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University of Alberta - Obstetrics and Gynecology - Edmonton

2022 R-1 Main Residency Match - first iteration
CMG Stream for CMG

Last approved on September 20, 2021

Approximate Quota:

 6 

Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria


Dr. Valerie Capstick
Obstetrics & Gynecology 
Room 5S131 Lois Hole Hosp., Robbins Pavillion RAH  
10240 Kingsway Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta, T5H 3V9
7807358732
capstick@ualberta.ca
Obstetrics & Gynecology

Program Contacts

During the COVID pandemic our admin team will mostly be working from home and most easily accessed by email
Sharon Cunningham
Program Administrator
obgynpme@ualberta.ca
780-735-8732


Important Information

Our program underwent a Royal College survey visit in October, 2020. The recommendation to the specialty committee was for full accreditation with the next review in five years. 

 

Competence by Design (CBD)

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada has embarked upon an initiative to introduce competency-based medical education (CBME) in Canadian postgraduate specialty training and in professional practice in Canada.  This initiative, called Competence by Design (CBD), aims to enhance patient care by aligning medical education and lifelong learning with evolving patient needs.

CBD uses time as a resource rather than the basis for progression.  It is not anticipated that the duration of training will change for the majority of trainees. Residency programs are broken down into stages, and each stage compasses a series of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and milestones based on required competencies. These EPAs and milestones 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.

Our program has successfully transitioned to CBD in accordance with the nationally coordinated schedule. Our program will continue to undergo the same rigorous accreditation processes as traditional programs. All CBD programs (and traditional programs) will continue to lead to Royal College approved certification. Certification for trainees in both CBD and traditional programs will include the completion of a Royal College examination; however, residents in CBD programs will also be assessed against specialty specific EPAs and milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all EPAs (documented within an electronic portfolio), stage promotions and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please contact cbd@royalcollege.ca

Indigenous Admissions

The University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and the Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology appreciate the role of academic institutions in redressing the historic and ongoing impacts of colonialism and advancing the process of reconciliation.

We recognize that the health status of Indigenous peoples is influenced by a number of social and political factors including:

  • The underrepresentation of Indigenous physicians;
  • The legacy of Residential Schools and other government policies;
  • The devaluing of Indigenous knowledge and healing practices.

National calls for change have been made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, and the Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. We consider it our responsibility to respond to these calls for change and help close the gap in the underrepresentation of Indigenous people in Obstetrics & Gynaecology and in medicine more broadly.

In this regard, we have implemented an adapted parallel CaRMS application and review process which will allow for the purposeful identification, prioritization, and selection of Indigenous physicians.

If you identify as an Indigenous person and choose to apply through this parallel process, please include the following documents in the additional documents section:

  • Confirmation of Indigenous ancestry
    • A copy of the front and back of your First Nation, Metis or Inuit card
    • A letter from your band or settlement indicating your registration number and status
  • Personal letter: Please indicate your connection with an Indigenous community and describe how you see yourself working with an Indigenous community/ Indigenous peoples in the future (Max 500 words)
  • Letter of reference from an Indigenous community member (optional)

These documents should be submitted in addition to the standard application documents. We recognize that this adds extra work for Indigenous applicants. At present, we feel that this dual process is necessary to ensure that Indigenous applicants have access to both admission streams. 

As this is a new application process, we are very receptive to feedback. Please email obgynpme@ualberta.ca with any questions or concerns and use the subject heading Indigenous Admissions. 

Our program now requires a current CASPer exam score from each applicant.


Return of Service

There are no return of service requirements at the University of Alberta.


General Instructions

Program application language: English


Supporting Documentation

Applicants are advised to only provide the documents requested by the program. No other documents submitted will be reviewed.
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.
Required
Submit one of the following documents to verify your Canadian citizenship:
• Canadian Birth Certificate or Act of Birth
• Certificate of Canadian Citizenship
• Confirmation of Permanent Residence in Canada
• Passport page showing Canadian Citizenship
• Canadian Permanent Resident Card (both sides of card)
• Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada

Canadian Permanent Resident card must be accompanied by Record of Landing, clearly showing the date of landing in Canada.

Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• IELTS

IMG and graduates of Canadian medical schools where instruction is not English (as identified by CPSA)  must meet English language requirements required by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for licensure.  English Language Proficiency . 

Effective January 1, 2018, IELTS will be the only English language proficiency test accepted by CPSA.

Reference documents
Required
Number requested: 3

Of the three required reference letters, at least two should be from Ob/Gyn's that the applicant has worked with. References from senior (PGY 4,5) residents are welcomed as it is usually the residents who work closely with the medical students.

Additional documents
Required
Photo 
[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

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

All applicants are required to submit a personal letter detailing their reasons for a career choice in obstetrics and gynecology. Elective experience in the specialty should be described, as well as any experience in basic science or clinical research. Interests outside of medicine should be included. Please limit this letter to 500 words.

CASPer exam 

Optional - will be reviewed
Custom Résumé / CV 


Review Process

Applications submitted after file review has opened on January 31, 2022


Supporting documents (excluding letters of reference) that arrive after file review has opened  on  January 31, 2022


Letters of reference that arrive after the unmasking date on January 31, 2022


  


Interviews

Dates:

  • March 8, 2022
  • March 9, 2022
  • March 10, 2022
Interviews will be held on March8,9,10 2022.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Applications will be reviewed by our committee members, and invitations for interviews  emailed to selected candidates.

Interviews will be held virtually. The format for the interviews is still under construction, however our orginal format was multiple 10 minute interviews and this will likely be replicated online. The program director intends to meet each candidate.  


Selection Criteria

-Acceptable academic record with proficiency in obstetrics and gynecology.

-Three letters of reference, two from obstetricians/gynecologists with whom applicant has worked during clinical rotations or electives.

-A Personal letter detailing the candidates interest in obstetrics and gynecology. Limit pf 500 words.

-Awareness of women's health care issues.

-High level of commitment to teamwork and professionalism.

-Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

-Interests outside of medicine are highly valued.

In addition to the above, applicants are required to complete the CASPer Test. See details below: 

The CASPer Test

All applicants to the Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program, at the University of Alberta are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process. Successful completion of CASPer is mandatory in order to maintain admission eligibility.

CASPer is an online test which assesses for non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for successful students and graduates of our program and will complement the other tools that we use for applicant screening. In implementing CASPer, we are trying to further enhance fairness and objectivity in our selection process.

In order to take CASPer, you will be responsible for securing access to a computer with audio capabilities, a webcam, and a reliable internet connection on your selected test date. CASPer can be taken practically anywhere that you can satisfy the aforementioned requirements. No exceptions will be provided for applicants unable to take CASPer online due to being located at sites where internet is not dependable due to technical or political factors.

Please go to https://takealtus.com/ to sign up for the Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education test and reserve a test using a piece of government-issued photo ID. You will be provided with a limited number of testing dates and times. Please note that these are the only testing dates available for your CASPer test. There will be no additional tests scheduled. Please use an email address that you check regularly; there may be updates to the test schedule.

The CASPer test is comprised of 12 sections of video and written scenarios. Following each scenario, you will be required to answer a set of probing questions under a time contract. The test typically takes between 75-90 minutes to complete. Each response is graded by a different rater, giving a very robust and reliable view of personal and professional characteristics important to our program. No studying is required for CASPer, although you may want to familiarize yourself with the test structure at https://takealtus.com/, and ensure you have a quiet environment to take the test.

CASPer test results are valid for one admissions cycle. Applicants who have already taken the test in previous years will therefore be expected to re-take it.

Program goals

Our overall goal is to train highly competent, responsible, and ethical physicians for the practice of general Obstetrics and Gynaecology. The commitment of our Department to resident education is reflected through activities including a protected weekly Academic Half Day, grand rounds and subspecialty rounds , a monthly Journal Club, surgical skills labs and simulation. We set a  biannual practice OSCE and MCQ exams. The Department comprises a large complement of faculty members in all 4 subspecialties including Materal-Fetal Medicine, Urogynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility and Gynecologic Oncology to maximize resident exposure to all fields. 

The program is organized to provide early clinical and operative exposure to junior residents, allowing more senior residents to consolidate their skills across the five years of training, and also affording senior residents the opportunity to teach, supervise and mentor the junior residents. Upon completing of training, a resident is expected to be a competent specialist in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The residents must acquire a working knowledge of the theoretical basis of the specialty, including its foundations int the basic medical sciences and research. An online Research course is mandatory in their first year of training. Involvement in and completion of one scholarly research project is expected over the 5 year of residency with protected research time and opportunities for research electives if desired. 

Residents must demonstrate the requisite knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective, high quality and safe patient-centered care and service to a diverse population of patients from northern and central Alberta. In all aspects of specialist practice, the graduate must be able to address issues of gender, sexual orientation, age, culture, ethnicity and ethics in a professional manner. 

 

Selection process goals

The University of Alberta Obstetrics & Gynaecology Residency Program Applicants are selected based on the following characteristics (in no particular order):

  • Demonstrated interest in, and knowledge of, the specialty and the University of Alberta training program
  • Works well in a team-based environment
  • Flexible and adaptable to change
  • Scholarly interests (research, education etc)
  • Advocate for woman's health
  • Professionalism
  • Academic potential
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Leadership activities & potential

File review process

Review team composition : Our review team is composed of teaching faculty and residents, led by our CaRMS lead, Dr. Momoe Hyakutake.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200
NA

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %
NA

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Research, publications, electives, employment history.
Electives We recognize the challenges this year in having elective exposure. Electives will not be considered as much as they were in the past.
Examinations Not applicable
Extra-curricular Medical and non-medical volunteering and mentoring, interest outside of medicine
Leadership skills Holding office in a student government, club, or organization.
MSPRs Personal and academic attributes
Personal letters Interested in discipline, program location and desire to serve patients.
Reference documents 3 reference required, Positive interaction with colleagues and patients. Interest in discipline.
Research/Publications List of projects and publications, Interest in participating in future research projects.
Transcripts Academic performance
Other file component(s) CASPer results in an acceptable range.

Elective criteria

We are looking for and rewarding applicants who have completed a broad range of electives including in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

While an elective in our specialty is encouraged,we recognize it is not possible for most students this academic year. 

Interview process

Interview format :



We routinely accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Yes, promotion of high-quality patient care through working in a team environment
Collegiality Yes, behavior, attitude, and ability to work well with others
Communication skills Yes, ability to speak and write in English
Health advocacy Yes, demonstrated interest in health advocacy
Interest in the discipline Yes, demonstrated interest and ability in the specialty; evidence for compassion & resilience
Interest in the program Yes, demonstrated interest in program, setting, and serving Albertans.
Leadership skills Yes, ability to initiate programs, lead or organizations or groups, and make an impact
Professionalism Yes, ability to interact in person and online in a professional manner.
Scholarly activities We do not evaluate this interview component.

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

Quick Facts

-Three blocks of protected (call free) elective time is available and can be arranged outside of Edmonton. Residents have travelled nationally and internationally, most recently Africa, and Australia. 

-There are 6 funded positions per year. Currently, we have 32 residents. The ratio of faculty to residents is five to one. We have 8 perinatologists, 6 gynecologic oncologists, 6 reproductive endocrinologists and 6 urogynecologists.

-Computers with internet access are available in the call rooms and throughout the hospitals.


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.

Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alberta is a 5 year program.

 

 

 

PGY-1

All PGY-1 residents participate in the  Surgical Foundations Program at the University of Alberta. All surgical specialties participate in this core year. There is a protected academic half-day per week covering core surgical topics on wednesday mornings.

Residents are expected to complete Surgical Foundations EPAs and be promoted by the end of the year. At the same time they are working on Obstetrics and Gynecology EPAs. 

2 block transition to discipline rotation (TTD)

1 block Emergency Medicine

1 block Ultrasound

1 block NICU/OB Anaesthesia

3 blocks General Obstetrics & Gynecology 

2 blocks General Surgery

2 blocks Internal Medicine

1 block vacation

 

PGY-2

The PGY-2 year is a "core" year general obstetrics and gynecology. Residents spend 7 months at the Lois Hole Hospital on Royal Alexandra Hospital site alternating on obstetrical and gynecological services. 3 months are spent in a community hospital and 2 months in ICU and 1 month in the Women's Health Options Clinic. By the end of the year, they will be comfortable with high risk Obstetric care,  the performance of cesarean sections and minor laparoscopic surgeries.

 



PGY-3


The program revised its curriculum for the 2020/2021 year. The change was prompted by CBME and the fact that a specific number of blocks in the subspecialties  is no longer required by the Royal College. The hope is that all necessary EPAs will be accomplished in two blocks for REI and urogyne.

Both Gyne onc and MFM are revisited in 4th year.  Elective time in 4th year may be used if additional time is needed to meet EPAs and objectives.

MFM (1 block MFM and 1 block OB Medicine)

REI (2 blocks)

Urogyne (2 blocks)

Gyne Oncology (2 blocks)

General gyne surgery (2 blocks)

electives (3 blocks)

PGY-4

Fourth year residents become chief residents in R4 and revisit 2 subspecialties.

 

Chief resident (5 blocks)

Gyne Oncology (1 block)

MFM (1 block)

electives (5 blocks)

 

 



PGY-5

As an R5 the resident is expected to function like a junior faculty, under supervision.  They are involved in all the high-risk obstetrical cases including twins, breeches and cesarean hysterectomies. The Chief resident role in both 4th and 5th years includes managing junior residents, call schedules and medical students.


CBD residents will have their written Royal College Exams in the fall of their 5th year.  The OSCE exam is in the spring.

Prior to each exam we plan two ambulatory blocks to allow for more study time. 

 

Chief resident (2 or more blocks)

Transition to practice blocks (1 or 2 blocks - elective)

Community Senior resident ( 2 blocks)

Ambulatory (4 blocks)

Electives (3 blocks)

 

Academic "half-day"

All R2,3,4 and 5 residents have protected Wednesday afternoons (1300-1700) where they are excused from clinical work. The first year residents attend the Surgical Foundations half days Wednesday mornings (0900-1200). All sessions are faculty supervised and are a mix of faculty presented and resident ( with a faculty preceptor) presented. These include formal courses in:

-anatomy (hands-on dissection based) histology

-medical ethics

-critical appraisal of the literature and

-communication skills

-medical education

-laparoscopic skills

-professionalism

health advocacy

Other sessions are topic-based covering various Canmeds medical expert topics in general O&G, and all the subspecialties.



Journal Club

Monthly, from September to May, Journal Clubs focus on an evidence-based review of the literature. 

Rounds

Weekly academic rounds are hospital-based. Sub-specialty rounds occur on Tuesday morning, alternating with generalist teaching sessions. Urogynecology Rounds are Thursdays noon hour, gynecologic oncology tumor board is Thursday am and Grand Rounds every Friday am.  These are currently all Zoom based. 



Exams

Twice-yearly, OSCE  and multiple choice exams (mimicking the Royal College exams) are held. In the final year chief residents have "practice oral" exams one to two times per week.  Our residents have the option to write SOGC (national Canadian exam) in December and the CREOG exam in January. We are currently debating on the value of the CREOG exam.



Evaluations

Twice yearly (as needed), individual meetings occur with the program director and assistant program director, for resident feedback. The residents are evaluated during each rotation with EPAs and after each rotation with ITERs. Resident progress is evaluated by their Academic Advisor and the Competency Committee at least twice per year. Residents are also expected to evaluate the rotations and the faculty. Regularly the Program Director hold Townhall meetings with the residents as a group.

 

 

Research

During the 5 year residency, residents are required to design and present at the minimum one scholarly project (which can be basic science, clinical, CQI or medical education) . There is also a research component for Surgical Foundations in the first year.  We have two research days each year (one is for our basic science affiliation with the department of pediatrics).

Interested residents may apply to the CIP (Clinical Investigator Program) at the University Alberta and take 2 years (funded) for research to complete a Masters. Several residents have completed this program in the last 5 years.

 


Training Sites

Resources

The residency program is based at the Lois Hole Hospital for Woman, at the Royal Hospital.  This is the tertiary referral center for Northern Alberta, parts of northern British Columbia and parts of the NWT and Nunavut. The University Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology is based here. (The majority of academic medical departments are based at the University of Alberta Hospital.) Three community hospitals have OBGYN residents continuously, the Grey Nuns, Misericordia and Sturgeon Hospital are full service hospitals with busy Obstetrical and Gynecologic Surgery services. The Gynecologic Oncologists operate at the Lois Hole Hospital and see outpatients at the Cross-Cancer Institute.

A strong simulation program includes live swine labs (university of Alberta site), a new ‘Lap Mentor’ laparoscopic simulator, and a state of the art obstetrics simulation (LHHW).


Additional Information

Teaching: 

Residents are involved with teaching of their junior collegues and medical students, with opportunities to be small group leaders in DL learning, examiners in OSCEs, etc.  A medical education selective to work on a project is an option that many residents took during COVID. Many of our residents gave presentation and then created OSCE stations on the topic, with the goal of achieving EPAs that are difficult to obtain.

Resident Retreat:

An annual resident retreat is organized each year (other than during COVID). All residents are excused from clinical duties and allowed to attend. The retreat addresses core competencies such as communication, education, and professionalism (CANMEDS), and advocacy.

Communications:

Regular communications occur by e-mail with the program director and assistant program director. In addition, a resident specific web-site is regularly updated. Web-site: Obstetrics & Gynecology (http://www.obgyn.med.ualberta.ca/).

Why Our Program?

  • Relaxed faculty and friendly environment
  • Culture amongst the residents that is supportive, not competitive.
  • Strong core surgical program, with confident and competent graduating residents.  We have only one Fellow (UROGYN) which creates space for the residents to be first assistant a the majority of the cases.
  • More than usual ‘elective’ time to explore future career options.

Why Edmonton?

  • Beautiful city with one of the continents largest river valley park system for skiing, running, walking  and cycling.
  • Reasonable cost of living.
  • Festivals all summer.
  • Sun sets at 11 pm in the summer.
  • Mountains accessible on weekends.