University of Calgary - Cardiac Surgery - 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. Daniel Holloway
Cardiac Sciences 
Foothills Hospital 
880, 1403 29 th St NW
CALGARY , Alberta, T2N 2T9
Cardiac Surgery Training Program, Calgary

Program Contacts

Dr.Daniel Holloway
Program Director

Selena Gill
Program Administrator

Important Information

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada: Applying competency-based practices 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.

CBD will use time as a framework 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 milestones based on required competencies. These milestones will create more targeted learning outcomes and involve more frequent, formative assessments within the clinical workplace to ensure residents are developing and receiving feedback on the skills they need.

The Royal College anticipates that all specialty and subspecialty programs in Canada will adopt CBD in gradual phases. All disciplines have been divided into seven cohort groups, each of which will adopt CBD at different times. It is anticipated that national implementation of CBD within certain, individual programs could begin as early as July 2017 - with more disciplines to following in subsequent years.

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 program milestones throughout their training. Within a CBD program, all milestones (documented within an electronic portfolio) and the Royal College examination must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please contact


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.
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

Supporting letters from three faculty members are required.

Additional documents
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 is required outlining pertinent personal and academic history, reasons for choosing the specialty of cardiac surgery and future career goals.(maxium word count of 750 words)

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

All successful candidates will be contacted via email. Successfull candidates will also receive a formal information package by mail.



  • March 20, 2022
All interviews on March 20, 2022 will be virtual. Candidates will participate in both small and large group interviews. The town hall meeting session(TBA) provides the candidates the opportunity to meet the  and residents Program Director, Dr. Daniel Holloway and ask questions about our program and service. 

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Candidates are interviewed by faculty and residents and all will be virtual via Zoom and links will be provided in the invite. There are three components to our interview day:  A Situational Judgment Test, Multiple Mini Interviews, and a Panel Interview and all will be virtual.   

Selection Criteria

-Superior academic standing

-Demonstrated potential in acquiring surgical technical skills

-Demonstrated a strong interest in cardiac surgery with electives completed in cardiac surgery and supporting reference letters

-Well rounded individual who is team oriented

Program goals

Calagary Cardiac Surgery overarching program goals and vision include:

  • To diagnose and treat diseases of the cardiovascular system and to provide exemplary patient care
  • To train residents in a stimulating and challenging educational program
  • To maintain excellence in patient care, education, research, and to foster a lasting desire for self-improvement with ongoing educational activities
  • Our goal is to match top medical graduates and produce superb Cardiac Surgeons
  • The Residency Training Program will provide an environment for best clinical teaching and experience for all post-graduate and undergraduate students
  • The Residency Program embraces the RCPSC CanMED competencies

Selection process goals

The applicant demonstrates an excellence in patient care, education, and research. 

The applicant demonstrates confidence and humility, compassion, strong work ethic and is team-oriented.

The applicant demonstrates strong technical skills on rotation

The applicant demonstrates professionalism reflective of character

The applicant embraces the CanMED competencies and it is reflective in their conduct

File review process

Review team composition : Section of Cardiac Surgery
Chief Resident and Resident members of RPC

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %
We accept 7 candidates maximum for interviews.

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Publications, work/volunteer history, well rounded
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 Interests outside of medicine
Leadership skills Professionalism, team player, confidence and humility
MSPRs No red flags
Personal letters Reflective of work, character and accomplishments. What qualifies you for this opportunity
Reference documents Technical Skills, leadership qualities, teaching and mentorship, personal characteristics
Research/Publications At least one is listed
Transcripts Academic excellence

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.

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. 

Interview process

Interview format :

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

Interview evaluation criteria :
Interview components Criteria
Collaboration skills Works effectively with others
Collegiality Works well within their own team and other health care professionals
Communication skills Facilitates communication and is an active listener
Health advocacy wellness overall
Interest in the discipline Has a passion for cardiac surgery
Interest in the program Knowledge of the training program and the department of cardiac sciences
Leadership skills Qualities in leadership including teaching and metorship
Professionalism Confidence and humility
Scholarly activities teaching, mentorship and contributing to scholarship

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

We do not consider any information gathered outside of the CaRMS application and local interview processes.

Ranking process

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

Program Highlights

Our training program is 6 years with an academic enrichment year that is flexible in timing and content. More than 1600 adult cardiac operations per year are performed in Calgary.  Specialized procedures include TAVR, TEVAR, Mechanical Support, Complex Device Procedures and Minimally Invasive Surgery are done. Exposure and experience in Congenital Cardiac Surgery and Transplant is obtained at the University of Alberta during a 6 Block senior resident rotation.


Program Curriculum

This residency program is for 6 years.

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

This six year residency program is designed to fulfill the training requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada for examination and certification in cardiac surgery.

The first two years consist of core training and exposure to the basics of surgery and involve various disciplines. In addition to Surgical Foundations, which follows CBD and is completed in conjunction with their home program, rotations are designed to provide the cardiac resident a strong foundation in surgical skills as well as the objectives of training set out by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.  Basic grounding in general surgery, critical care, emergency and cardiology rotations including CCU, Echocardiography, Cath Lab, Ward, Cardiac Imaging and Heart Failure are offered.

The senior years are customized to strengthen the individual resident's skills and interests and include 6 blocks of both Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, 6 blocks of Paediatric Cardiac Surgery and 18 blocks of Adult Cardiac surgery.

The Calgary Cardiac Surgery Program also has an Academic Enrichment year which can be spent in basic science research, administration education and innovation programs or in a focused clinical area.  It can take place within the University of Calgary or elsewhere at an institution of your choice at the discretion of the program director and the residency training committee.  The Academic Enrichment year that can be taken in PGY years 3 or 4 with additional time off service supported for the completion of a Masters or PhD in a discipline related to their specialty or subspecialty training.

The Calgary Cardiac Surgery Program also has an extensive academic curriculum.  Weekly cardiac surgery rounds, combined with journal clubs, and our academic 1/2 day consists of seminar series and didactic teaching sessions which covers the spectrum of adult cardiac surgery including coronary artery bypass grafting, valves, thoracic aorta, heart failure, transplant, electrophysiology, imaging and congenital defects a well as Wet and Dry Labs including a transplant simulation lab.  A faculty wide core curriculum also provides teaching in surgical skills, principles of surgery, bioethics, medical legal affairs, critical appraisal, communication skills and practice management.

Training Sites


The University of Calgary provides residency training in adult cardiac surgery at the Foothills Hospital.  Vascular surgery training is provided at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary. Pediatric cardiac surgery and cardiac transplantation training is provided at the University of Alberta in Edmonton through a Royal College approved Inter-University Affiliation Agreement

Additional Information

Our program is proud of its strong cohesive environment.  We have strong administrative support.  Operating experience, teaching and graded professional responsibility are exemplary.  Academic teaching at 1/2 days, journal clubs, grand rounds, and visiting speaker at yearly events are supported and well attended. These are all virtual currently. 


Can the interviews be held via teleconference or video conference?

We require that all applicants come to the University of Calgary to conduct their interviews.


Summary of changes

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