By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Northumberland Hills Hospital has announced the recruitment of two geneticists – Dr. Shawn Shao, MD, CM, PhD, FRCPC, and Dr. Vanda McNiven, MD, Msc, FRCPC.
“The addition of two geneticists is another example of NHH’s commitment to fulfilling the aspirations of our new Strategic Plan by putting People First, and bringing care close to home,” NHH President and Chief Executive Officer Susan Walsh said in the announcement.
“We are honoured that Dr. Shao and Dr. McNiven have chosen to share their specialized skillset and expertise with the community of west Northumberland County.”
Chief of Staff Dr. Mukesh Bhargava added his own welcome.
“The recruitment of two geneticists will provide local patients with increased access to specialized health care,” Dr. Bhargava said.
“In doing so, we are eliminating barriers to receiving and delivering efficient, accessible care for both patients and care providers.”
Dr, Shao is a staff geneticist at North York General Hospital. He completed medical school at McGill University and residency in Medical Genetics and Genomics at the University of Toronto. Prior to medical school, Dr. Shao received his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and a PhD in pharmacology and therapeutics from McGill. He then completed post-doctoral training in retinal neuro-vascular development at Harvard Medical School, Boston Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Shao is passionate about genome-guided therapeutic approaches, including pharmacogenomics.
“I am thrilled to join the Northumberland Hills Hospital team and looking forward to serving the neighbourhood of west Northumberland County,” he said.
“As an increasingly recognized field at the forefront of personalized care, genetics provides diagnosis and clinical managements, form newborns to elderly populations. We hope the addition of clinical genetics and family-oriented care will further enrich the experience that patients have at NHH.”Dr. McNiven completed her medical school and residency in Medical Genetics and Genomics at the University of Toronto. She is currently a staff geneticist in the Hospital for Sick Children’s Division of Clinical Genetics, as well as a Clinical Associate in Clinical Genetics at Mt. Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network in Toronto. She is active in multiple collaborative efforts to leverage new diagnostic technologies in the diagnosis of genetic and metabolic disease.
“I am very much looking forward to joining the Northumberland Hills Hospital network and working with the community it serves as a clinical geneticist,” she said.
“In the field of genetics, we navigate in genetic rare disease. While individually rare, rare diseases are collectively common, with over 7,000 different rare genetic conditions known. Although there are currently only a few rare genetic diseases that can be cured, an accurate diagnosis can often have important implications for informing management, prognosis and family planning.”
Geneticists provide consultations to diagnose and treat genetic disorders and conditions for all ages.
With the support of NHH’s Telemedicine Co-ordinator, Registered Nurse Rebecca Rutherford, Dr. McNiven and Dr. Shao will support local primary-care providers and specialists by offering virtual genetics consultations for reasons including – but not limited to – intellectual disabilities, autism, multiple congenital anomalies, and suspected genetic types of neurological, cardiovascular, endocrine and ocular conditions.
Referring providers can complete the NHH Clinical Telemedicine Consult Request and fax it to 905-373-6972. Patients will be scheduled and notified by the OTN nurse.
For a list of services being offered through NHH, visit https://nhh.ca/Patients/PatientCareServices/virtual-care