Why McMaster donors give: Lennox Huang

A photo of Lennox Huang in a hospital.

Dr. Lennox Huang was the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University and chief of pediatrics at McMaster Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton from 2010 to 2015 (photo courtesy of Health Sciences Archives, McMaster University. Photographer: Ron Scheffler.).

Lennox Huang has dedicated his life to helping the sickest children in our communities overcome the toughest medical challenges.

“I take care of kids who are incredibly ill, yet they have an unbelievable amount of resilience,” said Huang, former chair of the department of Pediatrics in the Faculty of Health Sciences. “These kids have the remarkable ability to bounce back.”

As the former chief of pediatrics at McMaster Children’s Hospital and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, Huang ensured aspiring physicians received the critical medical training needed to care for vulnerable children and youth.

Now the chief medical officer and vice-president of education, medical and academic affairs at the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Huang’s legacy of mentoring trainees and supporting researchers continues through two funds he helped create in 2013: The McMaster University Department of Pediatrics Child Health Research Fund and the McMaster University Department of Pediatrics Education Endowment Fund. 

Huang supports both funds through philanthropic gifts to show his appreciation for the role McMaster and the Faculty of Health Sciences played in establishing his career.

The early years at McMaster

Huang studied psychology as an undergraduate student at Boston University before attending the University of Toronto for medical school. This was followed by a residency and fellowship in pediatric critical care at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, alongside his wife, Krishna Anchala, who was a fellow in pediatric emergency medicine.

After several years in Cleveland, the couple wanted to return home to Canada. It almost seemed like fate when McMaster posted two faculty positions in 2004.

“We were looking for a place to grow our careers as junior faculty and it just so happened the department of Pediatrics had two openings: one in pediatric emergency medicine and one in pediatric critical care,” he said.

“McMaster didn’t have pediatric emergency medicine expertise at the time, making Dr. Anchala the first faculty member in that division and the first pediatric emergency specialist in the greater Hamilton region.”

Describing the department they joined as “small, but also scrappy and innovative,” Huang remembers McMaster as a pioneer in pediatric medical education.

“McMaster was a special place for me because my area of interest is in pediatric high-fidelity simulation. We were one of the first in the province to launch this program.”

Pediatric high-fidelity simulation refers to the use of sophisticated, life-like mannequins to mimic real-world medical situations.

It provides trainees and faculty opportunities to practice their clinical skills in controlled environments under the guidance of seasoned health-care experts. This practice is now standard in medical schools across the country.

Establishing a culture of philanthropy

Huang became chair of pediatrics 2010. Under his leadership, the department doubled its number of faculty members, significantly increased the number of trainees and expanded its academic programming. Equally important to Huang was encouraging a culture of philanthropy among faculty.

“I felt we didn’t have sufficient philanthropic investments in child health. I believe by investing in education, you produce better health-care professionals.”

Huang hopes his gifts inspire future generations of care providers and grows the field of pediatric medicine.

“I saw first-hand how much of an impact you can do with relatively little money,” said Huang. “I encourage all my friends and colleagues who are connected to McMaster to think about giving back.”

Why McMaster donors give: At McMaster University, every single gift, no matter the size, has the potential to make a difference in the lives of our students, the quality of our research and our ability to give back to our community and influence the future. We asked some of our donors and their families what motivates them to give. These are their stories.

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