Skip to Main Content Go to Sitemap
SickKids

Cardiology

4 smiling medical colleagues sitting at a table with papers

The Division of Cardiology at SickKids was established in 1938, as one of the first dedicated units treating children with congenital heart disease. Over 80 years later, the Division remains one of the most prestigious and productive in the world.

As an integral partner in the Labatt Family Heart Centre, it forms an important part of a multi-disciplinary and “expert model of care” team, with dedicated cardiac intensive care facilities, world-leading imaging teams, internationally renowned interventional cardiology and electrophysiology services, and one of the largest heart function and transplant groups. 

Our vision is to be the global leader in transformational congenital cardiac care.

Programs and Services

Expand the sections below to learn about programs and services offered at SickKids Cardiology.

What is Cardiac Catheterization?

The Cardiac Diagnostic and Interventional Unit (CDIU) unit consists of highly specialized doctors, nurses and other health professionals who diagnose and treat a variety of heart conditions.  

Using a specialized catheter, which is a long thin tube, and other small flexible tools, doctors can seal holes or open holes of the heart, widen narrowed passages, repair valves and obtain a sample or biopsy of the heart. Doctors can also gather information about the structure of your child’s heart and its valves; the pressure in the chambers of the heart and its blood vessels; the amount of oxygen in the chambers of the heart and its blood vessels; the amount of blood your child’s heart pumps to the body and the rhythm of the heart. The health-care team will use this as important information to create a clinical plan for your child. 

Additionally, the unit has an interventional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) suite, which helps doctors view what they are doing in real time without using radiation. 

Learn more about heart catheterization.

CDIU Staff Cardiologists

The Cardiac Imaging team of specialists at the Hospital for Sick Children work in the CDIU to provide expert non-invasive diagnostic evaluation in the modalities of cardiac chest x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and computed tomography (CT). State-of-the-art imaging techniques are specifically tailored for each patient to provide detailed individualized information about cardiovascular anatomy, function, and hemodynamics. This information contributes to treatment decision making, surgical planning, and best patient outcomes.

Our service is comprised of three core foundations:

Excellence in patient-centered clinical care

Our team is highly subspecialized and experienced. We work in close seamless collaboration with our surgical and medical colleagues in the Labatt Family Heart Centre. Each cardiac MRI or CT is directly supervised in-person by a subspecialist cardiac imaging physician expert. We are committed to always providing the highest quality patient-centered care.

Global education and training

The Cardiac Imaging team at the Hospital for Sick Children has a strong legacy of global education and outreach. We offer a one- to two-year dedicated subspecialty fellowship in cardiovascular MRI. In addition, a two-year research fellowship in cardiovascular imaging is also available.

Transformative cardiac imaging research

The Cardiac Imaging physicians partner with imaging scientists in the SickKids Research Institute to constantly advance our imaging techniques and knowledge of disease to best care for patients.

Notable areas of academic focus include:

The Cardiac Imaging team’s top priority is to always provide exemplary individualized patient- and family centered care to achieve the best outcomes.

Fetal MRI

Medical imaging plays a vital role in the diagnosis and management of fetal cardiac abnormalities during pregnancy. While ultrasound is the current standard for fetal imaging, there is growing interest in the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to evaluate the fetal heart in cases where ultrasound cannot provide a complete diagnosis.

Fetal MRI is challenging due to the size of fetal heart structures, relatively high fetal heart rates, and multiple sources of motion that occur during the scan. The Fetal MRI group focuses on novel approaches that address the technical challenges of imaging the fetus and explore new ways to assess and manage diseases that affect the fetal heart and placenta.

Cardiac Imaging Staff

More information coming soon.

Learn more about our associated clinics:

The cardiac clinic specializes in the diagnosis and follow-up of children with congenital or acquired cardiac disease from birth to 18 years of age. We see approximately 10,000 patient visits per year, including those who require surgery, have genetic or metabolic disorders with cardiac complications or have cardiac defects that require ongoing medical management. For further information on specific cardiac defects, please visit AboutKidsHealth.

The Cardiomyopathy & Heart Function (CHF) program was founded in 2005 and since then has been an integral section to the Division of Cardiology. The CHF program provides expertise in delivering both inpatient and outpatient care for children with heart muscle diseases like cardiomyopathies and for children with poor heart function due to a “weakheart muscle”.

For further information regarding pediatric heart failure and other pediatric cardiac conditions please see the Heart Learning Hub.

The CHF program runs a regular interdisciplinary clinic each week as well as additional specialty clinics for Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and a regular cardiomyopathy screening clinic for children with affected family members. We also provide cardiac care for children with neuromuscular diseases, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, and for children who have undergone chemotherapy for childhood cancers. In addition, the program runs a robust home inotrope program and is responsible for the care of children requiring ventricular assist devices (Treatment of heart failure in children).

The CHF team is comprised of pediatric cardiologists and nurse practitioners, dietitians, social workers, child life, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists, and genetic counselors.

From a research standpoint, the CHF program is in the forefront of innovation with ongoing participation in a number of research activities that include novel drug trials, multi-centre registry participation, advanced genomics and stem cell research, Cardiac Precision Medicine, digital technology, and quality improvement efforts.

CHF Staff Cardiologists

CHF Advanced Practice Nurses

  • Kristen George
  • Linda Fazari

Genetic Counselors

  • Laura Zahavich/Stacy Hewson

CHF Clinical Coordinator

  • Shalini Chauhan

The Echocardiography Laboratory in The Labatt Family Heart Centre provides diagnostic cardiac ultrasound for children with suspected or known heart disease. We evaluate patients ranging from the fetus to childhood to adolescence. Using state-of-the-art equipment, ultrasounds are performed by highly skilled paediatric sonographers and interpreted by a world-class team of diagnostic physicians.

What to expect when you visit the Echo Lab

Follow Shaun's journey through the Echo Lab to discover what you can expect if you are coming to SickKids for one of these tests: an echocardiogram (or 'echo'), a vascular ultrasound or a bicycle stress echo!

Clinical Echocardiography

The clinical echocardiography service specializes in the recognition and assessment of structural heart defects and the evaluation of cardiac function. Studies are performed according to well-defined imaging protocols with the highest quality control. We introduced the innovative concept of functional paediatric echocardiography which uses the most advanced equipment for the analysis of cardiac function and includes three-dimensional echocardiography, tissue Doppler and myocardial strain imaging. We also provide stress echocardiography, using either dobutamine or supine bicycle, which allows ultrasound imaging of children during exercise.

The Echocardiography Laboratory provides diagnostic cardiac ultrasound for children with suspected or known heart disease. The left panel shows an echocardiographic four-chamber view of a normal heart demonstrating the right atrium (RA), the right ventricle (RV), the left atrium (LA), and the left ventricle (LV). The right panel shows a four-chamber view of a heart with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, note the small left ventricle and dilated right ventricle.
The left panel shows an echocardiographic four-chamber view of a normal heart demonstrating the right atrium (RA), the right ventricle (RV), the left atrium (LA), and the left ventricle (LV). The right panel shows a four-chamber view of a heart with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, note the small left ventricle and dilated right ventricle.

Fetal Cardiology

Our Fetal Cardiac Program (explained later on this page) performs fetal echocardiography to diagnose heart problems in developing babies during pregnancy. After the echocardiogram is performed, multidisciplinary counseling is provided by members of the team who work closely with other prenatal care providers. This program also provides fetal treatment and intervention for certain abnormalities or diseases.

Research

We have an integrated Cardiovascular Ultrasound Research Program which develops and explores the clinical utility of newer echocardiographic techniques for the diagnosis and management of paediatric cardiovascular disease. Established in 2005, we offer a unique environment for cardiovascular imaging research where researchers, engineers, and research sonographers collaborate to study vascular and cardiac function in children.

This image, using blood speckle image technology, shows blood flow swirling inside the left ventricle of a neonate.

Education

Our laboratory is dedicated to educating and training both physicians and sonographers. Using a structured hands-on training program, we aim to teach our imaging protocols as well as our approach to image optimization. We also offer the opportunity for observers from all over the world to see our laboratory in action. We host the Echocardiography Course on Congenital Heart Disease, which features an international faculty of experts and aims to improve the knowledge of those who perform and/or interpret paediatric echocardiograms.

The Echocardiography Course on Congenital Heart Disease held at SickKids features echo-morphology correlation lectures, live scanning demonstrations and an international faculty of experts.
The Echocardiography Course on Congenital Heart Disease held at SickKids features echo-morphology correlation lectures, live scanning demonstrations and an international faculty of experts.

Our Team

The Echocardiography Laboratory is a large team of physicians, sonographers, nurses, fellows and administrative staff. The team is led by Dr. Luc Mertens (Echocardiography) and Dr. Edgar Jaeggi together with Dr. Lindsay Freud (Fetal Cardiology). The team managers are Lauren Skanes (clinical) and Christine Kerr (research).
 

Staff Cardiologists

More information coming soon.

Being active and playing with family and friends is an important part of childhood, and it contributes to children and adolescents’ physical and mental well-being. Understanding the best types and levels of exercise and best choices for sport or recreational activity can be challenging for children living with a heart or chronic medical condition.

The Exercise Medicine Program, created within the Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children, is the first program in Canada to promote physical activity by providing individualized exercise programs for our patients based on a comprehensive medical and functional evaluation.

The Exercise Medicine Program at SickKids is the first program in Canada integrates Rehabilitation and Preventive Medicine into the care of children and teenagers living with congenital heart disease and chronic disease. Meet the Exercise Medicine Program team and learn about Alex's and his family's experience in the program. 

The Exercise Medicine Program at SickKids is the first program in Canada that integrate Rehabilitation and Preventative Medicine into the care of children and teenagers living with congenital heart disease and chronic disease. Meet the Exercise Medicine team and learn about Alex's and his family's experience in the program.

What are the goals of the Exercise Medicine Program?

Our goal is to help children and adolescents improve their health by reaching a level of physical activity/exercise they didn’t realize they could achieve. We want to empower them to participate in exercise and become more active and confident about their physical abilities.

During the program we help our patients to find the right motivation, confidence, physical competence, and knowledge they need to include physical activity, sport or exercise into their daily routine for life. We want to help our patients to discover strengths and abilities they may not have known they possessed and to find joy in moving their bodies. 

Who can benefit from the Exercise Medicine Program? 

We accept referrals for any child age 8 and older with a heart or chronic medical condition that might benefit from exercise and lifestyle counseling. We provide family-based lifestyle counseling, and we deliver individualized lifestyle programs that include recommendations for physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutritional habits and sleep hygiene.

What to expect in the Exercise Medicine Program? 

Each patient undergoes a comprehensive medical evaluation including:

  • Biometric Assessment - We record height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and body composition analysis result at the beginning and end of the program.
  • Cardiac Fitness Evaluation - We use either a bike test or walk test to evaluate patients' cardiac fitness. The results of the test are used to personalize our exercise plans.
  • Quality of Movement and Muscle Strength Evaluation 
    • Our movement and strength assessment involves the performance of 5 basic exercises
    • By observing patients performing these simple movements the program's kinesiologist is able to evaluate the quality of their movement and their level of strength
    • The results of this evaluation are used to personalize our exercise plans
  • Questionnaires - Patients and their parents will be asked to complete quality of life and activity questionnaires

Our Team 

Program Director

Dr. Barbara Cifra, M.D.

Program Physiotherapist

Robin Deliva, PT, BScPT, MSc

Registered Kinesiologist

Kelly West

Registered Kinesiologist

Danielle Lawrence

Contact Us
For more information, contact us at exercise.medicine@sickkids.ca 

Useful Resources 

Benefits & Guidelines: Children & Youth (5 to 17) | ParticipACTION 
How to keep your child active | AboutKidsHealth

The Fetal Cardiac Program of the Labatt Family Heart Centre at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is made up of a multidisciplinary team that provides detailed evaluation, counseling and treatment for heart problems in the developing baby during pregnancy. We work closely with family doctors, midwivescommunity and high-risk obstetricians throughout Ontario, as well as geneticists and other pediatric subspecialistsWe partner with Mount Sinai Hospital to provide a range of fetal therapy through the Ontario Fetal Centre.  The Fetal Cardiac Program is a teaching program in affiliation with the University of Toronto. 

Heart problems in the developing baby may result from abnormal development of the heart (congenital heart disease), heart rhythm disturbances, complications from twin pregnancies, genetic conditions and health problems in the mother that affect the baby, including illness, medications and other exposures. 

The goals of the Fetal Cardiac Program are to ensure that families receive the highest quality of care for potential heart problems during pregnancy; to advance our understanding of the evolution of heart disease in the developing baby; and to provide ongoing educational support to families and providers alike.  We proudly serve as a local, national and international referral center for fetal cardiac care, research, and teaching.    

Learn about the Fetal Cardiac Program, including how to make a referral, clinic details, what to expect during a visit and more on our Clinic Directory.

Research

Research is one of the foundations of the Fetal Cardiac Program. Many of the advances in imaging and care for babies with heart problems during pregnancy have come from research and particularly from the internationally renowned research team at SickKids. 

During your visit, you may be approached regarding participation in a research project. Participation in any research is voluntary and will not affect the care you and your baby receive at SickKids. 

Examples of current projects include: 

  • FAST and SLOW trial/registry to understand fast and slow fetal rhythm problems 
  • Maternal Hyperoxygenation and MATCH studies to assess the effects of acute and chronic oxygen delivery on heart and brain development 

Teaching

The Fetal Cardiac Program provides on-going education to sonographers, fellows, cardiologists, obstetricians, radiologists, geneticists, nurses, midwives and other allied health practitioners involved in the prenatal diagnosis and management of pregnancies affected with or at risk of fetal cardiac conditions. 

Courses and Symposiums

We offer both a one-day basic course and a 3-days advanced symposium. Both courses are submitted for review to the Canadian Paediatric Society for CME/MOC credits and Sonography Canada for CPD/CME/ARDMS credits. 

The 1-day course provides information on normal cardiac anatomy, the recommended views to screen for major heart defects and those lesions that may be detected on a routine ultrasound examination. It is presented in an interactive format that encourages audience participation, including case presentations that allow individuals to test their knowledge level. 

The 3-days advanced symposium provides more in-depth review and discussion of advances in fetal cardiology and care of the fetal cardiac patient and family. Lecturers and participants include local, national and international experts in Fetal Cardiology, High-Risk Maternal Fetal Medicine, Prenatal Diagnosis/Medical Genetics, and other allied health practitioners with interest and expertise in caring for this population. 

Visit www.torontofetalcardiaccourse.com for more info. 

Fetal Cardiac Outreach Program 

The Fetal Outreach Program also provides on-site training and education for diagnostic ultrasound laboratories evaluating women during pregnancy. This training is provided by a specialized member of our team. 

Visit the official Heart Centre Biobank, a provincial and international research network aimed at improving outcomes in heart disease through enhanced prevention and treatment.

The SickKids Heart Transplant Program provides the expertise and services needed to take care of patients of all ages who need or have a heart transplant. Ages range from newborn infants to late adolescent patients; with diagnoses of congenital heart disease, cardiomyopathies, cardiac rhythm problems and others. Post-transplant care is provided by a multi-disciplinary team approach that includes transplant nursing specialists, social workers, dietitians, occupational and physical therapists, pharmacists as well as paediatric transplant cardiologists. There is an active fellowship training program training the next generation of heart transplant specialists.

There is an active research component which explores novel aspects of transplantation medicine, including personalized medicine, newer approaches to dealingwith the immune system (i.e. ABO incompatible transplantation, sensitized patients) and novel approaches to the diagnosis and management of the most common post-transplant complications.

Heart Transplant Cardiologists

Heart Transplant Surgeons

Heart Transplant Team

  • Lauren Scavuzzo – Clinical Nurse Specialist
  • Mirna Seifert-Hansen – Registered Nurse
  • Michelle Ennis – Information Coordinator
  • Louise Bannister – Dietitian
  • Robin Deliva – Physiotherapy
  • Heather Telfer – Social Work
  • Mayola Mathew – Social Work
  • Sabina Spataro – Child Life
  • Vanessa Gaglia – Occupational Therapy

Learn more about heart transplantation.

Information coming soon.

Information coming soon.

Learn more about pulmonary hypertension.

Empty lecture hall of 15 rows and a speaking podium

Education and training

Paediatric Cardiology Training Program

In the Division of Cardiology we offer a comprehensive three-year training program in Core paediatric cardiology that is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

In addition, we offer one-year subspecialty fellowships in echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional catheterization, MRI, and heart function and heart transplantation. 

Expand the sections below to learn more about our Core Training program!

  • The Division of Cardiology at The Hospital for Sick Children was established in 1938, as one of the first dedicated units treating children with congenital heart disease. Almost 80 years later, the Division remains one of the most prestigious and productive in the world.
  • We offer a comprehensive three-year training program in Core pediatric Cardiology that is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
  • In addition, we offer subspecialty fellowships in echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional catheterization, MRI, heart function and heart transplantation.
  • Rotations are offered in: in-patient cardiology, ambulatory cardiac clinic, cardiac critical care, echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional catheterization, heart function and cardiac transplantation, cardiac imaging, and adult congenital heart disease
  • A variety of daily teaching in addition to protected weekly academic half day contribute to a reach teaching environment
  • SickKids was voted the Number #1 Children’s Hospital in the world for 2021! and the Top Canadian healthcare institution in high-quality Research for 2020!
  • We have trained fellows from over 40 countries! Take a look at this map to see where some of our fellows have come from: Paediatric Cardiology Fellows at SickKids

Program Director

Dr. Conall Morgan

 

Education Administrative Coordinator

Ashley Cunha

 

Residency Program Committee

Dr. Conall Morgan (Chair)

Dr. Lee Benson

Dr. Virginie Beausejour-Ladouceur

Dr. Andreea Dragulescu

Dr. Alejandro Floh
Dr. Lindsay Freud

Dr. Mike Seed

Dr. Elizabeth Stephenson

Dr. Olivier Villemain
Dr. Sara Thorne

Chief Resident(s)

Elected Resident Representatives from each year 

 

Competence Committee

Dr. Anica Bulic (Chair)

Dr. Virginie Beausejour-Ladouceur

Dr. Andreea Dragulescu

Dr. Conall Morgan

Dr. Varsha Thakur

Dr. Vitor Guerra

 

Current Chief Fellow

Dr. Yuval Bitterman

The Core Paediatric Cardiology program at SickKids is designed as a three-year comprehensive training program in academic paediatric cardiology. Trainee wellness and a safe inclusive learning environment are at the core of our program. Our program is recognized by both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the American Board of Pediatrics. We have transitioned fully to Competency by Design since 2020. Rotations are typically one month in duration.

Program structure 

First year

The first year of the program is focused primarily on clinical cardiology. Rotations include:

  • Inpatient cardiology
  • Cardiology consultations
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrophysiology
  • MRI/CT
  • Outpatient clinic
Second year

The second year of training incorporates rotations in the cardiac ICU and cardiac catheterization laboratory as well as additional training in the core disciplines of cardiology. Significant time is spent in research during the second year. Rotations include:

  • Cardiac ICU
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Echocardiography (including transesophageal and fetal)
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart function and transplant
  • Longitudinal outpatient clinic
  • Research (3 months)
Third year

The third year of training solidifies training in the core disciplines as well as giving autonomy to the trainee in ‘senior trainee’ roles. Again, significant time is dedicated to elective and research time. Rotations include: 

  • Inpatient cardiology (as a senior trainee)
  • Cardiac ICU
  • Echocardiography (including TEE, fetal, review)
  • Electrophysiology
  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Longitudinal outpatient clinic
  • Adult Congenital Cardiology (located in Toronto General Hospital)
  • Research/Elective (4 months)

On call 

In-hospital on call is a requirement of the training program. We have a 24+2 hour on call rule (PARO guideline) meaning that you will have the day off following your on call. Third year trainees participate in echo back up on call to provide support for new first year trainees (home call). An on call stipend is provided.

Evaluation

We have a robust system of assessment within the program with Competency Based medical education at the heart of our program.

  • Our program has fully transitioned to Competency by Design (CBD) since 2020. Training is divided into four stages: Transition to discipline, Foundations of discipline, Core of discipline and, finally, Transition to practice. Trainees are evaluated based on Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) and In-Training Assessment Reports (ITARs). The competency committee meets regularly and reviews each trainee progress and determines their suitability to progress to the next stage of training. A faculty advisor provides feedback to the trainee following these meetings.
  • Trainees from each year of core training are required to write the In-Training Examination of the American Board of Pediatrics at the beginning of each academic year. This gives candidates the opportunity to compare their knowledge with other individuals at the same level of training.
  • Electronic In-Training Assessment Reports (ITARs) are automatically sent to the rotation supervisor at the end of each rotation. After the supervising cardiologist completes the electronic evaluation form, it is forwarded to the trainee who will review and sign it on-line. Faculty meet to discuss the evaluations with the trainees upon completion of the rotation.
  • Participation in Annual OSCE. Provides an opportunity to prepare for the Royal College certifying examination as well as receive feedback as to how they compare to their peers.

We believe that strong mentorship is key to a successful residency and/or fellowship and successful career. Each trainee is paired with both a personal/career mentor and a research advisor. Your mentors will remain with you during the duration of the training program. The program director also serves to provide mentorship during semi-annual reviews and on ad hoc basis throughout your training.

The Division of Cardiology has a long history of research excellence and the training program encourages our trainees to get involved in research projects throughout the duration of their training. Dedicated research rotations occur in each year. A formal research curriculum has been incorporated into our academic half day to provide you with the foundational principles of research. Each trainee is assigned a research advisor.

A scholarship oversight committee provides additional guidance and mentorship around trainee's scholarly activity. The program provides funding for trainees to attend a scientific conference annually (because on occasion, they can attend more than one). There is an annual trainee research award awarded to a trainee who demonstrated excellence in scholarly work over the previous year. Dedicated research fellowships and innovation seed funding for research projects are available through a peer-reviewed process.

The training program has a strong history of providing excellent formal and informal educational opportunities. We offer a rich series of lectures in an academic half day setting, which is protected time from clinical duties. We routinely evaluate and update the content of our half day lecture series. Guest speakers from outside of the Division are regularly invited and examples of topics have included wellness strategies, feedback and coaching and teaching the teacher.

Outside of the academic half day setting, teaching occurs in multiple places that include:

  • Faculty delivered informal case-based discussions in cath, echo, CT/MRI
  • Professor rounds: Weekly in-depth discussions about challenging cases
  • Fetal teaching: Weekly multidisciplinary fetal teaching
  • Cardiovascular surgical teaching, offered in conjunction with Cardiovascular surgical trainees

We foster teaching excellence in our trainees and offer multiple opportunities for trainee led teaching. There is an annual teaching award given to both the core and subspecialty trainee who demonstrated commitment and excellence in education throughout the year.

Examples of trainee-led teaching include:

  • Core and subspecialty led daily teaching
  • Paediatric resident teaching
  • Annual cardiology PERLs sessions

Trainees attend weekly cardiovascular surgical rounds in which surgical or interventional strategies are made for patients with congenital or acquired heart disease. Weekly surgical performance rounds and monthly Mortality and Morbidity rounds are held for programmatic improvement.

This is our current teaching schedule.

The physical, psychological, and social wellbeing of our trainees is key to our success as a training program. We have a Wellness Committee made up of both faculty and trainees that strive to improve trainee wellness. Initiatives include:

  • Annual trainee retreat
  • Yoga and running clubs
  • Balint groups for debriefing after traumatic events
  • Strengthening our mentorship program
  • Establishing a wellness curriculum
  • Social events
  • Career evenings

Visit the Office of Postgraduate Wellness for additional wellness resources. 

What are equity, diversity, and inclusion?
  • Equity: equal access to treatment, opportunities, resources, and advancements
  • Diversity: acknowledging and embracing differences between people and ensuring fair representation
  • Inclusion: providing a safe and respectful space where all are welcomed and engaged
Why are they important?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion matter because the heart of this program are the people: residents, fellows, faculty, patients, and families. We strive to cultivate an environment where everyone feels comfortable being their true selves, where differences are respected and valued and where trainees are empowered to collaborate and share their ideas.

What is being done within the program to foster a culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion? 

As a training program that accepts trainees from all over the world, we welcome different perspectives as it is this diversity that drives innovation and growth. By recognizing, addressing, and minimizing bias and inequities, we are working to create a space that is open, supportive, and respectful.

A few examples of initiatives within our program:

  • Allyship Training
  • Hidden Curriculum Training
  • Implicit Bias Training

To see more EDI programs at SickKids and the University of Toronto, please visit the webpages below

Eligibility 

  • You must be a licensed pediatrician
  • We accept applicants from Canada, across North America and International trainees

The academic year commences on July 1 and ends on June 30. Trainees are expected to start on July 1 and all registration requirements must be in place prior to the start date. 

How to apply

  1. Complete the online Fellowship Application Form
  2. Upload the Application Package at the end of the online Fellowship Application Form , which consists of the following documents: 
    • Up-to-date Curriculum Vitae (please include date of birth, home address and country of birth)
    • Letter of Intent
    • Photocopy of your Medical Degree (University Degree)
    • Notarized translation of your medical degree in English - if applicable
    • Photocopy of your Paediatrics Certificate or if you are currently a Paediatric trainee, please arrange for your program director or specialty board (e.g. American Board of Pediatrics) to provide us with a letter of good standing 
    • Notarized translation of your specialty certificate (Paediatrics) in English – if applicable
  3. Three (3) Reference Letters (on official letterhead dated within the last 12 months in .pdf format), including one reference letter from your Program Director, to be emailed to the Heart Centre Medical Education email addressed to:  

Dr. Conall Morgan 
Program Director
Division of Cardiology
Hospital for Sick Children
Email: cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca 

Deadlines

Applications will be accepted from September 1, 2022 to March 31, 2023 for the academic year commencing July 1, 2024. Please note that deadlines are firm, and letters of reference must be received before the deadline to complete the application process. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Funding

There are two types of funding possible for this Fellowship Program:

  1. The Hospital for Sick Children Payroll: These positions are fully funded by the Fellowship program
  2. Externally Funded: These positions may be funded by an outside institution or scholarship. There is a strict requirement with respect to the minimum salary required. A funding confirmation letter must be provided by the institution or scholarship immediately following acceptance into the program
Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship  application timeline that includes application submission, application review period, interviews and offers given to successful candidates.
Timeline of the Cardiology fellowship application process.

Current Trainees 2021-2022

Core Trainees

First Year

Michael Gritti M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

Ahmed Hassan M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

Rajkamal Lalli M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Western University, London, ON, Canada

Gilles Mets M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Ghent University Hospital, Ghent, Belgium

Xiuli Wang M.D.

Residency: Tianjin Dagu Chemical CO. Ltd. Staff Hospital, Tianjin, China

Second Year
Dr. Osama Abumregha, First Year Paediatric Cardiology Fellow

Osama Abumregha M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: University of KwaZulu, South Africa

Jose Aldana Aguirre, First Year Paediatric Cardiology Fellow

José Aldana Aguirre M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gomez, México

Headshot of Dr. Pierre-Olivier Veillette

Pierre-Olivier Veillette M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Université de Montréal and CHU Sainte-Justine, Canada

Third Year 

Chief Fellow

Yuval Bitterman M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Ruth Hospital, Rambam Medical Centre, Israel

Joshua Griesman M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: SUNY Upstate Medical University, Golisano Children’s Hospital, USA

Katie Losenno M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Canada

Carlos Villalobos M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Antiguo Hospital Civil de Guadalajara, México

Graduating Core Trainees 

2021-2022

Abdulaziz Alosaimi M.D.
Devin Chetan M.D.
Alison Howell M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)
Bhavikkumar Langanecha M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)

2020-2021

Laurent Desjardins M.D.
Michael Fridman M.D.
Aine Lynch M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)
Jonathan Wong M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)
Oshri Zaulan M.D.

2019-2020

Safwat Aly M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)
Michael Muhame M.D. (Co-Chief Fellow)

2018-2019 

Mahmoud Al Salehi M.D.
Koyelle Papneja M.D.
Alyssa Power M.D. (Chief Fellow)

 

1. I have applied, now what's next? 

Please refer to the Fellowship Application Timeline in the above How to apply section. Once all applications have been reviewed, all candidates will be notified by the Education Coordinator of the status of their application. 

2. Do you fund international applicants?

The Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship program at SickKids happily accepts international applicants and funding is available for a limited number of positions in each academic year. 

Applicants can also be externally funded by an outside institution, government, scholarship and/or grant. Please note, there is a strict requirement with the minimum salary required. A funding confirmation letter must be provided by the institution or scholarship immediately following acceptance into the program. 

3. What is it like working and living in Toronto? 

Toronto is the largest city in Canada, and the fourth largest city in North America; with a population of 2.7 million people. Toronto is known for diversity and multiculturalism. The Greater Toronto Area, (GTA) is home to more then 180 languages and dialects and more then half our population was born outside Canada. Making your time in Toronto a fascinating multicultural experience, to remember!

Toronto has a lot to offer. A known fact: Toronto is consistently ranked one of the safest and most livable cities in the world, making our city the perfect home away from home, for you and your family.

Toronto is home to a beautiful waterfront area steps away from the downtown core, perfect for biking, walking, and cycling. Come and visit one of our stunning parks, beaches, or take in other attractions such the iconic CN tower, Royal Ontario Museum or Casa Loma. It is also known for popular sporting events, shops, and restaurants, in tourist areas like Yonge Street, and the Distillery Historic District.

We invite you to come and experience life in Toronto!

If you have any further questions, please email us at cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca or call (416) 813-7654 ext. 207467.

Paediatric Cardiology Subspecialty Fellowship Program

Within Cardiology, we also offer one-year subspecialty fellowships in cardiac MRI , echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional catheterization, and heart function and heart transplantation.

Expand the sections below to learn more about our Subspecialty Fellowships!

If you have any further questions, please email us at cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca or call (416) 813-7654 ext. 207467.

Subspecialty Highlights:

  • Collaborative environment between cardiology and radiology 
  • 1 dedicated cardiac MRI system co-located with a catheterization suite 
  • 750-800 annual cardiac MRIs 
  • 3 dedicated cardiac MRI technologists 

Fellowship Highlights:

  • 3 fellows per year (cardiology & radiology combined) 
  • Full training in MRI scanning/image acquisition, post-processing, and reporting 
  • Dedicated cardiac MRI teaching rounds 
  • Clinical case presentation at multidisciplinary surgical conference 
  • Formal teaching opportunities to cardiology and radiology trainees 
  • Expected research requirement with ample interdisciplinary collaborative opportunities 
  • Protected academic time 
  • No on-call responsibilities 

Staff:

Dr. Christopher Lam (Interim Section Head)
Dr. Mike Seed (Division Head)
Dr. Shi-Joon Yoo

We offer a one-year subspecialty fellowship in advanced echocardiography. This fellowship is immersive in all aspects of clinical echocardiography. The echocardiography laboratory at SickKids performs 1,500 Transthoracic and 500 transesophageal echocardiograms each year.

Fellowship Highlights:

  • Gain expertise in transthoracic image acquisition, optimization, and interpretation for patients with both congenital and acquired heart disease
  • Develop skills in advanced imaging technologies such as strain imaging and 3D
  • Perform intraoperative transesophageal echocardiograms to assist in surgical decision making
  • Provide echo guidance for interventional catheterizations such as ASD device closure, VSD device closure, PDA device closure in preterm infants.
  • Present echo images at weekly cardiosurgical conference
  • Weekly echo staff physician delivered teaching
  • Participate in the teaching of core cardiology trainees and sonographers
  • Provide on call support for new core trainees
  • Learn and supervise exercise echo

The echocardiography lab at SickKids is a world leader in cardiovascular ultrasound research and our fellowship offers a unique opportunity for trainees to become involved in imaging research. We encourage our fellows to become involved in a research project during their clinical fellowship. Twice monthly echo research rounds are hosted and provide a forum for collaboration and learning. Opportunities to pursue a research fellowship following the clinical training exist.

Staff:

Dr. Luc Mertens (Section head)
Dr. Mark Friedberg
Dr. Andreea Dragulescu
Dr. Vitor Guerra
Dr. Olivier Villemain
Dr. Conall Morgan (Program Director)
Dr. Anne Dipchand

Fetal Echocardiography Fellowship

The Fetal Cardiac Program in the Labatt Family Heart Centre offers a one-year comprehensive fetal fellowship for select candidates interested in a career in fetal cardiology. We are one of the largest fetal cardiac programs in the world with seven staff cardiologists and a team of dedicated nurses, sonographers, and administrative assistants. We perform more than 2,500 high-risk fetal echocardiograms per year and serve as a regional, national, and international referral centre.  

In addition to daily fetal clinics at SickKids, we have two daily clinics per week to perform first trimester fetal echocardiograms at Mount Sinai Hospital alongside our maternal-fetal medicine colleagues. Through the Ontario Fetal Centre, which is a collaboration between SickKids and Mount Sinai, we are the only program in Canada to offer percutaneous fetal cardiac intervention.  Additionally, we are one of few centres in the world to perform fetal cardiac MRI, both for clinical and research purposes. Our world-class Genetics team also provides unique opportunities for collaboration and teaching, as well as research avenues through the Cardiac Genome Clinic.

Fellows are exposed to all members of our multi-disciplinary team. There is an abundance of educational opportunities, including weekly case-based teaching; weekly provincial fetal cardiology rounds, which includes journal clubs, pathology rounds, and M&M conferences; and monthly multi-disciplinary perinatal rounds.  Beyond the clinical and educational offerings, fellows typically complete at least one research project during the year with our productive fetal cardiology staff.

The fetal fellowship is generously supported by the Policaro Family.

Staff

Dr. Edgar Jaeggi (Section Head, Fetal Cardiac Program) 
Dr. Lindsay Freud (Associate Director, Fetal Cardiac Program)
Dr. Varsha Thakur
Dr. Vitor Guerra
Dr. Mike Seed (Division Head)
Dr. Shi-Joon Yoo

Electrophysiology Fellowship

The Pediatric Cardiac Electrophysiology program trains fellows to achieve excellence in all areas of pediatric arrhythmia management. Trainees develop expertise in the diagnosis and management of arrhythmias disorders in children with and without congenital heart disease. This will include invasive and noninvasive testing, as well as medical management, device implantation and management, and catheter ablation. 

PCEP fellows participate in both inpatient and outpatient settings learning to diagnose and manage the full breadth of electrophysiologic conditions. Fellows gain increasing responsibility while learning the management and natural history of a wide variety of cardiac arrhythmias. 

Fellows are involved in all EP procedures, and given increasing responsibility in the EP laboratory. Procedures include diagnostic EP studies and catheter ablation for supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias. They are involved in pacemaker, ICD, and cardiac resynchronization therapy device implantations both in the cath lab and in the operating room in conjunction with cardiac surgery for epicardial procedures. Fellows also participate in non-invasive procedures such as cardioversions and device tests. Fellows consult on patients with arrhythmias and implanted devices in the intensive care units and other inpatient units. 

In the outpatient arena, EP fellows spend a minimum of a half-day each week in one of the arrhythmia outpatient clinics, as well as covering the pacemaker clinic. The fellows rotate among each of the EP faculty clinics, thus affording trainees the opportunity to observe and manage patients longitudinally, and to gain experience with different management styles. They read ECG, exercise tests and Holter monitors under the guidance of the EP staff.

The fellowship is designed to provide trainees with a broad educational experience. In addition to the extensive direct clinical exposure, a variety of educational opportunities are provided during the fellowship. A weekly EP service meeting, attended by all EP faculty and fellows, is used for teaching, discussion of recent cases and complications, as well as upcoming cases in both the cath lab and the operating room. Outpatient consults and challenging cases are also brought to this forum for review and management planning. Fellows attend two monthly meetings on inherited arrhythmia, one reviewing internal cases and one reviewing shared families with our adult partners at Toronto General Hospital. Fellow also present teaching to core cardiology fellows and pediatric residents on a monthly basis. 

Faculty for the PCEP Program

Dr. Elizabeth Stephenson - Section Head, Electrophysiology
Dr. Virginie Beausejour-Ladouceur
Dr. Anica Bulic
Dr. Robert Hamilton

Interventional Catheterization

Training in interventional cardiology at SickKids offers exposure to a full spectrum of interventional cases and complex patients. Working with a staff of four experienced interventionalists with somewhat unique areas of expertise, the trainee will gain fluency in technical skills and decision-making. Clinical responsibilities include pre- and post-cath care as well as procedural responsibilities. Research and teaching opportunities are available within the Division; the senior fellow typically takes on a leadership role for core trainees rotating through the lab. Adult congenital and structural exposure is available, if desired, through a collaborative experience at Toronto General Hospital. 

Staff

Dr. Audrey Marshall
Dr. Lee Benson
Dr. Rajiv Chaturvedi

Heart Function and Heart Transplantation 

More information coming soon!

Curent Trainees | 2022 - 2023

Subspecialty Trainees

Fetal Echocardiography

Nathaniel Barber M.D., PhD.

Paediatrics Residency: St. George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK

Electrophysiology

Jordan Ezekian M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: University of North Carolina Hospitals, North Carolina, USA Paediatric Cardiology Residency: Duke University School of Medicine, North Carolina, USA

Electrophysiology - Inherited Arrhythmia

Emmi Helle M.D., PhD.

Paediatrics Residency: University of Helsinki, Finland Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: University of Helsinki, Finland

Echocardiography

Alison Howell M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Great Ormond Street Hospital, London, UK Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

Electrophysiology

Sarin Lekchuensakul M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Heart Function and Heart Transplantation

Aine Lynch M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: University Hospital Limerick, Ireland Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

Fetal Echocardiography

Kanyarat Petcharat M.D.

Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency: Prince of Songkla University, Thailand Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellowship: Ramathibody Hospital, Mahidol University, Thailand

Interventional Catheterization

Sarah Pradhan M.D.

Paediatrics Residency: Case Western University, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH, USA Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: Cincinnati College of Medicine

Echocardiography

Thomas Salaets M.D., PhD.

Paediatrics Residency: Katholieke University, Leuven, Belgium Paediatric Cardiology Fellowship: University Hospitals of Leuven, Belgium

Graduated Subspecialty Fellows 

2021 - 2022 

Akintayo Adesokan M.D. 
Interventional Catheterization 

Javier Castro M.D. 
Heart Function and Transplantation

Michael Fridman M.D.
Electrophysiology 

Boekhren Karyostoyo M.D.
Echocardiography 

Yalin Lin M.D.
Fetal Echocardiography

2020 - 2021

Safwat Aly M.D.
Echocardiography

Bianca Castellanos M.D.
Electrophysiology

Barbara de Pinho Cardoso M.D.
Heart Function and Transplantation

Kamalvir Gill M.D.
Fetal Echocardiography

Carmen Lopez Leiva M.D.
Cardiac Imaging

Steven Rathgeber M.D.
Interventional Catheterization

Ankavipar Saprungruang M.D.
Cardiac Imaging

2019 - 2020

Ahmad Al Jefri M.D.
Electrophysiology 

Jenna Ashkanase M.D.
Heart Function and Transplantation

Adrienn Boros-Szabo M.D.
Echocardiography

Hannah Bourne M.D.
Fetal Echocardiography

Anders Christensen M.D.
Interventional Catheterization

Octavio Netto M.D.
Electrophysiology

Andrea Pisesky M.D.
Echocardiography

Mika Saito M.D.
Fetal Echocardiography

Aswathy Vaikom House M.D.
Cardiac Imaging

2018 - 2019

Jessica Laks M.D.
Heart Function and Transplantation

Sok Leng Kang M.D.
Interventional Catheterization

Gloria Perez M.D.
Echocardiography

Mark Shwayder M.D.
Electrophysiology

Mari Carmen Vazquez Alvarez M.D.
Echocardiography

Teaching and Research Awards

The Labatt Family Heart Centre created the Labatt Family Heart Centre Teaching and Research Awards to recognize the outstanding contributions of residents, fellows, and faculty in their educational and research efforts throughout the academic year. Expand the tabs below to see past recipients. 

Teaching Awards for July 2020 - June 2021
Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Core Trainee: Dr. Carlos Villalobos
Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Subspecialty Trainee: Dr. Bianca Castellanos 
Award for Excellence in Teaching by a Faculty Member: Drs. Anica Bulic and Olivier Villemain 
Friends of the Residents (teaching selected by the PGY2 Paediatric residents): Dr. Michael Fridman

Research Awards for July 2020 - June 2021

Award for Excellence in Research by a Core Trainee: Dr. Michael Fridman
Award for Excellence in Research by a Subspecialty Trainee: Dr. Safwat Aly

Elective and observership programs

In addition to the Fellowship Program, the Division of Cardiology also offers medical education in two others programs: 

  • The Elective Program in Paediatric Cardiology is open to medical students, paediatric residents and paediatric cardiology residents and fellows. 
  • The Observership Program in Paediatric Cardiology is open to international medical school graduates who are board-eligible or certified in Paediatric Cardiology, are not licensed to practice in Canada, and are interested in gaining experience at The Hospital for Sick Children.  

Electives and observers are now being accepted on a case-by-case basis. Please contact cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca for more information.

The Electives Program with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology at The Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto is open to medical students, paediatric residents and paediatric cardiology residents and fellows. 

Medical Students 

University of Toronto Medical Students  

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Once available dates have been confirmed and elective request has been approved by the Division, University of Toronto Medical Students can book their elective through the MedSIS registration system. MedSIS is made available to students in September of the third year of the UME curriculum. Electives may be 2-4 weeks in duration. In accordance with the AFMC guidelines for electives, students are expected to complete elective experiences in a minimum of three of the CaRMS first-level entry residency programs. The requirement for three disciplines may be achieved through any combination of electives and the selective components of the Transition to Residency course.  

Visiting Medical Students (Canadian Medical Students outside of UofT, US and International Medical Students) 

Please review the details provided at the AFMC Student Portal to determine your eligibility.  

Electives are available for a maximum of 4 weeks.  

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Once available dates have been confirmed and elective request has been approved by the Division, visiting medical students may submit elective applications through the AFMC Student Portal.  

All elective applications are processed and must be approved by the Elective Office, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. 

Resident Electives 

Please review the details provided at the Postgraduate Medical Education Office (PGME) at the University of Toronto to determine your eligibility. 

If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates and your most current CV (that includes date of birth, citizenship status and email address) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

Canadian Resident Electives 

Once available dates have been confirmed, please apply through the University of Toronto’s PGME Electives Program portal. 

International Resident Electives 

Once available dates have been confirmed, please submit the following application package (in PDF or MS Word format) to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca 

  • Written permission from the current program director at the applicant’s home university 
  • Letter from the applicant’s home institution confirming full financial support for the duration of the elective training and that this funding is in accordance with the scale of remuneration of the PARO-CAHO Agreement OR the trainee’s sponsoring agency confirming its approval.  
  • Medical Degree (English translation if required) 
  • Photocopy of passport that contains the applicant’s photograph, personal details, issuing country and passport expiry dare 

In order for international trainees to apply they need to be 

  • Registered and in good standing in a medical program at a university medical school at a PGY 3 level 
  • Paid by their medical school/training program during their elective time and that their funding is in accordance with the scale of remuneration of the PARO-CAHO Agreement 
  • Eligible for licensure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO).   

The application process takes approximately 8-9 months to complete.  Final approval is granted once all requirements have been met as required by the PGME Office at the University of Toronto and the CPSO for licensure. 

Fellow Electives 

Paediatric Cardiology Fellow Electives requesting to complete an elective must request permission from Dr. Jennifer Russell, Subspecialty Program Director.  

This email should be sent to cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca and include the following: 

  • Letter of Intent 
  • Up-to-date Curriculum Vitae 
  • Preferred Start and End Dates 
  • Approval Letter from the trainee’s current Program Director approving the elective  

Eligibility:  

The Observership Program with The Labatt Family Heart Centre – Division of Cardiology at The Hospital for Sick Children is open to international medical school graduates who are board-eligible or certified in Paediatric Cardiology, and are not licensed to practice in Canada, and are interested in gaining experience at The Hospital for Sick Children. 

Students, medical students and other physicians without substantial cardiology experience will NOT be accepted. 

Observers shall not have any patient care responsibilities and shall not begin a term without prior approval by the Medical Affairs Office. Observers will not participate in any direct patient contact and therefore do not require an Independent or Educational license from the CPSO. 

Cost: 

A non-refundable observer application fee of $175 is applicable to observers (> 2 days). 

Deadlines: 

Observership applications will be accepted up to two months prior to an agreed upon start date. 

Application process: 

Interested applicants are requested to send their most recent CV and Letter of Intent with their requested dates and subspecialty (list below) for approval cardiology.MedEd@sickkids.ca.  

Subspecialties: 
  • Echocardiography 
  • Fetal Echocardiography 
  • Electrophysiology 
  • Cardiac Intervention 
  • Cardiac MRI 
  • Heart Function and Transplantation 
  • Preventative Cardiology 

Trainees will be notified if their application has been approved.

Contact Cardiology


Patient/Family Inquiries:

Phone: 416-813-5848

Fax: 416-813-5582

Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Monday to Friday

Location:  4th Floor, Atrium

 

Fellowship, Elective and Observership Information:

Ashley Cunha

cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 207467

Fax: 416-813-7547

 

Administrative Inquiries:

(Non-Clinical/Non-Patient Inquiries only)

Sue Morton

sue.morton@sickkids.ca

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 202459

Fax: 416-813-7547

 

Address:

Division of Cardiology

The Hospital for Sick Children

Room 1725

555 University Ave.

Toronto, Ontario

M5G 1X8, Canada

Back to Top