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Panelists at Roszel Research Day 2023
Celebrating new research in developmental pediatric care

A day focused on new and emerging clinicians and their research, held in person this year after two years virtually

On February 10th, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital held its 17th annual Roszel Research Day. The Patsy and Michael Roszel Endowment for Excellence in Developmental Paediatrics enables Holland Bloorview to offer an enriched training program for pediatricians seeking subspecialty training in developmental pediatrics. The Roszel’s began the fund in honour of their two children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Anne Kawamura, co-organizer of this year’s Roszel Research Day and the head of the University of Toronto’s Division of Developmental Paediatrics, said of the Roszel family: “The research piece was important to them—they wanted new and emerging clinicians to contribute to research that will change how we do things for children and youth with disabilities.”

Developmental Pediatrics residents and fellows were given the chance to present their groundbreaking research and hear from a keynote speaker. The Roszel lectureship is named after the late Dr. Tamarah Kagan-Kushnir, a developmental pediatrician at Holland Bloorview who devoted her professional life to the care of children with developmental disorders.

This year, Dr. Jessica Brian, a psychologist and senior clinician scientist at Holland Bloorview, delivered the lectureship, entitled Autism in Early Development: From Earliest Indicators to Early Intervention. Dr. Brian focused on research programs aimed at understanding the emergence of ASD, specifically the behavioural phenotype and genetic markers of ASD and related disorders. She has changed the landscape of autism research internationally and has touched the lives of many children and families. Dr. Brian shared in her keynote, “Tammy was a big part of my early career. We started our careers together around the same time, so she was a big influence on my life. She really was a very special person and I hope that I’ve continued to do work that would be meaningful to her.”

Research days are vital to the Holland Bloorview community and to the future of developmental pediatric care. The developmental pediatrics trainees were inspired for their research projects by a question that they faced in their clinical work. This year, the research topics ranged from bullying of children with myopathies, tools for early detection of young children with cerebral palsy in Ethiopia, food insecurity in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), developmental screening for underinsured pediatric populations, cultural competence in supporting caregivers of those with ASD, and health equity issues.

Dr. Angela Orsino, co-organizer of this year’s Roszel Research Day and the developmental pediatrics program director, said: “We’re looking to foster scholarly inquiry in our trainees. These are going to be our future developmental pediatricians, and we want them to keep asking questions and being involved in scholarly activities.” Many of these fellows go on to publish and pursue research careers—furthering the impact of their work, added Dr. Orsino.

Encouraging research questions, pursuing them, and finding answers makes for better clinical care and outcomes for families.

Holland Bloorview’s CEO, Julia Hanigsberg, reflected in her Friday weekly email: “I was awestruck by the terrific research being presented by residents and fellows making an outstanding contribution to important areas related to the social determinants of health with impact locally and globally. Congratulations to all the presenters – the future of care and research in developmental paediatrics is looking exceptionally bright!”

The research presented at Roszel Research Day helps Holland Bloorview make a world of difference for clients and their families.