Caring for the smallest, most vulnerable and, in many cases, non-verbal patients is a calling for Dr. Ronik Kanani.
Born and raised in Toronto, Dr. Kanani, Chief of Paediatrics at North York General Hospital (NYGH), knew early he wanted to go into medicine, specifically into paediatrics. “I was always interested in working with kids and wanted to make a meaningful difference in their lives and for their families,” he says.
Volunteering in orphanages
Prior to becoming a physician and having three children aged 11, 9 and 4 with his wife, Dr. Kanani took every opportunity he had to work either directly or indirectly with kids.
In between graduating from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Science and going to medical school at the University of Calgary, Dr. Kanani spent a year in India volunteering in orphanages. This was a great opportunity to work with children in a different setting and it also affirmed his decision to become a physician.
After completing his residency at SickKids, he worked there full time as a hospitalist and developed an interest in caring for children with complex medical needs. He then divided his time between SickKids and North York General for the next seven years until he became Chief of Paediatrics at North York General in 2013.
Evolving partnerships, education and research
“One of the biggest reasons I took the role as Chief was to be able to provide the best experience and optimal care for our patients and their families closer to home,” says Dr. Kanani. “We've built a great interdisciplinary team with hospitalists, neonatologists, subspecialists, nurses, and allied health professionals, which has enabled us to care for a wide variety of patients. We have advanced the level of care we can provide which means patients can get care closer to home and not have to always go downtown to SickKids.”
Dr. Kanani has worked hard to build partnerships with other health care organizations to expand the care we provide our patients. “Research and education have also played a big role in evolving the department.”
A partnership with SickKids has helped the two hospitals join forces to conduct research studies including a recent study on bronchiolitis that was started last year. “We have also been working on various quality improvement projects to optimize the care we deliver in the hospital.”
“NYGH has become one of the most sought after paediatric rotations for undergraduate and postgraduate trainees," he says. "We have partnered with the University of Toronto's Core Paediatric Residency Program and are seeing more third- and fourth-year residents who want to come to our hospital because of the learning opportunities and firsthand experience they get.”
“Working at North York General as Chief has given me the opportunity to create new programs such as our Complex Care Clinic and Paediatric Short Stay Unit," says Dr. Kanani. "It has allowed me to build new partnerships to help achieve our vision of excellence in integrated patient-centred care through learning, innovation and partnerships.”
As the department continues to evolve its skill base, research initiatives, partnerships and advancement in education, Dr. Kanani says the team is always looking for opportunities to expand the care they offer their patients.
“We noticed a need in the community for specialized care for adolescents who have eating disorders. This is a vulnerable population and there are not many resources in the city for these adolescents. We have increased the number of patients we admit to our unit with eating disorders and recruited an adolescent medicine physician who will be starting with us next summer. We hope this will improve access to care for these patients.”
Looking to the future
The Maternal, Newborn and Paediatric Care Program is embarking on a major redevelopment project of the Paediatric Inpatient Unit and associated clinics which involves moving from 3 North to 4 North. “We know this will enhance the care environment and make the experience better for our youngest patients”, says Dr. Kanani. The North York General Foundation is actively fundraising for this renovation project with an anticipated completion date of late 2019.
Working with a great interdisciplinary team whose members are always looking to enhance the care they provide, Dr. Kanani is excited by what the future of the Maternal, Newborn and Paediatric Care Program holds in store for its patients.
Learn more about the Maternal, Newborn and Paediatric Care Program at North York General.
This article first appeared in the November 2017 issue of The Pulse.
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