Facebook Pixel Code
Paediatric Medicine
Paediatric Medicine

Norman Saunders Complex Care Initiative - Grant Competition


A fund has been established by friends and family of the late Dr. Norman Saunders to recognize his contributions to the care of children and their families in his primary care paediatric office as well as at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) throughout his distinguished career.  The purpose of the Norman Saunders Complex Care Initiative is to support research and academic activity related to the clinical care of children with multiple and complex health challenges.

As part of this initiative, a sum of $50,000 per year has been made available to support research addressing important questions relating to the clinical care of the growing population of complex care patients.  This grant competition will be administered through the Division of Paediatric Medicine in the Department of Paediatrics and the Research Institute at SickKids.


To promote innovative, interdisciplinary research related to the broad area of complex care in children's health.  The Norman Saunders Complex Care Initiative fund has designated some money to be used to provide SickKids researchers with seed money to pursue research ideas that are currently not the targeted areas of conventional funding agencies.  Projects eligible for funding from a disease specific granting agency or industry will not be considered.

General information

Criteria for award

Grant applications should be focused on children with complex medical needs, defined as children who have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • are affected by multiple organ system dysfunction
  • have multiple health/developmental challenges which impact their daily lives and/or
  • require multiple services from multiple sectors, in multiple locations

Targeted issues

  • Models of care
  • Medical home
  • Care coordination
  • Outcomes
  • Population health
  • Health systems issues
  • Quality of life
  • Therapeutic interventions


Full-time and/or part-time physicians, as well as nurses and allied health professionals and trainees who are members of the Department of Paediatrics at SickKids and/or are affiliated with the University of Toronto.  New and junior investigators are encouraged to apply.

Application Guidelines

Applicants should submit their applications as follows:

  • Submission is electronic ONLY and must be sent as a single PDF file
  • The submission should be presented in one PDF file containing:
  • Internal scientific review
      • Three single-spaced pages (please do not exceed the page limit-only 3 pages will be evaluated), must include:
        • Rationale and objectives
        • Expertise/qualifications of applicants essential for this study
        • Research outline, methods and time-line
        • Impact of study and relevance to the Norman Saunders Complex Care Initiative (see Background, Purpose, Criteria above)
        • Potential outcome
      • Maximum two pages of references with full titles
      • Maximum two figures
      • Maximum two reprints, manuscripts, etc. if absolutely pertinent
      • One page budget justification (ineligible expenses: conference travel, standard office equipment, computer hardware, furniture) and personnel involved
      • Appropriate ethics protocols (these may follow application)

Applications are to be emailed to: grantcomp.paedmed@sickkids.ca
Submission Deadline
: Friday, September 15, 2017.
* a decision will be made by the end of October 2017. Award recipients will be notified

For further information please contact:
Cindy Groff

Administrative Coordinator, Complex Care 
Paediatric Medicine

Review Process, Responsibility & Accountability

Composition or Review Committee:
Committee of at least five members which may include representation from the Division of Paediatric Medicine SickKids, RI SickKids, BMRC, an allied health professional, member of the Saunders family.

  • Committee: Chair (to be decided from amongst the committee members)
  • A representative member from the Division of Paediatric Medicine
  • A senior scientist from the Child Health Evaluative Sciences program, SickKids
  • A representative from the Bloorview Kids Rehab
  • A representative from the Allied Health Professional Group
  • A member of Dr. Norman Saunders’ family
  • Ad hoc reviewers may be invited depending on topics submitted for review

Peer-review Process and Evaluative Criteria:
In general, the CIHR peer review process and ranking scales will be followed.

  • Each application will be assigned to two reviewers for independent assessment
  • Each application will be evaluated on a) clinical relevance to complex care in children’s health, b) scientific contributions, c) relevance to the intent of the Norman Saunders Complex Care Initiative
  • The merits and scores given by the two reviewers will be discussed at the reviewer committee meeting
  • A consensus of scores and ranks will be reached through an anonymous voting process
  • Results will be provided to applicants

Responsibility & Accountability
The following is required of all funded applications:

  • Obtain REB approval from SickKids and/or other institutes involved
  • Begin funding within six months of receipt (March)
  • Submit final report with a financial statement within six months of project completion
  • Return unused or remaining funds
  • Be prepared to present findings at a local symposium to showcase projects funded by the NSCCI

Funded Projects


  • Development of a Conceptual Framework for Quality of Life in Children with Medical Complexity Nearing the End of Life – Kim Widger (PI)/ Dr. Adam Rapoport/ Sherri Adams / Dr. Jurg Streuli / Rose Steele.
  • Housing and Health: An Exploration of Housing need in Children with Medical Complexity (CMC) – Dr. Julia Orkin (PI)/ Dr. Eyal Cohen / Joanna Soscia / Kathy Netten / Kara Hounsell
  • Paediatric Tracheostomy Care: An evaluation of an innovative competency-based education program for community health care providers – Dr. Reshma Amin (PI)/ Dr. Julia Orkin (PI) / Stephanie Chu / Catharine Walsh / Krista Keilty / Sandra McKay.


  • Competence in Complex Care: A Multicenter Randomized Trial of Curricular Modules in the Care of Children with Medial Complexity for Paediatric Residents - Julia Orkin (PI)/ Kathleen Huth/ Sara Long-Gagne.*(Co-funded with a Paediatric Consultants Educational Scholarship Grant)
  • Exploring families and Health Care Providers (HCPs) Experiences Using a Cloud-based Care Plan for Children with Medical Complexity (CMC) - Sherri Adams (PI)/ Arti Desai.
  • The Experiences of Bereaved Family Caregivers with Advance Care Planning for Children with Medical Complexity - Julia Orkin (PI)/ Sarah Lord/ Reshma Amin.


  • The experiences and expectations of family caregivers and health care providers of advance care planning in children with medical complexity (CMC) – Dr. Reshma Amin (PI)/Dr. Julia Orkin
  • The role of whole genome sequencing as a diagnostic tool for children with medical complexity – Dr. Robyn Hayeems (PI)/Stephen Meyn
  • Getting to School: An investigation of Household Experiences with Disability in Childhood – Dr. Andrew Howard (PI)/Ron Builiung, Tim Ross


  • The exploring sleep study: A study exploring the experiences and perceptions of end-users in the development of SLEEP promoting intervention among family caregivers of children who depend on medical technology-Krista Keilty (PI)
  • Core set of outcomes for children with severe neuro-disability and gastrostomy tube dependency: a tool of standardized outcomes for clinical research and practice- Dr. Martin Offringa (PI)
  • The experience of caregivers of children with medical complexity receiving blenderized tube feeding: a qualitative study-Joanna Soscia (PI)/ Dr. Julia Orkin


  • An exploration of care mapping among families of children with medical complexity - Sherri Adams/Dr. Ronik Kanani (PI)
  • Exploring parent-health care provider decision making practices for children with complex health care needs receiving home care services: A pilot study using a multiple case-study design - Dr. Karen LeGrow/Dr. Eyal Cohen


  • The Development of a Tool to Assess Caregiver Knowledge and Skills Needed to Safely Care for Children Receiving Invasive Long-term Mechanical Ventilation at Home - Dr. Reshma Amin (PI)
  • Care to SLEEP Study - Dr. E. Cohen/Krista Keilty (PI)
  • Surgical interventions and outcomes of children with trisomy 13 and 18 in Ontario - Dr. Kate Nelson (PI)


  • Developing and evaluating a support network for families caring for medically complex children  - Dr. Barbara Muskat (PI)
  • “Joined Up” Government: Optimizing governance models to serve the needs of children with medical complexity  - Dr. Charlotte Moore Hepburn (PI)


  • The natural history of swallowing dysfunction in infants with dysphagia  - Sherna Marcus (PI)
  • The MASC (Medical and Social Complexity) Screening tool Derivation Study. Phase 1 – Tool Construction and pilot-testing (Yr. 2)  - Dr. Jonathon Maguire (PI)
  • A process evaluation of the Integrated Complex Care Model (ICCM)  - Dr. Shauna Kingsnorth (PI)


  • The MASC (Medical and Social Complexity) Screening tool Derivation Study. Phase 1 – Tool Construction and pilot-testing (Yr. 1)  - Dr. Jonathon Maguire (PI)
  • Parental perceptions of forgoing artificial nutrition and hydration during end-of-life care for their children  - Dr. Adam Rapoport (PI)
  • Songs of Children Said to be Silent  - Dr. Patricia McKeever (PI)


  • The usefulness of comprehensive care plans for children with special health care needs (CSHCN) - Sherri Adams (PI)
  • Anti-reflux procedures after gastrostomy in children with neurologic impairment:  A nested case-control study  - Dr. Sanjay Mahant (PI)
  • Collaborative community-based complex care coordination  - Dr. Eyal Cohen (PI)
  • Regional migration patterns of families of children with complex chronic conditions  - Dr. Astrid Guttmann (PI)