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Pediatric research mission statement

The Department of Pediatrics at St. Michael’s Hospital is committed to innovative clinical research and educational projects which focus on urban children’s health. Using a developmental lens, our research spans the continuum of child health and development from the neonatal period, through childhood and youth development.

Lead: Dr. Ripudaman Minhas, director of Research, Department of Pediatrics

The Department of Pediatrics of St. Michael’s Hospital, is an integral part of the Department of Pediatrics at The University of Toronto and has developed focused research in a number of areas including neonatology, TARGet Kids!, the Model Schools Pediatrics Health Program and adolescent health and well-being. Under the leadership of the director of Research, Dr. Michael Sgro, the research group has grown extensively over the last 16 years and has included programmatic expansion within the department as well as development of formal linkages between the Department of Pediatrics, the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute and the Applied Health Research Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital, and with support from The University of Toronto. These linkages were further solidified with the recruitment of a full time scientist/pediatrician, Dr. Jonathon Maguire.

The Department of Pediatrics at St. Michael’s serves Canada’s most densely populated inner city community and one of the most economically deprived, resource-restricted communities in Canada. Culture and socioeconomic status are considered two of the 12 key determinants of health for children today. The Department of Pediatrics has a long-standing commitment to the children and youth of our inner city neighbourhoods, many of whom face additional social, economic and cultural barriers to the access of medical care. Ultimately, it is our vision that the specialized care provided to the children in St. Michael’s Hospital community will make an impact by narrowing the gap, improving long-term developmental and mental health issues and enhancing the health of future adults in our community. Our program continues to be extremely successful from the perspective of establishing linkages with our local partners and creating collaborative networks across the spectrum of care. The research group anticipates that its future impact and development will continue to grow given the establishment of this highly creative and productive team, powerful new data linkages and important collaborations with other prestigious institutions.

In order to accomplish our research goals, the department has developed a model to ensure stability of research infrastructure which is a collaborative program to financially support the research coordinators within the department. A joint agreement between St. Michael's Hospital, the University of Toronto and The Department of Pediatrics Practice Plan will share the salaries and support infrastructure needed for the research coordinators to ensure individuals are hired (full-time) to focus on both development and completion of research projects. When a principal investigator from within our group receives a research grant, the grant is taxed at 10 per cent which then enters the general financial pool to ensure support of the infrastructure. The model has succeeded and has allowed us to have full time research coordinators in the department working with principal investigators from the inception of their project to obtaining grants and completion of the projects. St. Michael’s Hospital has also provided the Department of Pediatrics with space for our research team as well as access to other services including statistics, support and methodologic support.

The model that the department has developed, along with the strong academic mission of the department, has led to continued research success.