Salhab El Helou

Division of Neonatology

Message from Division Head, Salhab El Helou

The Division of Neonatology is committed to providing quality education, clinical innovation, and excellence through dedicated teamwork from our group of neonatologists, nurse practitioners, nurses, respiratory therapists, and allied health-care professionals.


A safe work culture, psychological safety, and joy at work are our keys to provide optimal and excellent clinical care to sick infants at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at McMaster Children's Hospital in Hamilton. Our faculty are an integral part of McMaster Children's Hospital's administrative framework and provide consultative services to health-care professionals, both within the hospital and in the region. The divisional members are highly recognized for their leadership in several national and international organizations, their educational contributions, and collaborations.

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Placeholder portrait image for Karen Auld

Karen Auld

Divisional Assistant


Our division provides an accredited Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Fellowship Program for both Canadian and international applicants, a focused clinical fellowship program, enhanced clinical fellowships in neonatal transport, targeted neonatal echo, point of care ultrasound and quality improvement programs, Neonatal Nurse Practitioner Residency Program, Neonatal Physician Assistant Program, pediatric residents, and medical clerkship training. 


The division currently comprises of 15 full-time neonatologists who operate clinically in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at McMaster Children's Hospital. The NICU is a 70-bed tertiary level facility, the referral centre for a catchment area of 2.2 million people and 27,000 births. The NICU has approximately 1,300 admissions annually, with an average length of stay of 13 days and an average occupancy rate of above 92 per cent. 

The NICU at McMaster Children's Hospital provides intensive care support to premature babies born as early as 22 to 23 weeks of pregnancy. Our commitment to family-oriented care starts even before the baby is born in collaboration with the maternal-fetal medicine team, prenatal diagnosis clinic, and all pediatric subspecialty services to offer advanced care for babies who have complex issues during their fetal and neonatal life. This also includes caring for babies with surgical conditions together with our pediatric surgeon colleagues. We provide individualized care to the babies who get admitted to the unit with a multi-level family support care, including education and psychosocial support during their NICU stay as well as an extended care through a high-risk follow-up clinic until three years of life. 

We also provide a dedicated nurse-to-nurse run neonatal transportation service for a safe transfer of sick newborn babies born at our regional hospitals who require an immediate advanced level of care either at McMaster Children's Hospital or at any regional level 3 centers. 


Research in the Division of Neonatology is supported by the neonatal research committee (NRC). NRC supports researchers by reviewing all study protocols that involve patient data from the NICU and perinatal settings. 

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