Leong Scholars

In partnership with the SickKids Research Training Centre, the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children awards scholarships to support salary for eligible MSc. and PhD student trainees through the following mechanisms:

  1. Restracomp. The SickKids Research Institute's graduate scholarship and fellowship program, funds basic, clinical and/or applied health science researchers working under the supervision of a SickKids scientist.  Two competitions annually, in April and October.
  2. Clinician Scientist Training Program (CSTP). The SickKids Research Institute's scholarship and fellowship program for doctors, nurses and other health professionals, funds exceptional clinician researchers working under the supervision of a SickKids scientist.  Two competitions annually, in February and September. 

When applying through the RTC for these competitions, if you are conducting research in the area of child health equity, please check the corresponding box on the online application. For more information, visit the SickKids Research Training Centre or email us at leong.centre@sickkids.ca.

Current Leong Scholars


Akshat Pai, PhD Candidate

Supervisor: Dr. Nomazulu Dlamini, Neuroscience & Mental Health, SickKids

Project Title: Role of Health Inequities in Childhood Stroke Care and Outcomes: A Multi-Centre Retrospective Cohort Study 

Award Year: 2021

Akshat Pai is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Medical Science. His study is the first in Canada that utilizes nearly two decades of data on childhood stroke to gain a holistic understanding of demographic factors and access to stroke care along with developing a validated evidence-based tool predicting post-stroke outcomes. His passion lies in addressing and helping alleviate barriers to healthcare for marginalized children and their families. He hopes to achieve this goal by advocating for inclusive and patient-centric healthcare practices across Canada.



Emily Hamovitch, PhD Candidate

Supervisor: Dr. Natasha Saunders and Dr. Astrid Guttmann, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, SickKids

Project Title: An Equity-Based Examination of Access to F/U Care Before and After the Introduction of Ontario’s New Billing Policies for Virtual Care

Award Year: 2021

Emily Hamovitch is a PhD candidate in the Institute of Health Policy, Management & Evaluation. In her doctoral work, she will use a mixed methods approach to examine changes in the provision of virtual follow-up care, before and after the formalization of virtual care use. The research will characterize patient and hospital-level and factors regarding the provision of follow-up care and examine reasons for these differences from the perspective of healthcare personnel. The study will provide evidence on how virtual care impacts the provision of follow-up care and whether it is delivered equitably.


David D

David D’Arienzo, PhD Student

Supervisor: Dr. Astrid Guttmann, ICES Chief Science Officer & Co-Director of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children, SickKids

Project Title: The Impact of Virtual Care Delivery on Pediatric Primary Care Safety, Effectiveness, and Equity

Award Year: 2022

Dr. David D’Arienzo is a PhD student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluations, and a fellow in Academic General Pediatrics at the Hospital for Sick Children. He completed his medical school and pediatric residency at McGill University. His clinical interests lie in complex care and inpatient general pediatrics, and his academic interests are in healthcare delivery and health equity. David hopes to explore new healthcare delivery means and optimize current models, to improve healthcare accessibility. His project will focus on examining the impact that the shift to virtual care has had on the pediatric population, specifically in the realm of patient safety and effectiveness, through an equity lens.



Erica Wennberg, MD/PhD Student

Supervisor: Dr. Astrid Guttmann, ICES Chief Science Officer & Co-Director of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children, SickKids

Project Title: Exploring Utilization of Virtual Mental Health Care Among Youth and Young Adult Newcomers to Ontario

Award Year: 2023

Erica Wennberg is a MD/PhD student at the University of Toronto in the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Her research project focuses on follow-up mental health care among youth and young adults whose first point of contact for mental health conditions is in the emergency department. She will investigate the use and quality of follow-up mental health care, including virtual care, in population-based studies and  a qualitative review.



Omer Jamal, MSc Student

Supervisor: Helen Dimaras, Scientist & Director of Global Eye Health Research, Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Sciences, SickKids

Project Title: Exploring the Relationship Between the Social Determinants of Health and Health Inequities in Pediatric Ophthalmology

Award Year: 2023

Omer Jamal is a Master's student at the Institute of Medical Sciences within the University of Toronto, and the Hospital for Sick Children. His research interests lie in pediatric ophthalmology, social determinants of health, global health, and health equity. His project is a retrospective cohort study aiming to characterize the social determinants of health  of the SickKids Department of Ophthalmology & Vision Science patient population. Omer hopes the findings of his study will help shape policies, programs, and practices which can mitigate or eliminate inequitable health outcomes in pediatric ophthalmology.



Natasha Bruno, PhD Student

Supervisors: Dr. Eyal Cohen, Senior Scientist and Program Head of the Child Health Evaluative Sciences, SickKids, & Co-Director of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children. Dr. Julia Orkin, Associate Scientist-Track Investigator, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Staff Physician, Pediatric Medicine & Associate Chief Medical Officer, System Integration and Clinical Operations, SickKids

Project Title: Bridging Paediatric and Adult Health Care Systems for Youth with Medical Complexity: Investigating the Role and Impact of a Transition Navigation Team

Award Year: 2024

Natasha Bruno is a PhD student studying Health Systems Research at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. Her project will follow youth with medical complexity for 2 years, working closely with paediatric and adult providers for transition planning as well as families to co-design transition goals and priorities to promote family-centred care. Ultimately, it is Natasha’s goal to encourage innovative, applied solutions to promote seamless and equitable transitions for a population that is disproportionately burdened by transition.



Jaden Dilda, PhD Student

Supervisor: Dr. Donald Mabbott, Program Head and Senior Scientist, Neurosciences and Mental Health, SickKids

Project Title: The Impact of Socioeconomic Status and Sex on White Matter Network Organization in Children and Adolescents Treated for a Brain Tumour

Award Year: 2024

Jaden Dilda is a PhD student studying psychology at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children. His research focuses on how socioeconomic status affects white matter development in both the general population and children treated for brain tumours. He hopes that his research will contribute to a holistic understanding of socioeconomic status that will shape research and clinical practices.


Sarah Silverberg

Sarah Silverberg, MSc Student

Supervisors: Dr. Sarah Buchan, scientist at Public Health Ontario, adjunct Scientist at ICES, assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Dr. Astrid Guttmann, ICES Chief Science Officer & Co-Director of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children, SickKids

Project title: Evaluation of trends in the presentation of severe disease with Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) before and after the introduction of nirsevimab using population-based, administrative data

Award year: 2024

Sarah Silverberg is a Master's Student at the Institute of Health Policy, Management, and Evaluations. She completed her medical school at the University of Toronto, pediatric residency at the University of British Columbia and is completing her fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at the Hospital for Sick Children. Her clinical and research interests include pediatric tuberculosis as well as vaccine preventable diseases and infectious diseases epidemiology. Her research focus is on evaluating the implementation and impact of novel vaccinations and prophylactic medications for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Sarah hopes that her work will help inform vaccination policy and shed light on the socioeconomic barriers faced in accessing population-wide programs.

Past Leong Scholars

Kate Braddon
Award Years: 2022 - 2023
Supervisor: Dr. Catherine Birken, Leong Centre Research Chair and Senior Scientist at Child Health Evaluative Sciences, SickKids
Project Title: The Association Between Maternal Preconception BMI and Early Childhood Nutrition