Crest

University of Alberta - Hematological Pathology - Edmonton

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

Last approved on September 27, 2021

Approximate Quota:

 2 

Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria


Dr. Bryony Walker
Dept of Lab Medicine & Pathology 
4B1. Walter C Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre 
8440-112 Street, NW
Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2B7
(780) 407 2012
(780) 407 2591
Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathology - Hematological Pathology
The Hematopathologist - University of Alberta

Program Contacts

Loretta Carroll
Program Assistant
loretta.carroll@albertahealthservices.ca
(780) 407 2012

Dr. Bryony Walker
Program Director
bryony@ualberta.ca
(780) 407 2591


Important Information

CASPer Examination

All applicants to the Hematological pathology Residency Program, at the University of Alberta are required to complete an online assessment (CASPer), to assist with our selection process.

CASPer is an online test which assesses non-cognitive skills and interpersonal characteristics that we believe are important for ensuring success as a learner and pediatrician, 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.

Please go to www.takeCASPer.com to sign up for the Canadian Postgraduate Medical Education test (CSP20201) 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; as there may be updates to the test schedule. The tests for the 2022 admission cycle is open for registration as of September 2021.

Please direct any inquiries on the test to support@takecasper.com. Alternatively, you may use the chat bubble in the bottom right hand corner of your screen on the takecasper.com website.

The CASPer test comprises 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 www.takeCASPer.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."

 

 

Competence by Design (CBD)

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.

CBD will use 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 will be broken down into stages, and each stage will have a series of entrustable professional activities (EPAs) and milestones based on required competencies. These EPAs and 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.

Programs will transition to CBD according to a nationally coordinated schedule. All programs implementing CBD 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 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.

The Hematopathology Program is implementing CBD as of July 2022.

For more information, please contact  cbd@royalcollege.ca


Return of Service

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


General Instructions

Program application language: English

Resident Selection Criteria

Each applicant’s file (curriculum vitae, academic transcript, medical student performance record, UME Dean’s letter, reference letters, and personal letter [as required in the “supporting documents” section]) will be reviewed and scored by the program director, CBD lead and the chief resident (or his/her designate) from the selection committee. The candidate evaluation tool targets personal attributes and skills compatible with successful residency training and career in hematological pathology, including clinical aptitude, clinical and academic performance, excellent oral and written communication skills, superb interpersonal, collaboration and teamwork skills, and demonstration of insight, personal and professional maturity, self-motivation and ability for proactive learning and graduated independence that will contribute positively to the training program and specialty.

Desirable candidates will have three strong reference letters of support (with at least one from a hematopathologist) that highlight the above attributes and suitability for the training program and specialty, in addition to a proven academic and clinical track record that make obvious the potential for success as a resident and future hematopathologist.

 

Final rank ordering of applicants will be made by the selection committee that includes all interviewers and the Program Director, and will take into account the application file, elective experience, and interview process. The latter will include the candidate meeting with the current program residents during lunch. In general, the interview process is expected to occupy a full day.

 

Elective Requirements:

Applicants must demonstrate knowledge, interest and aptitude for hematopathology by completing at least one elective in hematopathology, either locally or elsewhere.

 

On Site Elective:

While an on-site elective is not mandatory, residency training is a reciprocal commitment to success between the residents and faculty. Hence, the CaRMS selection committee does place significant emphasis on personal contact with the applicant. For this reason, applicants are strongly encouraged to pursue an elective in the Division of Hematopathology at the University of Alberta Hospital, the primary training site of the residency program

Other means to demonstrate insight and knowledge of hematopathology as a career and a specialty is acceptable if limitations of electives were due to COVID.


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

Successful candidates will have 3 strong reference letters of support (with at least one from a hematopathologist) that highlight the candidate's clinical aptitude and ability, personal attributes and their suitability for our training program and specialty. In addition, candidates should have a proven clinical and academic track record that makes obvious their trajectory for success as an adult learner, resident and future hematopathologist.

Additional documents
Required
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


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 7, 2022
The Hematological Pathology Program at the University of Alberta will interview during the week March 8-12th, 2022 during the national interview period.

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
The program assistant will send out invites to short-listed candidates for an online interview for the University of Alberta Hematopathology after reviewing the CaRMS applicant files.

The full interview schedule and activities will be provided to each interview candidates once the program has received responses from all interview candidates.


Selection Criteria

Each applicant’s file (curriculum vitae, academic transcript, medical student performance record, UME Dean’s letter, reference letters, and personal letter [as required in the “supporting documents” section]) will be reviewed and scored by the program director, CBD lead and the chief resident or RPC designate. Our candidate evaluation tool targets personal attributes and skills compatible with successful residency training and a career in hematological pathology, including:

  • clinical aptitude
  • clinical and academic performance
  • excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • superb interpersonal, collaboration and teamwork skills 
  • insight, personal and professional maturity
  • self-direction and regulation, reflective ability, plus effective and constructive utilization of feedback
  • ability to thrive in a proactive and supportive learning environment, and
  • ability to assume graduated independence and responsibility

These essential skills, behaviors and traits are key to contributing positively to the training program and specialty as a whole.

Desirable candidates will have 3 strong reference letters of support (with higher scoring given to one from a hematopathologist) that highlight the above attributes and their suitability for our training program and specialty, in addition to a proven clinical track record that makes obvious the potential for success as a resident and future hematopathologist.

Final rank ordering of applicants will be made by the residency selection committee that includes all interviewers and the Program Director, and will take into account the application file, experience, and interview process.  

Program goals

The overall mission of the Hematological Pathology residency training program at the University of Alberta is to develop competent consultants in all areas of hematopathology practice. Specifically, our goals are to develop competent and effective specialists in diagnostic morphology, hemostasis and coagulation, transfusion medicine, histocompatibility and immunology, lymphoma pathology, and laboratory management, whilst utilizing state-of-the-art ancillary techniques including flow cytometry, cytogenetics and molecular pathology.

Our graduating residents will enter the specialty equipped with the medical expertise and essential leadership qualities, communication and collaboration skills, critical analysis and clinical reasoning ability, and managerial prowess to contribute positively to multidisciplinary and patient-centered care and the future of hematopathology.  

Selection process goals

Our candidate evaluation tool targets personal attributes and skills compatible with successful residency training and a career in hematological pathology, including:

 - clinical aptitude and demonstration of ability

- clinical and academic performance

- excellent verbal and written communication skills

- superb interpersonal, collaboration and teamwork skills

- insight, personal and professional maturity

- self-direction and regulation, reflective ability, plus effective and constructive utilization of feedback

- ability to thrive in a proactive and supportive learning environment, and

- ability to assume graduated independence and responsibility

 These essential skills, behaviors and traits are key to contributing positively to the training program and specialty as a whole.

Desirable candidates will have 3 strong reference letters of support (with at least one from a hematopathologist) that highlight the above attributes and their suitability for our training program and specialty, in addition to a proven clinical and academic track record that makes obvious the potential for success as a resident and future hematopathologist.

File review process

Review team composition : Program director
CBD lead
Chief Hematopathology resident
1-2 Staff members from the RPC

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV A well-rounded adult learner who is personally and professionally ready for residency training.
Electives Elective experience in hematopathology is strongly advised. While an on site elective is not mandatory, residency training is a reciprocal commitment to success between the residents and faculty. Hence, the CaRMS selection committee does place emphasis on personal contact with the applicant Other means to demonstrate insight and knowledge of hematopathology as a career and a specialty is acceptable if limitations of electives were due to COVID.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Activities that demonstrate an ability to work well and adapt in a supportive team environment.
Leadership skills Role modeling, conflict resolution & effective response and adaption to the needs of team members.
MSPRs Academic track record in medical & undergraduate studies; narrative comments on evaluations.
Personal letters Knowledge of specialty & practice; insight & reflective ability; explanation of any gaps in training
Reference documents Preferably at least one reference letter from a hematopathologist that highlights attributes suitable for the specialty.
Research/Publications While research/scholarly work is noticed, this is not a large component of our review process.
Transcripts Overall academic excellence in medical and undergraduate studies to show readiness for residency.
Other file component(s) The selection subcommittee also reviews the candidate's Dean's Letter for content that highlights the personal and professional attributes for successful training in our residency program.

Elective criteria

We encourage applicants to have completed at least one elective in our discipline.
We prefer applicants to have done onsite electives.

Elective experience in hematopathology is strongly advised.

While an on site elective is not mandatory, residency training is a reciprocal commitment to success between the residents and faculty. Hence, the CaRMS selection committee does place emphasis on personal contact with the applicant. 

Other means to demonstrate insight and knowledge of hematopathology as a career and a specialty is acceptable if limitations of electives were due to COVID.

Interview process

Interview format :



We may accommodate requests to re-schedule interviews for applicants due to weather, technology failure, or unforeseen circumstances.

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Candidate examples from personal experience and responses to situational hypothetical scenarios.
Collegiality Candidate examples from personal experience and responses to situational hypothetical scenarios.
Communication skills Candidate ability to clearly, concisely and appropriately respond during interview process.
Health advocacy Ability to articulate their understanding and participation in health advocacy
Interest in the discipline Clearly articulate their interest and understanding of hematopathology as a discipline and career.
Interest in the program Clearly demonstrates knowledge of the UAH program and what aspects they consider important
Leadership skills Evidence from candidate responses to interview questions and situational hypothetical scenarios.
Professionalism Exhibits professional behavior throughout process and responses to hypothetical scenarios
Scholarly activities Experience, knowledge and skills pertinent to a career in Hematopathology

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 training program utilizing clinical materials amassed from tertiary, academic and community patients of all age groups, within a single academic health region;

- Exposure to an internationally accredited transfusion medicine service (which is also the largest TM service in N. America) that provides transfusion support and consultation to clinical teams and patients at multiple hospitals/training sites across the Edmonton Zone and North Zone; supporting clinical programs in anesthesiology, cardiac and other specialty surgery, adult and pediatric and neonatal intensive care, in addition to transplantation and oncology, etc.

- Integrated longitudinal training and on call exposure in hemostasis and coagulation, transfusion medicine and pediatric hematopathology throughout the 4 year residency program.

- Opportunity for laboratory consultation at academic and suburban and rural community facilities.

- Extensive clinical and basic research opportunities.

- Opportunities for teaching undergraduate, medical student and other postgraduate trainees.

- Joint academic halfday program and shared learning opportunities with residents in general pathology, as well as adult and pediatric hematology. Participates in the Distributed Academic half day with programs from across Canada


Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 4 years.

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

Goals of Training

The ultimate objective of our Hematological Pathology residency program is to produce consultants who excel in the diagnosis and laboratory monitoring of hematological disorders.  Our training program is founded on an integrated and immersive experience that ensures a broad exposure to benign and malignant diagnostic morphology, transfusion medicine and coagulation medicine throughout the course of residency training.  In addition, skilled detection of systemic complications from hematological disorders is expected.  Our program also strives to train laboratory medicine consultants whose knowledge of laboratory testing would assist clinical colleagues in patient diagnosis and management of complex medical problems. 

 CBD 4 stage Hematopathology training outline

Our Hematological Pathology program is arranged in accordance with Royal College regulations and specialty standards to train a physician in the practice of hematological laboratory medicine. 

1. TRANSITION TO DISCIPLINE (TTD)
The focus of this initial stage is the orientation of new trainees to the policies, protocols, resources, and facilities of the program and the institution(s), including laboratory safety and issues of privacy and confidentiality. During this stage, residents will participate in basic specimen handling and microscopy and demonstrate an understanding of clinicopathologic correlation.

2. FOUNDATIONS OF DISCIPLINE (F)
The focus of this stage is the development of the knowledge and skills required to integrate clinical and laboratory information in the evaluation of disease processes. This includes assessing patients and performing select clinical diagnostic procedures. It also includes assessing laboratory samples and generating reports for routine diagnostic investigations, as well as advising on routine requests for blood components.

3. CORE OF DISCIPLINE (C)
In this stage, residents build on the skills and knowledge of the previous stages to provide laboratory clinical consultations and manage diagnostic and ancillary testing for cases, including generating complete and diagnostically accurate reports. Trainees at this stage will take on additional responsibility for after-hours coverage, quality management, presentations at multidisciplinary conferences, and scholarly work.

4. TRANSITION TO PRACTICE (TTP)
The focus of this stage is the consolidation of skills required to lead daily operations of the laboratory and independently manage a full caseload across the breadth of hematological pathology practice. Residents will also be responsible for the supervision of junior learners and sharing expertise in hematological pathology at multidisciplinary meetings.

Throughout the program, the trainee's skills in critical analysis of literature and information, formulation of relevant research questions, teaching competency and speaking proficiency will be enhanced through regular biannual presentations at joint division and department rounds. Initial experience with laboratory information systems, laboratory accreditation, and laboratory management will also be acquired.

Our annual residency in-training examinations further prepare the resident for success at the Royal College Licensing examinations.

The University of Alberta Hematopathology Residency Program is a comprehensive academic and community based program with enthusiastic and dedicated faculty, excellent facilities, materials and resources.

 

Research/Scholarly Concentration

There is ample opportunity and encouragement either to take part in ongoing research/scholarly work within the division or to set up a project with the help and guidance of faculty members.  The level of involvement will depend on the interest of individual trainees.  Other graduates have used this time to pursue additional training in medical education, laboratory management, and informatics in lieu of clinical and basic science research.

 


Training Sites

University of Alberta Hospital/Stollery Children's Hospital

Cross Cancer Institute 

Royal Alexandra Hospital

Misericordia Hospital

Grey Nuns Hospital

DynaLife Diagnostics

Canadian Blood Services

Calgary Foothills Hospital/Tom Baker Cancer Center (Calgary AB)

Suburban and rural hospital consultations and laboratory site visits for residents


Additional Information

Current residents in the program: 5

 

Dr. Danielle Anderson, PGY2, Chief Resident

dlanders@ualberta.ca

 

Please direct all questions to either Dr. Danielle Anderson or Ms. Loretta Carroll (Program Coordinator). 

 

 

 


FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 Hematological Pathology

 Specialty/Field Questions

 

  1. A) What are some strengths about your specialty? What draws and keeps people in your specialty?

Hematological Pathology is a specialty within laboratory medicine that integrates clinical consultation and diagnosis with quality laboratory management and practice. We provide consultations to hematology, oncology, internal medicine, anesthesiology, critical care, surgery, and organ/tissue transplant specialists in the diagnosis and investigation of hematological disorders, coagulation disorders (bleeding and thrombosis), transfusion medicine and blood product utilization, histocompatibility/immunology, and molecular pathology.  In other words, we don’t just look at glass slides under the microscope!  We enjoy having a rich variety of clinical encounters with other clinicians and specialists.  The resulting breadth and depth of hematopathology practice is the most attractive and exciting aspect of our daily work.  

  1. B) What are some common complaints your specialty?

There are not enough of us, so we all have a lot to do!  The silver lining though is that there are positions available across the country for graduating residents.

Alumni from the Edmonton program have worked/are working in Victoria, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa, and Halifax!  Some have even pursued additional fellowship training in the U.S. before beginning their staff positions.  Instead of having traditional contact with patients through histories and physical exams in the hospital or outpatient clinics, we encounter them through bone marrow biopsies, under the microscope during blood film and bone marrow reporting, and discussions at morphology, coagulation and transfusion medicine rounds.  Since we do not see or admit patients in the traditional sense, this also means we do not have to worry about things like lack of clinic or operating room time or space, or the lack of hospital beds to admit patients, etc.

 

2. Why did you choose your specialty?

Hematological Pathology is one of the most clinically focused of the lab medicine specialties! In this evolving specialty, we enjoy the daily variety (and surprises) of our in-person or on-the-phone consultations with clinicians and lab technologists, the challenge and visual beauty of diagnostic morphology, the intellectual rewards and problem-solving detective work in coagulation and transfusion medicine, and integrating and applying cutting edge techniques such as flow cytometry, cytogenetics and molecular pathology to arrive at the most appropriate diagnosis and management plan for clinicians and patients.  

 

3. What types of clinical cases do you commonly see?

On a typical day we review peripheral blood, bone marrow, lymph nodes and other tissue samples from patients. The range of diagnoses that we make extends from the benign (e.g. iron deficiency or  hemoglobinopathy) to the malignant (i.e. leukemia and lymphoma).  The patients we encounter span the entire age spectrum and from all clinical services.

We frequently discuss transfusion medicine issues with physicians from all specialties to recommend the appropriate investigations, blood products or advice about the dose or duration of therapy. We are also involved in the investigation and management of transfusion related adverse events.

In the course of the day we may also consult with a hematologist, internist, anesthesiologist, intensivist or surgeon to help them decide on the appropriate coagulation tests to help diagnose and appropriately manage a bleeding, thrombosing, or pre-operative patient, and help the clinical team interpret abnormal test results.

Even though we do not routinely talk to patients or their families, we converse regularly with our team of technologists, clinical colleagues, other pathologists, residents, and students while we oversee the proper daily function and operations in the blood bank and hematology laboratory.

4. Briefly describe a typical day.

Hematological Pathology, like other areas of medicine, is not a 9 to 5 job. Most days we start work around 8 or 9 am. We perform or assist residents to procure bone marrow biopsies in the morning, then we start reviewing peripheral smears and bone marrows. Throughout the day, we will also be reviewing and signing out coagulation test results and advising clinicians, technologists, or other pathologists in person or on the phone. We would also interpret molecular tests and antibody and transfusion reaction investigations from the blood bank. We almost always have hematopathology or general pathology residents, hematology fellows, or medical students working with us, so in the afternoons we will gather at the microscope to review and sign out cases together.

Every day is a little different and the variety and surprises are what keep things interesting and exciting in this field. When we are “on the take” for new bone marrow cases, we would often go home after 6 pm, particularly if the service is very busy.

All of us have responsibilities outside of signing out cases depending on our individual portfolios in laboratory oversight administration, research or education, or guiding laboratory policy and practice locally and nationally. These responsibilities keep us busy when we are not “on the take” for new cases.

5. A) What are the varieties of lifestyles within your field?

Options are academic practice or community-based hospital practice or private laboratory practice. There are a number of hematopathologists in Edmonton who work part time and the majority have families and children.  Some spend part of their time doing clinical/translational research.  Others work with Canadian Blood Services to oversee the blood collection, processing and testing of donors. Some hematopathologists confine their practice to one or more areas of hematopathology or have a specialty interest in a specific area.

Some examples of affiliated subspecialties in which hematopathologists might work include coagulation, flow cytometry, molecular pathology, histocompatibility/immunology, and transfusion medicine. Lymphoma pathology, pathology informatics, and medical education are also subspecialty areas where hematopathologists are active.

5. B) Specifically, how able is your specialty to accommodate family life?

The potential for part time work, the relatively regular hours and the opportunity to cover on-call duties from home make hematopathology practice ideal for integrating and balancing our professional, family and personal lives.

5. C) Range of incomes?

The payment structure varies considerably as does the range of income depending on the province. Some hematopathologists are on salary – paid by a hospital or health region.  In some provinces (not including Alberta), there is a fee schedule similar to the schedule of medical benefits used in clinical practice but involving lab testing procedures.  Hematopathologists in private practice in these provinces may bill “fee for service” and their income will depend on the volume and complexity of lab testing performed.  Some work under a contract for services wherein they are paid by a hospital, health authority or government agency for providing a range of laboratory consulting services.

5. D) Generally across the country, annual income would vary from a low of ~$200,000 to a high of about $400,000 per year for full time work. On call payment and consulting fees or honoraria for teaching and other services may also be paid in some jurisdictions.

6. How do you see your discipline changing over the next decade?

Laboratory hematology practice, like medical practice in general, is becoming more complex and subspecialized so hematopathologists will need to become increasingly conversant in new diagnostic techniques like molecular pathology and flow cytometric immunophenotyping to complement the traditional morphologic diagnostic approach. Emerging new technologies have led to increased demand for hematopathologist oversight to ensure quality diagnosis and cost-effective practice that integrates a multimodality approach as the specialty moves towards patient centred diagnosis and precision treatment. We are also increasingly involved with information technology and management.  We need future hematopathologists who can seamlessly combine the scientific know how of the specialty with the interpersonal, communication, teamwork and leadership skills inherent for success and productivity in this field to forge the way.

The increasing quality and decreasing cost of digital imaging techniques are facilitating greater consolidation of expertise in large centers where hematopathologists may be able to provide diagnostic morphologic consultations for distant sites based on digital slide images.

7. A) What are you looking for specifically in an impressive candidate?

  • elective experience in hematopathology (preferably local)
  • professional and personal maturity
  • aptitude for the specialty by demonstrating the ability to learn, understand and apply new knowledge to clinical patient care quickly
  • insight and reflective practice, with the ability to adapt to and effectively implement constructive feedback
  • excellent oral and written communication skills
  • superb interpersonal, collaboration and teamwork skills
  • an adult learner who is self-motivated and directed for proactive learning; showing initiative to learn and contribute to the program and specialty

 7. B) What can a potential candidate do now in order to be an appealing applicant to your program?

  • Do electives in our and/or other hematopathology programs!
  • have excellent reference letters from pathologists (including at least one hematopathologist) to highlight the above attributes

 

8. What is your residency program’s orientation and focus? 

Our focus is to train hematopathologists with excellent diagnostic, communication and collaboration skills in all aspects of Hematopathology so that they become successful and productive specialists in a rapidly evolving field.

9. What is the availability of experiences in subspecialty areas during training?

Virtually all areas of subspecialty lab medicine are well established locally and are available for resident rotations. Many of our residents have also chosen to do electives at other institutions as a part of their subspecialty exposure and this is certainly encouraged and supported by the program.

10. Are there sufficient elective opportunities during training to explore your special interests? 

Yes! Year 3 of the program is very flexible with a wide array of optional opportunities for immersion.  Some of our residents undertake basic research projects during this time, others use this year to consolidate their experience in areas of special interest and still others have pursued further training in education and leadership. The U of A's PGME Policy does not limit resident out-of-province elective time during the course of the 4-year training program, so our residents have been able to experience hematopathology in Vancouver, Regina, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax!  U.S. and international options are also available, if desired.

11. What is the on-call schedule during each year of residency?

During the rotations spent in the laboratory the call schedule is 1 in 3 home call as per PARA guidelines; the home call is taken for up to 7 days (or 8 days if including a long weekend) at a time. Nowadays, many residents and staff choose to do Monday to Thursday call during one week, then on another week do Friday to Sunday call.  Call is supervised at all times by an attending hematopathologist, who is always available for discussion and consultation on all cases. Residents on their 6 month scholarly concentration/research block are also on the call schedule.

During clinical rotations, on-call responsibilities would depend on the particular clinical service – i.e. during the internal medicine and adult clinical hematology rotations the hemepath resident would be scheduled on call with their peers in internal medicine at a similar stage of training.

There is no on call requirement for the Medical Oncology or Pediatric Hematology/Oncology rotations or for the Calgary BMT rotation.

12. What distinguishes the U of A program from other programs?

Our program has been around for a long time and all our Canadian Medical Graduates have passed their Royal College Examinations on the first attempt. We now have a community of practice across Canada and abroad. We share resources and teachers with other lab medicine and pathology programs as well as adult and pediatric hematology.  We are lucky to contribute to the close collaborative relationship with our colleagues in clinical hematology through our weekly joint hematology rounds and our joint academic half day programs on Tuesday afternoons.

Our affiliation with Alberta Health Services and DynaLife Diagnostics Laboratory in the region gives us access to clinical programs in virtually all spheres of medicine and to all of the affiliated teaching hospitals in the region. Our laboratories are internationally accredited and support an enormous volume of diagnostic testing – both routine and esoteric.

Like all residency programs at the U of A, our Hematological Pathology underwent a regular external review by the Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada in November 2017.  Our fully Accredited Program was cited for the following strengths:

  1. Dedicated, supportive and well-respected program director responsive to resident concerns.
  2. Highly enthusiastic and dedicated teaching staff committed to residency education.
  3. Well-organized joint academic halfday program provides opportunity for inter-professional communication and collaboration.

Finally, our small program (generally one - two residents per year) allows for a close working relationship between residents and faculty, which fosters a climate of collaborative learning. There are extensive opportunities for resident involvement in research and in teaching.

 

13. A) Who can we contact for more information or to set up electives?

 Loretta Carroll, Program Coordinator

loretta.carroll@ahs.ca

Loretta.Carroll@albertaprecisionlabs.ca

780 407-2012

 

The following elective opportunities are available for medical students:

  • years 1 & 2 students are offered observerships
  • year 3 students are offered a 1 week elective
  • year 4 students are offered a 2 week elective

  B)Specifically, is there a list of residents whom we can call or email?

     Dr. Danielle Anderson (PGY2, Chief Resident)

     dlanders@ualberta.ca

14. How competitive is it to get in, and then to succeed in your field?

We have up to 2 funded CMG positions through the CaRMS match each year. Occasionally we have been successful at matching up to 2 residents in one year of the program. We generally have between 4 – 8 CaRMS applicants each cycle.

Please refer to the CaRMS website at www.carms.ca for the most up to date information.

Additional program information is available at https://www.ualberta.ca/laboratory-medicine-and-pathology/programs/postgraduate-medical-education---residency-programs/hematological-pathology

15. A) Is there active and/or required research in your residency program?

There are a number of clinical and basic researchers within the Department of Lab Med and Pathology. The department also has a very active program in graduate studies with many faculty supervisors. These basic researchers are important collaborators and research supervisors for our residents. A number of courses offered through the Graduate Studies program are also available for interested residents.

Departmental support is available to facilitate residents in attending and/or presenting at meetings.

The annual Lab Medicine and Pathology Department wide education and research day (DRIvE) in April highlights the clinical, educational, and research activities of all staff, residents, and graduate students in Lab Medicine. The two-day program celebrates the scope and extent of activities within the department.

A scholarly/research project is required during the course of residency training and sufficient time is available to fulfill the project work.

 16. B) What role does research play in your career?

Lab Medicine practice, by its nature, involves research related to new test development and validation. Involvement in these types of research endeavors is a usual part of laboratory medicine practice. In addition, extensive opportunities for clinical and outcomes research related to particular diagnostic tests, blood products or blood product manipulations are available. Although I (as the program director) am not heavily involved in research ventures, many of my colleagues collaborate with clinical or lab medicine colleagues and with residents and students in projects, which have resulted in many local and international presentations and publications.

 17. What local, national or international conferences would be of benefit to candidates interested in your residency program?

There are many conferences that are specific to one field of practice – such as the AABB meeting which is an international transfusion medicine meeting, held annually in October – or the American Society of Hematology Meeting, held in the United States in December of each year. Other conferences include International Society for Laboratory Hematology (ISLH), International Society on Thrombosis and Hemostasis (ISTH), and many others.

Canadian meetings that may be of interest to Medical Students interested in a career in any area of Lab medicine and Pathology include the Canadian Association of Pathology annual meeting – held in a different Canadian city each year – usually in June or July; or the Canadian Society of Transfusion Medicine (CSTM) meeting – also held in various Canadian cities – usually in April or May.