June 20, 2018

Bringing the Best and Brightest to Saskatchewan

The building is just the beginning. In fall 2019, Saskatchewan’s much-anticipated Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will open its doors to kids and families in need. What’s happening behind the scenes to prepare, however, is a dramatic transformation in the way Saskatchewan mothers and kids will be cared for.

Intense pediatric recruitment is bringing an influx of world-class talent to Saskatchewan. Thanks to the efforts of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital is set to deliver the highest-level of care for Saskatchewan’s sickest children.

Dr. Laurence Givelichian

Neonatal, hematology, neurology, endocrinology, infectious disease treatment, gastroenterology, respirology and rheumatology are among the many specialties the hospital will house when doors open in late 2019. Other than organ transplants and sophisticated heart surgeries, the hospital will provide all specialties.

“The opportunity to work in the pediatric medical field with a brand new hospital opening is bringing exceptionally-skilled specialists to Saskatchewan,” says Dr. Laurence Givelichian, Provincial Head of Pediatrics. “This facility will be of the highest standard.”

Dr. Laurence Givelichian has been a driving force behind Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital for almost a decade. He is leading the charge in recruitment efforts, noting that as of June 2018 only 13 out of 70 required pediatric specialists need to be hired before the hospital is fully functioning.

Pediatric Endocrinologist Dr. Mark Inman is one of the new recruits who moved from Eastern Canada in anticipation of the opening of the new children’s hospital. Providing care for children with diabetes and endocrine disorders, Dr. Inman and the multidisciplinary team he works alongside are working to extend the LiveWell Pediatric Diabetes Program across Saskatchewan. It was the opportunity to become immersed into education and homegrown research projects that led Dr. Inman to join Saskatchewan’s pediatric medical community. In addition, the chance to make a big impact in the lives of children from all four corners of the province was a unique opportunity in itself.

Dr. Mark Inman

“Working within Saskatchewan provides me with a career that enables me to make a lasting contribution to the care of pediatric patients with diabetes and other endocrine disorders,” said Inman. “With massive changes to the health care system provincially – including a health system restructuring, the soon-to-open Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital and an overall increased emphasis on provincial pediatric care, the climate of pediatric medicine in Saskatchewan is exciting. I see great opportunity to improve the health status of all children and youth across the province.”

The clinic run by Dr. Inman and colleagues provides care for over 550 children with diabetes. Throughout the year, the clinic sees over 200 new patients, plus over 1,000 children with various hormone disorders. With childhood diabetes reaching historically high numbers in Saskatchewan in recent years, Dr. Inman’s work gives children and families a chance to receive specialized care without leaving the province.

Dr. Givelichian says his two main recruiting priorities are to secure 24-7 coverage for pediatric emergency and to ensure that each pediatric specialty has two to three physicians to guarantee consistent delivery of care and avoid physician burnout.

Once the hospital is open, Saskatoon will be one of only a handful of Canadian cities that can boast a state-of-the-art children’s hospital, a renowned teaching hospital, and a top-ranked medical school in one central location. These facilities, paired with the Canadian Light Source, Canada’s national synchrotron facility, will allow specialists to improve upon every aspect of pediatric and maternal care. The vision is to see Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital become an internationally recognized hospital, similar to the Mayo Clinic, SickKids and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“Support from every corner of the province and even right across the country is allowing us to reach higher for our kids and families,” says Brynn Boback-Lane, President and CEO of Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation. “Your generosity is providing world-class equipment and technology to entice specialists who carry skillsets capable of handling even the most serious of cases. What this means for our children and families is accessibility to the highest-quality of care possible when they are in greatest need.”

Cutting-edge research and fellowship opportunities funded by Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Foundation and programs stemming from the ‘central-hub’ of the new children’s hospital will stretch province-wide to meet the needs of the 60 per cent of children living in rural and northern Saskatchewan communities. Rather than bringing the child to hospital, newly developed methods of delivering care to children outside of Saskatoon are advancing quickly. One of the most promising is ground-breaking remote presence robotic technology which is allowing more children to remain in their own community for care.  It’s already being piloted in three communities in Saskatchewan.

“Our new children’s hospital is expanding our vision for province-wide pediatric excellence. A child in Swift Current should have the same standard of care as a child in La Ronge or Regina or Saskatoon,” said Givelichian, Provincial Head of Pediatrics with the University of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Health Authority. “We’re building with the whole province in mind, regardless of postal code.”

While equipment, technology and furnishings may be the first to make the new maternal and children’s hospital home, it will be the dedicated medical team that gives Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital its heart and soul. Skilled to handle even the most critical cases, they will be helping Saskatchewan kids, moms-to-be and families receive the best care – right here at home.

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