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Achieving Better Outcomes for Children and Families

November 25, 2014

Mother and her premature baby in Mount Sinai NICU

Mother and her premature baby in Mount Sinai NICU  Photo by: Arthur Mola

Looking at a fragile, premature baby in an incubator, connected to various monitors and breathing devices can be a terrifying experience for new parents.   There are so many concerns to deal with in the moment, that it can seem impossible to them that this tiny baby could one day be a healthy, happy and thriving child.  But ensuring the very best outcomes for every child is exactly what delegates from all over Canada came to do, on November 17 and 18 at a conference led by Dr. Shoo Lee, Mount Sinai’s Paediatrician-in-Chief and Scientific Director of CIHR, Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health.

The groundbreaking conference brought together a group of 200 researchers, clinicians, patients, hospital and community foundations, philanthropic leaders and private sector representatives to discuss the current state of child and family health across Canada with issues ranging from preventable injuries to childhood obesity and exercise. The conference was organized by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to identify and strengthen synergies across the health-care sector and find new ways to engage community partners.

Dr. Lee is well positioned to galvanize leaders to innovate in this field.  Under his leadership, Mount Sinai has developed programs aimed at improving the health of children across Canada and the almost 7,000 babies born at the Hospital every year. The largest of those programs is the Family Integrated Care program, piloted at Mount Sinai and now implemented in hospitals across Canada. The program allows parents to take a more hands-on role in the care and treatment of their newborns in the NICU and has seen impressive results. Mount Sinai is also home to the Rogers Hixon Donor Milk Bank, the only milk bank in Ontario to collect, process and dispense donated breast milk to NICU babies across the province.

"Advocacy, social partnerships, and philanthropy play an important role in driving research innovation,” said Dr. Lee. “By bringing all these sectors together with researchers, we hope to fast track the development of new products, services or treatments that will make a real difference in the health and well-being of our children and their families."

Frances Bloomberg, honourary patron of the conference and Mount Sinai Hospital community leader has been supporting child health along with her husband Lawrence for more than 15 years. Named in her honour, the Frances Bloomberg Centre for Women’s and Infants’ Health at Mount Sinai is a flagship program for the Hospital. The Centre is the largest, most comprehensive Women’s and Infants’ Health academic program in Canada, and ranked among the top six Women’s and Infants’ Health Centres in the world.

“Improving the health of Canada’s youngest and most vulnerable people – our infants and children – translates into greater health and well-being for all Canadians,” said Frances Bloomberg. “I’m proud to be at this conference representing the many philanthropists who generously give to improve children’s health."