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SickKids

Fellowships and student opportunities

Exceptional training to prepare the next generation of leaders in global child health.

We’re committed to training and educating the next generation of leaders in global child health, offering a number of programs and fellowships for aspiring students and fellows.

Check out the opportunities currently available at SickKids, as well as eligibility criteria, application requirements, deadlines, and more.

  1. Student opportunities
  2. Fellowship opportunities
  3. Grants
  4. Free online courses

Student opportunities

Every summer, we welcome students looking to develop their knowledge and skills in global child health. 

We currently accept students through several existing summer research programs. Please visit each program’s website for more information about eligibility criteria, application requirements, and deadlines. 

Individuals interested in volunteer opportunities, please visit the SickKids volunteering page.


Fellowship opportunities

We’re currently offering two fellowship programs: the Academic Global Child Health Fellowship, and the Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Microbiome, Infections and Childhood Growth and Development.

The Global Child Health Fellowship program is the first in Canada to concentrate on preparing candidates for academic careers in global child health.

This training program develops leadership and scholarly skills in working with disadvantaged paediatric populations (from neonates to adolescents) and their families, throughout the world. 
 
Applicants should be ready for a challenging two-year fellowship program. We accept applicants from a variety of clinical, health care, research, and other related professional backgrounds (e.g., MDs, nursing, allied health, epidemiology, etc.).

Applications for the 2021 Fellowship are now closed. 

The Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship in Microbiome, Infections and Childhood Growth and Development allows researchers to lead in the design and execution of quantitative research studies covering a wide range of population health topics, including the development of the early infant and maternal microbiome, risk factors for infection and/or microbial dysbiosis, and the influence of early life exposures (i.e., infection, exposure to medicines, etc.) on outcomes including linear growth and cognitive development of children in low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). 

The program allows fellows to apply advanced quantitative analysis skills to population derived datasets (i.e., biological and clinical data from longitudinal cohorts). Applicants should be ready for a challenging 2-3 year fellowship program. We accept applicants from laboratory science backgrounds if they have established skillsets in quantitative data analysis. 

Applications for the 2021 Fellowship are now closed. Any further questions can be directed to childgrowth.fellowship@sickkids.ca.

Fellowship FAQs

The GCH Fellowship is a two-year program. Fellows begin their training at the beginning of July, approximately 1.5 years after they first submit their application. For example, successful candidates who apply in January 2021, will begin their fellowship in July 2023.

The GCH Fellowship Program is designed to train an interdisciplinary group of fellows. The curriculum involves mentorship, a scholarly project, ethics training, and didactic seminar sessions. While international travel is not a mandatory part of our curriculum, pending project needs, travelling abroad to study field-sites may be required.

  • Mentorship: Fellows are paired with a primary supervisor who provides mentorship and guidance throughout the course of the two-year training program in the area of the fellow’s project. Fellows are also matched with a committee of three to four faculty members or senior staff at SickKids Centre for Global Child Health who have expertise in the topic area of the fellow’s project. Fellows meet with their committee on a quarterly basis and receive research and professional development advice at each meeting. An evaluation form of the fellow’s progress is completed at the end of each committee meeting. 
  • Scholarly Project: Fellows are required to play a leadership role on an academic project within either the Centre’s research, or sustainable capacity building pillars. In addition to working closely with their primary supervisor, fellows will have the opportunity to collaborate with other members of the Centre for Global Child Health during their project. 
  • Ethics Training: Fellows will receive ethics training specific to global health, research, and GCH ethics. Training is designed to better equip fellows to manage ethical challenges that they may encounter through fieldwork or other activities related to their project or training. 
  • Didactics Seminars in GCH: Fellows are expected to attend the Centre’s weekly seminar series in global child health.  
  • Field Experiences: While not mandatory, many fellows will participate in an international field experience related to their project. 

Fellows who have a clinical background (i.e., MD, RN, or other allied health professionals) and have a license to practice in Canada will spend approximately 80% of their time (four days per week) working towards the completion of their project.

Activities during this time may include attending supervisor or committee meetings, working on research-based or sustainable capacity building projects, or attending seminars and other learning sessions at the Centre for Global Child Health. The remaining 20% of time should be spent working clinically to ensure that they maintain their clinical acumen. Securing a clinical placement is the responsibility of the fellow. Fellows who do not have a clinical background (i.e., PhD) or are clinicians but do not have a license to practice medicine in Canada, will spend 100% of their time (five days per week) working towards the completion of their project. 

All fellows must complete a scholarly project during the course of the two-year program. Scholarly projects may include work in either research or capacity building through education. Fellows will also gain exposure to advocacy work and other research and capacity building initiatives at the Centre for Global Child Health that are unrelated to their project. 

We match fellows with supervisors from the Centre for Global Child Health based on an alignment in the fellow’s research and/or capacity building interests and project availability. Specifically, we match fellows with a primary supervisor who has similar research/capacity building interests to the candidate, as well as an available and funded project. 

Yes, all fellows must be matched with a primary supervisor who is affiliated with the Centre for Global Child Health. Fellows may receive input related to their project from other mentors at an external institution – but primary supervisors must be based at SickKids. 

Current fellows

Dr. Michelle Dimitris

Doctor Dimitris smiling
Dr. Michelle Dimitris

Dr. Michelle Dimitris obtained her PhD (epidemiology) from McGill University in 2019; her doctoral dissertation focused on examining maternal weight gain and its relationship with perinatal health outcomes in twin and singleton pregnancies.  Dr. Dimitris previously obtained her MSc (epidemiology) from Queen’s University in 2012 and additionally worked as a data analyst at the Centre for Global Child Health, Hospital for Sick Children, where she worked on maternal and child health-related projects in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Dr. Dimitris’ research interests are in the application of advanced statistical and causal methods to persistent challenges in perinatal epidemiology, and particularly research questions that are global in scale and impact. 

Fellowship Project Description 

Dr. Dimitris planned and is currently pursuing two projects related to perinatal health in Pakistan.  Primarily, Dr. Dimitris is investigating the patterns and determinants of pregnancy loss in Matiari District by leveraging the unique data collection schedule of two preconception studies, which systemically collected data on pregnancy initiation and completion among large population-based samples in this region.  This project, which is a secondary analysis of previously-collected data, recently obtained ERC approval from Aga Khan University, and a data sharing agreement is pending. Secondarily, Dr. Dimitris is applying causal mediation analysis to better understand the mechanisms of action of a multicomponent “neonatal kit”, which was aimed at decreasing neonatal mortality and was previously implemented in a large, cluster-randomized trial in Rahimyar Khan. Dr. Dimitris is currently analyzing data as part of this project. 


Dr. Hillary Ganek

Doctor Ganek smiling
Dr. Hillary Ganek

Dr. Hillary Ganek, PhD, CCC-SLP, LSLS Cert. AVT, investigates how children with hearing loss learn language in their natural environments. Her research engages the use of daylong audio recordings and automated vocal analysis tools. She has worked clinically as a speech-language pathologist in Australia as well as on the cochlear implant team at Johns Hopkins and has taught aural rehabilitation in Vietnam and Ethiopia. Hillary holds a bachelor’s degree in linguistics from McGill University, a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Northwestern University, a PhD in rehabilitation sciences from the University of Toronto, and completed a post-doc in the Cochlear Implant Lab at SickKids.  

Fellowship Project Description 

Dr. Ganek's Global Child Health Fellowship project is a cross-sectional study that will determine the prevalence of hearing loss in children under five years old living in Pakistan. Unaddressed hearing loss can lead to delays in listening, language, and speech skills, causing a cascading effect on cognition, mental health, relationships, education, and employment. These deficits result in losses greater than US$980 billion globally each year. Sixty percent of hearing losses are preventable via public health measures and identifying and treating hearing loss early can mitigate negative outcomes. Pakistan, like many low- and middle-income countries, does not currently have a comprehensive hearing screening program and COVID-19 lockdowns have reduced access to healthcare services which could prevent hearing loss. This study will determine the prevalence of pediatric hearing loss, related language delay, and potential etiologies in Pakistan. Ten-thousand children will be recruited to participate in the hearing screenings via mobile testing sites. Their hearing will be tested using objective measures and a caregiver questionnaire will assess language and potential etiologies. Children who fail the screening will be referred to Aga Khan Maternity and Child Centre for follow-up care. In line with the Lancet Commission on Global Hearing Loss and WHO’s World Report on Hearing, my study seeks preliminarily data to support public health investment in a hearing loss treatment and prevention program in Pakistan that will build community awareness, monitor trends in hearing, increase productivity, and reduce the global burden of hearing loss. 


Dr. Paulo Augusto Neves

Doctor Neves smiling
Dr. Paulo Augusto Neves

Dr. Neves completed his BSc in Nutrition in 2008 and earned an MSc in Human Nutrition in 2013 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He holds a PhD degree in Public Health Nutrition (2015-2018) from the School of Public Health, University of São Paulo, Brazil. During his doctorate studies, he worked on a birth cohort study in the Western Brazilian Amazon aimed to identify early life factors that can affect optimal child nutrition, growth, and development in under 2-y children. In 2018, he joined the team of the International Center for Equity in Health, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil, which analyzes data of several nationally-representative surveys conducted in low- and middle-income countries aimed at reducing health inequalities. Additionally, he conducted several analyses on the global breastfeeding situation for the next Lancet Breastfeeding Series (expected 2022). 

Dr. Rukshan Mehta

A photo of Doctor Rukshan Mehta
Dr. Rukshan Mehta

Dr. Rukshan Mehta completed her BSc (Hons) in Human Biology and Psychology in 2009 and Master’s in Social Work in 2011, both from the University of Toronto. She was awarded her PhD in 2020, graduating from the doctoral program in Nutrition and Health Sciences at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her doctoral work examined environmental exposures including mycotoxins and pesticides in human milk from India, and associations with infant growth. Prior to beginning her PhD, she managed a community cluster randomized controlled trial in Bihar, India examining program effectiveness of delivering multiple micronutrient powders to reduce pediatric anemia. She has extensive experience working in global health, international development and social welfare in Kenya, Namibia, India and Canada. Her research interests lie at the intersections of environmental health and maternal and child nutrition, particularly in low-and-middle-income country (LMIC) contexts. She has cross-cutting skills across the bench to field spectrum. 

Fellowship Project Description 

Under the supervision of Drs. Daniel Roth, Lisa Pell and Diego Bassani, Dr. Mehta will work on projects embedded within the MDIG trial and SEPSiS study. She will examine several questions around micronutrient status and microbiome composition of mother-infant dyads in Bangladesh. She will also collaborate with Dr. Roth’s team to work on infectious disease (COVID-19) related projects over the course of her fellowship. 


Dr. Doris Gonzalez

A photo of Doctor Doris Gonzalez
Dr. Doris Gonzalez

Dr. Doris Gonzalez is a medical graduate from Colombia and was a Field Physician for Doctors Without Borders before starting research at McGill University, where she studied interactions between infections and malnutrition in pregnant and lactating indigenous mothers from Panama, as part of her Master's degree in Parasitology, followed by a PhD in Nutrition. She was also involved in research with vulnerable communities in Peru and Colombia. Dr. Gonzalez joined the Center for Global Child Health in July 2021 as a research fellow.  

Fellowship Project Description 

Dr. Gonzalez studies determinants of impaired infant growth and development in children from Pakistan, under the supervision of Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta. 


Dr. Scarlett Puebla Barragan

A photo of Doctor Scarlett Puebla Barragan
Dr. Puebla Barragan

In 2013, Dr. Puebla Barragan completed her BSc in Biotechnology Engineering at Tec de Monterrey in Mexico. Then, she worked for a year in the Public Health sector of the Mexican government. In 2015, she emigrated to Canada to pursue her graduate education. In 2017, she graduated from the MSc program of the Department of Biology at the University of Western Ontario. She was awarded her PhD degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the same university in 2021. Led by probiotic pioneer, Dr. Gregor Reid, her doctoral work focused in exploring the associations between vaginal malodour, the microbiome and, the metabolome, as well as the potential for using probiotics to address this problem. Her main research interests are geared towards understanding and identifying the different approaches in which probiotics can benefit human health.  

Fellowship Project Description 

Dr. Puebla Barragan is now a member of Dr. Daniel Roth's group as a postdoc and is working as part of the Synbiotics for the Early Prevention of Severe Infections in Infants (SEPSiS) team. Her work is focused towards understanding the role and dynamics of the infant gut microbiota of Bangladeshi infants throughout their first days of development and the potential of using probiotics and prebiotics to improve their health. 


Grants

Global Child Health Catalyst Grant

Applications for the 2022 Global Child Health Catalyst Grant are now closed.

The Global Child Health Catalyst Grant aims to support innovations that benefit children and their families in resource constrained settings. 

‘Innovation’ can be expressed in many areas, including scientific, technical, social, management, and implementation. We’ll fund up to two awards, up to $25,000 CAD each. Were looking for high quality proposals that impactfully moves global child health forward. 

External applicants are welcomed but the principal applicant must be a SickKids staff member, graduate student or post-doctoral fellow (a staff appointment is not required).

Learn more by refering to the Global Child Health Catalyst Grant Guidelines (PDF) and FAQs (PDF)

Learn more about the past Catalyst Grant awardees (PDF).

Get in touch with us at global.catalyst@sickkids.ca for any questions or other inquiries. 


Free online courses in global child health and public health nutrition

In order to increase the availability of training to health-care providers worldwide, the Centre developed and designed the SickKids Public Health Nutrition Course and the SickKids Global Child Health Course. By leveraging the expertise and global networks of SickKids, these free online courses provide participants with exposure to key issues in global child health and public health nutrition. Our vision is to increase availability of training to healthcare workers worldwide, while equipping course participants with the knowledge to address global child health challenges specifically in resource-poor settings.

Follow the links below to start the online courses today!

SickKids Public Health Nutrition Course (SPHNC)

The SickKids Public Health Nutrition Course (SPHNC) bridges the gap between science evidence and policy with a focus on capacity development for those who want to bring about change in low-and-middle-income countries.  

Learn more and register for the SPHNC course


SickKids Global Child Health Course (SGCHC)

The SickKids Global Child Health Course (SGCHC), an open access e-learning resource, aims to expose students and health workers to key issues in global child health, especially from a low-income setting perspective.  

Learn more and register for the SGCHC course


More from the Centre for Global Child Health

About the Centre for Global Child Health

The Centre for Global Child Health connects researchers and health-care professionals around the world to improve the lives of children and their families in resource-poor environments

Capacity Building

Our capacity building projects focus on collaborative and sustainable paediatric health workforce training and education programs.

Knowledge Synthesis, Translation and Advocacy

Centre initiatives, partnerships and networks are focused on the translation and management of knowledge to impact child health policy.

Research

Learn how leading child health experts are addressing global challenges through collaborative, innovative research.

Contact us

For questions or more information about the Centre, please email us at globalchild.health@sickkids.ca, or follow us on Twitter @SickKidsGlobal and LinkedIn.

Mailing Address

Centre for Global Child Health 
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) 
525 University Avenue, Suite 702 
Toronto, ON, M5G 2L3 

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