Cardiology

Overview

The Division of Cardiology in the Labatt Family Heart Centre at the Hospital for Sick Children offers a Paediatric Cardiology Training program that is accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and recognized by the American Board of Pediatrics. It is one of the largest and most sought after Paediatric Cardiology programs in North America. Graduating trainees have populated cardiology units around the world, with many becoming leaders of this specialty in their countries. 

Objectives

The Paediatric Cardiology Core Fellowship is a three-year comprehensive training program that provides a diverse clinical experience as well as significant clinical and basic science research opportunities. Throughout the three years, trainees will participate in clinical rotations that include consultation, in-patient ward, ambulatory cardiac clinic, cardiac critical care, echocardiography, fetal echocardiography, electrophysiology, interventional catheterization, heart function and cardiac transplantation, cardiac imaging, and adult congenital heart disease. These rotations are structured to allow trainees to develop clinical skills in the day-to-day care and management of paediatric cardiology patients. Clinical fellows will also have designated time to develop research projects and then present their research work. A variety of daily teaching sessions and weekly rounds have been organized to further enhance training.  Graduating trainees are well positioned to apply for additional subspecialty training or pursue a career paediatric cardiology in a less specialized setting.

Training Sites

The Main Training Site is the Hospital for Sick Children with a single rotation at the Toronto General Hospital (located across the street) for adult congenital training. There are opportunities in the program to schedule outside electives, participate in community practices locally, and attend our satellite outpatient clinic in Northern Ontario.

Program Content

The Division of Cardiology offers two types of clinical fellowships:

  • 3 year Core Fellowship in Paediatric Cardiology
  • 1 year Subspecialty Fellowships in the following areas: Cardiac Imaging, Echcardiography, Electrophysiology, Fetal Echocardiography, Interventional Catheterization and Heart Function and Transplantation.

Core program trainees are eligible to apply to the subspecialty fellowships to commence after completion of their core training although positions are not guaranteed.

Research Experience

Clinical trainees will have designated time to develop their own research projects with staff presenting research ideas and their areas of focus to the incoming trainees each year.  Trainees will also be exposed to a vast array of research being proposed or undertaken within the Division of Cardiology at the monthly Scientific Review meetings. They will also have the opportunity to present their own projects at this forum.

All trainees are expected to complete at least one project during training that is suitable for publication and presentation at a national conference.  

There is a monthly Research Methodology Course that is organized by the trainees and faculty and the topics covered during these sessions include statistics and study design. The goal of this course is to help trainees build and enhance their research skills.  

Evaluation

Trainees are evaluated using the In-Training Evaluation Reports (ITERs) at the end of each rotation, which covers the medical expert and intrinsic roles relevant to the rotation. There are also examinations that are organized to provide formative assessment and suggest areas for further improvement. These include the OSCE examination and the American Board of Pediatrics In-Training Examination, which are both held on an annual basis.

With the launch of Competency by Design (CBD), we will be introducing new evaluations based on Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) and In-Training Assessment Reports (ITARs). The Program Director and the newly formed Competence Committee will review each trainee on a regular basis.  A faculty advisor will provide feedback to the trainee following these meetings to ensure they progress appropriately through the program.

Ways To Get Involved

At least one trainee from each year of the program is part of the Program Training Committee which meets regularly to review and improve all areas of the program. Trainees are also involved in organizing the teaching sessions and a yearly trainee retreat. There are also opportunities to join divisional committees such as the Quality Management Committee based on interest. Most trainees will be given a specific role during their second and third year of training.

Additional Educational Opportunities

There are a wealth of educational opportunities within the Paediatric Cardiology Training Program. A full series of lectures are offered in an academic half-day setting and are augmented by many other educational meetings including Professor Rounds, Performance Rounds, surgical teaching, fetal teaching, and Morbidity and Mortality Rounds. Trainees are also expected to attend Cardio-surgical Rounds weekly in which patient care decisions are made for a patient requiring an intervention. Each trainee is given the opportunity to attend at least one conference annually, which is funded by the Division of Cardiology and/or the Department of Paediatrics. There are also teaching sessions most mornings presented by the subspecialty trainees in each subspecialty focus and the core trainees when rotating through the area.

Applying to the Program

Interested applicants must have their completed application package uploaded to our online portal. The application package consists of the listed documents and three reference letters. The following documents are required:

  • Your most recent CV  
  • Completed on-line Application Form  
  • 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) - if applicable 
  • Subspecialty only - A photocopy of your Paediatrics Cardiology Certificate or if you are currently a Paediatric Cardiology 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 
  • Subspecialty only - A notarized English translation of your sub-specialty certificate (Paediatrics Cardiology) – if applicable 
  • Three (3) Reference Letters (on official letterhead dated within the last 6 months in .pdf format), including one Reference Letter from your Program Director (if currently in training), to be emailed to the cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca addressed to Dr. Jennifer Russell, our Program Director

Elective Opportunities

The Elective Program in Paediatric Cardiology is open to medical students, paediatric residents, and paediatric cardiology fellows. If you are eligible and interested in pursuing an elective with The Division of Cardiology, please send your requested start and end dates to Heart Centre Medical Education so we can determine availability. Once dates have been confirmed with the Education Coordinator, trainees are to submit applications through their appropriate portals. In order to participate in an elective at the University of Toronto, candidates must be eligible for licensure by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). Please visit the CPSO website for Registration Applications and Forms required for the issuance of a certificate of registration. Final approval is granted once you have met the requirements of the PGME Office and licensure requirements of the CPSO.  

Medical Students

Visiting medical students outside of the University of Toronto must submit their applications through the AFMC Portal. They are required to complete a core rotation in Paediatrics prior to commencing their elective. Only students registered in the Clerkship phase of their medical program at the time when the elective would take place are eligible to apply for an elective at the University of Toronto. Electives are available for a maximum of four (4) weeks in one academic year. There are no exceptions to this maximum duration.

Paediatric Residents

To be eligible for a Paediatric Cardiology elective, Paediatric residents need to be registered and in good standing in a medical school training program at a PGY3 level. They must also be fully funded for the duration of the proposed elective by their medical school training program or sponsoring agency (international trainees).  This funding must also be in accordance with the scale of remuneration of the PARO-CAHO Agreement. For international trainees, foreign governments and foreign government-funded agencies, for example, are considered acceptable sources of funding for non-Canadian residency trainees.  Charitable foundations, private corporations or self-funding are not considered acceptable sources of funding. The application process can take up to 8-9 months to complete.

Fellows must submit a completed application package (in PDF format) to cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca for approval by our program director, Dr. Jennifer Russell. The package should include:

  • Letter of Intent
  • Up-to-date CV
  • Preferred start and end dates
  • Approval Letter from the trainee’s current program director

Observership Opportunities

The Observership Program with the Labatt Family Heart Centre - Division of Cardiology at the Hospital for Sick Children is open to international medical graduates who are board-eligible or board-certified in Paediatric Cardiology, not licensed to practice in Canada and interested in gaining experience at the Hospital for Sick Children. Observers will not have any direct patient contact or patient care responsibilities. Observerships are offered in our 6 subspecialties: Cardiac Imaging, Echocardiography, Electrophysiology, Fetal Echocardiography, Interventional Catheterization and Heart Function and Transplantation.

Interested applicants must submit their CV and Letter of Intent with desired dates and subspecialty to cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca.

Contact

Training Program Coordinator

Dr. Jennifer Russell

Phone: (416) 813-7467 or extension 207467

Email: cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca

Education Administrative Coordinator

Ashley Cunha

Phone: (416) 813-7654 extension 207467

Email: cardiology.meded@sickkids.ca