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View looking up from the atrium with colourful glass walls framing the way to the roof

The Neonatology Program at SickKids provides the highest level of care to medically complex and surgical neonates. It is recognized for its expertise in the management of severe hypoxic respiratory failure; hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, seizures, stroke; sepsis; and a variety of surgical conditions.  

Approximately 800 infants are admitted to the 38-bed tertiary and quaternary Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) each year from across the province of Ontario. The neonatology program aims to deliver excellence in neonatal intensive care through innovation, collaboration, compassioneducation and family support, to ensure every newborn achieves their potential for a brighter future.  

SickKids NICU - Adult hands cradling a baby's feet

Devoted to continuously improving quality of care and elevating teaching and research, not only at SickKids but nationally and internationally, the Division of Neonatology has launched a virtual network of neonatal subspecialists to share resources. We aim to transfer knowledge in order to transform neonatal care through the Toronto Centre for Neonatal Health site. 

Learn more about the Neonatology Program at SickKids

What we do

The Neonatology Program focuses on the transport, care and follow up of the most medically and surgically complex patients in the province of Ontario and advanced training in neonatology. 

Programs and services

The Neonatology Program is inclusive of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-up Clinic and the Acute Care Transport Services

Expand the sections below to see details about our clinical programs.

The SickKids Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides tertiary and quarternary medical and surgical services for newborns up to four weeks of age. The NICU admits patients from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), nationally and internationally, and 97 per cent of all admissions are directly to the NICU. The typical census ranges from 30 to 34 patients with a 41 bed capacity. High risk procedures, such as laser eye surgery, and Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter (PICC) insertion, are performed in the unit. 


Exceptional Care, Together. 


Cultivating excellence, knowledge and leadership in neonatal care by collaborating with families and out community partners. 

The Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-up Clinic assesses babies who have been admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or Cardiac Critical Care Unit (CCCU) and may be at risk for developmental issues due to reasons such as prematurity or serious medical problems during delivery or after birth. 

Certain other infants will be followed because they are involved in research studies. 

Toddler playing with building blocks - Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-Up Clinic


Start Together.  Build Possibilities.   


Our team of neurodevelopmental experts provides personalized care to optimize outcomes for medically complex neonates and their families through the integration of research, education and community collaborations. 


One of our goals is to provide continuity of care throughout the Follow-up course. To achieve this goal, a practitioner will be assigned from discharge to assess the child and support the family at each follow-up visit. Our practitioners have a Master’s degree with advanced preparation in developmental and neonatal issues. Other members of the team are available to see your child when needed. 

Infants can also be referred to the clinic by a family doctor or pediatrician if there are concerns about development.Learn more about how to refer a patient.

We are here to: 

  • Promote the emotional and physical development of child and family 
  • Provide parents with information about early childhood development 
  • Participate in the education of health care professionals 
  • Increase knowledge of developmental outcomes through research 
  • Improve the quality of care in the NICU 
  • Share information with community partners 

Learn more about visiting the Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-up Clinic.

Contact information

Phone: 416-813-5879  
Fax: 416-813-8969 

Click here for more Neonatology resources on AboutKidsHealth

Our services are located at SickKids in Room 3876. 

More information coming soon.

Key staff

Division Head:

Dr. Estelle Gauda 

Expand each section below to see our staff lists for Neonatology at SickKids!

The broader University of Toronto Division of Neonatology includes Neonatologists from The Hospital for Sick Children, Mount Sinai HospitalSunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Michael’s Hospital, many of which are cross appointed to SickKids.  

Associate Staff Physicians from Mount Sinai Hospital

Department Chief: Prakeshkumar Shah 

Staff Neonatologists:

  • Poorva Desphande 
  • Yenge Diambomba
  • Emer Finan
  • Amish Jain 
  • Edmond Kelly
  • Ashraf Kharrat
  • Maksim Kirtsman
  • Shoo Lee
  • Tom Liebson
  • Adel Mohamed
  • Karel O'Brien
  • Jyotsna Shah
  • Vibhuti Shah
  • Sharon Unger
  • Jennifer Young
  • Kin Fan Young Tai 
Associate Staff Physicians from Sunnybrook and Women’s Health Sciences Centre

Department Chief: Eugene Ng 

Staff Neonatologists:

  • Elizabeth Asztalos
  • Rudaina Banihani
  • Paige Church
  • Michael Dunn
  • Asaph Rolnitsky
  • Brian Simmons
  • Martin Skidmore
  • Dany Weisz 
Associate Staff Physicians from St. Michael's Hospital

Staff Neonatologists:

  • Tony Barozzino
  • Douglas Campbell
  • Sohail Cheema
  • Michael Sgro
  • Ethel Ying
Honorary Faculty
  • Jonathan Hellmann
  • Max Perlman
  • Paul Swyer

Medical Director, Neonatal Neurodevelopment Follow-up Program
Dr. Linh Ly 


Clinical Manager

  • Andrea Riekstins 

Nurse Practitioner

  • Kimberly Colapinto 

Occupational Therapists



  • Ashley Danguecan


  • Alda Fernandes-Penney
  • Elena Sanjuan

Speech Language Pathologists

Patient Information Coordinator

  • Ana Panic

Research activities

Members of the Division of Neonatology at SickKids lead and are actively involved in various scholarly activities comprising of research, quality improvement, guideline development, and education initiatives. Our Division is home to innovative scientists leading world-class research to improve evidence based neonatology and the health outcomes for infants.  

Collectively, our staff are involved in over 160 active research studies. Read more about our areas of academic activities below, including translational medicine, feeding and nutrition, transport medicine, hemodynamics, neonatal neurodevelopment and more. 

Please note: Due to COVID-19 our neonatology research volunteer and student opportunities are currently on hold. Please check back soon for a list of teams recruiting. 

For information on how to volunteer, or about our research and scholarly activities, please contact our Clinical Research Manager, Ms. Rosanna Yankanah at  

Below you'll find details on our current research activities and committees.

Intranasal Human Milk as Stem Cell Therapy in Preterm Infants with Intraventricular Hemorrhage (Dr. Rebecca Hoban)

A study to determine whether the timely delivery of intranasal human milk for stem cell therapy is feasible and safe in a population of very preterm infants diagnosed with severe IVH. 

The RECOVER Study - Remote Early intervention for Cerebral palsy to improve Outcomes using Virtual care following pERinatal asphyxia (Dr. Linh Ly) 

A prospective, randomized, controlled trial (RCT) to assess the effect of a virtual early intervention care delivery model in the provision of therapy to enhance the neurodevelopmental trajectory of infants with brain injury.   

The ABC-BPD Study - The role of Adipokines in Breathing Control and the Development of Lung Injury in premature infants (Dr. Estelle Gauda)  

This study explores the correlation between adiponectin levels, oxidative stress and biomarkers of inflammation. 

Arginine, requirement in the total parenteral nutrition (TPN) fed, newborn, preterm infants requiring intensive care (Drs. Glenda Courtney-Martin and Christopher Tomlinson)

A prospective study to determine the arginine requirements in preterm very low birth weight infants on Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN). 

IMProvE - Improving Management of neonatal Pain through parental Education (Carol McNair)

A study to determine whether parent education about pain management increases parental participation during painful procedures performed on infants in the NICU.

Antibiotic Concentration in Stool of in Preterm and Term Infants (Dr. Jaques Belik)

Using serial stool sampling, this study will measure the concentration of IV antibiotics excreted in the stool of preterm and term infants to determine how much of the antibiotics reach the bowel 

Coached, Coordinated, Enhanced Neonatal Transition (CCENT): A multi-centre mixed-methods pragmatic randomized controlled trial (Dr. Julia Orkin and Dr. Linh Ly)

A study testing a new model for neonatal follow-up care that aims to provide additional support to parents and their babies during their NICU stay as well as their transition home. This study will assess how this new model will affect parental stress, mental health, quality of life, child development and health care utilization. 

A pilot study of Family Integrated Care (FICare) in critically ill preterm infants in the NICU (Dr. Karel O'Brien and Dr. Christopher Tomlinson) 

Using Family Integrated Care (FICare), where parents work with medical staff and participate in the daily routine for their babies and become primary caregivers during their stay in NICUs, this study will examine how parents can become more involved in the care specifically of critically ill preterm babies. 

Remote Ischemic Conditioning in Necrotizing Enterocolitis: Evaluating Intestinal Perfusion (Drs. Agostino Pierro and Gauda)

A study of the response of the perfusion to the intestine, measured using NIRS, to brief cycles of Remote Ischemic Conditioning in premature babies at high risk of developing Necrotizing Enterocolitis. 

Drawing In (Dr. Christopher Tomlinson)

A novel study looking at the use of art therapy (drawing) to facilitate bonding between parents and their newborn in the NICU. 

The Division of Neonatology engages members of their inter-professional team in clinical research, through the implementation of the Neonatology Clinical Research Committee (NCRC). This group is mandated to provide a science and feasibility review for all research studies that involve Neonatology patients or patient related material prior to submission to the Hospital of Sick Children’s Research Ethics Board.


  • To ensure that all clinical research involving patients and/or their families has scientific merit, is feasible and conducted with minimal disruption to the normal functioning of the neonatal intensive care unit 
  • To ensure that all clinical research is conducted in a safe fashion which ensures patient interests, dignity and autonomy are protected 


  • To ensure only scientifically sound and well-designed studies asking clinically important questions are conducted within the Division of Neonatology 
  • To ensure there is not an excessive number of conflicting studies being performed concurrently in the same population 
  • To ensure studies performed within the Division are feasible  
  • To ensure studies performed advance academic productivity of the Division of Neonatology 

The SickKids Neonatal Clinical Research Committee meets the third Thursday of each month from 1:30 – 2:30 pm.  

How to add your study

To have a study added to the NCRC agenda send the following to 

  1. Protocol
  2. Budget
  3. Completed NCRC form(available upon request)
  4. 3-5 slides for presentation

Once all of the required documents have been received, it will be determined whether your study will undergo a science and/or a feasibility review and you will be contacted with the meeting details.  A member from your study team (ideally the PI) will need to attend the NCRC meeting to present the study to the committee (approx. 10 minutes) and answer any questions. 

For inquiries please contact: 

Chair: Dr. Christopher Tomlinson 


Phone: 416-813-7745 


Co-Chair: Dr. Martin Offringa 


Phone: 416-813-7654 X328830 


Co-Chair: Ms. Rosanna Yankanah 

Manager, Clinical Research  


Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 202919 

Associated research initiatives

Staff publications

See Dr. Estelle Guada’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Control of Breathing; Carotid Body; Intermittent Hypoxia; Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; Apnea of Prematurity; Clonidine; Opiates; Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome See Dr. Linh Ly’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Brain Development; Congenital Heart Disease; Neonatal Follow-up; Neonates; Neurodevelopmental Outcome; Outcomes Research; Paediatrics See Dr. Amr El Shahed’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Neurodevelopmental Outcome of Preterm and HIE Neonates; Cerebral Oxygenation in Relation to Brain Injury See Dr. Hilary Whyte’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Preterm brain development and outcomes; Term brain injury and markers for prognostication; Models and competencies of transport teams See Dr. Christopher Tomlinson’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Body Composition; Metabolism; Nutritional Sciences; Stable Isotopes See Dr. Rebecca Hoban’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Human Milk; Lactation; Obesity; Inflammation See Dr. Bonny Jasani’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Neonatal Haemodynamics; Neonatal Pharmacodynamics and Pharmacokinetics; Patent Ductus Arteriosus See Dr. Kyong-Soon Lee’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Transport; Quality Improvement See Dr. Martin Offringa’s publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Clinical Trials; Systematic Reviews; Neonatal Medicine; Health Outcomes Research Methods See Dr. Andrew James’ publications on the National Library of Medicine Research interests: Advanced clinical decision support applications; Information architecture; Predictive Analytics; Patient journey modeling

Education and training opportunities

The Neonatology Program at SickKids offers six specific programs. 

Detailed information on each program, eligibility, application process can be found by clicking the programs below, and the digital Online Fellowship Application Form can be accessed here. 

Fellowship Application - Neonatology

For questions, contact Tara DwomohEducation Administrative Coordinator at 

This program has received full approval from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canadaand satisfies the requirements for two years of neonatal-perinatal training as set by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

The first year of training includes NICU rotations, neonatal transport, neonatal follow-up and 2-3 months of research/elective time. The second year of training includes NICU rotations, an antenatal rotation, paediatric critical care, one month of follow-up and 4-5 months of research/elective time. Progression from first year to second is dependent on satisfactory performance and success at our Structured Oral Examination and OSCE.   

The University of Toronto Training Program in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine is formally integrated within three University of Toronto teaching hospitals  Mount Sinai Hospital (MSH), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SB) and The Hospital for Sick Children (HSC). MSH and SB are inborn perinatal units and HSC is an outborn neonatal unit. Combined, these three facilities provide a total of 38 Level II and over 100 Level III beds, which service the Central East region of the province of Ontario, a region with approximately 85,000 deliveries per year.   

Faculty includes 36 full-time hospital-based neonatologists as well as basic scientists and specialists from paediatric, surgical and obstetrical disciplines. The Training Program is designed to meet the needs of a variety of individuals seeking subspecialty training in Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. 

Learn more about the Subspecialty Fellowship Training Programs.

  • You must be a Paediatrician to be eligible for this program 
  • Canadian and International trainees accepted 
Upon completion of the program 
  • All trainees who complete the two-year program will receive a certificate of completion 
  • Only trainees who have attained Royal College certification in paediatrics are eligible to write the Royal College Certification Exam upon completion of training 
Application process 

The next entrance for the University of Toronto Integrated Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Training Program will be July 2022. The Fellowship Online Application will open on January 1, 2021 and close on June 30, 2021. 

Contact: Dr. Jennifer Young, Integrated Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Training Program Director 

This fellowship offers extensive exposure to infants with complex medical and surgical diagnosis in a high level 41 bed Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) with 900 admissions per year. Trainees will assist in the care of premature and term infants with a wide variety of common and rare diagnosis, and will develop expertise in caring for these infants, working with high-level interprofessional teams (respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritional experts) as well as with paediatric surgeons in the pre-op and post-op management of surgical neonates. Additionally, the fellow will have the opportunity to work with a highly specialized regionalized critical care transport service, and have opportunities to be involved in research, quality improvement and educational initiatives. The clinical responsibilities include day-time coverage and night-time and weekend calls.  

This program is not an accredited program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Positions are generally for one year, but extensions are occasionally possible for two years.

  • Canadian or International Medical Graduates
  • Candidates must have completed paediatric training
  • Have a minimum of six months of neonatal experience in a high-level intensive care unit
  • Previous experience in the medical system in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia or North America would be beneficial
Upon completion of the program
  • All trainees will receive a certificate of completion
Application process

The next entrance for the SickKids Paediatric Departmental Fellowship in Neonatology will be January 2022. The Fellowship Online Application opens on January 1, 2021 and closes on July 31, 2021.

Contact: Dr. Linh Ly, SickKids Paediatric Departmental Fellowship in Neonatology Program Director

This program is not an accredited program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Positions are generally for one year with possible extensions. Transport Fellows may spend two months in the NICU and two months in research/electives.   

The SickKids NICU is a busy outborn referral centre which services a large population base and cares for the most complex neonatal medical and surgical patients. Transport Fellow positions enable individuals to gain valuable clinical experience in transport medicine. Fellows participate in providing online medical control to RN/RT transport team, accompany team on critical complex interfacility transports, attend high risk deliveries and provide consultations to the referral community base physicians. This is an ideal training ground for a neonatologist experienced in developing expertise in transport medicine. 

*Opportunities to combine Departmental and Transport fellowship over a 1- or 2-year time frame exists based on medical preferences and program needs. Please apply to either Departmental or Transport fellowship and state your preference to be considered for this Hybrid Program.*

  • You must be a Paediatrician with neonatal experience to be eligible for this program 
  • Canadian and International trainees welcome 
Upon completion of the program
  • All trainees will receive a certificate of completion 
Application process

The next entrance for the SickKids Neonatal / Paediatric Transport Fellowship Program will be July 2022. TheFellowship Online Applicationwill open on January 1, 2021 and close on April 30, 2021. 

Contact: Dr. Hilary Whyte, SickKids Neonatal / Paediatric Transport Fellowship Director  

The Toronto Center for Neonatal Health (TCNH) is offering a Clinical Fellowship beginning in July 2020. This is not an accredited program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Positions will be available annually across some of the NICUs who are part of the TCNH.   

Each fellow appointed may rotate between the tertiary NICUs, which include The Sinai Health System, The Hospital for Sick Children and Sunnybrook Health Science Centres, with elective rotations in community hospital NICUs. This 1-year program offers some flexibility and the opportunity to enhance clinical competencies in neonatology, with cognitive and technical skills focused on both perinatal resuscitation and newborn intensive care. Electives may also be taken in the Acute Care Transport Service (ACTS), Neonatal Follow-Up Program or other clinically relevant areas. This competency based neonatal training program will help develop the necessary competencies to practice in level 2c or modified level 3 NICUs.  Night-time and weekend call will follow the PARO guidelines.        

  • You must have completed a Canadian Residency Training Program in Paediatrics   
Upon completion of the program
  • All trainees will receive a certificate of completion 
Application process

The next entrance for the Toronto Centre for Neonatal Health Clinical Fellowship Program will be July 2022. TheFellowship Online Application will open on January 1, 2021 and close on April 30, 2021. 

Contact: Dr. Linh Ly, Toronto Centre for Neonatal Health Clinical Fellowship Program Director.

This program is not an accredited program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Positions are generally for one year but extensions may be possible. Neonatal Neurology Fellows will participate in the clinical care of newborns at SickKids with neurological diseases, develop enhanced skills in neonatal and paediatric neurology subspecialties, and conduct clinical/translational and basic research related to Neonatal Neurology.  

Fellows who complete this Neonatal-Neurology training program will have advanced competencies in the neurological assessment and clinical management of newborn infants with complex neurological disorders. Moreover, the fellow will have the training to determine the utility of bedside monitoring tools (e.g. aEEG and continuous EEG) and advanced MRI techniques to enhance assessment and management. Clinical and research experience during this advanced fellowship is tailored to the career needs of the applicant, but each trainee is expected to complete a potentially high impact clinical/translational or basic research project by the end of the training. 

  • Candidates must have completed subspecialty training in either Paediatric Neurology or Neonatology 
  • Canadian and International trainees 
Upon completion of the program 
  • All trainees will receive a certificate of completion 
Application process

The next entrance for the SickKids Neonatology-Neurology Fellowship Program will be July 2022. TheFellowship Online Applicationwill open on January 1, 2021 and close on April 30, 2021. 

Contacts: Dr. Amr El Shahed and Dr. Emily Tam, SickKids Neonatology-Neurology Fellowship Program Directors.

This program is not an accredited program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This is a three-year fellowship program combining both clinical and research training in the field of neuroplasticity, specifically early brain repair. Individuals with an interest in developing their research skils and clinical expertise in early child development and neonatal neurodevelopmental follow-up should apply. 

  • Paediatrician (MD or equivalent) with clinical training in neonatology, neonatal neurology or developmental paediatrics 
  • Canadian and International trainees can apply 
Upon completion of the program

All trainees will receive a certificate of completion. 

Application process

Applications are not currently being accepted for this Fellowship.

Contact: Dr. Linh Ly, Dr. Karen Pape Fellowship in Neuroplasticity Program Director

Contact SickKids Neonatology

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Phone: 416-813-6927 

Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow-up Clinic

Phone: 416-813-5879 

Senior Clinical Manager, NICU and Neonatal Neurodevelopmental Follow Up Clinic

Andrea Riekstins 
Phone: 416-813-1074
Fax: 416-813-8295

Division Administrative Lead, Division of Neonatology

Sonia Dos Santos 
Phone: 416-813-8592 
Fax: 416-813-5245 

Education Administrative Coordinator, Neonatology Fellowship Programs

Tara Dwomoh 
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 228902 
Fax: 416-813-5245 


Division of Neonatology 

555 University Avenue 

Toronto, Ontario 

M5G 1X8 

Our history

SickKids’ leadership in neonatal care has a long and rich history. We’re responsible for many “firsts” in neonatology, beginning in 1915 with 28 glass cubicles designed for the care of sick and preterm infants.  

A series of groundbreaking achievements

In 1925, Alfred P. Hart published the first report on the use of exchange transfusion to treat severe neonatal jaundice. This practice was rapidly adopted worldwide and by the mid-1950s, between 500 to 600 exchange transfusions were performed each year at SickKids. In the 1930s, Fred Tisdale and Theo Drake designed Pablum, a cereal that provided adequate Vitamin D to allow successful transition from breastmilk, substantially decreasing the incidence rickets.  

In 1953, SickKids appointed the first neonatal fellow in Canada. Fellows, from all corners of the world, have now trained in our NICU. In 1961, Dr. Paul Swyer established the first Canadian NICU, and the first trials in Canada of positive pressure ventilation for neonatal respiratory distress syndrome were conducted.   

Expanding services offered in Neonatal care

In 1974, the first neonatal transport service was established and in 1978, the neonatal follow-up programDuring 1988, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners were appointed in our NICU. In 1993, the first Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) group in lung development was created and in 1996, the first endowed Chair in Neonatal Medicine in Canada.   

In 2001, the first Transport Fellowship program in Canada was launched and in 2005, the first targeted neonatal echo training program in Canada was developed. In 2011, The Division of Neonatology officially marked its “50 Years” in Canada, celebrating its system of regionalized health care for newborns.   

In 1986 Neonatal/Perinatal Programs at SickKids, Sunnybrook and Mount Sinai Hospitals established the “tri-hospital” group and a robust neonatal/perinatal training program that remains the largest in Canada. Together with the NICU at St. Michael’s Hospital, the “tri-hospital” was rebranded as the Toronto Centre for Neonatal Health in 2017.  

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