19 episodes

At the crossroads of children’s healthcare, system improvement, and leadership, this solutions-focused, interview-style podcast brings you engaging stories, reflections, and system improvement ideas from leaders in Canadian children’s healthcare.

Spark: Conversations by Children's Healthcare Canada José Gauthier

    • Education

At the crossroads of children’s healthcare, system improvement, and leadership, this solutions-focused, interview-style podcast brings you engaging stories, reflections, and system improvement ideas from leaders in Canadian children’s healthcare.

    Children's healthcare in the community

    Children's healthcare in the community

    October’s SPARK: Conversations monthly podcast is on child health in the community with our new podcast host, Dr. Katharine Smart in conversation with special guest, Alison Quigley. Alison is the Senior Vice-President, Patient Care Services & Master Plan Clinical Lead at Trillium Health Partners. Alison will be discussing her experiences at Trillium Health Partners, systems consideration for community-based hospital services, leveraging virtual care supports, and how her front-line experiences have shaped her current leadership role.

    • 24 min
    Healing the Healthcare System: staff burnout, honest leadership, and collaboration

    Healing the Healthcare System: staff burnout, honest leadership, and collaboration

    Description: 
    The Canadian healthcare system is currently unable to meet the demands of the people who need it. Children and adults alike are seeing extended wait times for emergency rooms, ambulances and surgeries as well as closures of essential rural emergency centers due to staffing shortages. Dr. Katharine Smart, the current president of the Canadian Medical Association, has previously warned that Canadian healthcare is on the brink of collapse. She joins us as she nears the end of her presidential term to discuss the current state of Canadian healthcare, speaking to the importance of provider well-being and the nuances of collaborating and advocating both as individuals and organizations to bring about systemic change.
    This is Part 2 in a two-part series. To hear Dr. Smart speak on the impact mis and dis information has on our population and how we rebuild trust in healthcare, listen to Part 1 of this series “Getting the Facts Straight: Tackling mis/disinformation through patient-provider relationships”.
    Note: This interview was recorded in July, 2022, prior to Dr. Smart’s transition to CMA Past-President.
    Speaker Bio: 
    Dr. Katharine Smart is a pediatrician in Whitehorse, Yukon and Past President of the Canadian Medical Association. Her work is centered on developing collaborative partnerships with community and government services to serve marginalized children using a model of social pediatrics. She works primarily with children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood events, and she witnesses the broad and lasting impact these events have on children and their development daily. She is passionate about improving services for marginalized children in an effort to change their life trajectory.
    In addition to her community-based work, Dr. Smart enjoys acute care and provides on-call services to the hospital. Before moving to the Yukon, she was a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Dr. Smart is the past president of the Yukon Medical Association.

    • 28 min
    Getting the Facts Straight: Tackling mis/disinformation through patient-provider relationships

    Getting the Facts Straight: Tackling mis/disinformation through patient-provider relationships

    Description: 
    COVID served as a catalyst for the spread and uptake of mis- and disinformation, threatening the trust Canadian citizens have in vaccines and, frankly, putting lives at risk. Further, the extra disease burden on the healthcare system exacerbated pre-existing problems, including in the area of health human resources (e.g., staff burnout and shortages). Some may ask, So what? Why are these problems so concerning? How do we go about rebuilding trust in healthcare and science? Dr. Katharine Smart has been tackling these problems as President of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). As she transitions to the role of Past-President, Dr. Smart joins us to reflect on these issues, speaking to the importance of the longitudinal patient-provider relationship and innovative ways that clinicians can meet people where they’re at.
    This is Part 1 in a two-part series. To hear Dr. Smart discuss staff burnout and bringing our healthcare system back from the brink of collapse, listen to Part 2 of this series, “Healing the Healthcare System: Staff burnout, honest leadership and collaboration”.
    Note: This interview was recorded in July, 2022, prior to Dr. Smart’s transition to CMA Past-President.
    Speaker Bio: 
    Dr. Katharine Smart is a pediatrician in Whitehorse, Yukon and Past President of the Canadian Medical Association. Her work is centered on developing collaborative partnerships with community and government services to serve marginalized children using a model of social pediatrics. She works primarily with children who have experienced trauma and adverse childhood events, and she witnesses the broad and lasting impact these events have on children and their development daily. She is passionate about improving services for marginalized children in an effort to change their life trajectory.
    In addition to her community-based work, Dr. Smart enjoys acute care and provides on-call services to the hospital. Before moving to the Yukon, she was a pediatric emergency medicine physician at the Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary. Dr. Smart is the past president of the Yukon Medical Association.

    • 16 min
    Missed Opportunities Can Last a Lifetime: The State of Infant and Early Mental Health in Canada

    Missed Opportunities Can Last a Lifetime: The State of Infant and Early Mental Health in Canada

    Infancy is a developmental period when children are most vulnerable and when they present with the greatest potential. Infant and early mental health (IEMH) involves the social, emotional, cognitive wellbeing of infants and young children. IEMH care aims to ensure every child has the best possible start in life.
    Research tells us that:
    Infant and early child development sets the stage for later development and functioning.Babies and young children who experience adversity are at increased risk of poorer health and social outcomes in childhood and later in lifeSuch adverse childhood experiences influence development of the baby’s brain, the number and type of connections between brain cells, how they respond to stress, and even their DNAYoung children are the most vulnerable with the least access to mental health services and supportsThe development of infants and young children is strongly affected by the quality of their relationships with adults (parents or other caregivers)Love and nurturing can protect against some of the negative experiences of young childrenWe know what to do. We have the evidence and practice and policy requirements are clear. Changes are required to training and education of healthcare practitioners. Early intervention services must be accessible in a timely manner and responsive to the needs of the child and family. Policy change is required to support at-risk families and involves partnership between families, healthcare, community services, and child welfare. Listen while Dr. Chaya Kulkarni discusses leadership, evidence-informed practice and policy, resources, and educational opportunities to increase Canadian capacity to ensure all babies get off to a great start.
    This session will be of interest to:
    Healthcare professionalsFamilies & CaregiversSocial service providersLegal servicesSpeaker Bio
    Dr. Chaya Kulkarni is the Director of Infant and Early Mental Health Promotion (IEMHP). This national organization, at The Hospital for Sick Children, also known as SickKids, aims to improve outcomes across the lifespan through translating and promoting the science of early mental health into practice with families during pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood. Chaya is also an advisor to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, a member of the Strategic Advisory Committee at the Ontario Centre of Excellence on Child & Youth Mental Health, and a member of the Board at Family Day Care Services. Prior to joining IEMHP, Chaya was VP, Parent and Professional Education at Invest in Kids, and has also served as Senior Policy Analyst and Researcher for the Office of the Official Opposition, Queen’s Park. 

    • 23 min
    COVID’s Impact on Routine Immunizations

    COVID’s Impact on Routine Immunizations

    The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taught us many lessons, including best practices for immunizing populations efficiently. To retain what we have learned, and continue to improve vaccine confidence and uptake, the Canadian population will rely on experts like Dr. Manish Sadarangani to lead robust infectious disease and prevention research. On this episode of SPARK: Conversations, we sat down with Dr. Sadarangani to discuss natural and vaccine immunity to COVID-19, approaches to combatting new variants, and how we can improve vaccine and science communication. We explore the possibility of the COVID-19 vaccine becoming a routine vaccination, and how to best promote the importance of keeping up with those routine childhood immunizations.

    • 23 min
    Child Health and Wellness Research: A Priority to Transform Children’s Healthcare

    Child Health and Wellness Research: A Priority to Transform Children’s Healthcare

    Guest:
    Susa Benseler, MD, PhD; Director, Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the Cumming School of Medicine; Strategy Lead, Child Health and Wellness Research Strategy; Husky Energy Chair in Child and Maternal Health; Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Research; University of Calgary

    Children’s Healthcare Canada’s strategic priorities include informing the development of innovative and integrated health systems and advocating to improve children’s health and health systems. The SPARK: Conversations podcast series is a new solutions-focused podcast that connects the child health community with system leaders who tackle wicked problems and discuss ideas to inform the development of innovative and integrated systems serving children and youth.

    Dr. Benseler has completely re-organized and improved the research environment for basic and clinical research. Dr. Benseler has strengthened the relationship between the Department of Paediatrics and the research institute with transparency, inclusiveness, and teamwork. This has led to remarkable new research partnerships between basic scientists and clinical researchers. Dr. Benseler has been able to develop a new level of community engagement which is extra-ordinary. Dr. Benseler has successfully stewarded the Child Health Research Platform as one of two winning submissions for the Cross-Cutting multi-million dollar initiative at the University of Calgary. ACHRI is the only research institute with a clear focus on research within the University, across campus, and in our community. These developments have all been the brainchild of Dr. Susanne Benseler and her team at ACHRI.

    Summary:
    Children are the foundation of Canada’s future, and as such, research in child health is research on the future of our nation. Conducting health research with children is an ethical imperative to understanding treatment and prevention effectiveness, relative costs of child healthcare, and tactics to advance equitable healthcare. We had the opportunity to sit down with groundbreaking child health researcher, Dr. Susa Benseler, to understand the current landscape and trajectory of child health research. Dr. Benseler explains the need for an ongoing, national conversation, outlines why a cross-sectoral approach is impactful, and gives advice to others hoping to ‘scale up’ their child health research plans. She sheds light on her interdisciplinary vision to advance children’s healthcare in a positive direction. 

    • 21 min

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