U of T Crest Faculty of Medicine / University of Toronto
Department of Paediatrics
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Endocrinology
 > Department of Paediatrics > Divisions > Endocrinology

Endocrinology



Dr. Jill Hamilton 
- Division Head

The major areas of focus of the division's clinical activities include: comprehensive care of children and teens with disorders of the endocrine system, especially diabetes mellitus; growth disorders; thyroid disorders, and calcium and bone mineral metabolism disorders. The division has a Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada approved training program in Paediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism. As such, the division provides training over two to four years for paediatric residents seeking subspecialization in paediatric endocrinology (usually three to six trainees in the program at any one time). The division also provides the paediatric experience for trainees in adult endocrinology in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. In addition, the division provides training for residents in the general paediatric training program, as well as students at all levels of medical school. The program also provides educational experiences for allied health professionals wishing to have an exposure to endocrinology and diabetes. The major foci of our research activities fall into the following areas:
  • Early diabetic nephropathy: etiology and intervention
  • Eating disorders in young women with type 1 diabetes
  • Factors affecting metabolic control in children and teens with diabetes
  • Outcomes of early treatment for congenital hypothyroidism
  • Evaluation of laboratory and radiological studies of endocrine disorders
  • Prevention of type 1 diabetes
  • Insulin resistance in endocrine disorders of childhod and adolescence
  • Fetal determinants of the metabolic syndrome

History

The Division of Endocrinology can trace its roots to the early days after the discovery of insulin by Drs. Banting and Best at the University of Toronto. In 1923, Dr. Fred Banting was appointed physician in charge of diabetes at the hospital, and a specialized diabetes clinic was established the following year. This made it possible to carry out metabolic studies that helped establish the principles of care for children with juvenile diabetes.

Endocrinology research became more firmly established at SickKids with the appointment of Dr. A.L. Chute to the Department of Physiology in 1939 and the establishment of a semi-autonomous Research Institute in 1953. Throughout his long and illustrious career at the hospital, Dr. Chute conducted landmark clinical studies which led to a better understanding of the long-term complications of juvenile diabetes and the efficacy of animal growth hormone in treating children with pituitary deficiency, among other things. He was also instrumental in the formation of the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The division became a formal entity in 1970, and quickly became known as a pioneering centre for paediatric endocrine research and clinical studies. Of particular note was the establishment, in the mid-seventies, of a newborn screening program for congenital thyroid deficiency.

The diabetes program has continued to be a focal point of the division's activities. More than 100 children and adolescents with new-onset diabetes are assessed every year, and approximately 1,000 receive comprehensive tertiary care at the hospital. With the ongoing development of an ambulatory care program for children with diabetes and other endocrine disorders, hospital admissions have been decreasing.



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