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SickKids VS The greatest challenges of child health. October 2016 enewsletter.
SickKids VS The Odds

October 2016

Welcome to the new SickKids eNewsletter. Distributed quarterly, this publication will focus on a topic and highlight where we’ve been, where we are and where we are going: the THEN, the NOW and the NEXT. Please enjoy our most recent publication, and if you like what you see, subscribe now!

Message from Dr. Michael Apkon | Then - Breaking ground, building history | Now - We're fighting for kids like Grace | Next - Facing the future together


Mike Apkon


SickKids has always been at the forefront in providing world class care, research and learning in child health. We’ve led not only our community, but the world in fighting some of the most complex health challenges of our time. This fall is our chance to reflect on where the last 140 years has brought us and how far we can go in the future. From a rented house with six cots on Avenue Road to dominating two city blocks between University and Bay, SickKids represents countless victories in fighting the greatest challenges in child health in both the research and in clinical arenas. Our future is bright and our community is strong. But the battle isn’t over. Let’s face forward together.

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Photo of Premier George A. Drew turning the sod on the new SickKids building in 1947 100 characters.

As we continue to fight the battle, we rely upon our sturdy foundation.

On November 17, 1947, Ontario Premier George A. Drew officially broke ground on the footprint of the new SickKids campus at 555 University Avenue – still our address to this day. SickKids has always been at the forefront of progress in child health care. As the number of patients and clinical specialties has grown throughout the years - so has the need for the SickKids campus to extend - from a rented building with six cots, to a campus occupying two downtown city blocks.

Photo from the construction of 555 University Avenue in 1949.

We carry on a piece of our history as we plan for the future. The spade used by Drew for the ground-breaking ceremony in 1947 was saved in the hospital archives and used at similar ceremonies for the Atrium building at 170 Elizabeth St. in 1988 and the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning (PGCRL) at 686 Bay St. in 2010.

SickKids is currently at crossroads of strategic, technology and facility planning. As we prepare to fight new battles, we are beginning to consider the next generation of space at SickKids and how we will build upon our existing foundation.

To learn more about our exciting history, take a look at our soon-to-be-released history book.

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Grace is one reason why our fight goes on. We'd like to share her spirit and her story with you, in the next ad of the SickKids VS campaign.

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Dr. Michael Salter – Breaking Through with Research

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SickKids Chief of Research Dr. Michael Salter is optimistic about the future. He recently established a five-year strategic plan for the Institute with an emphasis on innovation, integration and translation of new knowledge. He believes a key differentiator of our research enterprise is our increasing integration of research and clinical care. We are making groundbreaking discoveries about fundamental aspects of biology and translating these discoveries into new ways of understanding disease and into novel therapies that will transform child health.

Thanks to the breadth and depth of our Research Institute, ranging from the study of molecules right up to population health, we are a world leader in paediatric research. Salter believes our greatest opportunity to advance child health in the coming years is through applying genetic breakthroughs to all areas of health research, creating a paradigm shift in how we view and treat illness.

Unlocking the genetic map of each patient and gaining insight into how variation affects the whole will allow us to develop precise, novel therapies to treat each individual. We will no longer look at a patient as having ‘cancer’ but rather as an individual afflicted with a rare disease, and we will develop therapies to address their specific needs. From rare genetic diseases, to cancer, to cystic fibrosis, with genome sequencing, gene editing and individualized drug development, we are at a crossroads to breaking through with research.

Dr. Chantelle Browne-Farmer: Expanding our Reach

Photo of Chantelle Brown

Dr. Chantelle Brown-Farmer is a Clinical Fellow in Haematology/Oncology at SickKids. As a part of the SickKids Caribbean Initiative, she was selected as the first candidate from Barbados to complete a two-year fellowship at SickKids, after which she will return to Barbados as the second paediatric haematologist/oncologist on the island.

We have now entered the global arena: SickKids is extending an excellent standard of care to children around the world. Browne-Farmer believes that SickKids is able to expand its reach to develop a seamless system of children’s health care by identifying key areas in need and providing medical advice and strategies for long-term sustainability. SickKids assists with the development of strategies for enhancing the capacity of care of areas in need around the world. We also empower health-care professionals on the ground, by giving them an opportunity for training which they wouldn’t have otherwise.

Browne-Farmer envisions this cutting-edge model expanding to other resource-poor environments through collaboration. By continuing to strengthen global partnerships, SickKids is taking on an even bigger fight for children’s health – not just in our own backyard but around the world.

Fatima Da Silva – Care with Compassion

Photo of Fatima Da Silva

Fatima Da Silva is not just hopeful; she is certain of SickKids’ future. As a Patient Service Aide (PSA) she is tasked with the job of keeping our patients safe. She and the team of PSAs at SickKids are constantly fighting germs that would otherwise spread infection from room to room. After working at SickKids for 27 years, she can speak firsthand to the continued drive at SickKids to fight infection and prevent harm.

“I see how we are always trying to improve,” says Fatima. “The future of SickKids is in good hands.”

The PSAs and infection control practitioners are a critical component of Caring Safely, the hospital’s initiative to improve patient safety across the organization. Every day Fatima cares with compassion. She believes that her direct and daily interactions with patients and families give her and her colleagues a unique perspective of the inner workings of the hospital. Our battle-ready PSAs represent a critical team joining our fight against the greatest challenges in child health.

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