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Centre for International Child Health

The Centre for International Child Health advances children's health globally.
About us

What we do

Over the past two decades, BC Children's Hospital has generated and shared knowledge to strengthen skills and improve children's health globally.

With the support of the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, BC Children's Hospital established the Centre for International Child Health (CICH) in 2004 to serve as a leadership and coordinating body for international initiatives, and strategically position BC Children's Hospital as a key contributor to global child health.

The CICH has since developed into a centre for innovation in global child health, strengthening both local and international capacity through the exchange of knowledge, skills and appropriate technologies.

Mission & vision

Our mission is to connect and engage health professionals in British Columbia, across Canada and abroad to collaborate in improving global child health. Our vision is partnering to advance children's health globally.

Strategic priorities

  • Build capacity through collaborative and sustained partnerships
  • Expand global health education opportunities for residents and fellows, and contribute to health workforce education at partnering institutions
  • Enhance global health research through training, mentorship and reverse innovation opportunities
  • Strengthen the global health community at BC Children's Hospital and beyond

Who we are

  • Dr. Niranjan "Tex" Kissoon, Chair
  • Dr. Mark Ansermino, Director
  • Bella Hwang, Program Manager
  • Kathy MacDougall, Financial Resources Manager
  • Michelle Langlois, Program Coordinator
  • Randi Weiss, Project Coordinator
  • Maja Klempner, Administrative Assistant

Executive Committee

Mark Ansermino

Director, Centre for International Child Health

BC Children's Hospital

Allison Eddy

Chief of Medicine & Head, Department of Pediatrics

BC Children's Hospital

Barbara Fitzgerald

Chief Nursing Officer & Head, Interprofessional Practice and Patient Experience

BC Children's Hospital

Bella Hwang

Program Manager, Centre for International Child Health

BC Children's Hospital

Niranjan "Tex" Kissoon

Vice President, Medical Affairs
BC Children's Hospital

Michael Kobor

Lead, Healthy Starts

BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

Erik Skarsgard

Chief of Surgery

BC Children's Hospital

Joanne Waxman

Director, Strategic Partnerships

BC Children's Hospital Foundation


Mark Ansermino
Director, Centre for International Child Health
BC Children's Hospital

Jean-Pierre Chanoine
Head, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology
BC Children's Hospital

Alexis Davis
Occupational Therapist

Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children

Damian Duffy
Executive Director,

Office of Pediatric Surgical Evaluation & Innovation
BC Children's Hospital

David Goldfarb
Medical Microbiologist, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
BC Children's Hospital

Bella Hwang
Program Manager, CICH
BC Children's Hospital

Niranjan "Tex" Kissoon
Vice President, Medical Affairs
BC Children's Hospital


Tobias Kollmann
Senior Clinician Scientist
BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

Michelle Langlois
Program Coordinator, CICH
BC Children's Hospital

Srinivas Murthy
Clinical Investigator
BC Children's Hospital Research Institute

Gina Ogilvie
Senior Research Advisor
BC Women's Hospital & Health Centre

Laura Sauve
Program Director, Pediatrics Residency Training Program
BC Children's Hospital

Jennifer Smitten
Pediatrician, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
BC Children's Hospital

Since 2004 the Centre for International Child Health has developed partnerships where capacity building, support for quality health services and applied research could be conducted. The CICH was initially established to:

  • Coordinate the international activity of BC Children's Hospital, Sunny Hill Health Centre and the University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Build expertise and capacity within BCCH, Sunny Hill Health Centre, UBC and partnering organizations in conducting projects in low and middle-income countries
  • Support the engagement of trainees in global child health

The Centre's first project was in partnership with the Children's Hospital of Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Launched in April 2004, the objective was to further develop the Children's Hospital of Fudan University as a national pediatric cardiac sciences training site centered on the detection and mangement of congenital heart diseases. The BC Children's Foundation indentified funding to support this initiative, and an agreement with the Guangzhou Children's Hospital to develop a neurosciences training program (pediatric neurology, rehabilitation and child development) soon followed. Later that year the Centre also began exploring a partnership with Makerere Unversity in Uganda, focused on maternal and child health.

In 2006, the BC Children's Foundation secured funding to launch two additional training programs at the Fudan Children's Hospital in emergency medicine and infectious diseases. The two initiatives allowed for the training of pediatricians from across China, and were funded until 2011 through targeted gifts received by the BC Children's Foundation.

In December 2007, the BC Children's Foundation and the Centre secured initial start-up funding for four projects through the UBC-Makerere partnership. These included training faculty in problem-based learning, midwifery and nursing faculty capacity building, improving survival of the acutely ill child, and supporting residency training research projects.

While the Centre continues to coordinate and support international activity on campus, it has also developed into a Centre for innovation in global health. The CICH is positioned to strengthen local capacities through the transfer and exchange of knowledge and appropraite technologies. To do this we engage BCCH staff (in collaboration with UBC faculty, local institutions such as the BC-CDC, and Canadian non-governmental organizations) with a variety of skills in global health, including an understanding of health systems and how capacity building can most effectively reach those in greatest need.

Project activity

Projects & partnerships

CICH partners with global organizations where we feel sustained effort can have a significant impact on the health of children and youth. Our projects engage a range of internal staff, as well as external partners and collaborators. Some of our key projects and activities are highlighted below.

Did you know that staff at BC Children's and BC Women's are involved in global health work in over 30 countries? Learn more about how people from across campus and across disciplines are sharing their time, talents, and passion to make a difference where it is needed most.


Funded by the Canadian Government's Muskoka Initiative, Interrupting Pathways to Maternal, Newborn and Early Childhood Sepsis Initiative (IPSI) was designed with the objective of improving maternal and child survival by interrupting pathways to sepsis.


The IPSI project was jointly managed by the International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases Research Centre, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and the University of British Columbia in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) of Bangladesh and technical support from a Canadian NGO, DesignAid.


The project was implemented in two rural sub-districts of Bangladesh from 2011-2015, covering a total population of about 500,000. The project had five components, each focusing on a specific objective: 


  1. Community engagement to ensure earlier and increased utilization of health facilities for deliveries and for suspected moderate to severe infectious illness episodes
  2. High quality, facility-based deliveries and the early detection and management of maternal sepsis 
  3. Fully functional m-Health diagnostic and communication application in support of sepsis identification and decision support
  4. A sustainable, replicable call-in centre, referral and transport system
  5. Earlier detection and high quality, rapid management of suspected newborn and early childhood sepsis in district or sub-district hospital settings



We support Canadian health professional trainees engaged in global health research and education activities related to the care of children and youth. Every year, CICH provides funding to several trainees who choose to pursue global health electives focused on children as part of their approved training program. In 2016, CICH supported seven talented clinical trainees who travelled to Nepal, Uganda, Botswana, Ghana and South Africa. Six more trainees will travel to Laos, Thailand, South Africa and Uganda with CICH support in 2017.

To learn more about how global health electives are strengthening education and partnerships around the world, read these stories from global health trainees:

Learning infectious diseases is in large part learning about the world in Thailand

Medical students learn to improve patient care in Uganda



The Ladakh Disability & Rehabilitation Training (LDRT) project is an interdisciplinary Canada-India partnership focusing on improving rehabilitation services in Ladakh and surrounding areas.          


Since 2007, LDRT project participants from BC Children's Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children have travelled annually to Ladakh to build capacity in pediatric disability assessment and treatment of local healthcare professionals. The Ladakhi pediatric unit (unit coordinator, physiotherapy, psychology and maternal, newborn and child health worker) in partnership with the Canadian rehabilitation team (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology and special education) work together at the unit and on community outreach.           


In 2010 the Pediatric Unit for Special Children was established collaboratively at the Sonam-Norboo Memorial Hospital in Leh Ladakh.           


In the summer of 2016, Sunny Hill staff organized an exchange for their Ladakhi partners to travel to the district of Kullu and collaborate with members of the Handimachal Project. During the three week visit, Ladakhi staff worked with 65 children helping them to learn new skills and share ideas. Forming this new training partnership with an India-based disability centre is an important step towards providing better and more sustainable care for children with disabilities.

Jen Spalzes.JPG


‎Principal Investigator: Dr. Gina Ogilvie, Women's Health Research Institute and UBC 


The Advances in Screening and Prevention in Reproductive Cancers (ASPIRE) Project, was established in 2006 and collaboration between the University of British Columbia and Makerere University in Uganda. It was an international women's health initiative aimed at saving lives by implementing a scalable and affordable integrated cervical cancer screening program in eastern Africa using self-collection for the human papillomavirus (HPV).


ASPIRE explored self-collected samples for high risk human papillomavirus (HR-HPV) DNA testing, which allowed women to inexpensively test in their own homes, requiring fewer skilled professionals while building on existing infrastructure.


Results showed that self-collection based high risk HPV testing has a significantly higher uptake rate compared to VIA alone in a low resource setting suggests that self-collection based screening is both feasible and acceptable among women in this setting.


You can learn more about the ASPIRE project by watching the following video or visiting the project's website for more information.


In Uganda, 1 in 20 children who visit a hospital for a serious infection will die in hospital. Of the 19 children who are discharged, presumably well, another 5 percent will die in the weeks after they return home to their towns or villages. Doctors and parents often do not know that children are more vulnerable during this post-discharge period. In addition, they do not always have the knowledge or resources to do anything about this risk. In low-income countries, there is not enough funding to follow-up with all children after they leave the hospital. Lives can be saved by focusing on children who are most at risk: we just need to know who these children are. 

The Centre for International Child Health is working with researchers from BC Children’s Hospital and from the Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda to help find solutions to this critical problem. The team’s research over the past six years has led to the development of a simple model that can predict which children (aged 6 months to 5 years) are at high risk of dying after hospitalization for serious infections. 

Smart Discharges use this model to save lives. The team has developed an app that uses the model to help nurses and doctors identify high-risk children in under two minutes when they are being discharged. Once high-risk children are identified, nurses can give the parents of those children three things: a basic package of items (soap, mosquito nets, oral rehydration salts); information about danger signs and healthy behaviours; and referrals to local health centres or community nurses so their children are more closely monitored. 

Initial results show that these simple and low-cost extra steps during discharge – Smart Discharges – can save the lives of 1 in 3 children who would otherwise die. 

Over the next three years, the team will be working to externally validate and regionally scale the Smart Discharges program, expanding to four hospitals in Uganda. The team will also develop a similar simple model to predict high risk of death in children from birth to 6 months old. The goal is for Smart Discharges to become standard across Uganda.

Download a list of publications related to this work.




News & events

Global health trainee grants 

The results of the 2017-2018 Global Health Trainee Grant Competition are in! This year, we selected 6 trainees to receive support for their child-focused global health electives in Laos, Thailand, South Africa and Uganda. Congratulations to the following trainees, who will each receive $1,000:

  • Raidan Alyazidi – UBC Pediatric Infectious Diseases – Thailand
  • Jennifer Carlisle – UBC Pediatrics – South Africa
  • Keira Dheensaw – UBC Pediatrics – Laos
  • Kelsey Martin – UBC Midwifery Program – Uganda
  • Michelle Ng – UBC Faculty of Medicine – Uganda
  • Mara Tietzen – UBC Pediatrics – South Africa

To learn more about our support for trainees, see the Projects & partnerships section of the Project activity tab.

Get involved in MicroResearch

We are looking for physicians and Allied Health Professionals to become coaches or reviewers of MicroResearch. By giving of your time as a reviewer or coach, you can help improve local research capacity in frontline health workers in Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania.

Microfinance has shown that a small infusion of capital can “prime the pump” for creative local economic productivity. In a similar way, MicroResearch has proven effective in promoting bottom-up strategies and sustainable solutions to local health challenges. Mentoring, small-scale funding, and hands-on training promotes small community-focused research projects that improve research skills across the entire health care provider spectrum — and unleash a culture of inquiry.

Find out more about how to get involved in MicroResearch, or contact Randi Weiss to sign up.  

Quarterly e-updates

Want to know more about global health activity at BC Children's and beyond? 

Stories in global health

Want to learn more about the global health work of staff and students at BC Children's?

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