Established in 1978, it is the only division in a Canadian paediatric institution and one of very few in North America. While the original focus of the Division was research and leadership in drug use, a number of clinical services were put into place in the 1980s. The Motherisk program, for example, has evolved into a national resource centre allowing pregnant and lactating women to get up-to-date information on the safety profile of all types of medications, street drugs, and common household products, infectious agents during pregnancy. As one of the biggest in traing centers for Clinical Pharmacology, during the last five years we have trained over 30 physicians from 15 countries in Paediatric and Developmental Therapeutics.
The last several years have seen substantial growth in the Division’s clinical activities. Most notably, the caseload in the Motherisk program has increased from 8,000 in 1992 to 35,000 in 2003. In addition, the Poison Information Centre, received more than 70,000 inquirers in 2003. The Division maintains a large number of crosslinks with other divisions and departments at the hospital.
Not surprisingly, technology has been playing a larger and larger role within the Division. In 1997, the Poison Information Centre established a computerized database that allows front-line staff to enter data electronically while simultaneously counseling patients and their families, and Motherisk is in the process of setting up a similar system.