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Dalhousie University - Neurology - Halifax

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

Last approved on December 07, 2021

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:

 3 

Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria


Dr. Gord Gubitz
Division of Neurology 
Room 3819, Halifax Infirmary  
1796 Summer Street
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3A7
(902) 473-6501
Dalhousie University Division of Neurology

Program Contacts

Dr. Gord Gubitz
Program Director
ggubitz@dal.ca
(902) 473-6330

Ashley Doucette
Program Coordinator
ashley.doucette@nshealth.ca
902-473-6501


Important Information

Our program values the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as a goal in the selection process.

To help inform and advance EDI in our selection process we are pleased to offer the option to submit the voluntary CaRMS Self Identification Questionnaire as part of an approved pilot offered in conjunction with CaRMS.

Please see 'Supporting documents' and 'Selection criteria' sections below for further information.


General Instructions

Program application language: English


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.
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)

 

You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident at the time of application.

Reference documents
Required
Number requested: 3

Three letters of reference are required. Additional references will NOT be accepted. References are due by the CaRMS reference letter deadline.

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

A personal letter must be submitted. Maximum word count of 750.

Custom Résumé / CV 

An up-to-date CV must be submitted.

Optional - will be reviewed
CaRMS self-identification questionnaire 

We invite candidates who have completed the voluntary CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire as part of their application to submit their responses to our program. This is a voluntary option for anyone who wishes to confidentially share their responses with us. All information received will be maintained as part of the application, which is handled with complete confidentiality. Any responses received will be used only to support our programs and Dalhousie’s equity, diversity, and inclusion goals.

Candidates are not required to submit the CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire, but for those that do feel comfortable doing so the information received would only be used to advantage those who would contribute to the diversity of our community.

Applicants have two options:

Option 1: Upload a copy of the completed CaRMS self-identification questionnaire sent via e-mail.

Option 2: Download the PDF version of the CaRMS self-identification questionnaire here:

https://www.carms.ca/pdfs/CaRMS-self-identification-questionnaire.pdf

Once completed, upload and assign the completed questionnaire to our program.


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 9, 2022
  • March 10, 2022
  • March 11, 2022
Interviews will be held virtually on March 9th, 10th, and 11th,  2022

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
It is not possible for our Program to offer interviews to all applicants. 

All applications are initially reviewed by the Progam Director and the Competence Committee Chair, who create a short-list of applicants who will be invited to an interview, as well as a wait list.

The program will contact applicants it has short-listed for interviews by email.

If an applicant chooses not to accept an interview, an applicant from the wait list may be offered an interview.

Virtual interviews will be held on three separate dates on March 9, 10, and 11 2022.  A specific date will be selected for each candidate for an interview and the schedule of interviews will be determined on a candidate by candidate basis.  Each applicant will participate in three separate 15-20 minute interviews, one with the Program Director, one with two current residents, and one with two members of the Neurology faculty.


Selection Criteria

We select well-rounded, top-quality candidates based on academic excellence, clinical skills, and interpersonal skills, and other attributes such as problem solving, scholarly work, contibutions to their community, and extracurricular activities.

Our program values the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and it remains a program goal in the selection process.

Program goals

The Dalhousie University Adult Neurology Resident Training Program aims to train excellent clinical neurologists who will be able to independently diagnose and manage patients with a wide variety of neurological diagnoses. 

Our trainees will exemplify all of the CanMEDS roles, and will become life-long learners who actively contribute to the betterment of society through their subsequent work in clinical neurology, education, and scholarly work.

Selection process goals

The successful applicant to the Dalhousie University Adult Neurology Resident Training Program will:

  1. Have a passion for neurology, and a desire to learn as much as they can, whenever they can.
  2. Be able to think critically, work with increasing amounts of independence, and offer solutions to challenges and problems.
  3. Demonstrate emotional intelligence, strong interpersonal skills, and a deep interest in providing the best possible care for patients and their families.
  4. Work well with others, and demonstrate an understanding of and respect for the members of interdisciplinary health care teams.
  5. Challenge themselves to always do better.

Dalhousie is committed to fostering a collegial culture grounded in diversity and inclusiveness. The university encourages applications from Indigenous persons, persons with a disability, racialized persons, women, persons of a minority sexual orientation and/or gender identity, and all candidates who would contribute to the diversity of our community.

Candidates are not required to submit the CaRMS Self Identification questionnaire, but for those that do feel comfortable doing so the information received would only be used to advantage those who would contribute to the diversity of our community.

Any self-identification questionnaires received will be reviewed as part of our file review process and used as an aid for file reviewers in selecting a diverse group of candidates for interviews. Information received may also be used by the program to adjust final rankings, at the discretion of the selection committee, to address issues of program priority and diversity.

File review process

Review team composition : The Dalhousie University Adult Neurology Resident Training Program review team is comprised of the Program Director, two Neurology Residents, and two Neurology Faculty Members.

Average number of applications received by our program in the last five years : 51 - 200
The Dalhousie University Adult Neurology Training Program receives between 40 to 60 applications per year. This number has grown over the past three years.

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 76 - 100 %
Time constraints related to our interview process limits the number of interviews to approximately 40 per year.

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Academic ability, communication skills, time management.
Electives Interest in neurology and related areas, ability to live and learn in new and different environments.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Work-life balance; interest in life-long learning.
Leadership skills Ability to work with others, communication skills, problem solving ability
MSPRs Academic ability
Personal letters Communication skills, interest in neurology, interest in our program
Reference documents Objective assessment of strengths and areas for improvement, academic ability, ability to work with others
Research/Publications Academic ability, areas of interest, career path
Transcripts Academic ability

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.

We recognize that it can be difficult to arrange electives in Neurology at multiple different universities.  While we would encourage applicants to complete an elective with us if at all possible, this is not a requirement of our program.

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 Ability to work effectively with colleagues and other health care team members.
Collegiality Polite; respectful of the views and opinions of others.
Communication skills Neurology is a discipline with a need for excellent communication skills.
Health advocacy Appropriately advocates personal and public health
Interest in the discipline An obvious passion for neurology is essential.
Interest in the program Demonstrate that they are the sort of person who could live and work with us for the next five years
Leadership skills Ability to function as a (chief) resident, and when leading a care team.
Professionalism Honesty and integrity.
Scholarly activities Work already completed or in progress – interest in clinical, educational or research scholarship.
Other interview component(s) Interviewees spend 15-20 minutes each with the Program Director, two Faculty members, and two Neurology Residents currently in the Training Program.

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

The Dalhousie University Adult Neurology Training Program is the only program in the Maritimes.  As such, the Program has the advantage of a wide variety of patients with different neurological illnesses.  Our training program is based at the Halifax Infirmary Hospital in downtown Halifax. Our Faculty have expertise the vast majority of neurological subspecialty areas; we are the local and regional referral center for complex neurological disorders.  The Halifax Infirmary is the home of many of related disciplines that supplement and enhance the overall training experience (neurosurgical center, cardiac center, trauma center, EVT center for stroke).  


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.

Curriculum

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) accepts neurology trainees directly from Medical School into the first of the (approximately) five years of training required for RCPSC certification in Adult Neurology.

The Adult Neurology Residency Program Committee (RPC) is responsible for all aspects of training in neurology at Dalhousie University. The RPC is chaired by the Program Director.  Our RPC supports and follows all of the policies and procedures of the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Postgraduate Medical Education; we are also fully complaint with the Maritime Resident Doctors Collective Agreement.

The RPC provides our residents with in-depth experiences in all aspects of adult neurology with a focus on both inpatient and outpatient care.  Our training experiences adhere to the principle of graded responsibility.

Most clinical rotations take place at Halifax-based hospitals. It is expected that Residents will complete a portion of their community-based training at affiliated centers in Sydney Nova Scotia, or in New Brunswick or Prince Edward Island.

The goals and objectives of our program follow the RCPSC Competency Based Medical Education (CBME) model, with an emphasis on the CanMEDS roles.  Neurology training at Dalhousie consists of four standardized stages:

  1. Transition to the Discipline of Neurology
  2. Foundations of Neurology
  3. Core Training in Neurology
  4. Transition to Independent Practice

Each of the four CBME stages takes place over a variable number of four-week ‘blocks’; 13 blocks roughly correspond to an academic year.  The term post-graduate year (PGY) is used to describe a resident’s academic year of training for the purposes of salary and other administrative requirements. 

Within each CBME stage, residents acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to complete a number of specific, RCPSC defined Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs).  EPAs are the ‘building blocks’ necessary to become a competent neurologist in Canada. 

Over the course of their training, the EPAs in each stage are evaluated on a regular basis by the RPC Competence Committee, which is responsible for promoting residents from one stage of training to the next.  The Competence Committee evaluates resident performance in a variety of ways (including EPAs), and is ultimately responsible for certifying that a Resident meets the necessary requirements to take the two components (written and practical) of the RCPSC qualifying examination in Adult Neurology.

  • The Transition to Discipline stage takes place at the beginning of the PGY-1 year, and takes place over three blocks. The purpose of this stage is to provide an orientation to the Neurology residency program, including the hospital environment, with a focus on the inpatient neurology unit. In this stage, residents focus on assessing, presenting, and documenting basic neurological examinations, formulating a differential diagnosis, and suggesting investigations.  

Our TTD residents also take part in a ‘Neurology Bootcamp’ which provides more detailed training around a variety of specific topics for new residents. 

  • The Foundations stage takes place during the remaining 10 blocks of the PGY1 year. In this stage, residents assess and provide initial management for patients with acute neurological emergencies and common neurological presentations. They learn to recognize and localize abnormal clinical findings and identify abnormal findings on neuroimaging. They learn to perform lumbar punctures.
  • The Core stage takes place in the PGY2 - PGY4 years. In this stage, residents build on foundational skills and their approach to assessing and managing patients with acute and chronic neurological presentations in cases with greater complexity. They perform special neurological examination techniques and procedures and request and interpret reports of advanced investigations. They lead patient care teams and communicate with patients and families in complicated situations. This stage also includes maintaining clinical records and managing adverse events.

During the Core stage, our residents further enhance their skills through a monthly longitudinal clinic, which affords them the opportunity to follow selected patients over time.

At the end of the PGY4 year, residents who have successfully completed their training to this point will be allowed to complete the written component of the RCPSC Adult Neurology examination.

  • The Transition to Practice stage takes place in the final (PGY5) year of training. The focus of this stage is the development and demonstration of independence in patient care. By the end of this stage, residents independently manage a neurological inpatient service, outpatient practice, and offsite consultations for patients with any condition, including complex diagnoses and undifferentiated neurological conditions. This stage also focuses on implementing a plan for lifelong learning and continuing professional development.

At the end of the PGY5 year, residents who have successfully completed their training (and who have also completed the RCPSC written exam) will be allowed to complete the practical component of the RCPSC Adult Neurology examination.

In addition to the four CMBE stages, our residents are exposed to a variety of other educational experiences, including weekly Neuroscience Grand Rounds and Academic Half Day, monthly Journal Club, weekly ‘Friday at Noon’ teaching seminars, and a variety of formal specialty and subspecialty clinical rounds.

Each resident is required to participate in academic / scholarly work during their training.  Residents meet regularly with our Research Coordinator to facilitate this aspect of their training.

Elective time is available in all years from PGY2 onward.  Regional, national, and international electives are encouraged provided that they meet the requirements of our training program, and respect any government or university-based travel restrictions.

Residents in our program provide on-call services with faculty supervision from the PGY1 to the PGY5 years. This aspect of their work aligns with the requirements of the Collective Agreement with Maritime Resident Doctors.  On call responsibilities increase as training progresses, with PGY4 and PGY5 residents taking ‘senior call’ as part of their Transition to Practice.

Research

All trainees are expected to participate in scholarly activity which may include clinical research, a basic science project, educational research, and / or a quality assurance project. We have a very active Neurology Training Committee which will assist in choice of project and supervision. All trainees have the opportunity to have specified time dedicated to doing a research project. Local areas of expertise include cerebrovascular disease, EEG/Epilepsy, EMG/Neuromuscular disease, neuro-ophthalmology, headache, dementia, neuro-oncology and multiple sclerosis.



Seminars and Learning Resources

Weekly clinical neuroscience rounds are held in conjunction with neurosurgery, neuropathology, neuroradiology and pediatric neurology. The academic half-day includes basic science and clinical neurology sessions. There is a monthly journal club, which emphasizes the principles of evidence-based medicine. Weekly seminars in clinical electrophysiology (EEG, EMG) alternate with general neurology and neuroradiology seminars. Numerous other subspecialty specific sessions in internal medicine occur on a daily basis.

 

Residents are funded to attend one national or international meeting per academic year.

 

Residents have access to the on-line resources of the Dalhousie Medical Library and other electronic learning resources. These can be accessed at computer stations dedicated for resident use in the neurology division.




Training Sites

Training Sites:

- Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre

- IWK Health Centre

There are 33 beds on the inpatient neurology services at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre - these encompass our Acute Stroke Unit, General Neurology Service, and our inpatient Epilepsy Monitoring Unit.

There are over 250 beds and 52 residents in the internal medicine and subspecialty programs. The Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre is a 1075 bed multispecialty hospital with primary, secondary and tertiary care roles. Close interaction occurs with the neurosurgery and pediatric neurology programs, as well as with neuropathology and neuroradiology.

There are thirteen university full time and seven university part time neurologists in the Dalhousie Division of Neurology. All of the neurologists participate in the residency training program. The neurology program has a usual quota of ten to twelve residents. The patient load per resident is usually between five to ten, depending on which service the resident is rotating.

 

NOTE: All Dalhousie residency programs are required to have 10% of their residency training outside of Halifax Regional Municipality as stipulated in the most recent Academic Funding Plan set out by the Department of Health and Wellness. Please be aware that if matched to Halifax, as part of your training you will be expected to complete at least one rotation in either Sydney Nova Scotia, Saint John New Brunswick, or Charlottetown Prince Edward Island.


Summary of changes

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