University of Calgary - Public Health and Preventive Medicine including Family Medicine - Calgary

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

Last approved on January 29, 2022

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Jason Cabaj
Community Health Sciences 
3rd Floor, TRW Building 
3280 Hospital Drive NW
Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4Z6

Program Contacts

Marlene Irving
Program Coordinator

Important Information

The University of Calgary Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHPM) Program was fully accredited in 2015, completed mid-cycle internal accreditation review in 2020 and is scheduled for external review in fall 2022.   

See the University of Calgary Family Medicine CaRMS program description for additional information related to the Family Medicine program.

General Instructions

Program application language: English

There are two University of Calgary Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHPM) CMG positions in this year's CaRMS match, both of which include the opportunity for joint training in Family Medicine.

Note: If your transcript indicates academic difficulties, please address this in your personal letter.

Supporting Documentation

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.
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)
Language proficiency
Optional - will be reviewed
Submit one of the following documents to verify your language proficiency:
• Occupational English Test (OET) - Medicine
• Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) - General

IELTS, OET or CELPIP is required by CPSA for candidates from medical schools in Quebec except for candidates from McGill and for IMG candidates.  Please check CPSA for ELP updates.

Reference documents
Number requested: 3

Three reference letters are required. Letters may be from referees of the candidate’s choice. The reference letters should be as descriptive and objective as possible. It is essential that the referee describes the extent of their contact with the applicant, and candidly speak to the professional attributes of the applicant.

Additional documents
Medical School Transcript 

Medical School transcript must be sent directly to CaRMS from your University Registrar.

If your transcript notes poor academic standing, course failure(s), leave(s) of absence, or breech of professionalism, this must be addressed in your personal letter under the title “Transcript Addendum”. This addendum will not count towards your word limit for your Personal Letter. Failure to submit an addendum if the above criteria apply will result in the application not being considered.

Medical Student Performance Record 

MSPR (Dean's Letter) must be sent directly to CaRMS from the office of your Undergraduate Dean of Medical Education (or equivalent).

If your transcript indicates poor academic standing, course failure(s), leave(s) of absence, or breech of professionalism, this must be addressed in your personal letter under the title “MSPR Addendum”. This addendum will not count towards your word limit for your Personal Letter. Failure to submit an addendum if the above criteria apply will result in the application not being considered.

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

A personal letter (750 words) is required. The letter should describe your interest in and suitability for a career in Public Health and Preventive Medicine, and indicate why the University of Calgary program would be a good fit for you.

Your personal letter must include the following items:

  • Why are you choosing public health as a career? 
  • What experiences (clinical, leadership, volunteering) will help us understand why you are suitable for PHPM?
  • Why Calgary? Please elaborate on your interest in our program and any connections to the city/province.
  • If your transcript or MSPR indicates any poor academic standing, course failure(s), leave(s) of absence, or breeches of professionalism, this must be addressed in an addendum.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Please provide an up to date curriculum vitae.

Optional - will be reviewed
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Postgraduate Medical Training Certificate 

Document must be notarized/certified



  • March 15, 2022
  • March 16, 2022
Interviews will take place on Tuesday March 15th and Wednesday March 16th, 2022.



Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Short-listed candidates will be offered a 45-minute semi-structured interview with the PHPM admissions committee. 

All 2022 R-1 match interviews will be in a virtual format, as per the decision of the AFMC Resident Matching Committee (ARMC).


Selection Criteria



Program goals

The goal of the University of Calgary PHPM program is to graduate outstanding Public Health and Preventive Medicine specialist physicians who lead, collaborate, and innovate to maintain and improve the health and well-being of patients and populations.

The program's mission is to provide foundational clinical, academic, and public health learning and training opportunities to develop competence in all areas of PHPM practice, and the flexibility to pursue specialized experiences and skills based on interests and desired career paths.

Selection process goals

Applicants will be assessed on their suitability for a career in public health and potential to be an outstanding PHPM specialist. We are interested in compassionate, self-directed individuals with strong leadership potential, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, and the demonstrated ability to work in teams. Experience in leadership roles, involvement in the community, and research productivity are assets.

File review process

Review team composition : Applications are reviewed by members of the PHPM admissions committee, including the Program Director, faculty members, and resident representative(s).

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 0 - 50

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Leadership, volunteer, and research & interests related to public health
Electives Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular Sports, music, working, volunteering, or other relevant activities related to public health
Leadership skills Experience and activities with relevance to PHPM, such as committee/board experience and involvement in community
MSPRs Academic standing, interpersonal skills and teamwork, issues such as course failures, leaves of absence, or breeches of professionalism
Personal letters Readiness and motivation for PHPM career
Reference documents Professionalism, leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills
Research/Publications Academic activity and productivity
Transcripts Academic performance with emphasis on courses with relevance to public health sciences (e.g. biostatistics)

Elective criteria

Elective experiences were severely limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will not be considering electives in file review to ensure file review is fair and equitable for all candidates.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Ability to work in multidisciplinary teams
Collegiality Ability to work well with peers and other professionals individually and on teams
Communication skills Spoken English language skills
Health advocacy Systems thinking and commitment to health equity
Interest in the discipline Understanding of the field and potential career paths
Interest in the program Assessment of fit between candidate and program
Leadership skills Demonstrated leadership in various settings
Professionalism Ability to represent themselves in a professional and respectful 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

Public Health and Preventive Medicine is the medical specialty concerned with the health of populations. PHPM specialists assess population health and develop, implement, and evaluate health protection and promotion strategies to prevent disease and injury.

The primary mission of our program is to ensure that by the end of training each resident has the generalist competencies required of all Canadian public health practitioners. Clinical and public health training is integrated to maximize exposure to both specialties. Additionally, the program assists each resident in attaining the specialized competencies specific to their chosen career path. This latter objective is met by offering a flexible and customizable training program. Career paths within the context of University of Calgary PHPM Residency Program are: 

  • Executive Manager/Consultant (e.g. Medical Officer of Health, Senior Executive, Consultant)   
  • Researcher (e.g. University, Non-Governmental Organization, Public Health Institute/Agency)
  • Public Health Clinician (e.g. Primary Care, Addictions Medicine, Sexual Health, Travel Medicine)

 For Family Medicine highlights, please see the University of Calgary Family Medicine CaRMS program description page

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.

Training Schedule

PGY1 to PGY 3

Clinical training for the combined PHPM and Family Medicine curriculum will be completed in the Department of Family Medicine (Calgary Program), providing the opportunity to achieve certification in Family Medicine (CCFP). Clinical competencies within the Family Medicine Program relevant to PHPM will be highlighted, and training sites/rotations will be prioritized to maximize opportunities to work with vulnerable and underserved populations.

For details related to clinical training, please see the Family Medicine website.

The Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS) is the academic home for the PHPM program. To complete the required one year of academic course work in the core public health sciences, a customized curriculum will be developed for the successful applicant in which clinical training and academic work will be completed longitudinally from PGY-1 to PGY-3. Interested residents may also enroll in a graduate degree program. More information on degree options can be found on the CHS website.

Note: Applicants with prior graduate training may apply to the Royal College for credit to reduce the length of PHPM training by up to one year.

PGY4 & PGY 5 

Eighteen (18) months of required core field rotations, providing the opportunity to achieve generalist PHPM competencies, will be completed in PGY4 and PGY5. In PGY4, most residents will compete communicable disease control, environmental health, surveillance and health assessment, quality improvement, health promotion, and cancer screening/prevention rotations in Calgary. Select core rotations may be completed at external training sites (subject to Program Director approval).

In the final year of training residents will complete the last six months of required field rotations through (a) senior MOH rotation(s), which offers opportunities to attain PHPM competencies not already achieved, and to function more independently in assuming responsibilities of a Medical Officer of Health. Six months of elective time provides an opportunity for local, provincial, and international electives, or to carry out research project/complete graduate degree requirements, and to prepare for the Royal College examination.

Training Sites

PHPM residents at the University of Calgary have access to a diverse range of clinical, academic, and field training sites, including: 

  • University of Calgary Family Medicine program
  • University of Calgary: Department of Community Health Sciences
  • Alberta Health Services: Calgary Zone, Provincial Population and Public Health, Rural Zones 
  • Alberta Health Services: STI, TB, Travel Health, Addictions clinics
  • Health Canada: First Nations and Inuit Health Branch
  • Provincial Laboratory of Public Health
  • Alberta Health (Edmonton)
  • Northwest Territories Health and Social Services

Most residents should anticipate spending at least 1-3 months in rural/remote sites where commuting is not feasible. Full funding for accommodation during mandatory rotations is obtained from the University of Calgary's Distributed Learning and Rural Initiatives.

For Family Medicine training sites, please see the University of Calgary Family Medicine CaRMS program description page.

Additional Information

Residents have dedicated office space in the Department of Community Health Sciences, and full access to the electronic and other resources through both the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services. The University of Calgary PHPM Program maintains its own SharePoint web learning platform to facilitate a group-learning model that is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. 

Current certification in BLS and ACLS is a prerequisite and must be current as of July 1, 2022. Costs for successful completion of BLS, ACLS, are reimbursed if taken within 90 days of starting residency. Any other lifesaving courses required for mandatory rotations (e.g. ALARM and NRP) will also be eligible for reimbursement. CMPA & CPSA memberships are mandatory and must be in place before beginning residency.


1. Does your Program give preference to graduates of UofC?

No, we do not give preference to students who are graduates of the University of Calgary.

2. If I apply to both the Calgary PHPM (including FM) program and the Calgary Family Medicine Program do I need to submit personal letters and reference letters to each program? 

Yes, each application requires a personal letter and reference letters. 

3. How will I be notified if I am chosen for an interview? 

All chosen applicants will be notified by e-mail.

4. Can I delay my Residency training start date if I am matched to the Program?

No, residency training starts July 1 and all residents are expected to start on this date and attend the orientation events that occur in the week prior to this start date.

5. Is there a tuition fee for Residency?

Yes, the University of Calgary calculates tuition based on a pro-rated fee for residency which is approximately $500 for each of the Fall and Winter semesters. There is also a PGME $250 administration fee that is due July 1, 2022. For PHPM residents not enrolled in a graduate degree program, tuition fees associated with approved CHS courses are waived.

6. Is a research project required during Residency?

Yes, all residents complete a research or quality improvement project during both Family Medicine and PHPM training. Support for project development, design, and ethics submission is provided by the programs.

7. What academic degrees are offered?

The Department of Community Health Sciences offered thesis-based graduate degrees with specialization in Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Population/Public Health, Health Services Research, Health Economics, and Medical Education.

8. How will competency-based practices be applied to residency education?

To contribute to the success of Canadian physicians and the delivery of high-quality patient care, 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 and empowering learners to more fully engage in their education process.

The Royal College has grouped disciplines into seven cohort groups, each of which will adopt CBD at different times. PHPM (cohort 6) began RCPSC supported preparation for CBD in 2019. Completion of this process and PHPM CBD launch has been delayed due to COVID-19.

Summary of changes

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