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About Sickkids
About SickKids

January 20, 2012

Top 11 of 11

The year 2011 was a banner year for SickKids. We received one award after another, continued construction on a building we could only have dreamt of five years ago, and raised an unprecedented amount of money to help children get better.  Here are 11 of the top stories for 2011. See more news from 2011.

One of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures

most admired corporate culture logo

In November, SickKids was named one of Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures for 2011. The Most Admired Corporate Cultures program was established by Waterstone Human Capital to recognize the importance of corporate culture in driving organizational performance. SickKids was also a regional winner, one of five organizations named to the Broader Public Sector special category in October.

SickKids was chosen from 440 nominated organizations across Canada. Forty-two organizations were named to regional or special category competitions, and from those, 10 national award winners were chosen. Organizations were chosen based on a nomination, then a formal application that included in-person interviews between Waterstone and an organization’s senior executives. Submissions included questions pertaining to corporate vision, performance, alignment and social responsibility.

A Top 100 Employer

Canada's Top 100 logo

SickKids was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2012 by Mediacorp Canada. The organizations on the Top 100 list, announced in October, were chosen from over 2,750 organizations from across the country. SickKids was the only paediatric hospital named to the prestigious list. SickKids was also named one of Greater Toronto’s Top Employers for 2012 by Mediacorp.

It’s been quite the year, in terms of external recognition, with workplace awards coming in steadily throughout the year. Award-winning life sciences magazine The Scientist named SickKids one of the Best Places to Work in Academia. The Ontario Hospital Association and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care named SickKids a platinum-level award winner of the 2011 Quality Healthcare Workplace Award. And SickKids’ commitment to innovation was recognized by the Institute of Public Administration of Canada (IPAC) with a prestigious Gold Award in Innovative Management.

One of Canada’s most powerful, influential women

Mary Jo Haddad

In December, Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, SickKids, was inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame. Haddad received a Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award, presented by the Women’s Executive Network, in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The award has become one of Canada’s most recognizable honours and is bestowed on Canada’s highest-achieving female leaders in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. To date, 584 women across the country have received this distinction. Only 83 women have gone on to be inducted into Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Hall of Fame.

Furthermore, in September, Women of Influence named Haddad one of Canada’s inaugural Top 25 Women of Influence. The Top 25 Women of Influence celebrates the achievements of 25 women across Canada in five industry categories: Business, Health Sciences, Professional Services, Public Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations. Haddad was recognized in the Health Sciences category. The winners were chosen from a pool of hundreds of accomplished Canadian women and represent a diverse list of women who are leading the pack. The women chosen are “authentic leaders, extraordinary achievers and exceptional role models for other aspiring Canadian women.”

Innovators win international grant competition

In July, a team of researchers at SickKids was successful in a global competition geared to finding the most innovative approaches for improving maternal and neonatal survival in rural regions of low-income countries. SickKids was one of 19 winners to receive a Grand Challenges award in the international grant competition, Saving Lives at Birth: A Grand Challenge for Development. There were more than 600 original applicants.


The SickKids project, Prenatal calcium to prevent preeclampsia and pre-term birth in resource-poor rural settings, is a proposal to develop “Prenatal Sprinkles.” The original Sprinkles, a micronutrient powder developed to address vitamin and mineral deficiencies in infants and young children, was created at SickKids by Dr. Stanley Zlotkin. This new version is designed for use by pregnant women in low-income countries as a means of delivering microencapsulated calcium, iron and folic acid to address the long-standing critical health problems associated with two conditions: anemia in pregnancy, associated with premature birth, and preeclampsia associated with hypertension, a major cause of maternal and fetal death.

Anemia is prevented by the use of iron and preeclampsia is prevented by the use of calcium. However, to date, combining iron and calcium has not been possible as the calcium interferes with iron absorption. The new product will contain pH-sensitive time-release microencapsulated iron and calcium to overcome this problem, thus enabling both nutrients to be safely delivered together. The grant will be used to develop and test “Prenatal Sprinkles.”

“Toronto protocol” improves survival rates

Research led by SickKids showed that children and adults with inherited cancer susceptibility benefit from a new cancer surveillance protocol that helps detect tumours early and improves overall survival. The study, published in the May 20 online edition of The Lancet Oncology, supports the use of genetic testing in at-risk individuals. It shows that close monitoring of patients who test positive for a genetic mutation can lead to early tumour detection. This detection can occur even before symptoms arise, allowing oncologists to remove tumours when they are small and, in some cases, eliminate the need for aggressive cancer therapy. The buzz has been spreading around the world, and institutions in the United States, Brazil, England, Israel and France are establishing similar surveillance programs adapted from the “Toronto protocol.”

Multilingual kiosks help families find their way

multicultural kiosk

Eight new multilingual kiosks were installed on the main floor of SickKids in March, offering information on wayfinding and hospital services to families and visitors. The kiosks are equipped with printers so users can take along maps and directions, to help guide them to their destination. The kiosk placed in the Emergency Department waiting room also offers access to health information, through a link to AboutKidsHealth.ca. The addition of the kiosks, made possible through Citizenship and Immigration Canada funding, is one of SickKids’ cultural competence initiatives.

A high-performing organization

Organizational performance reached a new high at SickKids in 2010-11. Each year, the leadership team identifies five or six key areas of focus, dedicating resources, energy and expertise to enhance performance and improve the value that we bring to patients and their families, as well as to each other as members of the SickKids family. There were many examples this past year where we have improved the patient experience and health outcomes, identified process improvements to enhance service, created learning atmospheres that are inspiring and informative, and made improvements to the work environment.

identifying processes at SickKids

One area where we’ve seen success is in our Emergency Department (ED). In 2010-11, 45 per cent of patients were admitted from the ED with a wait time of eight hours or less, a significant improvement from 36 per cent in 2009-10. Using a ‘Lean’ process improvement approach, a multidisciplinary team known as S.P.E.E.D. (Streamlining the Patient Experience from Entry to Discharge), made up of participants from both the ED and inpatient areas, began examining patient flow and mapping out every step along a patient’s journey to identify potential bottlenecks and reduce unnecessary wait times.

A towering investment

Research and Learning Tower

The Government of Ontario announced in August that it is investing $75 million towards The Research & Learning Tower at SickKids. The overflow crowd of SickKids staff and families that gathered to watch the announcement in the Atrium cheered loudly when the $75 million figure was announced.

“SickKids’ remarkable history shows us that by investing in research, we can improve health-care outcomes for our children, our most precious resource, and their families,” said Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation.

Towering 21 storeys above ground level at Bay and Elm streets, The Tower will be a hub where researchers and learners can congregate and share ideas to transform the current state of child health care.

We all learn with iLearn

In June, SickKids’ Information Management and Technology team, working with the Learning Institute, launched iLearn, SickKids’ learning management system. iLearn is a one-stop shop, designed to support the development, management and delivery of online and classroom learning at SickKids, providing a centralized location for staff to pursue various learning activities and provide greater flexibility to pursue each opportunity. Learning is a way of life at SickKids and iLearn makes it possible for learning to take place 24/7.

A record-breaking year for SickKids Foundation

SickKids Foundation had a record-breaking year, despite the lingering effects of a global economic recession, with donations of $106.8 million in 2010-11. This incredible achievement is a testament to the generosity of our donors and the hard work of volunteers and staff. The donations will enable the Foundation to make major investments in advancing child health both at SickKids and across the country through its National Grants Program.


Staying in touch with friends and families was made a little easier for patients, families and visitors with the introduction of SickKidsWiFi. The free network covers the Atrium, patient rooms and the Main Floor of the Black, Burton and Hill wings. In response to feedback from patients and families, SickKidsWiFi was recently enhanced to support even more mobile devices.