Dr. Michael Shevell is appointed Pediatrician-in-Chief at the McGill University Health Centre and Chair of the Department of Pediatrics

“You have to have fun and see the humour in life – it makes the day go easier,” says Dr. Michael Shevell, the new Pediatrician-in-Chief of The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC. Dr. Shevell’s enthusiasm for joy is demonstrated by the more than 300 snow globes, which grace his office.
“Each of these globes is individualistic,” he adds. They are gifts from students, staff and friends, who picked them up for him on their journeys.

Research is key
Dr. Shevell, a native Montrealer, has felt no need to leave the area. The McGill/MUHC environment has provided an outstanding milieu for his training and curiosity. After finishing his residency training in pediatrics and neurology he went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular (medical) genetics. This laboratory experience gave him a solid appreciation of basic and clinical research.
“You need research to make a difference in the lives of the children and families for whom you care,” he says. “Every clinical encounter is a research opportunity – it’s up to us to grab this momentum.”

A chance to make a difference
Dr. Shevell likes to go beyond the status quo and continually asks how he can do better. He would like to transfer this approach to his new job.
“The most attractive aspect of this new position is that it is both a challenge and opportunity to make a difference in child health; locally, provincially, nationally and internationally,” he says. “The MCH has been very good at delivering sub-specialty and tertiary care and we have a track record of success in training and education. Now, we need to engage our community partners, whether they are families, community-based providers, outside organizations that take care of our patients, or policy makers.
“We need to make a difference for the more vulnerable children and those from disadvantaged populations. We also need to promote health and thereby prevent the onset of disease.”

Glen site
A move to the Glen site presents an enormous and unique prospect for the MCH, according to Dr. Shevell. “I see this as an opportunity for increased interaction and development of new programs. The adjacency to our colleagues that deliver adult care will make a difference for transition of care for our older patients. The new Centre for Innovative Medicine offers a tremendous potential for translational research, and the proximity of the Shiners will enhance our ability to care for children with orthopedic issues and disabilities.”
Dr. Shevell is optimistic about reaching his goals. “One of the advantages I’ve had as a neurologist is that I’ve been implicated in all aspects of the hospital, from community care to providing urgent services in the emergency department.” Dr. Shevell also cites Dr. Harvey Guyda as a major source of inspiration and notes that “one can only go forward by standing on the shoulders of giants.”