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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Catherine Birken, MD, MSc, FRCPC

The Hospital for Sick Children
Staff Paediatrician
Paediatric Medicine

Research Institute
Child Health Evaluative Sciences

University of Toronto
Associate Professor
Deaprtment of Paediatrics

Phone: 416-813-4930
Fax: 416-813-5979
e-mail: catherine.birken@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:


Brief Biography

  • Completed post-graduate training as Chief Resident in Paediatrics at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in 2001. 
  • From 2001-2004 completed a fellowship in Academic General Paediatrics at SickKids, as well as an M.Sc. degree in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research Program from the University of Toronto. 
  • Appointed as a Staff Paediatrician (clinical specialist), Division of Paediatric Medicine and Assistant Professor, University of Toronto in 2004.

Clinical Care Activities 

  • General inpatient paediatrics
  • Outpatient complex obesity treatment

Research Interests

  • Injury prevention
  • Childhood obesity prevention
  • Health promotion in preschool children through office practice settings
  • Complex morbid obesity treatment

Learning Intersts

  • Child Advocacy

External Funding

  • 2008-2013 Co-Investigator Canadian Institute Health Research Team Grant in Childhood Obesity


  • 2004 - The Children's Hospital Foundation Award for Excellence in Research - First Place, Fellow, Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba and the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
  • 2004 - Paediatric Research Award, Subspecialty Paediatrics Research award, Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto
  • 2002 - Graduate Student Union M.Sc. Posters Award, Research award, Department of Health Policy Management and Evaluative Sciences, University of Toronto


Maguire J, Salehi L, Birken C, Carsley S, Mamdani M, Thorpe K, Lebovic G, Khovratovich M, Parkin P: The association between total duration of breastfeeding and iron deficiency: A TARGet Kids! cross-sectional study.  Pediatrics  2013 May;131(5):e1530-7.

Birken CS, Dupuis A, Mekky M, Khambalia A, Pastor A, Lee M, Padavattan K, Parkin PC: Morphine is a risk factor for acute chest syndrome with sickle cell disease.  Hospital Pediatrics 1 April 2013; 3(2): 149-55.

Maguire J, Lebovic G, Kandasamy S, Khovratovich M, Mamdani M, Birken C, Parkin P on behalf of the TARGet Kids! Collaboration: The relationship between cow’s milk and stores of vitamin D and iron in early childhood.  Pediatrics  2013 Jan;131(1):e144-e151

Birken CS, Maguire J, Mekky M, Manlhiot C, Beck CE, DeGroot J, Jacobson S, Peer M, Taylor C, McCrindle BW, Parkin PC: Office-based randomized controlled trial to reduce screen time in preschool children: A TARGet Kids! Study.  Pediatrics 2012 Dec;130(6):1110-5.

Birken CS, Maguire, McCrindle BW, Hamilton, Parkin PC:  Childhood obesity prevention – Opportunities in healthcare.  Healthcare Quarterly July 2012: 15 Special Issue (4): pp 48-53.

Maguire JL, Birken CS, O'Connor DL, Macarthur C, Thorpe KE, Mamdani M, Parkin PC for the TARGet Kids! collaboration: Prevalence and predictors of low vitamin D in urban Canadian toddlers.  Paediatrics & Child Health 2011 Feb: 16(2): pp e11-e15.

Maguire JL, Birken CS, Jacobson S, Peer M, Taylor C, Khambalia A, Mekky M, Thorpe KE, Parkin PC: Office-based intervention to reduce bottle use among toddlers: TARGet Kids! Pragmatic randomized trial.  Pediatrics 2010: 126(2): pp e343-350.

Porepa M, Lam C, Huber JF, Au H, Birken CS: Kids on kids' health: Creating a child health magazine with students from an urban, multicultural, low-income elementary school. Paediatrics and Child Health 2009: 14: pp 219.

Birken CS, Parkin PC, To T, Macarthur C, Wilkins R: Neighbourhood socioeconomic status and homicide among children in urban Canada. Pediatrics 2009: 123: pp e815-e819.

Au H, Harrison M, Ahmet A, Orsino A, Beck CE, Tallett S, Gans M, Birken CS: Residents as Health Advocates: The Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Child Advocacy Initiative at the University of Toronto. Paediatrics and Child Health 2007: 12: pp 567-571.

Birken CS, Parkin PC, To T, Macarthur C: Trends in unintentional injury mortality rates in Canadian children living in census metropolitan areas: influence of socioeconomic status. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2006: 175: pp 867-868.

Birken CS, Macarthur C: Socioeconomic status and injury risk in children. Pediatrics & Child Health 2004: 9: pp 323-325.

Birken CS, Parkin PC, Macarthur C: Asthma severity scores for preschoolers displayed weaknesses in reliability, validity, and responsiveness. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology 2004: 11: pp 1177-81.

Birken CS, Parkin PC: In which journals will pediatricians find the best evidence for clinical practice? Pediatrics 1999: 103: pp 941-947.