Lab Canada

$2M chair to further pediatric congenital heart disease research

Toronto, ON – For the first time in the history of the division of cardiology at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), the head of cardiology will be recognized with the prestigious honour of chair holder.

SickKids Foundation and the University of Toronto announced today a $2 million dollar donation from BMO Financial Group, which establishes the BMO Financial Group Chair in Cardiology. World-renowned SickKids clinician and researcher, and University of Toronto professor in paediatrics, Dr Andrew Redington has been named the inaugural chair holder. The announcement coincides with the one-year anniversary of the establishment of the Labatt Family Heart Centre under Dr Redington’s guidance.

The $2 million gift will allow Dr Redington to continue to pursue research and contribute to the understanding of congenital heart disease and heart function. Dr Redington’s group is currently studying a novel technique developed at SickKids, that has already been shown to protect the heart and other organs from damage due to restricted blood flow during heart surgery.

“Through BMO’s generosity and Dr Redington’s vision, today’s announcement effectively solidifies SickKids as a world leader in children’s cardiac medicine,” said Mary Jo Haddad, president and CEO at SickKids. “An endowed chair for our head of cardiology is a powerful tool in both retaining people like Dr Redington while recruiting others with similar credentials in the years to come.”

Under The Labatt Family Heart Centre headed by Dr Redington, SickKids currently performs 80% of all children’s heart transplants in Canada and cares for 80% of all the children in Ontario with congenital heart defects. More than 60% of children requiring heart surgery are under one year of age, and almost a quarter of children requiring surgery are in their first month of life.

“Today’s announcement underscores our continuing development as a modernized academic cardiac program completely focused on the patient,” said Dr Redington. “It is extremely galvanizing to be part of the transformation. Over the past five years we have cared for more children, appointed more staff, obtained more grant support and published more papers than ever before.”

“Launching the Heart Centre last year has allowed us to bring all divisions of cardiac care under one umbrella and establish a state-of-the-art facility to care for children with congenital heart disease,” he added. “We now have one cohesive centre that has managed to break down silos and cultivate a collaborative environment that the whole hospital can be proud of.”

Dr Redington moved to Toronto from England in August 2001, to take on the role of head of the division of cardiology at SickKids. Since taking the helm, and in collaboration with the head of cardiac surgery, Dr Glen Van Arsdell, the hospital says it has seen significant improvements in patient satisfaction, care and outcomes within the division of cardiology.