What is a Pediatrician Anyway?

Pediatrician job title on nameplateIn Canada we spell Paediatrician like in the UK. The US spelling is Pediatrician. We often use both interchangeably but mostly spell it the American way for convenience.


In the US there are 2 streams of Pediatric training. You can train as a primary care Pediatrician or as a hospitalist/consultant Pediatrician. The model of care in US cities is for children to see a Pediatrician for primary care. Dr. Kalwani trained in the US through the University at Buffalo. She completed a 3 year paediatric residency and then did an additional year as a Chief Resident.

In Canada, we are based on the UK model. We only have 1 stream of Paediatric training. For example, Dr Yoon and Dr. Cannitelli completed medical school at University of Toronto. Then, they completed a 4 year Paediatric training at the Hospital for Sick Children. Canadian pediatricians are trained as consultant/hospitalist pediatricians–trained to look after very ill and complex children, very premature babies and rare diseases. Only about 12 pediatricians a year graduate from Sick Kids, and this is the largest program in Ontario. These pediatricians go on to sub-specialize or work in a hospital, so very few will go out into practice and do primary care.


The model of care in Ontario is based on the UK system. Children are to see family doctors for primary care. Then, if there is a problem that requires a specialist, they are referred to a pediatrician the same way you would be referred to any other specialist. Pediatricians also care for complex children and children requiring hospital care. They train very few pediatricians in Ontario so there are not enough of us to do primary care for children. There is a demand in larger Canadian cities like Toronto for pediatricians to do primary care. Parents are aware of the US model and want the same for their children.  Some of us choose to do both primary care and consulting as well as hospital work.

We limit the new patients in our office (see new patients) but we continue to do consulting for the family doctors in the area to help care for children who need pediatric care.

Pediatricians are…..HOLISTIC

We are the original holistic doctors.  Holistic medicine is defined as a form of healing that considers the whole person — body, mind, spirit, and emotions — in the quest for optimal health and wellness. Pediatricians have been doing this for years. In every aspect of what we do and how we care for your child, we must consider the impact on the child’s physical growth and development, the impact on parents and other siblings, and the impact on the child him/herself. We are Holistic by nature.

Pediatricians are ……..NATUROPATHIC

Using home remedies and grandmothers special brew is a common discussion amongst parents. There is more motivation to try something natural when dealing with a child compared to an adult. It is true for example that many things placed on the skin can be absorbed into the body in small quantities. So, an ingredient in a cream for example that could be harmful if ingested, should  be used carefully in a  cream or not used at all. We try to use natural remedies and treatments as often as possible. We are also cautious in prescribing antibiotics or medication that may not be needed. We spend a lot of time convincing parents to take a ‘wait and see approach’ when simply prescribing an antibiotic would take much less time.

Pediatricians are ……..SCIENTIFIC

We are specialists and have knowledge and experience. We try and keep abreast of new advancements in science and medicine. We read journals to maintain current knowledge of where we are headed in medicine as well as current medical literature and recommendations.

Pediatricians are……………CHILD ADVOCATES

We try and promote for our patients the best quality medical care possible. Often parents have ideas about vaccinations, diet etc that go against current knowledge. We try and educate parents and work as a team to help children grow well, happy and healthy physically and emotionally. Pediatricians are always lobbying governments to push for resources or funding for children and their issues. We advocate for The Hospital for Sick Children and other children’s centers.

Pediatricians are……Teachers

We are a teaching center for the University of Toronto. We help train young doctors to provide the best quality care for children.

PEDIATRICIANS ARE…….great. Or at least we think so 🙂

pediatrician takes dad with a sick child