About Dr. James Rutka
Dr. James Rutka is a staff neurosurgeon at the Hospital for Sick Children, the R.S. McLaughlin Chair of the Department of Surgery, and the Editor of the Journal of Neurosurgery. He is also Director of the Arthur and Sonia Brain Tumor Research Center. Dr. Rutka’s clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of brain tumours, particularly the mechanisms by which brain tumours grow and invade. In 2015, he was honoured with the Order of Canada for his achievements in pediatric brain tumour treatment and international leadership.
The Ukraine Child Health Project Begins
In December 2012, the Children of Chornobyl Canadian Fund (CCCF) provided a generous gift of $1.05 million to the Sick Kids Foundation at the Hospital for Sick Children. It was announced that it would be used for a newly created program, the Ukraine Child Health Project. The project would be aimed at improving the quality of pediatric health care in Ukraine through the exchange of people, knowledge, and skill expertise from Sick Kids. The exchange component would be two-fold: Specialists from Sick Kids would annually visit sites in Ukraine for teaching and supervising, and physicians would Ukraine would have the opportunity to receive intensive skill training at Sick Kids and their home sites. Ultimately, Ukranian children with specific and complex health issues would be able to access high-quality care in their home country.
The first Project phase has focused on neurosurgery. As an internationally recognized neurosurgeon with Ukrainian descent, Dr. Rutka accepted the role of Project Leader in implementing the program. After a year of correspondence and planning, the first mission to Ukraine took place June 12-22nd of 2013 with Dr. Rutka and fellow neurosurgeon and Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery, Dr. Mark Bernstein.