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Centre for Global Child Health

Global Child Health at SickKids celebrate Canada 150+

SickKids is proud to be a part of Canada’s contribution to improving the health and wellbeing of women, children and adolescents around the world. As one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health, SickKids is in a unique position to make an impact on a global level.

For Canada 150+, SickKids is looking back at the unique moments that have shaped SickKids and the nation. The SickKids Centre for Global Child Health (C-GCH) is proud to be a part of this history.  Read on to learn about the past, present and future leaders working in Canada to improve the lives of children and their families in resource poor environments around the world.

Dr. Helen Dimaras' Research team (Toronto team)
Meet Dr. Helen Dimaras’ team (Toronto Team): (top) Dr. Helen Dimaras, Principal Investigator at C-GCH, Arunan Selvarajah, Max Gelkopf, Kaitlyn Hougham (bottom): Beth White, Victoria Lee-Kim, Jamie Fujioka. Not pictured: Catherine Moses.

 

Born and raised in Toronto, Dimaras developed an interest in Global Health while completing a Global Health & Clinical Trials Post-Doctoral Fellowship at SickKids. Her research, based in Toronto and Kenya, focuses on patient improvement outcomes and cancer survival gap, specifically in retinoblastoma (childhood eye cancer). Combining her expertise in global health and retinoblastoma, Dimaras and her team have developed the ‘One Retinoblastoma World map’ , a tool that tracks global resources and expertise for retinoblastoma, and a patient engagement strategy resource that facilitates the involvement of patients and families in retinoblastoma research. The team is conducting research to identify key areas of implementing genetic services in diverse settings, currently underway in Kenya.

As future leaders in global child health, some of Dimaras’ Summer Students share their thoughts on how Canada can play a leading role in global child health.

“Canada can use its resources to be a global face for improving the lives of women and children. It can promote research and other methodical approaches to bring about social change and to bring awareness to those in need to improve the lives of women and children,” says Max Gelkopf, a Research Summer Student from the University of Guelph. Max is assessing the quality of life of children with retinoblastoma.

“I see Canada becoming a leader in global child health in the next 150 years. Whether at home or abroad, Canada can lead the way in giving women and children a voice and address some of the systemic challenges they face on a daily basis," says Beth White, a Research Summer Student from the University of Toronto. Beth is working on a patient engagement strategy which will assist in further developing a research registry and guiding policies for patients with retinoblastoma.

“Canada is setting the example for the other countries in research and being a leader in helping to reduce the health gap between countries," says Victoria Lee-Kim, a Research Summer Student from Western University. Victoria is working on creating a biobank of retinoblastoma tumour samples within the SickKids Central Biobank.

“Canada provides many privileges that are often inaccessible to children and youth in other parts of the world. I hope that Canadian students recognize their privilege and are motivated to advocate for improved social, material and economic conditions for children situated in areas of disadvantage," says Jamie Fujioka, a Research Summer Student from the University of Toronto. Jamie is working to update the One Retinoblastoma World Map.

“We live in an interconnected and globalized world, so the health and wellbeing of children and youth affects us all, no matter where we live. Over the next 150 years, Canada can contribute to improving women and children’s health globally by establishing strong global partnerships to research, develop, implement and evaluate evidence-based approaches to improve health,” says Helen Dimaras, Principal Investigator at C-GCH.

A group of Dimaras’ Research Summer Students are in Kenya working on the new ‘Global Genetics’ project.

Dr. Helen Dimaras' Research team (Kenya team)
Meet Dr. Helen Dimaras’ team (Kenya team): (left to right) Kai Xia, Smriti Savasikumar, Min Jo, Adrina Zhong, Hannah Girdler. Not pictured: Leslie Oldfield.

To learn more about the projects, click on the links below:

Mapping Retinoblastoma Services

Saving Lives: Cancer Pathology in Africa

Exploring the ethical design of global health study abroad/service learning experiences

Dimaras Lab- Global Retinoblastoma Research