Dalhousie University - Obstetrics and Gynecology - Halifax

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

Last approved on December 07, 2021

Summary of changes

Approximate Quota:


Accreditation status : Accredited

Provincial Criteria

Dr. Leanne McCarthy
Obstetrics & Gynaecology 
IWK Health Centre  
5850/5980 University Avenue, P.O. Box 9700
Halifax , Nova Scotia, B3K 6R8
(902) 470-6675
Dalhousie Obstetrics & Gynaecology

Program Contacts

Dr. Leanne McCarthy
Program Director
(902) 470-6675

Mary Boudreau
Education Coordinator
(902) 470-6675

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

We believe that the best residents are those who have been able to explore the breadth of the medical profession through suitable electives while enrolled in medical school. We do not preferentially rank applicants who have only pursued electives in one discipline or sub-discipline.

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.
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
Number requested: 3

Three reference letters are required. A letter written by a senior resident would be accepted.

Additional documents
[Note: Photograph is used as memory aid only]

Required - used for memory aid

Personal Letter 

A narrative (a minimum of 500 to a maximum of 750 words) is required outlining:

  • your path to medicine
  • aptitude for self-directed learning and organization
  • demonstrated resiliency and ability to handle stress 
  • what draws you to our program and our training location
  • interests outside of medicine

Obstetrics & Gynaecology can be a challenging residency and a stressful specialty. Tell us about your biggest professional failure or challenge, what you learned from it, and how this will help you overcome setbacks as an Ob Gyn.

Custom Résumé / CV 

Medical School Transcript 

Order from your Registrar

Medical Student Performance Record 

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:

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

The CaRMS selection committee reviews each of the applications in detail.  After careful consideration the committee will determine which applicants will be selected to interview.  



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

Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
All applications will be reviewed by the interview committee and invitations for interviews will be communicated to candidates via e-mail.  Interviews will be carried out in an MMI format. Each candidate will have three interviews as well as an additional interview with the Program Director. Candidates will be given an opportunity to meet residents and the Program Administrator through a virtual "chat room". 

Selection Criteria

- An acceptable academic record demonstrating proficiency in those subjects related to obstetrics and gynecology is required

- Interest in, and knowledge of, the specialty

- Personal letter detailing interest in Obstetrics & Gynaecology.

- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, along with maturity and sensitivity are critical for applicants to this specialty


Program goals

The Dalhousie University Obstetrics & Gynaecology Residency Program provides a learning curriculum that is academic, evidence based, and encompasses all CanMED’s roles. Extensive clinical experience allows residents to confidently navigate their career path whether it is as a generalist or in a subspecialty.

Residents in our program are expected to demonstrate clinical and academic excellence, exceptional interpersonal and teamwork skills, and research experience.  Our Program believes in a positive work-life balance and encourages extra-curricular activities to support personal wellness.

Selection process goals

The Dalhousie University Obstetrics & Gynaecology Residency Program applicants are chosen based on the following characteristics (in no particular order):

  • Aptitude for independent learning and organization
  • Interest in, and knowledge of, the specialty and the Dalhousie training program
  • Academic potential
  • Aptitude for Obs Gyn – technical and non-technical
  • Ability to handle stress
  • Excellent communication skills with patients, colleagues, and healthcare team members
  • Leadership potential
  • Professionalism
  • Scholarly interests (research, education, QA, etc)
  • Participation in extracurricular activities

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 : Our review team is composed of the Program Director, Program Administrator, three faculty, and four residents.

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 51 - 75 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Electives, employment history.
Electives Demonstrated interest and experience in Obstetrics & Gynaecology; clinical performance.
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component.
Extra-curricular Volunteering (medical and non-medical) and mentoring; evidence of interests outside of medicine.
Leadership skills Holding office in a student government, club, or organization.
MSPRs Demonstrated interpersonal skills.
Personal letters Interest in discipline, program location.
Reference documents Positive interaction with colleagues and patients. Interest in discipline.
Research/Publications Interest in participating in future research projects; Demonstration of some exposure to research.
Transcripts Academic performance.

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.

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 Promotion of high-quality patient care through working in a team environment
Collegiality Behavior, attitude, ability to work well with others
Communication skills Ability to speak and write in English
Health advocacy Demonstrated understanding of health advocacy in the field Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Interest in the discipline Demonstrated interest and ability in the specialty; evidence of compassion & resilience
Interest in the program Demonstrated interest in program, setting, and serving Atlantic Canada
Leadership skills Ability to initiate programs, lead organizations or groups, and make an impact
Professionalism Communication and interaction with PA, faculty, and residents prior to and during interview process
Scholarly activities Not evaluated as part of interview

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

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

Program Highlights

Quick Facts:

- PGY1's participate in a Surgical Foundations Boot Camp during the first four weeks of residency along with all surgical disciplines.  Residents also concurrently participate in two blocks of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Boot Camp which includes introductory sessions on general O&G topics as well as research, global health, fetal health surveillance, etc. and participation in O&G clinics, call, O.R., etc. 

- PGY 1 residents participate in the Foundations of Surgery Curriculum.  PGY1 residents are required to complete the ATLS course during the Surgical Bootcamp block.  PGY2 residents are required to write and pass the Surgical Foundations exam (fall of PGY2).  The Surgical Foundations Program moved to the Competence by Design (CBD) format in 2018. 

- The ratio of residents to faculty is 1:1

- Residents have an opportunity to pursue interprovincial and international electives

- Annual Resident Retreat

- Well equipped resident lounge as well as hospital wide wireless & Up to Date access

- Skills Centre for Health Sciences (

- Simulation Centre 

- One month research course in PGY1 & protected research time throughout residency.

- Active Global Health Program with opportunities for international electives.

- Active Departmental Wellness Program

- Resident travel fund.

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.


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 uses 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 are broken down into stages, and each stage has a series of milestones based on required competencies.  These milestone 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.  Obstetrics & Gynecology Programs in Canada implemented the CBD curriculum in July, 2019.  

Programs implementing CBD undergo the same accreditation processes as traditional programs.  All CBD programs (and traditional programs) will continue to lead to Royal College certification.  Certification for trainees in both CBD and traditional programs will include the completion of the Royal College Examination; however, residents in CBD programs will also be assessed against program milestones throughout their training.  Within a CBD program, all milestones and the Royal College Examination, must be successfully completed to achieve certification.

For more information, please refer to the CBD section of the Royal College Website.

Please note: 1 block equals 4 weeks.

Transition to Discipline (TTD) (4 blocks): Residents attend Surgical Foundations Boot Camp along with all surgical disciplines.  Residents also concurrently participate in two blocks of Obstetrics & Gynaecology Boot Camp which includes introductory sessions on general O&G topics as well as research, global health, fetal health surveillance, etc.  Residents participate in clinics, OR’s, and call shifts during these blocks.  

The Surgical Foundations Program is a one year program in the first year of residency that runs parallel to TTD and FOD. It is a mandatory requirement of surgical residency programs and for Royal College Certification. 

Foundations of Discipline (FOD) (22 blocks): FOD spans the second half of PGY1 and all of PGY2.  First year rotations include general surgery (2 blocks); community obs gyn (2 blocks-Saint John, NB); research (1 block);  emergency (1 block); internal medicine (1 block); obs gyn (2 blocks); ICU (1 block); and gyne oncology (1 block).  Second year rotations consist of core Obstetrics & Gynaecology.  Residents spend 2-3 blocks in Saint John, New Brunswick and the remainder in Halifax.

Core of Discipline (COD) (33 blocks):  COD runs from PGY3 through to the first half of PGY5. There are 3 block (minimum) rotations in each of the subspecialties including reproductive endocrinology and infertility, maternal fetal medicine, gynecological oncology, urogynecology as well as electives (national and international) and community selectives (within the Atlantic provinces).  Six to seven blocks are spent as a Chief Resident - usually in the 4th or 5th year of training in gynecology and obstetrics. At this stage of training residents learn to manage more complex cases while managing their respective teams.  On Gynaecology, senior residents have their own resident run clinics and OR’s.

Transition to Practice (TTP) (6 blocks):  In the final 6 months, residents continue to expand on senior roles with increased clinical independence and mentoring of junior learners. 

All residents participate in a scholarly research or quality assurance project relevant to Obstetrics & Gynaecology and present their research at Department Research Day.  

Academic ½ Day
PGY 2-5 residents have protected Academic 1/2 Day on Friday afternoons where they are excused from clinical work. Sessions are done by an assigned faculty and cover topics on a two year rotation.  PGY2-5 residents attend the Surgical Skills labs approximately once per month.  

PGY 1 residents attend the Foundations of Surgery teaching sessions on Wednesday mornings. Residents are required to complete the Surgical Foundations course and pass the examination.  The examination takes place in the Fall of PGY2.

Obstetrics & Gynaecology Grand Rounds and clinical rounds are held weekly.  Maternal-Fetal Medicine Rounds are held twice weekly. Perinatal Pathology/Rh Rounds are held weekly. Pathology Rounds are held monthly.

Each trainee is required to complete one research project during the five years of training. Staff supervisors will be organized for the research projects through a dedicated Research Director. There is an annual Resident Research Day. Protected time or elective time is available for research projects. PGY1 residents will complete a four week research course.  PGY2-4 residents have protected time to dedicate to their research project.  Residents receive special funding for presenting at national meetings. Additional funding is provided to residents to attend conferences throughout their training.


Training Sites

- IWK Health Centre (Halifax, Nova Scotia)

- QEII Health Science Centre (Halifax, Nova Scotia) - Victoria General Site and Halifax Infirmary Site

Saint John Regional Hospital (Saint John, New Brunswick)

During the more senior years, community selectives or electives can be arranged in a number of the secondary centres in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island or elsewhere in Canada.


NOTE: All 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 may be expected to complete rotations outside central zone but within the maritime provinces.

Additional Information

Structured and unstructured sessions at the  "Atlantic Health Science Skills Centre" give the residents the ability to train in a virtual, readily accessible environment.  The skills lab is available to residents at all times and several academic 1/2 day sessions are dedicated to organized sessions in the lab.  24 hr. access. 

Journal Club: Weekly catered Journal Club from September to June provides a forum for critical review of journal articles, presentation of articles reflecting important developments in the practice of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and the discussion of the applicability and relevance of statistical methods. Journal Club is attended by residents, faculty, research staff & basic science staff.

Visiting Professors: The Department hosts numerous visiting professors throughout the academic year. Residents are released from service for teaching sessions with visiting faculty.

Why Halifax?

While it is the bustling hub of Atlantic Canada, Halifax is somehow able to retain a warm, small town feel. With gorgeous scenery, amazing food, and some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet, it's no wonder that both locals and visitors can't get enough of this coastal city


- Halifax - gateway to Atlantic Canada, has a prominent port situated on the world's second largest natural harbour.

- In the heart of the downtown you'll find art galleries, museums, historic sites and churches, shopping, sidewalk cafés and friendly nightclubs. Lively pubs and entertainment, shows, sporting events, live theatre on both sides of the harbour, & waterfront activities

- Outdoor activities - sailing, paddling, hiking, camping, diving, swimming, biking, golfing, skiing

- Halifax has plenty of activities to suit every interest, from seasonal festivals and events to delicious wine and culinary experiences!

- Abundant seafood!!!




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

There are 3 blocks dedicated to elective time in fourth year.  Electives may be pursued anywhere within Canada or internationally.  They may also be completed outside of the specialty if they pertain to a particular interest or career goal.  Residents complete 3 blocks of selectives where they can go to the community or work on acquiring skills relevant to their career path. 


Are residents in your program required to complete the Surgical Foundations course?

Our residents are required to participate in the Surgical Foundations Program and pass the Royal College exam written in early PGY2. Residents are excused from their clinical duties for one half-day per week on Wednesday mornings during PGY1 for surgical foundations seminars.


Are there active and/or required research projects in your residency program?

Residents are required to complete and present one research project during their training.  We have a very rich perinatal research department and there are an abundance of active projects across all Obs/Gyn disciplines. PGY1 residents complete a 1-block research course to refresh critical appraisal skills and facilitate an early start on a project. 


Tell me about the surgical skills lab and simulation centre?

We have a state-of-the-art surgical skills lab where wet and dry sessions are conducted to help enhance residents’ surgical skills. We also have a fully equipped simulation centre on-site including high fidelity and ultrasound scan-trainer.  Our strong simulation curriculum provides us with additional opportunities to practice the management of obstetrical emergencies. Both facilities are open for self-directed learning 24/7.


What is overall resident satisfaction like in your program?

Overall, we are a very happy and social group of residents.  Recent graduates from our program have felt they received very well rounded training that prepared them for practice as an independent staff.


 Why train with Dalhousie Obs/Gyn?

  • We are the only high-risk obstetrical centre in the Maritimes, providing exposure to unique and challenging presentations
  • We have very few fellows, allowing residents to maximize OR time
  • Strong simulation program, including an ultrasound scan-trainer
  • Staff-led cadaver and laparoscopic skills labs throughout the year to enhance surgical skill development
  • Well-established resident wellness program with department-sponsored events every month
  • Close and supportive group of residents and staff who are committed to creating a positive learning environment

Summary of changes

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