Dalhousie University - Dermatology - 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. Ashley Sutherland
Division of Dermatology 
Rm 4189, Dickson Bldg 
5820 University Ave
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 1V7
(902) 473-2814
(902) 473-2655
Dalhousie University Dermatology

Program Contacts

Dr. Ashley Sutherland
Program Director

Hyen Rosen
Program Administrator
(902) 473-2814

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.
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

Provide a minimum of three reference letters. Preferably, these references will be from rotations or exposures within the prior two years with at least one dermatology specific reference. Up to 5 references will be reviewed.

Additional documents
Medical Student Performance Record 

Order from your Deans office

Custom Résumé / CV 

Graduate Transcript (Master/PhD Degree) 

Personal Letter 
Word count
Minimum : None
Maximum : None

Personal letter should outline your motivation to pursue dermatology training at Dalhousie university. It should not exceed 1000 words.

Undergraduate Transcript (Bachelor's Degree) 

Medical School Transcript 

Order from you registrar

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

All application files are reviewed and scored by the program director and two other division members to determine eligibility for an interview. Applicants are considered for an interview based on a standardized scoring system that incorporates academic experience, electives, research and publications, reference letters, knowledge and interest in our training program and personal attributes from accompanying documents. Interviews are offered to applicants based on committee consensus following discussion and review of all files by two division members and the program director.

The selection committee, which includes the above three members as well as the chief dermatology resident, meets after interviews are concluded to review and discuss the application files and interview scores. A group consensus is achieved after discussion of all application information and rank order is determined based on interview and file scores as well as an individual's professional qualities as determined by interactions with administrative staff, faculty members and residents, the interview process, references and submitted CaRMS files.



  • March 4, 2022
Program will notify all applicants through CaRMS Online and will send email invitations directly to applicants selected for an interview.
Applications for the Dermatology training position will be reviewed by the program director and two other dermatology teaching faculty. Selection for interviews will take place based on review of supporting documents as outlined previously. Interviews will be arranged by the program and individuals will be contacted directly. We will be interviewing all potential candiates on one day and do not offer alternate interview dates.  Please note that the program will not discuss decisions with applicants after the CaRMS match.

Interviews are conducted by some of our faculty members and residents. The interviewee will typically rotate through "stations/encounters". An encounter may involve a traditional interview question (eg: motivation for choosing the specialty) or a scenario such as an ethical question or situational judgement scenario. Each station will last approximately 10-15 minutes. An individual's performance will be based on a summary of all encounters.

Selection Criteria

1. Academic performance

2. Exposure to Dermatology or related specialty

3. References

4. Past research and/or publications

5. Personal letter

6. Candidate's professional qualities and ability to work collaboratively with others.

Program goals

Our primary goal of the Dalhousie Dermatology training program is to produce competent and confident general clinical dermatologists. We are looking for candidates that will have displayed interest in general clinical dermatology and training at Dalhousie.

Dalhousie is a small and collegial program by reputation that offers residents varied clinical exposure with close supervision from experienced and practical dermatologists with a medical dermatology focus.  Residents benefit from frequent clinical exposure and managing their own patients given the smaller size of the program. Also, the number of learners in the clinic environment is optimized so as not to dilute learning needs of core dermatology residents. Staff remain strongly committed to resident education and participate actively in resident academic half days.

Selection process goals

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. 

The goal of the selection process is to select candidates for training that have an interest in general clinical dermatology with adequate knowledge and exposure to the field. The successful candidate will thrive in a collegial and small training program with a diverse patient contact experience with a large referral catchment area. 

The components of the file that will be considered to determine this are academic records, personal letter, references, research exposure and elective experiences. 

File review process

Review team composition : The application review committee is composed of the program director and two faculty members to decide which candidates will be offered an interview. The chief resident is involved in the final review process after interviews and prior to developing the rank order list.

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

Average percentage of applicants offered interviews : 26 - 50 %

Evaluation criteria :
File component Criteria
CV Background experience and education, volunteer experiences and previous work experiences
Electives Exposure to dermatology or related fields but we also value varied elective exposure
Examinations We do not evaluate this file component
Extra-curricular Applicants identified interests outside the field of medicine
Leadership skills Involvement in leadership roles within or outside of medical training
MSPRs Mainly review for unexplained academic gaps in training; review for red flag comments
Personal letters Looking for evidence of genuine interest in dermatology and training at Dalhousie
Reference documents Review for concerning comments about professionalism, review of comments made by colleagues
Research/Publications Evaluation of research interests and activities including publications or presentations/participation in conferences
Transcripts Review general previous academic performance in medical school including pass/fail scoring

Elective criteria

We encourage applicants to have completed at least one elective in our discipline.
We do not require applicants to have done onsite electives.

We understand the difficulty and complexity around obtaining electives during the COVID-19 pandemic and will take this into consideration during the review process.

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 We do not evaluate this in interview component
Collegiality Does the candidate have experience working in small or large groups and how do they approach potentially difficult interpersonal situations?
Communication skills Is candidate able to communicate with interviewers and answer questions that are asked?
Health advocacy Is the candidate able to identify and speak on equity, diversity and inclusion considerations that may impact patients or other healthcare professionals?
Interest in the discipline Is there a genuine interest in the specialty of Dermatology?
Interest in the program Is there a specific interest in training at the Dalhousie Dermatology program?
Leadership skills Does candidate have experience in leadership role? How has this shaped their training and career?
Professionalism Does the candidate display professional behaviour during the interview?
Scholarly activities We do not evaluate this in the interview component

Information gathered outside of CaRMS application

Specifically, we may consider:

Ranking process

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

Program Highlights

Dalhousie is a small and collegial program by reputation that offers residents excellent clinical exposure with close supervision from experienced and practical dermatologists with a medical dermatology focus. Residents gain diverse clinical experience with broad exposure as Halifax serves as a referral center for the Maritime provinces. Residents benefit from frequent outpatient and inpatient clinical interactions and are able to experience independent management of patients with close support from senior residents and staff given the smaller size of the program. Also, the number of learners in the clinic environment is optimized so as not to dilute learning needs of core dermatology residents. Staff remain strongly committed to resident education and participate actively in resident academic half days.

Halifax is a multicultural city with an attractive arts and culture scene, many outdoor activities and a vibrant, central downtown core. Specific strengths of the program noted by previous and current residents include broad exposure to dermatopathology and a dedicated teaching staff. The goal of our program is to train competent and professional medical dermatologists capable of providing exemplary clinical care for a diverse and multicultural patient population.

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.


PGY1 & 2:

These first two years of general training will provide residents with essential clinical skills upon which to add a dermatology knowledge base and skill set. Rotations are structured to meet Royal College training requirements by exposing residents to disciplines within internal medicine (general medicine, hematology, endocrinology, infectious disease, medical and radiation oncology, medical genetics, rheumatology), family medicine, emergency medicine,  pediatrics, plastic surgery and dermatopathology. 


PGY 3-5:

The training program is based at teaching hospitals within the Capital District Health Association and includes the Halifax Infirmary, Victoria General (VG) Hospital, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Center, Abbey Lane Hospital and the Izaac Walton Killam (IWK) Children's Hospital.

The majority of training occurs within outpatient clinics at the VG hospital and the IWK hospital. Consultation service involves coverage at other sites listed.

Residents rotate through general and subspecialty clinics during their three years of core dermatology training. Subspecialty clinics include surgery including Moh's surgery, phototherapy, cutaneous oncology, Gynecologic dermatology and Pediatric dermatology. Later in residency, residents obtain exposure to lasers through exposure at private clinics or electives. Community, national and international electives are encouraged.

A noted strength of the program is dedication to protected academic teaching sessions for residents. Friday mornings are protected for teaching and involve a robust schedule of rounds including patient clinical rounds, digital photography rounds, JAAD CME review, book chapter club, basic science, therapeutics, M&M rounds, CANMEDS lectures and clinico-pathology correlation rounds. There are weekly dedicated dermatopathology teaching sessions provided by local dermatopathologists. These sessions are supplemented by monthly clinical dermatopathology sessions where a dermatologist provides clinical material and the pathologist reviews corresponding pathology. There are also weekly therapeutics review sessions.

Resident travel is supported by the department of medicine as outlined above. Residents are encouraged but not mandated to undertake research in their training; a scholarly project or activity is mandatory according to Royal College requirements.

Residents in the core three years of dermatology training rotate quarterly through three month clinic blocks with general, pediatric and subspecialty clinic exposure. In the first year, residents generally do a one month dermatopathology rotation with our dermatopathologists. Consultation coverage varies within each rotation. In the second and third year residents may choose other electives such as dermatologic surgery or contact dermatitis and these could be done at another academic center with divisional financial support.  Residents may also undertake a one month Moh's micrographic surgery elective. In the final two years of training there is a weekly resident clinic where residents book in patients at their discretion and manage patient care under supervision. Residents in their PGY3 year attend a series of didactic and case review framing lectures when they begin their core training so there is a baseline knowledge of approach to various dermatologic conditions established. Throughout the training program, residents achieve graded responsibility with a goal to function independently as a consultant dermatologist.

Training Sites

Dalhousie University

Teaching hospitals include: Halifax Infirmary, Victoria General Hospital, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Center, Abbey Lane Hospital and the Izaac Walton Killam Children's Hospital. The Victoria General building houses the administrative offices of the program administrator, division head, educational library and most teaching clinics.

In the dermatology education library, each resident has access to their own computer. The educational library is kept up to date with textbooks and online teaching materials. Clinic letters, patient files and lab work are available online through the Nova Scotia Health Authority with multiple computers in clinic areas.

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 of Nova Scotia. Please be aware that if matched to Halifax, as part of your training you may be expected to complete rotations outside the central zone but within the maritime provinces.

There is a strong commitment to teaching both in clinics and during weekly academic half days. Half day activities include patient rounds, digital rounds, pathology rounds, JAAD CME articles, book chapter club and basic science. Weekly dermatopathology and one on one resident teaching sessions are also incorporated into the resident schedule. Residents receive ample opportunity to develop increasing professional responsibility in a collegial and professional working environment with close supervision and support of staff members.

All residents in the department of medicine at Dalhousie University are eligible for one funded trip per year for educational purposes and a second trip provided a poster or paper is presented at a recognized conference.

A full time, on site phototherapy unit is located adjacent to the dermatology clinic space and provides light treatment (including narrow band UVB, broadband UVB , PUVA, ingram and goekerman regimens) for numerous patients in Nova Scotia.

The program's primary objective is to train excellent general clinical dermatologists who will serve the medical needs of an expanding patient population with skin disease.

Dalhousie University has had a dermatology training program since 1982 and entered the Carms match system in 2010. Given that it is a smaller program, there is significant daily, direct interaction between residents and staff. There are two full time members on site with 10 part time members who participate in teaching clinics, academic half day and the call roster. The presence of a  Division of Medical Education at Dalhousie enriches medical education significantly and for those with interests in medical education, electives are encouraged.

Summary of changes

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