NOSM University - Psychiatry - Sault Ste. Marie

2021 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on December 11, 2020

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Chiachen Cheng
c/o Program Coordinator 
935 Ramsey Lake Rd 
955 Oliver Road
Sudbury, P3E2C6
Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Program Contacts

Dominique Boyd
Program Coordinator

Important Information

Please note that the Northern Ontario School of Medicine Psychiatry Program is offered in three separate streams for the 2020 CaRMS R-1 Main Residency Match. These streams include: 

  • Thunder Bay
  • Sault Ste. Marie
  • North Bay

Applicants are encouraged to apply to all three streams. One residency spot will be available per stream/site, therefore applicants who successfully match to the program will be required to home-base in the community (stream/site) they've matched to.

Note: if applying to multiple streams, candidates are asked to submit the same supporting and reference documents in each application.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

Applications will only be accepted through the CaRMS R-1 Match application process.

Supporting Documentation / Information

Canadian citizenship
CaRMS partners with third-party organizations to verify your citizenship or permanent resident status. If your status is verified by one of these organizations, you will not need to provide citizenship documents in your application. If your citizenship status is not verified, you must provide one of the documents listed below.
Document must be notarized/certified
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As per the Ontario Provincial Eligibility Criteria, if you are submitting a Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth, or Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada document, you MUST submit a government issued photo I.D. to accompany your citizenship documentation.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Letters of Reference
i) A structured Letter of Reference will be submitted by each referee.
ii) A Letter of Reference from the institution to where the applicant is applying must not be a criterion for file review and ultimately, for file ranking.
iii) There will be no requirement for a Letter of Reference from the discipline to which the applicant is applying.
iv) Each program may request a maximum of three (3) Letters of Reference from an applicant. If approved, this will require a change to policy and process to ensure that compliance is enforceable.

Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your registrar.

Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Dean's office.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

The personal letter (maximum 1000 words) focusing on the following:

  • experiences that led to your interest in Psychiatry;
  • aspects of the NOSM Psychiatry program that interest you;
  • personal qualities that make you an ideal candidate for practice in Northern settings;
  • how you anticipate this program will assist you in becoming an excellent Psychiatrist;
  • your greatest challenge if you are accepted into this program;
  • additional information about yourself that should be considered by the Selection Panel.

If your transcript/CV indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history please attach a supplementary statement to the END of your Personal Letter entitled "Transcript/CV Addendum" explaining the above.

Optional - will be reviewed

Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on February 8, 2021

Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  February 8, 2021

Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on February 8, 2021

Each application is reviewed and scored independently by the program director, and two other file reviewers. File review scores will be combined for each applicant and the program will offer interviews to approximately the top 25 candidates based on their average file review score.


Interviews will take place virtually. 

Dates; Wed, March 10 2021 (4-7pm), Wed, March 17 2021 (4-7pm) and Sat, March 20 2021 (9am-4pm) 

Platform: ADMIT

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The interview day will include: information on the program;  introduction to faculty within the psychiatry department and an opportunity to obtain information on areas of special interest to you.

The interview style: TBD. However, it will be comprised of faculty members and current residents.

Applicants will only be required to participate in ONE interview, regardless of which stream(s) they've applied to.

Selection Criteria

Applicants will be selected for an interview based on:

demonstrated interest in Psychiatry; academic record; strength of references; strong interpersonal skills; self-directed learning; and a desire to train in a variety of community settings with health care teams.

An interest in future Northern urban, rural or remote practice will be a key consideration.


Program goals

The NOSM Psychiatry residency program strives to deliver a comprehensive clinical curriculum which includes core rotations in psychiatry and subspecialty rotations selected to incorporate a diversity of experience and proficiency in subspecialty areas integral to community-based practice.

Our program aims to equip our residents with the necessary skills/competencies to become well-rounded, general psychiatrists who are trained to deliver excellent, culturally respectful health care to all patients in a wide variety of settings, such as emergency, inpatient, outpatient, and community settings, including northern urban, rural, and remote communities.

With one-on-one preceptor support, we aim to provide our residents with ongoing support to meet the program training objectives, as well as their own individual learning/career goals. Our goal is that upon completion of training, our residents will be prepared to begin their careers as general psychiatrists in any setting, and/or be well-positioned to pursue subspecialty training to further meet their career goals.


Selection process goals

Through our selection process, our program aims to identify candidates who have a strong academic history with demonstrated competence and interest in psychiatry (e.g. psychiatry rotations, electives, scholarly activities, conference involvement and other related work or life experiences). We are seeking candidates who possess superior clinical communication skills and have the ability to relate to patients, their families, and caregivers with compassion, empathy, sensitivity and humility.

We are looking for candidates who possess the ability and willingness to work collaboratively (within and across professional domains) in a team dynamic to secure optimal patient outcomes, while exemplifying the highest standards of professional behavior -- inclusive of responsibility, respect, and self-awareness.

We are also looking to identify candidates who would be a good fit for our program. As a socially accountable medical school, accountable to the needs and the diversity of the populations of Northern Ontario, candidates best suited to the NOSM Psychiatry Program are those with a vested interest in future northern urban, rural, or remote practice, who can adapt and thrive in a hands-on, distributed rural residency program that requires flexibility and some travel away from their primary location of residence. 

We also believe that candidates who are resilient, can prioritize their personal well-being and work-life balance, and are also committed to self-reflective learning, continuing professional development, and quality improvement, are well-suited to our program. Through our selection process we aim to identify and successfully match candidates who possess these attributes as well.


File review process

Review team composition : Each application is reviewed and scored independently by the program director, and two other file reviewers. Members of our file review team are the Program Director, Site Directors/key program faculty, and our senior residents.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50
We average approximately a combined total of 30-35 applications across all of our program streams.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %
We typically offer interviews to approximately the top 25 candidates.

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Academic & work background/experiences, personal/professional accomplishments, volunteerism
Electives Psych/Mental Health elective(s), diverse range relevant to discipline, rural &/or northern an asset
Extra-curricular Personal interests, volunteerism, an asset to demonstrate work-life balance & wellness
Leadership skills Any leadership roles held throughout training should be outlined in the CV
MSPRs Patient interactions, Psych. rotation competencies, any academic/personal/professionalism concerns
Personal letters Practice goals, interest/knowledge in Psych. and our program, personal & northern/rural suitability
Reference documents Performance, knowledge/clinical skills, character, attitude towards learning, suitability
Research/Publications Scholarly activities with related focus to our discipline, interest in perusing future activities
Transcripts Strength of academic record, any red flags/concerns
Other file component(s) Transcript/CV Addendum:

If any part of your application indicates academic difficulty, failure(s), repeat of a year or any gaps in your education or work history, a supplementary statement at the END of your Personal Letter is required. Please entitle your statement as "Transcript/CV Addendum", explaining the above.

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.

We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted candidates’ opportunities to arrange and complete electives and would like to reassure you that a lack of elective activity this year will not negatively impact your application to our program.

Interview process

Interview format :

We do not re-schedule interviews for applicants after we have completed the scheduling process.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Demonstrated ability to work well in a team setting/multidisciplinary environment
Collegiality Personable, respectful towards others, values the importance of a supportive/collegial atmosphere
Communication skills Able to reflect and communicate responses clearly and concisely, can communicate well with others
Health advocacy We do not formally evaluate this component during the interview
Interest in the discipline Genuine passion for psychiatry and future practice goals
Interest in the program Knowledgeable about our program, training sites, northern Ontario patient populations and challenges
Leadership skills Qualities such as: proactive/takes initiative, accountable, innovative, motivated and goal-oriented
Professionalism Conducts themselves in a professional manner, self-aware, unbiased, morally/ethically responsible
Scholarly activities We do not formally evaluate this component during the interview
Other interview component(s) Problem-Solving Skills: Overcoming challenges, conflict resolution, ability to rationalize and take appropriate action.

Personal Attributes: Personal characteristics and interests, experiences, learning style/attitude towards learning.

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

The behavior(s) exhibited below during the interview process may prevent an applicant from being ranked by our program :

Program Highlights

  • A comprehensive understanding of the cultural, geographic and socioeconomic determinants of mental disorders in a Northern urban, rural or remote clinical setting.
  • A unique and challenging learning experience.
  • Unparalleled preceptor support from physicians committed to practicing in Northern Ontario.
  • Early integration as a key member of a health care team dedicated to professionalism, high quality patient care and excellent medical education.
  • Commitment to resident learning.
  • Self-directed, learner-centered training to meet your career goals.
  • Exposure to the culture and social fabric of Francophone and Indigenous communities.
  • Financial support from NOSM for resident travel to and from core clinical placements away from the home base and all mandatory educational activities at non home base locations.
  • Housing support from NOSM for core rotations away from primary residence.
  • Opportunity to participate in research under expert guidance.
  • Funding available from NOSM for research, professional development and conferences.
  • Access to advanced technology and informatics in residency training.
  • 24/7 access to electronic search engines, electronic indexes as well as an extensive collection of electronic medical/health journals and textbooks.
  • Exceptional lifestyle balance with a wide variety of outstanding Northern Ontario recreational opportunities.

Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 5 years.

Program length of training does not exceed the Royal College or College of Family Physicians of Canada standard.

The program includes core rotations in Psychiatry and subspecialty rotations selected to incorporate a diversity of experience and proficiency in subspecialty areas integral to community based practice but less commonly emphasized in traditional Psychiatry residency programs.

All rotations will be completed in distributed Northern sites, including  Thunder Bay, North Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, and Sudbury. Based on the resident’s personal learning plan, the content, sequence of training and schedule of movement between teaching sites may vary. 

Rotations are supervised by highly experienced and committed clinical academic faculty and the resident will have an opportunity to be involved in the care and management of patients in a wide variety of clinical areas.

Our program is established within a distributed site model and that all residents will be required to spend up to eighteen (18) months outside of their home location site during their residency. Residents could spend up to three (3) separate six-month blocks in distributed locations such as, but not limited to, Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and/or North Bay.

Starting 1 July 2020, incoming cohorts of successfully matched applicants to NOSM’s Psychiatry program will be entering into a Competence by Design (CBD) based residency program. 

CBD will use time as a framework rather than the basis for progression, and it is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs will be broken down into stages (Transition to Discipline, Foundations, Core, Transition to Practice) and each stage will have a series of milestones based on required competencies. These milestones will create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need. 

Key components of this CBD transition that will be effectively implemented include; competency-based assessment, high volume work-place based assessment with frequent, authentic feedback, and competency based promotion – which will all continue to evolve with the full transition.

As this is our first year of CBD, we expect that our plan is not perfect and we will encounter some bumps along the way. We want your feedback as we move along this journey together to help us build an even better program for you and those who will follow in your footsteps.

Residents in this program will have a number of opportunities unique to Northern Ontario. While the majority of the training takes place in your home base (Thunder Bay, North Bay or Sault Ste. Marie), the opportunity to have clinical experiences in various centers across the North. From small rural hospitals to other major centers, our program provides a unique chance to understand how Psychiatry is provided outside of the major teaching center, and exposure to potential career opportunities. 

The small size of the program allows for close mentorship between the faculty and the residents. This has been identified as a strength of our program and enables a rapid progression to independent activities for individual residents. 

As a growing program, resident feedback is an integral part of shaping this program for the future. Our program is extremely responsive to resident input throughout their training.  Regular meetings with our Site Directors and meetings twice a year with our Program Director, gives our residents a formal arena to offer feedback.

At present, our current clinical curriculum is structured as listed below, which will evolve as we transition into the CBD training model.


  • Family Medicine – 4 weeks
  • Pediatrics – 4 weeks
  • Psychiatry – 12 weeks (includes 4 weeks of Emergency Psychiatry)
  • Emergency Medicine – 4 weeks
  • Internal Medicine – 4 weeks
  • Neurology – 8 weeks
  • Selectives – 12 weeks
  • Electives – 4 weeks

The PGY1 schedule starts with one psychiatry rotation in Block 1 and ends with two psychiatry rotations in Blocks 12 & 13.  The other rotations are organized by the program by availability (Neurology and Neuro Imaging rotation will be done in Thunder Bay). PGY1s will be advised that travel from their home-base may happen during the academic year. 

PGY 2 (junior residency)

  • General Inpatient and Outpatient Psychiatry (13 blocks) (break down = 6 months Outpatient, and 6 months Inpatient)

PGY 3 (junior residency)

  • Child/Adolescent Psychiatry (6 months)
  • Geriatrics Psychiatry (6 months)

PGY 4 (senior residency)

12 months total that provide complex care to the expected volume and variety of ADULT patients in General Psychiatric Practice. These 13 blocks of providing complex care must include:

  • Supervised experience in Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry (3-6 blocks)
  • Collaborative/Shared Care with Family Physicians, specialists, and any other mental health professionals (2 blocks)
  • Supervised experience in the care of patients with severe and persistent mental illness (SPMI) (3-6 blocks)
  • Supervised experience in the care of patients in Addictions-Psychiatry (3-6 blocks)


Selectives (6-7 blocks): Child and Adolescent, Geriatrics, Forensics, Research, Psychotherapies, Development Disabilities, Addictions, Rural and Remote Psychiatry. Six months of selective in Psychiatry: preferably one content area, but may be comprised of two content areas with experience of no less than three months each.

Electives (6-7 blocks): Research in psychiatry, Internal Medicine, Neurology, and or any other branch of medicine related to Psychiatry. More than one practice area may be chosen but the duration of any experience must not be less than 2 months each.

Psychotherapy Training

During the PGY2-5 years residents will be provided with training in CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Interpersonal Therapy, Supportive Psychotherapy, Crisis Intervention, Family Therapy, Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Group Therapy.


Academic half day sessions occur weekly throughout the year during protected time from clinical duties in the PGY1 year and full day in PGY2-5 years. Residents will also have the opportunity to participate in local community educational rounds, presentations, journal clubs and rounds through the Ontario Telemedicine Network when stationed outside their main training site.


Residents are expected to present a research project or a scholarly activity during their residency. Expert guidance and funding for research will be available through the faculty members.

Training Sites

Applicants who match to the Sault Ste. Marie stream will be required to select this community as their home-base/location of primary residence.

Sault Ste. Marie

  • Sault Ste. Marie (also know as the Sault or the Soo) is a city located on the St. Mary’s River in Ontario, in the Algoma District. With a population of approximately 78,000, Sault Ste. Marie is the third largest city in Northern Ontario.
  • Sault Area Hospital (SAH) is a 291 bed state-of-the-art facility that opened in March 2011. SAH provides emergency, primary, secondary, selected tertiary and long-term care healthcare services to the city and the District of Algoma with a catchment population of approximately 120,000.

Thunder Bay

  • Thunder Bay is situated on Lake Superior, in northwestern Ontario. The city has a population of approximately 121,000 and serves as a regional referral centre for northwestern Ontario and many rural and remote Indigenous communities.
  • The high volume tertiary care hospital, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), is a 395-bed tertiary care academic & research centre offering a comprehensive range of services in state-of-the-art healthcare facilities.

North Bay

  • North Bay is conveniently located in the Nipissing District, in northeastern Ontario, with a population of 70,000. North Bay is a short 1.5-hour drive to one of two NOSM host university sites, at Laurentian University in Sudbury.
  • Comprehensive medical services in North Bay are provided by a fully-accredited medical hospital, the North Bay Regional Health Centre, which is a 401-bed facility that offers numerous outpatient and outreach services in North Bay and throughout the northeast region. It provides acute care services to North Bay and its surrounding communities, and it is the district referral centre, providing specialist services for smaller communities in the area, and it is the specialized mental health service provider serving all of northeast Ontario.

Additional Information

Overall program

The program outlined above may be modified or taken in an alternative sequence based upon discussions between the resident and the program director. Any changes MUST allow the resident to complete an appropriate curriculum to meet accreditation standards and to spend the majority of their program in Northern locations.


To learn more about northern Ontario, please visit the "Wider Campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine" webpage. 

Summary of changes

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