Tucked away on the 18th floor at Mount Sinai Hospital is a hidden gem. In operation since 2013, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank has been pasteurizing and providing donor milk to medically fragile babies across the province.
With a small but mighty team of 11 that includes nurse/lactation consultants, a production supervisor, diet technicians and a volunteer, the Milk Bank has grown significantly thanks to the direction of Debbie Stone, Director and Dr. Sharon Unger, Medical Director. Starting with three partner hospitals (Mount Sinai Hospital, SickKids, Sunnybrook), and dispensing 540 litres of donor milk in 2013, the program has grown, now dispensing donor milk to 34 hospitals across Ontario and dispensing over 5,794 litres of milk in 2018.
“It’s amazing to be a part of something that gives babies a fighting chance in the first few days of their lives,” says Sheena Ragoo, Production Supervisor. Sheena has been with the Milk Bank since its launch in 2013. “The Milk Bank is such a wonderful initiative and we push ourselves to set the bar high – both in terms of operations and processing, as well as our clinical reach in Ontario.”
The Milk Bank goes through an annual accreditation process established by the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). In 2018, the Rogers Hixon Ontario Human Milk Bank achieved 100 per cent compliance for the 149 HMBANA guidelines.
Thank you to all of the donors who have supported the Milk Bank for the last six years. For more information, please visit www.milkbankontario.ca.