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SickKids International

Our History

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It all began when the executive team at SickKids reviewed the hospital’s vision: Healthier Children. A Better World. The team decided to implement a strategy directed towards international work. SickKids already had a broad international presence through its international fellowship program and collaborations around the world.

In 2006, SickKids International was developed. Three original programs were created:

SickKids International (SKI), which provides consulting services for international healthcare partners.
Global Child Health, a revenue-neutral centre dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families in resource-poor environments.
International Patient Program, which provides healthcare for children from developing countries who could not receive the necessary complex care and treatment in their home countries.

Partners and recipients of each program are screened to ensure alignment with the SickKids vision while prioritizing Ontario and Canadian residents. As the programs developed, Global Child Health established its own centre and the International Learner Program became a part of SickKids International.

In 2008, the first SickKids International partnership with Ireland was established. New Children’s Hospital (NCH) requested our help in the consolidation of three existing children’s hospitals into one hospital, and to inform on factors impacting effective transportation. Focused on outcomes and measurement and sending our professionals to work and live in the country, the collaboration with NCH was a success.   

Shortly after, SKI expanded into the Middle East, establishing a program in Doha, Qatar in 2010. The five main clinical achievements of this project were: acute care (PICU, NICU, GPED, emergency), primary care, mental health, pain, and rehabilitation. The SKI team also focused on interprofessional team and leadership training, bringing together physicians, nurses, and leadership.

Since then, SKI’s network has expanded beyond the Middle East to India, China, and then South Africa.

The international projects provide SickKids staff with the international experience of living and working in another country – a remarkable opportunity unique to SickKids.   It also provides professional development opportunities for staff to gain consulting skills and teaching expertise. Through international work, our staff have passed on their knowledge, learned how to enhance delivery of patient care and how to better serve diverse communities. The comparatively high patient volumes in our international partner hospitals have provided us with the potential for more research data and capacity, which can be used to benefit patients being cared for at SickKids.

The relationships we have fostered with our international partners has improved pediatric care and quality, benefiting children throughout the world. We continue to provide local expertise based on international standards, allowing children and their families to remain in their home countries to receive adequate care without disruption.