Neurology

Dr. Mary Connolly, Division Head

Dr. Mary Connolly, Division Head


Our Vision:

To be a national and international leader in the provision of leading edge care for children and youth with neurological disorders, conducting research, applying technology to improve patient care, obtaining superior clinical outcomes and sharing information through peer reviewed publications and educational programs.

Our Mission:

To improve the neurological health of children and youth in B.C. through compassionate, leading edge care, education and research, and to implement advances in pediatric neuroscience, particularly those that significantly improve patient outcomes.

 

Overview:

The Division of Neurology provides the only tertiary level of care for children with neurological disorders in British Columbia. We have the most comprehensive Pediatric Neurology program in Western Canada, featuring subspecialty programs in epilepsy, neuro-oncology, neuromuscular disorders, cognitive neurology, and neonatal neurology.

We offer state-of-the-art care for common and rare diseases of the nervous system, including epilepsy, stroke, brain tumors, newborn brain injury, and muscle diseases. Clinical care is a priority of the division, and young patients are referred from across the province by general practitioners, general pediatricians, and physicians in the Emergency Department and other Departments at Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children. We collaborate closely with colleagues in Neurosurgery, Neurophysiology, Biochemical Diseases, Oncology, and Neonatology to provide comprehensive diagnosis and the most advanced treatments for infants, children and adolescents living with neurological disorders.

The Division has an active teaching program with full accreditation from the Royal College for the five-year subspecialty training program. We offer subspecialty training programs and fellowships in epilepsy, neuro-oncology, and neonatal neurology. The Division’s educational responsibilities are broad, with emphasis on training both Canadian and international pediatric neurologists, adult neurology residents, pediatric residents and medical students.

Members of the Division of Neurology are active researchers with joint affiliations with the the Child & Family Research Institute and the University of British Columbia. We integrate formal training in clinical research methods in the curriculum of our Royal College training program. In addition to clinical training we offer post-doctoral research fellowship in neonatal neurology.

Members of the Division run several active clinical and translational research programs involving trainees at the undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral levels. We are closely aligned with the Brain & Behaviour theme at the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute (BCHRI). The research in the Division is facilitated by a Research Coordinator, as well as the Research & Technology Development office at BCHRI.

Pediatric Neurology trainees in our program receive formal training in clinical research methods and are individually mentored to complete a research project during their training. We also offer research fellowships in Neonatal Neurology, Neurooncology and Epilepsy.

Current research interests include:

  • Neonatal brain injury including prematurity, perinatal asphyxia and congenital heart disease
  • Treatment of intractable epilepsy with experimental anticonvulsant medication, the ketogenic diet, and surgical methods
  • Natural history and treatment of neuromuscular disorders
  • Brain mapping
  • Stroke in children
  • Management of brain tumours and the neurological complications of malignancy.

Research activities in the Division have grown considerably in the past two years. The current research support obtained over the next five years currently exceeds $1,500,000.

There is a long-standing and strong commitment to teaching within the Division, which offers an accredited subspecialty training program in pediatric neurology. There is close collaboration between the pediatric and adult neurology training programs at UBC and all pediatric trainees must include six months of training in adult neurology in their overall post-graduate education.Pediatric neurological training provided by members of the Division includes experience in general neurology inpatient consultations, Emergency Department, Intensive Care Unit, Special Care Nursery and Psychiatry, as well as outpatient experience in general and subspecialty pediatric neurology. In addition, there is also training in basic neurosciences (neuropathology, neuroradiology, neuroanatomy) and electrophysiology (EEG and EMG). All trainees are also expected to become actively involved in research projects that will result in presentations at national and international conferences and publications in peer-reviewed journals.

For the last few years, the Division has been fortunate to have funding from the Associate Dean's Office and the Children's Hospital Foundation to have two trainees in pediatric neurology enter the program each year. Other fellows from overseas join the Division for subspecialty training in Pediatric Neurology and complement the Royal College training program. Further subspecialty training and postdoctoral fellowships are offered in Epilepsy, Neuro-oncology and Neonatal Neurology.

Members of the Division are also responsible for lectures and teaching at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. Teaching occurs during clinical activities such as ward rounds and outpatient clinics. The neurology trainees and pediatric residents work with the individual neurologists in rotation. In addition, specific small group classroom teaching is carried out by individual neurologists, often in their specific areas of expertise.

The Division oversees an active, heavily utilised inpatient consultation service and is part of a 14 bed neurosciences inpatient unit that includes facilities for the monitoring of epilepsy patients who are being considered for surgical treatment of their epilepsy. In addition, the Division tends to an active outpatient facility with over 3,000 clinic visits per year. We offer an active consultation service with a strong focus in Critical Care areas: Emergency, Pediatric Intensive Care, and Neonatal Intensive Care. We work closely with other service in a multi-disciplinary team, caring for patients with Neurosurgery, Biochemical Disease, and in the Intensive Care unit. We are developing a Neurovascular team with stroke expertise from Neurology, Neuroradiology and Hematology. Our Neuro-oncology program is tightly integrated with the Oncology Division at our centre. As a result of the critical care and high demands for service, the Division relies on an infrastructure of mentored junior doctors (residents and fellows who are trainees in pediatric neurology) to deliver timely, quality patient care.

Subspecialty clinical interests and programs within the Division include:

Neonatal neurology: newborns with neurological problems are cared for in the Special Care Nursery with advanced diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.

Epilepsy: the Division manages essentially all of B.C.'s most complicated pediatric epilepsy patients.

Epilepsy surgery: the Division has developed vast and significant experience in selecting patients appropriate for this surgery.

Ketogenic diet: patients with epilepsy which is uncontrollable by the use of anticonvulsant medications are treated with a complicated diet supervised by a physician, nurse and dietician. This program has been commended for its high degree of patient satisfaction.

Neurophysiology: a highly regarded tertiary service at Children's Hospital. Although this Department is operationally independent of the Division, all of the medical staff in the Department are neurologists. This year, the service expanded to new areas, developing more exact determination of brain resection in epilepsy surgery patients and more robust and reliable techniques for intraoperative monitoring.

Neuromuscular diseases: members of the Division assess and manage children with muscle diseases and other diseases of the neuromuscular system in a specialized multi-disciplinary clinic.

Behavioural and higher cognitive function: assesses children with specific learning disabilities and autism. This includes the Brain Mapping Program which uses advanced MR imaging techniques for diagnosis and localization

Neuro-oncology: infants, children and adolescents with brain tumors and other oncological diseases of the neurological system are cared for with special expertise in collaboration with Oncology, Neurosurgery, Radiation Oncology and Neuroradiology.

Faculty:
Dr. Bruce Bjornson, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Cyrus Boelman, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Mary Connolly, Head and Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Anita Datta, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Michelle Demos, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Alan Hill, Professor
Dr. Linda Huh, Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Juliette Hukin, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. James Lee, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Aspasia (Sia) Michoulas, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Alexander Rauscher, Assistant Professor
Dr. Elke Roland, Associate Professor
Dr. Dewi Schrader, Clinical Assistant Professor
Dr. Kathryn Selby, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Peter Wong, Professor

Clinical Fellows:
Sarah Buerki
Shimrit Uliel Sibony
Helen Xu
Itay Zelcer

Nurses:
Kelly Anderson, Epilepsy Surgery Program Nurse
Cindy Balayewich, Neuromuscular Clinic Nurse
Lynne Beszant, Clinic Nurse
Emily Jewels, Neuro-oncology Nurse
Sharon Peinhof, Clinic Nurse
Sheila Richards, Clinic Nurse
Chris Simonson, Clinic Nurse
Francesca Zanotto, Clinic Nurse
Alex Ferguson, Dietician

Research Staff:
Dr. Vesna Popovska
Mihaela Anghelina
Sandy Belanger
Mark Chalmers
Alex Cheong
Kevin Fitzpatrick
Sanja Hadzi-Nikolova
Daniel Kim
Nela Martic
Janet Rigney
Eric Toyota

Administration:
Mary-Ellen Burgess, Booking Secretary
Angela Charron, Administrative Secretary
Jenny DaSilva, Transcriptionist
Parveen Johal, Booking Secretary
Emily Kim, Booking Secretary
Madeleine Leung, Administrative Secretary
Lisa Mandziuk, Booking Secretary
Anshu Prasad, Booking Secretary
Pam Sekhon, Neurology Clinic Program Secretary
Miho Shimamura, Clinic Receptionist
Dawn Williamson, Clinic Receptionist