The University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine’s Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is a two-year program.

There is a possibility of a third year for further research or academic pursuits. The fellowship is open to trainees who have satisfactorily completed at least three core years in pediatrics or who have certification in general surgery, emergency medicine, anesthesia or internal medicine, with sufficient pediatric experience.

At the end of the program, trainees will be qualified to sit the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCSPC) subspecialty fellowship examinations in Pediatric Critical Care and be qualified to function as an independent pediatric critical care physician and apply for an academic position at university-based pediatric critical care programs.

The program is primarily based at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) which provides leading-edge pediatric care to the Ottawa region as well Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, Nunavut and parts of Northern Ontario.

Program structure

The first year of the fellowship is comprised of a minimum of 6 blocks in the PICU. The time in the PICU is spent as a junior fellow doing in-house call and becoming comfortable with the knowledge and procedures necessary to become a pediatric intensivist. The remainder of the first year consists of rotations in anesthesia, cardiology, palliative care and research.

The second year of the fellowship is comprised of a minimum of 6 blocks in the PICU. There is a mandatory elective at another pediatric critical care unit which is fully supported by the program. Fellows have pursued this elective at The Hospital for Sick Children, Alberta Children’s Hospital and Montreal Children’s Hospital. The goal of this block is to gain continued exposure to pediatric critical care cases and also to gain exposure to solid organ transplantation. The clinical time in the PICU is spent as a senior fellow doing in-house call. During the last two PICU blocks of the fellowship, fellows can function as a junior attending, facilitating patient rounds, bed flow and taking call from home. The remainder of the time is spent doing research or electives in consultation with the program director.

In the PICU, fellows are exposed to a wide variety of clinical cases including trauma patients, medical and surgical patients and patients on ECMO and CVVH.

Remuneration and benefits applicable for this position will be stipulated by the guidelines and agreements already in place between the Professional Association of Interns and Residents of Ontario (PARO), the University of Ottawa and CHEO.


Over the two years, the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Fellowship is comprised of:

  • Minimum 13 blocks of PICU
  • 1 block of pediatric anesthesiology
  • 1 block of pediatric cardiology
  • 1 block of pediatric palliative care

Fellows may spend a total of three months in the two years doing rotations away from Ottawa. Electives done in the past have included pediatric cardiac intensive care, toxicology, neonatology and anesthesiology.

Most of the fellowship is focused on acquisition of knowledge and skills with the fellow following patients under the supervision of the attending staff and doing in-house call. Upon successful completion of the first 24 blocks, the fellow has the opportunity to act as a junior attending, doing call from home and acting in a more supervisory role.

Rounds and teaching

Fellows are relieved of their clinical duties during academic sessions. Recently, the program has changed their academic half-day program to a monthly “boot camp” model. The fellows partake in monthly full-day boot camp sessions that are designed to specifically address all of the RCPSC objectives. These boot camps cover many areas from basic physiology to ethics to practice management issues. In addition, fellows participate in, and present at, monthly PICU rounds, journal clubs, and PICU M&M rounds.

Fellows are given time to attend at least one conference per year. In addition, the program supports fellows’ attendance at one meeting of the critical care trials group and one meeting of the canadian critical care forum over the two-year fellowship.

Every effort is also made to send fellows for update courses. There is ample opportunity for fellows to acquire specialized technical skills including management of difficult airways or bronchoscopy. As well, fellows enhance all of their skills by participating in workshops on topics from research to professionalism. Fellows will also experience simulation-based learning through both CHEO and the University of Ottawa. 

Clinical programs

The Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) is situated at the Children’s Hospital for Eastern Ontario (CHEO). CHEO is the lead hospital for pediatric trauma in the Ottawa region. CHEO's large service area includes not only Ottawa but also Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, Nunavut and parts of Northern Ontario. CHEO is a tertiary care teaching centre which serves a population of approximately 1.5 million people.

The PICU is a mixed medical, surgical and cardiovascular surgical unit. We provide extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) support to approximately eight to 10 patients per year. We also provide continuous veno-venous hemofiltration (CVVH).


The Pediatric Critical Care Medicine program is located primarily at CHEO. Virtually all pediatric medical and surgical subspecialties are available at CHEO which enhances the clinical and academic environment for the PICU fellow.

The PICU receives approximately 500-600 admissions per year.

Research opportunities

The PICU has eight pediatric intensivists and a strong research program.

Research grants for fellows are available from the CHEO Research Institute. Trainees may explore projects in active areas of research including medical education, critical care response teams, patient safety, organ transplantation, vitamin D and corticosteroids.

In 2013, two division members won significant research awards; Dr. Dayre McNally won the Department of Pediatrics Research Mentorship Award and Dr. Kusum Menon won the CHEO Research Institute Outstanding Researcher Award.

Within the past five years, three of our trainees have been recognized for outstanding research projects, winning awards for the top CHEO fellow research project twice and best oral presentation at the Canadian Critical Care Forum.

In addition to the PICU faculty, there are numerous opportunities for research projects and collaboration in both clinical and basic science areas through the CHEO Research Institute.

Application process

The application process is facilitated by CaRMS.

Applicants must have completed core (three year) pediatric residency training in an accredited core pediatric program at a Canadian or U.S. university prior to entry into the Pediatric Critical Care Medicine program.

International medical graduates enrolled in pediatric residency programs in Canadian medical schools are eligible to apply. Sponsored residents (foreign governments) are not eligible to apply through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Candidates with other backgrounds may be considered on a case by case basis.

Selection of candidates will be made on an annual basis by the selection committee of the Division of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. Applicants are evaluated on their record during pediatric residency, recommendations from former program directors and mentors and their apparent commitment to achieving excellence in training towards a career in pediatric intensive care.