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Dr. Bethany Foster appointed Chair, Department of Pediatrics, McGill University and Pediatrician-in-Chief, McGill University Health Centre

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Bethany Foster to the positions of Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill University, and Pediatrician-in-Chief of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC). Dr. Foster succeeds Dr. Michael Shevell effective September 1, 2021.

Dr. Foster is currently Director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) of the MUHC, a position she has held since 2018 and in which she has excelled at managing a multidisciplinary unit of physicians, clinician-scientists, clinical nurse specialists, allied health professionals, transplantation service and hemodialysis unit. She is also a Full Professor in the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, as well as a Senior Scientist in the Child Health and Human Development (CHHD) program at the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC).

Dr. Foster graduated from McGill in 1990 with a BSc in Physiology and then earned her MD at the University of Ottawa in 1994.

Dr. Bethany Foster

Returning to Montreal, she completed her residency in pediatrics and a clinical nephrology fellowship at the MCH before pursuing her studies with a MSc in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania and a research fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She returned to the MCH in 2004, joining the Division of Pediatric Nephrology.

A clinical epidemiologist with a primary research in the long-term outcomes of children and young adults with kidney transplants, Dr. Foster has played an important leadership role in promoting child health research, clinical practice and education, locally, nationally and internationally. At the RI-MUHC, Dr Foster was a founding leader of the CHHD program, the Associate Director (Pediatrics) of the McConnell Centre for Innovative Medicine from 2013 to 2018 and continues to be a member of the Child Health Research Advisory Committee. She has recently determined that girls and young women have higher risks of graft failure than boys and young men, a discovery which has transformed our understanding of the impact of developmental changes on graft outcomes. Further, her work on medication adherence in young transplant patients has led to a major multi-site North American trial, as well as to a Canadian national observational study involving transplant investigators from over two dozen pediatric and adult transplant programs.

Recognized for her teaching, Dr. Foster provides undergraduate and graduate training in her research lab and clinical training to medical students, residents and clinical fellows in pediatric nephrology. She served as an Osler Fellow for two cohorts of medical students, was a member of the Graduate Studies (MSc) Admissions Committee for six years, and is currently a member of the Pediatric Nephrology Residency Training Program Committee.

Dr. Foster also serves on the Board of the Canadian Society of Transplantation, as a founder and member of the Canadian Donation and Transplantation and Research Program, and as Co-Chair of Women in Transplantation. Her significant contributions to nephrology and transplantation research include eight chapters in books, and more than 90 original papers.

As Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Foster will take a senior leadership role in directing academic activities and promoting excellence in clinical innovation, research, and teaching. She will also provide leadership in the recruitment, development and ongoing mentorship of diverse faculty and ensure an environment in which they can achieve their full potential. Dr. Foster’s inclusive vision for the department will move it forward successfully in the coming years and her demonstrated abilities to promote collaborative clinical and academic work between different hospital sites, departments and inter-professional colleagues will serve her well.

As Pediatrician-in-Chief at the MUHC, Dr. Foster will organize the clinical workload at the MCH and encourage excellence and innovation with regard to the quality and safety of care across all pediatric departments. Concurrent with this appointment, Dr. Foster becomes Medical Director of the MUHC’s Pediatrics Mission. In this capacity, she will collaboratively co-manage annual budget preparation, resource allocation, program development, as well as performance evaluations.  She also becomes a member of the MUHC’s most senior strategic management committee, the Comité de régie, and an important leader of the medical community. As such, her leadership may also be called upon to support network committees within the McGill RUISSS, the Province of Quebec and beyond.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Shevell for his steadfast dedication to the pressing healthcare needs of children and adolescents as outgoing Chair and Pediatrician-in-Chief. Among other accomplishments over the last 10 years, his astute leadership prepared the Department and MCH as a whole to meet short- and longer-term challenges, notably through major recruitment and retention efforts, a commitment to innovative practices, the acquisition of state-of-the-art equipment, as well as significant partnerships.     

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Foster and wishing her every success in her new leadership roles.

Pierre Gfeller, MDCM, MBA
President and Executive Director
McGill University Health Centre

David Eidelman, MDCM, FRCP
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean,
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, McGill