress in Ottawa in November.

The war in Ukraine has gone for six years and we do not know how long this war will continue, Victor Hetmanczuk said. When the war does end, how long is it going to take us to come up with a meaningful plan to help the people in Luhansk and Donetsk oblast? Are Ukrainians willing to pay a 5.5% solidarity tax that the Germans still pay to subsidize the construction of an equal society in Eastern Germany? Will the Ukrainian diaspora agree to pay a 5.5% tax to help rebuild the Donbas? Who is going to invest an amount comparable to $3 trillion that has been invested into Eastern Germany since late 1980s?

All these questions, which Victor Hetmanczuk posed in his speech at the Humanitarian Aid for Ukraine workshop during the Congress, demonstrate the magnitude of the problems facing Ukraine. These problems won’t be solved with band-aids, it’s going to be a marathon, he said.

This marathon for the Canada-Ukraine Foundation started in 1995 when CUF was established as a National Charitable Public Foundation. Between 2014-2018, CUF conducted 114 projects in Canada and Ukraine. Over these five years, CUF collected more than CAD 9.6 million ($4.9 million were provided by federal and provincial governments). This kind of financing puts CUF among the biggest charitable donors of Ukraine-related projects globally.

Medical supplies provided by CUF

The Foundation is also active in Canada. In 2018, it was successful in obtaining new grants for the Holodomor Bus: $1.5 million from the Federal Government and $750,000 from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Since the start of the Bus Tour in 2015, around 53 thousand people visited the Bus.

The Canadian Holodomor Bus project has had its repercussions even for Ukraine. During the Toronto Reform Conference in July 2019, President Zelenskyy and his wife visited the Bus at the Holodomor Monument in the CNE grounds. It made an impact on them to the point of further meetings were held in Kyiv recently that could lead to a draft Memorandum of Understanding about CUF’s participation in the building and programming of a similar bus for Ukraine.

The Holodomor Tour Bus in Ottawa

CUF has as its charitable objectives relief of poverty, advancement of education, health care and religion, assisting in observation of elections and other purposes beneficial to the community.

In Ukraine, CUF’s medical mission has consisted of the following: surgical missions, upgrading of medical skills, assistance for the Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre, dental program for orphans and PTSD support for veterans.

Dzherelo Rehabilitation Centre

CUF’s Ukrainian medical missions have just seen a significant extension. The Foundation has signed a three-year agreement with the Sunnybrook Health Science Centre to participate in the Sunnybrook Ukraine Surgery Education Partnership located in Lviv. Within the partnership, there will be master classes for surgeons, a symposium and an observership in Toronto. In October 2019, on the first mission, 26 patients had operations done in three operation rooms simultaneously, while 138 doctors attended the one-day symposium.

Within CUF’s Ukrainian dental program, 427 orphaned children were examined and received 448 dental appointments where they had 720 dental fillings and numerous other treatments. 47 professionals and volunteers from Ukraine were involved in this program.

CUF’s Ukrainian dental program

The Defenders of Ukraine projects in 2018 were funded by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National from the proceeds of the Invictus Games event in Toronto in 2018. These projects included Ukrainian Social Academy for “Boots to Business” entrepreneurship training program for veterans and funding for the Donbas ATO Veterans Union and Centre Poruch for psychological support of veterans and their families. The Defenders of Ukraine projects also funded the Veterans House for ATO veterans providing temporary shelter and rehabilitation programs. Pobratymy and Dopomoha Ukraini organizations funded the training in overcoming combat shock trauma and preventing PTSD for veterans.

CUF expects that its revenue in 2019 will amount to $2.3M. These funds will help the Foundation remain the focal point of the Ukrainian Canadian community’s assistance to Ukraine. One of the UCC Congress’ resolutions reads that the UCC will continue to support and augment Canadian humanitarian assistance to Ukraine through the existing mandate of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation. CUF will collaborate with UCC to coordinate, promote, help prioritize and maximize the effectiveness of aid to Ukraine. UCC’s provincial councils are encouraged to communicate to their membership CUF’s mission and objectives. Member organizations of UCC are also encouraged to access the CUF advisory groups for information, guidance and assistance.

The Foundation’s marathon in helping Ukraine overcome its hardships is continuing.

This memorial fund was setup in 2016 by Irene Bell in memory of her father. Lviv National Agrarian University [Львівський національний аграрний університет] is a technical school located in Dubliany, Lviv oblast. The Fund annually awards a number of students scholarships nominated by the university. Click here to donate


Operating as an independent rehabilitation facility, Dzherelo Centre is committed to consultation, rehabilitation treatment, education and counseling of both children with disabilities and their families. The process includes early referral, assessment and implementation of an individualized treatment plan by an integrated team of qualified professionals. To read more

The Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre provides a comprehensive program of educational and rehabilitation services to children and youth with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other developmental disabilities.

Created as an alternative to the state-run institutions, or “internats”, and operating as a charitable non-profit facility, the Centre is a pioneer and model in its field not only in the city of Lviv, but in all of Ukraine.

Dzherelo is helping to build an inclusive society that welcomes people with special needs, respects their dignity and rights, appreciates their unique gifts, and provides them with opportunities to realize their full potential. 

At Dzherelo Centre a broad spectrum of educational and rehabilitation programs are offered to children and youth in three main areas:

Child Development Clinic (0-18 years of age)

Physical and psychological rehabilitation services are provided during individual and group sessions. “Early Intervention”  (0-4 years) offers assesment and implementation of a comprehensive rehabilitation program by an integrated team of qualified specialists. Families receive guidance and much needed psychological support.

Kindergarten and School (3-18 years of age)

Daily activities are conducted according to an individualized learning plan in a fully accessible environment. Children receive psychological support, speech therapy, access to alternative methods of communication, physical therapy, equine therapy, hydrotherapy and participate in cultural and recreational activities. The program also prepares children for inclusion into the regular school system.

Workshops for Youth (18-35 years of age)

Young people participate actively in programs promoting life-skills and social adaptation, creative expression and vocational training. In a friendly, nurturing environment, youth are encouraged to develop their hidden talents and grow in confidence and self-esteem. Excursions, nature walks, themed celebrations and social events are also a part of the program.

Presentation of Shevchenko Award to CUF
2019 Shevchenko Medal award for community development

At the XXVI Triennial Congress of Ukrainian Canadians, Alexandra Chyczij, the National President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress presented the Shevchenko Medal award to Victor Hetmanczuk, the president, and Roman Petryshyn, a founder of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

By New Pathway -Mar 6, 2018

UCPBA Calgary President Bohdan Romaniuk, Dr. Ihor Zastavnyy, Dr. Vadym Vus, Dr. Orest Kulenych, CUF President Victor Hetmanczuk, in the board room of the Assumption of the BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church. Halya Lypska-Wilson, Acting President, Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Calgary Branch

The Calgary Branch of UCC organized a “Meet and Greet” fellowship on January 22, 2018 for three visiting medical doctors from Ukraine. The meeting was held in the board room of the Assumption of the BVM Ukrainian Catholic Church, who support cultural events. The University of Calgary had just held a 3-day course “Emergency Medicine for Rural Hospitals.” This was the 34th Annual Conference and was held at the Banff Park Lodge. The vision of this course was to provide clinical topics relevant to physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals who practice in rural communities The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association (UCPBA) of Calgary co-sponsored this community event.

Bohdan Romaniuk, President of the UCPBA Calgary opened the meeting by welcoming the doctors and shared information about the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) and its President Victor Hetmanczuk and the phenomenal work that he and the organization is doing with help in Ukraine. The three doctors — Orest Kulenych from Ternopil, Vadym Vus from Rivne and Ihor Zastavnyy from Lviv region, had come to Alberta. Travelling and morally supporting the visitors was Victor Hetmanczuk. CUF has raised millions of dollars in funding for emergency medical assistance to Ukraine, especially to those affected by the war in the Donbas. Both Bohdan Romaniuk, and Victor explained the function of the Canada Ukraine Foundation and how it has been supporting medical help and doctors going to Ukraine to take care of the needs of patients and their families hurt in the war ongoing in Ukraine

Having visited our hospitals in Calgary, the three visiting doctors with amazement in their voices told those present how impressed they were with our Canadian system of healthcare. The availability of buses fitted with medical equipment and supplies that go to rural areas here in Alberta with help to those in need, including our STARS ambulance helicopter service. The sharing of ideas and support of medical staff was another important realization for them. Ukraine’s medical system differs from the Canadian one. The young doctors, and medical students present shared information. For example, the doctors who work in the villages are not allowed to do sutures, they send their patients to hospitals in the nearby cities, yet Danylo a first year medical student at U of C, learned to do them his first day in medical school.

Dr. Semkuley, who with his wife Elaine of Medical Mercy have been going to Ukraine for over 30 years with humanitarian help, compared experiences they had during their visits every May to villages in Western Ukraine and teaching the villagers to help themselves by building and renovating in their villages. Learning how they could improve their facilities on their own, not waiting for the government to help them. It has changed very slowly over the years and sometimes not. Dr. Ihor Zastavnyy mentioned that Ukrainians are starting to understand volunteerism, especially since the Revolution of Dignity and making positive changes by volunteering and organizing volunteer groups.

One of the doctors shared an experience of how it hasn’t changed. While attending to a patient when volunteering for ATO in Eastern Ukraine, a woman from the village learned he was from Western Ukraine and referred to him as Bandera “Banderivets”. She was apprehensive about him caring for her. He, in turn, said let me examine you and then you can judge me. She ended up telling him that she is immediately going to call her friends in Russia and Crimea and tell them that he was normal.

Most rewarding for those of us attending that evening was that we shared our love for Ukraine and wanting Ukraine to have the same level of healthcare that we in Canada are blessed with. In fact, within days Dr. Vadym Vus wrote the following: “Thank you very much for your warm meeting! We are already in our Motherland and it is pleasant to realize that your hearts are open to Ukraine. We will already extend the knowledge, experience and contacts that you have discovered for us. Blessing to your community and waiting to meet with you in Ukraine!” Vadym Vus.

Regarding Donations and Bequests for the Dzherelo Children’s Rehabilitation Centre

With the winding down of the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund (CCCF), the Druzi of Dzherelo are continuing their charitable work under the umbrella of the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF). 

Please make your future donations to the Centre payable to the Canada-Ukraine Foundation and in the memo line write: DZHERELO.

Mail to: Canada-Ukraine Foundation (for Dzherelo Centre), Suite 200, 620 Spadina Ave., Toronto, ON, M5S 2H4.

If there are questions, please send an email to

Board of Directors
Canada-Ukraine Foundation

                    Charitable Number 898992151RR0001

By New Pathway -May 15, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk

Photo from the CUF medical mission in Ukraine

From May 18 – 27, 2018, Canada-Ukraine Foundation held its 6th medical mission in Ukraine. The mission worked in Odesa and had as its goal to treat individuals injured in the ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine and conduct surgical master classes which would contribute to capacity building within Ukraine’s Ministry of Defense medical system. The mission was located at the Military Hospital Clinic Centre of the Southern Region.

Specifically, this project aimed to:

  1. Provide soldiers and civilians with devastating injuries an opportunity for the most complex surgical reconstructions, to restore function, minimize disfigurement, and enable them to return to assume productive lives.
  2. Save lives and radically reduce the number of casualties succumbing to their injuries due to inadequate primary trauma care.
  3. Provide training to local surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses, and provide them with the requisite resources to achieve and maintain a global standard of primary trauma care and post-traumatic deformity reconstruction.

Thankfully, instability in the country and war in Eastern Ukraine didn’t overwhelm treatment capacity in Odesa, the medical mission was carried out as planned. Instability in the country and ongoing war did not directly threaten the safety of the teams during the mission. All postoperative complications have been minimal.

Emails were exchanged between CUF lead surgeon, Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn and Ukrainian surgeons Dr. Fedirko and Dr. Mazur who have both conducted follow-up procedures and continue to offer their services to all of our patients.

The mission achieved:

  • Rapid intraoperative education of sophisticated health professionals (local Ukrainian plastic, ENT, maxillofacial and neurosurgeons, anesthetists, operating room staff), providing enhanced beneficiary skill to treat complex trauma and post-traumatic deformity.
  • Enhanced beneficiary access to resources required to perform complex trauma and post-trauma reconstruction and in implementing primary trauma life support.

Direct Beneficiaries:

  • Total # of direct beneficiaries (people directly trained, impacted, or influenced by the project): 139
  • Total # of direct beneficiaries who were women and girls: 33
  • Total # of direct beneficiaries who were men and boys: 106
  • Total # of indirect beneficiaries: An estimate of 700 people were indirect beneficiaries.

Indirect beneficiaries:

  • Medical professionals of the MOD of Ukraine and their patients and their families.
  • Families of wounded soldiers and civilians.
  • Medical students who attended lectures given by Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn and Dr. Todd Mainprize.

Gender Equality:

Gender considerations were taken into consideration as much as possible.

  • The surgical team travelling from Canada was comprised of both men and women. All professions were represented by both genders, demonstrating that both genders are capable of being great nurses and doctors. We worked closely with both male and female colleagues based on their specialties. We tried to and believe that we did empower women to take on leadership roles in the hospital and within the medical department in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. One way this was done was through one-on-one training between our operating room nurses and their Ukrainian counterparts. Jodi Clements mentored a young Ukrainian nurse teaching her the more advanced responsibilities that she has in the O.R. with the permission of the Ukrainian head nurse.
  • Patient recruitment did not differentiate between genders. Soldiers and volunteers injured as a result of the war, requiring the type of medical treatment our team is providing, were considered without preference for one gender over the other. There were very few females.
  • Efforts were made to report how many female and male members were part of the training audience. Reporting has been segregated by gender.

While every effort was made to be as inclusive as possible, the reality remains that there are not as many women as men enlisted in the Ukrainian armed forces. Very few women are serving in active duty on the front lines and therefore are not injured as often. Ukraine still has a male dominated military culture where women are not looked upon as equals in many cases. CUF made every effort to empower the women with whom we did come in contact. By taking male nurses and female surgeons with us on our medical missions we wanted to show our Ukrainian colleagues that the stereotype of women being nurses and men being doctors, which is so prevalent in Ukrainian culture, could be successfully altered.

One of our female patients was a volunteer and the other was in her home when it was bombed in Luhansk. The patient whose home was destroyed lost one of her legs and had severe burns on her body. Her hands were affected to the point where it is very difficult.

This was CUF’s first medical mission to Odesa. A lot of preparation work was done including two advance visits to help prepare the hospital and make them understand CUF’s requirements for the mission. Many supplies were collected and purchased in Canada in advance of the mission. Unfortunately, our shipment of 25 large boxes filled with supplies did not arrive on time. Thankfully the team had enough supplies with them and were able to purchase other necessary supplies to make up for this shortage. We were fortunate that we did not have to turn away any surgery thanks to the flexibility of Dr. Antonyshyn and his team and the willingness of the Ukrainian team to help us find and share whatever we needed.

The mission began on a very positive note with the Ambassador of Canada to Ukraine, Mr. Roman Waschuk hosting a kick-off reception along with members of the Operation Unifier team. Over 150 attended the reception. This included various stakeholders in Odesa and many of our counterparts from the Odesa Military Hospital.

Operations took place from Monday to Friday with 3 operating tables running full-out for the 5 days straight. Both teams worked very well together and the mission was deemed a success by both teams. The head of the hospital has invited CUF back again for the same sort of “master class medical mission” whenever we are willing.

By New Pathway -May 3, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk,

The meeting between President Petro Poroshenko and the Canadian team at the Kyiv Military Hospital

Activity 4: Surgical observerships in Ukraine and Canada

Our previous missions made it abundantly clear that Ukrainian health professionals required a rapid introduction to global standards of trauma care. Involvement in international organizations which focus on surgical education and research is critical, and we therefore pursued Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Craniomaxillofacial (AOCMF) membership and training for two key surgeons.

The Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Osteosynthesefragen Foundation (AO Foundation) is an organization led by an international group of surgeons specialized in the treatment of trauma and disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Founded in 1958, AO fosters one of the most extensive networks of currently more than 16,000 surgeons, operating room personnel, and scientists in over 100 countries. Their mission is to foster and expand the network of health care professionals in education, research, development and clinical investigation to achieve more effective patient care worldwide. The AOCMF is the division of this organization which focuses on Craniomaxillofacial surgery (

Observerships for 2 Ukrainian surgeons were carried out in Switzerland.

Two lead Ukrainian surgeons attended the AOCMF Principles of Facial Fracture Repair Course in Davos, Switzerland in December 2015 – Drs Igor Fedirko, and Dr. Ivan Pavliuk. Dr. Fedirko is the Head of the Maxillofacial Surgery Department at the Central Military Hospital Clinic in Kyiv where we carry out our surgical missions. Dr. Pavliuk is an associate and full time consultant in the same department. The contribution supports their registration, travel, accommodation and food expenses.

  • Both surgeons were supported in their applications to the AOCMF European Faculty.
  • Admission to faculty impacts future educational development in trauma surgery in Ukraine:
  1. The 2 surgeons can sponsor other Ukrainian surgeons for membership to AO and participation in AO courses;
  2. This greatly facilitates the possibility of organizing and hosting regional AOCMF courses in Kyiv through local faculty (Drs Fedirko and Pavliuk) to educate other Ukrainian trainees.

Activity 5: Ukrainian Trauma Life Support Courses

UTLS is an intensive five-day course consisting of seminars, workshops, practical stations and simulations run in real time. There are 25 students at each course, allocated to five groups of four students and one group of five students. Students receive a manual, already translated into Ukrainian, 4 weeks prior to the start of the course and they are advised to study the manual carefully before attending the course.

Four separate courses were taught by six physicians and licensed paramedics as senior instructors and six Patriot Defence instructor assistants/translators. A total of 97 doctors completed the four course cycles. A total of 100 doctors were registered, however three doctors were forced to leave the courses early due to an unforeseen event (illness, deployment into the ATO). All 97 doctors received certificates of completion that are good for four years.

The goal of this project was to support those that are most severely and profoundly affected by the war in Ukraine, and to provide the requisite skills and resources to those who care for them. Specifically this project aimed to:

  • Provide soldiers with devastating injuries an opportunity for the most complex surgical reconstructions, to restore function, minimize disfigurement, and enable them to return to assume productive lives
  • Save lives and radically reduce the number of casualties succumbing to their injuries due to inadequate primary trauma care
  • Provide training to local surgeons, anesthetists, and nurses, and provide them with the requisite resources to achieve and maintain a global standard of primary trauma care and post-traumatic deformity reconstruction.

All three objectives were achieved with unprecedented success. There is no other country or organization that has been able to implement a surgical mission of this magnitude in Ukraine, or that has had a similar impact on the future development of trauma management in Ukraine. Direct intervention by Canadian health care professionals in mitigating the devastation of war in Ukraine highlights Canada’s foreign policy and humanitarian efforts, and sends a powerful message to Russian aggressors. The unanticipated benefit is the regard that Ukrainian injured, medical professionals, and the population in general have for Canada. The Canadian surgical missions were reported in 148 news broadcasts, videos and publications within Ukraine, and the reception received by Canadian team members was exceptionally cordial and enthusiastic.

The degree to which the Canadian Surgery Mission influenced public opinion within Ukraine was highlighted by a surprise visit by the President of Ukraine and his delegation to the Kyiv Military Hospital while the Canadian Team was operating. President Petro Poroshenko awarded Medals of Merit to three Canadian team members who provided treatment for the wounded ATO warriors in the Main Military Clinical Hospital in the framework of the Ukrainian- Canadian joint initiative. They were as follows: Dr. Oleh Antonyshyn, Dr. Carolyn Levis and Krystina Waler.

In the course of the meeting, the Head of State noted: “Thank you for your care. It is very easy to stay at home and say that you do not care. Your arrival symbolizes that we are not alone in our struggle against the aggressor. You are a symbol of global support for Ukraine”.

The president expressed special gratitude to the people of Canada for helping Ukraine.

The second unanticipated outcome was the recognition of Canadian expertise in organizing and implementing trauma surgery missions by the international medical community. Launching a self-contained multidisciplinary surgical mission to perform surgery of this complexity in a foreign country is distinctly uncommon and has rarely been accomplished with any degree of success. Canadian Mission Team members have been asked to discuss and describe details of the development, organization, management and execution of international surgical missions in various forums: Department of Surgery assemblies in University of Alberta, Edmonton, University of Calgary, Dalhousie University, the University of Toronto Global Surgery Program.

Most notably, the successes of the CUF GPSF supported surgery missions have prompted other groups to explore possibilities for humanitarian projects in Ukraine. Members of the U.S. Army approached CUF to share the knowledge that we have gained. A delegation led by Col. Anne L. Naclerio, Deputy Surgeon General for the U.S. Army Europe, observed the CUF medical mission on Thursday, February 25, 2016 after which a meeting took place to discuss possible collaboration moving forward. Pending approvals, Col. Anne L. Naclerio hopes to run a medical mission to treat orthopedic trauma while training Ukrainian military medical professionals to do so effectively themselves.

By New Pathway -Apr 23, 2019 – Victor Hetmanczuk, Canada-Ukraine Foundation.

CUF’s team operates at the Ukrainian Military Hospital.  Photo: Adriana Luhovy
CUF’s team operates at the Ukrainian Military Hospital.
Photo: Adriana Luhovy

During the missions, we also provided training to military surgeons, surgical trainees and nursing staff at the Central Military Hospital Clinic (CMHCK). These Ukrainian medical personnel are already in the front lines treating war casualties in the country’s foremost trauma centre. All patient consultations and all surgical procedures were performed in collaboration and with the active participation of Ukrainian surgeons and anesthetists. The projected number of people that would be trained and have their surgical skills enhanced was exceeded. There was such a huge thirst for learning and knowledge from our Ukrainian colleagues that people were constantly coming and observing. Operating tables would have up to 20 people surrounding each of them at any given time.

Each of the 2 missions provided direct intensive intraoperative training to the CMHCK staff: 3 anesthetists, 3 anesthesia assistants, 5 surgeons, 3 surgery assistants/trainees, and 2 nurses. In addition to these 16 people, direct intraoperative training and teaching was provided to 65 visiting surgeons, nurses and medical students. Throughout the mission, military neurosurgeons, maxillofacial surgeons, ENT (ear nose and throat), trauma and plastic surgeons and trainees from Kyiv, Odessa, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk came and went. In total, over the two medical missions, 81 people (many that observed the first mission returned to observe during the second mission) were able to enhance their skills through training obtained during the course of the medical missions.

The training was provided according to standards employed in Canada for Continuing Medical Education (CME) and resident training. Ukrainian health professionals actively participated in:

  1. Patient assessment, physical examination, radiographic examination
  2. Formulation of treatment plan and surgery preparation
  3. Discussion of options, variables, risks, and risk management
  4. Practical demonstration of requisite surgical skills
  5. Instruction in postop management of pain, infection prophylaxis, etc.

Resident teaching and training is vastly different in Canada and Ukraine, with the Canadian system being much more formal and defined in terms of teaching standards, methods, requirements for competence-based learning, availability of educational resources. One of the unexpected outcomes and legacies of these missions was the demonstration of resident training methods employed in Canada, and the enthusiasm with which local Ukrainian trainees responded to these efforts.

In an effort to maintain and develop this ongoing clinical and educational collaboration across borders, a decision was made to develop a Telemedicine Program. Experience previously obtained in developing live surgery demonstrations for International CME programs (Advanced Craniomaxillofacial Forums) and research of current technology and standards for two way videoconferencing through “Sunnybrook telemedicine” and “Ontario Telemedicine Network” facilitated the design of a telemedicine system that would optimally serve the patient care and educational needs at the Kyiv Main Military Hospital.

The Telemedicine system will be used to:

  1. Document relevant surgical cases performed by orthopaedic, craniofacial, hand and microsurgeons, and neurosurgeons at Sunnybrook Hospital
  2. Conduct combined surgical rounds and seminars featuring recorded surgical cases
  3. Perform remote clinical or radiological consultations

The equipment necessary to establish a telemedicine/ telesurgery link between Ukrainian and Canadian Trauma Centres was selected following presentations and quotes by Stryker Endoscopic Systems and Panasonic. Panasonic was chosen based on quality of product and best price. The system comprises 3 hubs:

  1. A portable OR cart with camera and video recorder. This will be available to any Sunnybrook OR performing relevant surgery. The recorder allows documentation of data from multiple sources: overhead camera, head cam, and computer (for CT data, and powerpoints)
  2. Telecommunications Hub at Sunnybrook Hospital
  3. Telecommunications Hub at Kyiv Main Military Hospital

Panasonic professionals came to Sunnybrook to teach Dr. Antonyshyn the most effective way to set-up and use the equipment. Dr. Antonyshyn shared this information with his Ukrainian colleagues.

The use of two-way videoconferencing and advanced information communication technologies to deliver examinations, treatments, clinical, and education services will allow Sunnybrook Health Sciences in Toronto and the CMHCK to collaborate, share knowledge and consult patient cases for years to come. Dr. Antonyshyn has the same implants, instrument sets and pieces of equipment that were purchased for the CMHCK (to create a centre of excellence in Craniofacial surgery) at Sunnybrook Health Sciences. Since our second medical mission, our colleagues have continued to use the new technologies that were purchased for them. Through telemedicine, Dr. Antontyshyn will continue to train his Ukrainian colleagues to use the new equipment, instruments and implants, that were donated to them, as efficiently and effectively as possible by consulting on specific cases and organizing viewings of his complex surgeries. Dr. Antonyshyn in Canada and Dr. Ihor Fedirko in Ukraine are both committed to using this educational tool for years to come.

Further refinement of these initial efforts and wider adaptation of Telemedicine through Ukrainian Medical teaching centres can potentially revolutionize training of health professionals and delivery of health care. This leaves a legacy.

Trillium Foundation

Ukraine Rebuilding Fund

Defenders of Ukraine

CUF Medical Missions

Holodomor Awareness Tour Project

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